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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao ARC {4.5 Stars}

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao ARC {4.5 Stars}

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise of the Empress)
Published by Philomel on Oct. 10th, 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

4.5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Random Thoughts:
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Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ARC {DNF}

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ARC {DNF}

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published by Flatiron Books on Sept. 5th, 2017
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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rozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Girls Made of Snow and Glass from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

I’ve been being so picky with my reads lately that I have a number of DNF’s that I’d like to talk about. Remember that DNF is my default, so if I’m not absolutely loving a book, I won’t finish it. Therefore this doesn’t AT ALL mean this isn’t a good book that could probably have gotten 3 stars from me if I forced myself to keep going.

Strengths:
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Hunted by Meagan Spooner ARC {5 Stars}

Hunted by Meagan Spooner ARC {5 Stars}

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTeen on March 14th, 2017
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
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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?

5 Stars

Hope you all are still enjoying my bare-bones, just-notes reviews when I must!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Hunted from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
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Calamity: Being an Account of Calamity Jane and Her Gunslinging Green Man by J. D. Jordan {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

Calamity has to be one of the most original books I have ever read.  Taking the western genre and combining it with aliens …. literally big green men …. and a re-telling of the backstory of Calamity Jane makes for a refreshing read.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Calamity from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Calamity: Being an Account of Calamity Jane and Her Gunslinging Green Man by J. D. Jordan {Just Hatched}

Calamity by J. D. Jordan
Published by Heliosphere Books on September 1, 2016
Genres: Adult, Genre-bender, Sci-fi, Weird West
Page Length: 300 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

I’m sure you’ve heard of Calamity Jane, but this is not a novel about Calamity Jane.  At least not the Jane you may have read about. Calamity Jane is part of the legends of the Wild West, but long before she scouted with Custer or “Wild Bill” Hickok, she was a fifteen-year-old girl with a fiery temper.

Violence and tragedy turn young Jane’s world upside down and soon she finds herself riding with an alien gunslinger—the Green Man—through a landscape of revenge and betrayal.

Along the way, she learns how to shoot a six-gun and how to stand on her own, even when surrounded by Lakota warriors, and be respected. From space ships to guns that can shoot the wings off a butterfly a mile away, young Jane realizes that the universe is far bigger than the Wild West and that she can trust no one in it to save her but herself.

When the villainous Grays meddling in the wars between the Indians and the government stand in the way of the Green Man making his way home, Jane finds her desire for revenge may be less than her loyalty for the longrider. And in that realization, she becomes the hero the Wild West has long remembered.

So, forget what you know of how the West was won.  Forget the Indian Wars and Custer’s Last Stand.  Instead, learn the truth of what happened when a young girl met a longrider she called the Green Man . . .

3 Stars

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Everland by Wendy Spinale {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

Everland by Wendy Spinale is a Peter Pan retelling set in a post-war England where London has been completely decimated and the kids remaining are barely surviving. I was drawn in by that gorgeous cover immediately and am happy that the steampunk wings show up right away. However, this seems like a retelling that is a bit too gimmicky for my taste.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Everland from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Everland by Wendy Spinale {Just Hatched}

Everland by Wendy Spinale
Published by Scholastic Press on May 10th, 2016
Genres: Alternative History, Steampunk
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders -- the German Army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a mysterious boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?

2 Stars

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The Peddler’s Road by Matthew Cody eARC {4 Stars}

The Peddler’s Road by Matthew Cody is a fantastic retelling of the story of the Pied Piper with cameos from several other fairytales and most importantly starring a sister and brother team where the brother has a physical disability and saves the day anyway. I was excited about The Peddler’s Road the moment I saw it because I was pumped about a middle grade fantasy that was retelling the Pied Piper story (since I like  dash of creepy!), but when I started reading, I realized that this story is so much more on top of that awesomeness. This is a book that I will actively put into the hands of young readers, especially young readers who have a disability and want to see themselves as the hero of a story.

