Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted

Author: Meagan Spooner
Rating: 3.75/5
Genre: Fantasy

“I will call you, Beauty, for that is what you are”

Goodreads Synopsis: Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Review: The synopsis of this book is very reminiscent of another popular book that everyone has read, A Court of  Thorns and Roses. Although, I enjoyed reading that particular book, I wasn’t as in love with it as others were. Therefore, I really had no expectations for this book. Which, I think is the reason, I enjoyed it more than ACOTAR. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy ACORTAR, I just feel that this book is a lot darker and fantastical than ACOTAR. Considering it’s a standalone novel, I think it did a great job in setting up the world and creating its characters. I also love the little folk tales that are told within the book.

I’m a fan of the protagonist. I think her personality is realistic and one that people can relate to. Her everyday social circle as a merchant’s daughter is accurate and the fall of her family, and the outcome of the fall, is one that can be found throughout historical documents. This realistic venture is one that I enjoyed within the book. The fate of her father is actually one that I would rather have a fairy tale ending, but it’s understandable considering the situation. I thoroughly enjoyed all the little details that Spooner incorporated in the lives of the three girls.

Another thing that I highly enjoyed is the relationship of the three sisters with each other and their father. As usually the presence of a mom is not present, but at least we got to see how close all four people in the family are. Even their relationships with their dogs is heartwarming. I wish that we got to see more of the dad in the later part of the book, but wishful thinking on my behalf. I think all throughout the book, I’m a fan of all the male and female characters that Spooner introduce whether it be the minor players or the main people. The author did a great job in creating a fabulous story without having characters being morally corrupt.

The one point I’m still a bit confused about, and one that I wished she took a little more time in developing, is the transition between the fantasy world and Beauty’s world. That connection is a bit vague on her description and it took me several read to pain a picture in my head. Even then, I’m still a bit confused. A little bit more fluidity would have been nicer.

Overall, I highly enjoyed the book. I love the characters, I enjoyed the world and the writing, although nothing spectacular, is still a great read. Although, I have a few complaints, I’m still a happy reader. I’m  fan of Spooner. I enjoyed her Starbound Trilogy and Unearthed novels with Amie Kaufman, I also enjoy her standalone novel, Hunted. Hopefully, she will release more novels just as great.

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Popular Fantasy Books I haven’t Read, Yet!

I don’t hide the fact that I’m a mainstream reader. I basically read books that booktubers/bloggers have been raving about. I take an occasional ARC here and there, but most of the books that I read are the ‘popular’ books. I really don’t have that much time on my hands to peruse the bookstore hours at a time to look for a diamond in the rough. So, I rely on those that make it their mission to find such books.

However, there are some book that slips through my radar and still haven’t gotten around to. I’m a very moody reader, meaning I need to be in a certain right type of mind to read certain genres/books. Here are 5 Popular books that I still haven’t gotten around to reading just yet.

six of crows1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This book have been getting all the raves for the past few years now and I know its in everyone’s top ten whenever they read it. Unfortunately, I still haven’t gotten around to it. I still need to actually pick up the Grisha Trilogy before I get to this Duology.

2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I’m not a big fan of Laini Taylor’s Daughter and Smoke Trilogy, but I am a fan of her writing. So I really need to get a move on to this book. This was just released last year, but I still haven’t gotten a chance in picking it up. I do however, want to remedy that this year.

truthwitch3. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard5. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

This one I’m really hesitant to read, but so many people are saying that its so good. I can’t possibly miss out on the opportunity on reading about a new world! ARGH! So many good books, so little time!

4. Falling Kingdom by Morgan Rhodes

This one I deliberately not pick up until the last book in the series is finished. I’m not really sure why, I don’t even know if I’m going to like the series, but I heard a lot of people enjoying it. I do know that people got a little bit side-tracked because the books took awhile to come out and by then the steam died down. I’m still excited though, I can’t wait to see what the fuss is about

5. Mistborn by Brandon SandersonMistborn

Last, but not least is this gem. I’ve been putting this series off for years now and I really want to get to it, but I’m so hesitant because I don’t want to be disappointed. I actually want to try out his YA book first, Steelheart, to see if I would like his writing and then dive into this. Everyone that I follow on Booktube/Bloggers have read and love Sanderson’s books.

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Forbidden WishThe Forbidden Wish 

Author: Jessica Khoury
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis: When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

Review: This is one of those book where I was a bit on the fence with my rating. I enjoyed it a lot and had fun reading it. Aladdin is actually my top 5 favorite Disney movies, so I had high expectations for it. I wasn’t really sure how I would feel between the relationship of the Jinni and Aladdin, since the book and the Disney version is totally different.

One of the reasons why I enjoyed this book is the relationship within it, not just the romantic aspect, but also all the friendships.  This is actually one of those few books that I enjoyed the minor characters more than the protagonists of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Aladdin and Zahra, but I think Princess Caspida and her Watchmaidens are awesome. I haven’t really read a lot of novels where there are good female friendships, and this part of the book was a great addition. I really wish that Khoury would think about crating a companion novel, or even a short story that focuses on these ladies. I would like to know more about them, and it won’t hurt to see a glimpse of Jinni and her lamp holder.

I also really enjoyed the world that Khoury created in this book. I love the little characters that she added and the different areas of the world. She has a vivid way of writing her settings and in your head you can actually see the places and even smell the locations. I especially love the garden and the tavern. The beauty of the garden makes you want to see it in person and the tavern makes you want to hold your breath from the stink. Like I said her world is very vivid.

The one thing that I had a problem with is the Jinni system that Khoury introduced to us. I was a bit confused on the hierarchy of the Jinni and I don’t think Khoury did a good job in explaining it to us. I get the different groups of Jinnis, all except the powerful one. I wasn’t all that convinced that Zahra, not actually of Jinni descent, became one of the most powerful Jinnis. I think it was too convenient for the story and I don’t think it was as pertinent to the story. It would have been a lot more convincing if lower Jinnis is able to attain power through some sort of transformation or overcoming a difficult trail.

I also had a tad problem with the ending. It feels too rushed and I wasn’t a fan of how the fight concluded in the end. I actually wish that the author spent more time developing this part of the book as well. I feel that she dragged the story in the beginning of the book too much and didn’t do the end as much justice.

Looking back to my thoughts of the book, I think I’ll give this book a solid 4 star. Although I did enjoy the majority of the book, I feel that the problematic parts are too big for me to ignore. I guess writing reviews does help sort out ones thoughts. Anyways, even though I have negative comments on The Forbidden Wish, I still enjoyed it enough to check out Khoury’s other books. I think she did a great job in retelling this particular Disney story.

 

 

Series Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Book 1: Dorothy Must Die
Book 2: The Wicked will Rise
Book 3: Yellow Brick War
Book 4: The End of Oz

Overall Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: After Dorothy came back to the Oz, everything changed for the worst. Now Amy is brought in to right things, but how can she defeat Dorothy, when she is not even sure who is good and who is bad.

Review: Usually in my Series Reviews I try to put my two cents in each book within the series. For this series, I’ll try to do an overall review for all four books.

I first picked up the series two years ago with Dorothy Must Die, and I loved the new take on the famous heroine. Even with all the controversy with the author, I still wanted to give this series a try because I’m a fan of The Wizard of Oz. I enjoy fairy tale re-tellings as much as the next person, but the fact that Dorothy, the heroine of The Wizard of Oz, is more wicked than the Wicked Witch of the West, so definitely I had to see what it was all about. For me, the first installment had me at the first chapter. I enjoy the new heroine, Amy Gumm and I love seeing all the characters I loved in the old classic, but with the twist. I think Paige did a great job creating a new heroine for readers to love. Amy is the opposite of Dorothy in terms of personality and characteristics, but she’s a tough cookie that has a tough life. I also love the other characters that Paige included, it’s still a bit confusing on who to trust and such, but I’m enjoying the mystery. It was also great seeing the yellow brick road, munchkin land and all the other beautiful places in Oz. It might not look the same as I was used to, but the differences made Paige’s world different from Frank Baum’s world. I don’t really want to go into details on Paige’s world building, but I think she did a fantastic job in this first book.

The second book, The Wicked Will Rise, is also a great read, not as great as the first book, but an enjoyable sequel. There really wasn’t much that was happening to the characters that the author didn’t go through on the first book. Amy must still focus on her goal in defeating the evil Dorothy and her minions. The pacing in this book was rather fast-paced and a lot of things happen that made you want to look forward to the third book. I appreciate the romance in this second book, since it wasn’t the focal point of the story, but at the same time it was a cute added bonus. Basically, the first and second book was a great read until the last two books kicked in.

I think the third book, The Yellow Brick War, for me is the game changer. When this book was released, I was so excited because I thought this book was the last installment. I was sadly disappointed. Seriously, everyone thought this series was going to be a trilogy, and I was shocked that when I finished the book, it left with a cliffhanger. To be honest, this series did not need a fourth book, this story definitely could have ended with this last book and I think it would have been a fantastic ending. I’m really not sure why Paige thought it was a good idea to include another one, but I think everything could have been wrapped up nicely with the third installment.  I found this book to be slower than the other two books, only because the story line was stretched out to include the fourth book. The battles almost became repetitive as Amy gets taken out of battles in order to find Dorothy. As I said there is a cliffhanger at the end so beware!