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Peddler’s Road from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Peddler’s Road by Matthew Cody eARC {4 Stars}

The Peddler's Road by Matthew Cody (The Secrets of the Pied Piper #1)
Published by Knopf on Oct. 27th, 2015
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

It is said that in the thirteenth century, in a village called Hamelin, a piper lured all of the children away with his magical flute, and none of them were ever seen again.

Today tough, pink-haired Max and her little brother, Carter, are stuck in modern-day Hamelin with their father . . . until they are also led away by the Piper to a place called the Summer Isle. There they meet the original stolen children, who haven’t aged a day and who have formed their own village, vigilantly guarded from the many nightmarish beings that roam the land.

No one knows why the Piper stole them, but Max and Carter’s appearance may be the key to returning the lost children of Hamelin—and to going home themselves. But to discover the secrets of the Piper, Max and Carter will have to set out on a mysterious quest down the dangerous Peddler’s Road.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh Audiobook {3 Stars}

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights and the start to a new fantasy series. I listened to the audio version of The Wrath and the Dawn, which messed up my reading experience a bit I think, but it also turned out to be still not the right kind of romance to woo my cold cold heart ;-). Really, if the description of The Wrath and the Dawn appeals to you, you’ll probably love it. If not, then you’ll probably be like me and enjoy the lovely writing, but not fall madly in love with the story.

Note: I received an audio copy of The Wrath and the Dawn from the publisher. Listening to the audiobook greatly influences my reading experience.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh Audiobook {3 Stars}

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Narrated by Ariana Delawari
(The Wrath and the Dawn #1)
Published by GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on May 12th, 2015
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Page Length: 395 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris eARC {4 Stars}

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris is a retelling of the Norse myths from Loki’s perspective and it is just as funny and irreverent as you would expect! I was impressed with the balance of justifying Loki’s some rather questionable actions, telling the original tales, and having a whole lot of fun all at the same time. If you have even just a passing interest in Norse mythology but are on the Loki fan-club bandwagon, The Gospel of Loki isn’t to be missed!

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Gospel of Loki from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris eARC {4 Stars}

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
Published by Saga Press on May 5th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy
Page Length: 288 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods - retold from the point of view of the world's ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki's recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.

Loki, that’s me.

Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.

So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.

Now it’s my turn to take the stage.

With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.

From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Lion Heart by A. C. Gaughen ARC {4.5 Stars}

Lion Heart by A. C. Gaughen is the thrilling and heart-wrenching conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy, which tells the story of Robin Hood from a completely new perspective ;-). If you haven’t read Scarlet and Lady Thief, you definitely want to check out my reviews of them instead, but in short READ THIS SERIES OMG SO GOOD! :D For those of you who died with me at the end of Lady Thief, be assured that Lion Heart is everything you’ve been hoping for!

Note: I borrowed an advance copy of Lion Heart from a friend. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Lion Heart by A. C. Gaughen ARC {4.5 Stars}

Lion Heart by A. C. Gaughen (Scarlet #3)
Published by Bloomsbury on May 19th, 2015
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 348 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Fairest by Marissa Meyer {5 Stars}

Fairest by Marissa Meyer is the story of Queen Levana before the events of the Lunar Chronicles start up and wow is it twisted! I would definitely agree with the blurb’s label of Fairest as a “bridge book” instead of a novella since it is really a short novel that isn’t really all that optional to really appreciate what I think we’ll be reading about in Winter. That being said, you definitely want to read it in publication order, not chronological order since it can’t be appreciated fully until you’ve read Cress! I honestly tore through Fairest and am not normally an “in between” book reader so I can’t recommend enough that you pick it up to handle the wait until Winter ;-).

Fairest by Marissa Meyer {5 Stars}

Fairest by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
Published by Feiwel & Friends on Jan. 27th, 2015
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 222 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?


Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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