Finally, the last book, The End of Oz, was even a greater disappointment as the previous, only because the ending totally gave up on me. I’m not really sure if Paige is going to do a spin-off series, or she enjoys toying with her readers, but I don’t really want to go into that. I’m not really a fan of this book out of the whole series and I really think the inclusion of this book is an afterthought. The one highlight for me in this book is Lang, I love her, a lot better than Amy in this book, but I’ll explain that later. Lang is an amazing character and the epitome of an Anti-heroine. Other than that, the book was bleh. Even Amy’s character became very bland and she seemed to loose herself with her relationship with Nox. I wish that there was more of a concrete ending to the series, but even if there will be another book, I’ll most likely skip it.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: I hate the ending. Let’s just say she was able to defeat Dorothy.

 

Motif Challenge: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Scwab

darker shade of magic

Author: V.E Schab
Rating: 3.5/5
Protagonist: Kell, Delilah

Synopsis: Kell is a traveller, but not the kind that we know. She is able to move between dimensions or specifically different Londons. As a travellers he delivers notes from one monarchy to another. Unfortunately, he is also in the business of smuggling items to those who are willing to pay with treasures from their world. When he is caught during a deal gone wrong, he must fix his mistake before his world and the other Londons are destroyed.

Review: I’ve been wanting to read this book for sometime, but I’ve been putting it off month after month. Since the last book will be released this year I decided to finally pick it up at the start of the year. I want to try to read all three books this year. I don’t have much to complain about this book, I had a great reading experience, but at the same time, I didn’t love it as much as everyone did. I think my expectations were a tad too high.

One of the main reason why I picked this book up is because of the hype surrounding V.E Schwab. She’s a very popular author amongst the BookTubers. So obviously, I had to try one of her books out. To be honest, I don’t think I like this as much as other readers do. I know its a big deal with bloggers, youtubers and book lovers, but for me I wasn’t as amazed by it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the way she writes, but this book really is more of a background story, so it dragged a bit in the beginning. Since it did take awhile for the story to pick up, I didn’t fully enjoy my reading experience until half way into the book. I know all the introductory story is important to understand the world of Kell, but I would have enjoyed it even more if the main story had more length. I felt that the actual story of Kell and Lila was a bit rushed, especially the ending, I wanted a more extravagant battle. Other than that, I have no other problems.

As soon as the main story of the book came into play, I was hooked and couldn’t put the book down. Besides the fact that ending left me underwhelmed, I still enjoyed the story as a whole. I love the way V.E Schwab was able to re-create four different Londons and how each of them were unique from the environment to the people. The story is intricately woven to create one amazing story of adventure, magic and mystery. I also really enjoyed the different characters that Schwab introduced in this book. Kell is an amazing protagonist and I can’t wait to read more about him. I also really liked Lila, she brings something different to the whole story and I love how Schwab gave her a ‘devil-may-care’ attitude.

I know I gave this book such a low rating, but I really wasn’t impressed with the first half of this book, but after that, it was an amazing read. I really can’t wait to read the next two books into this trilogy. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick up the next two book this year.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: In Kell’s world there is four different Londons, each consisting of the same layout but with different levels of magic. Grey London had long forgotten magic, Red London magic is flourishing, White London is being overcome by magic and finally Black London has been overcome by magic. Black London used magic to try to over rule to the Londons in order to contain them, Red London sealed them close. Unfortunately, White London is the closest to Black London and they are in charge of keeping them at bay, which consequently is draining them of their life.

Kell, being an Antari, was tricked into smuggling a forbidden stone that is from Black London. Since Black London is a taboo place, any relics from this place is unwelcome in any of the Londons in fear of spreading the dark magic within it. Lila coerce Kell into letting her help him bring the stone back to its original place. Since Atari’s are the only ones who can move from one London to the other, we are led to believe that this stone helped her through her adventure, until the very end. Dun, dun, dun. Let’s leave it at that!

TBR Challenge #1: Short Shorts

stars-above

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Rating: 3.5/5

Theme: Short Stories, Novellas, Romance, etc. Any short books.

Why?: I chose Stars Above for two reasons: 1. It’s a short story and 2. I really want to finish this series ASAP. This book has been on my TBR since it first came out and finally, finally, I can proudly say I finish this series!

Review: I was never a die hard fan of the Lunar Chronicles, but I did enjoy them. Also, the last book basically sold me on the series. This bind up of novellas featuring Meyer’s popular series is a hit or miss for me. I enjoyed seeing the whole group again, but some of the stories within were not my favorite. I didn’t really feel that all the stories added anything new to the main story arc as a whole. I do have my favorite characters with the 6 main, so I tended to favor the stories that included them. The main reason why I enjoyed the last book because of the comradeship between the characters and the last story featured this same connection, therefore, it safe to say I loved the last story the most. I’m finding a trend here, I tend to enjoy Meyer’s last stories all the time.

I also really love the second last story of Kai’s perspective on his first encounter with Cinder. I wasn’t a fan of the first book, but it was sweet and cute to see the two characters interaction from Kai’s perspective. I applaud her in creating this scenario as a short story rather than writing a whole book of the same story and selling it as a ‘new’ book.

Well, that is that, and I’m really happy that I finished this series. YAY! *celebratory dance with confetti*

Reviews on: Scarlet and Winter

Top Ten All Time Favorite Fantasy Novels

toptentuesday

Hello Everyone and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! For this week were to list our 10 favorite books in a specific genre, we were able to sub-divide the genre if we wanted to. Yes, it’s quite hard to pick 10 book in one genre, but I think it’s doable.

Most would think that I would pick Mystery since it is my favorite genre, but for this Top Ten I think I will make it a bit difficult for me and choose fantasy instead. I will sub-divide this category into two: High/Epic Fantasy and Urban Fantasy.

Here is my list:

URBAN FANTASY:

HarryPotter

Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling

No list of mine would ever be complete if these books are not in it. I love the world, the characters and the way Rowling interweaves her story to connect all of the seven books. This too me is perfection!

percy

Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

I love all of Riordan’s books that I have read, by the Percy Jackson series takes the cake. I enjoy the concept of the Gods still around us and still manipulating peoples actions. I enjoy how this worlds just keeps growing and growing, with more characters being added as the different series progress.

gregor

The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins

I admit that I only picked this up because I loved Collins’ The Hunger Games, but I’ve actually grown to love this series more than the former. I feel that this book has a lot more depth and the characters evolve with each passing novel. When I read this book, I feel that I am actually transported in the Underland and I’m alongside the protagonist. I highly recommend this for middle grade readers.

sisters grimm

The Sister’s Grimm Series by Michael Buckley

I love reading anything fairytales, from the gory original ones to the cuter fantasy re-telling of Disney. For me fairytales is fairytales. This series that Buckley has created is actually a very enjoyable and entertaining read for those who wants something different. I love the two protagonist in these books and they actually show many traits that I adore on my kick-ass heroine.

pendragon

The Pendragon Cycle by D.J. MacHale

This is actually one series that I have not talked about on this blog, but is one of the series that I have enjoyed reading growing up. Yes, there is elements of sci-fi in this novel, but for the most part, for me anyways, I have always associated it to fantasy. Just like the other books I’ve listed here, I love the protagonist, the worlds Machale created and all the diverse people he has created. This is actually one series that I need to re-read sometime soon.

HIGH/EPIC FANTASY:

Poison Study

The Study Series by Maria Snyder

I admit I didn’t really read all the books in this series yet, but this book is definitely on my favorite list. If you enjoy reading The Throne of Glass, then this is a must read on your TBR. The protagonist is lovable, but still the type that you can’t help but admire.

hobbit

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

I’m not sure you can create a Favorite Fantasy List without having at least one of Tolkien’s novels. His writing is magnificent and you can’t help but love the world that he has created, we all know as Middle Earth. If you’re a fantasy enthusiast then Tolkien is definitely your guy!

graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

This is another book that I haven’t finished all the books, but like Poison Study, this book is amazing! Since it can be a stand a lone it doesn’t really need to co-exist with the other two in its trilogy. That being said, the world that Cashore created is vibrant and beautiful and her written words is just as amazing. She is able to transport you from one world to another.

alanna

Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce

I know it seems like I read nothing by strong female lead, but I really don’t. I want this list to be a bit more diverse, but I also have to stay true to what I love and enjoy reading. These books are actually a must read for anyone who loves reading. The world that Pierce creates in her novels will make Tolkien proud.

the-thief

The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

This is another series that is a must re-read for me. It’s been awhile since I’ve read these books and its high time that I get to them again. I love everything about these books, the characters are superbly written and the world that Turner created is just as beautiful.

That’s it for this weeks TTT. Let me know if you have any fantasy novel that you totally love and recommend for me to try. See you next week!