Betrayed: Ruby’s Story Review (Destined #4)

Betrayed: Ruby's Story (Destined, #4)

The Destined series takes a turn from Ella’s family and friends and tells the story of Ruby, a local news reporter. She was determined to figure out who was dealing the drugs that were killing the people in her city one by one. Someone was choosing to prey on the poor and those who had lost everything in the plague by giving them a drug that would “take their problems away.” Ruby wanted to save those in her city, and to do so, she would have to travel outside of the city and do an interview with a member of the Wolf Clan, and finally figure out who has been bringing the drugs into the city.

This story started a bit slowly than the other books in this series, but it sped up around halfway through. Ruby spends the first part of the story lost in the woods as she tries to find her way to the Wolf Clan, and she meets a mysterious figure there who gives her help along her journey. This Wolf refuses to trust her, but he also won’t leave her outside the city limits to die on her own. Once Ruby reaches the city, she learned more and more about the Clan, the drug dealing, and the truth behind her city.

This was the only story in this series where I didn’t quite agree with the pairing. I did not think that the Wolf and Ruby were a good match for one another, even though it was painfully clear from the beginning of the story that they were supposed to be. I wanted Ruby to be with someone as passionate about their craft as she was passionate about her journalism, and although Wolf was passionate about his Clan, it did not seem equal. I just didn’t connect with Wolf much, but it could be just me!

Overall, this was unfortunately probably my least favorite book so far in the series, but that doesn’t mean much because I have given every other book a perfect rating! I still quite enjoyed this one, even if I didn’t love it as much as the others. I can’t wait to see how Ruby, this unique and ambitious character, will be included in the future books of this series.

I would recommend this book series to anyone looking for a unique fairy-tale retelling series full of action, adventure, and romance.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books.

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Hidden: Rapunzel’s Story Review (Destined #2)

Hidden: Rapunzel's Story (Destined, #2)

Zel is a mage with the Touch. If she touches someone, she can drain the life out of them. She has been under the control of an evil witch for years, and she can’t leave because the witch holds her True Name. Anything her mistress tells her to do, she has to do it. Every time she tries to escape she is caught and punished for it. When she isn’t trapped in her Tower, she is forced to murder people at her mistress’ demands.

When a man randomly climbs up to her tower, Zel knows she will be punished when he is found. But she just can’t force him to go away when he is willing to help her. No one has shown her kindness in years, but he wants to help her escape.

I have to be honest, I never felt much towards the Rapunzel story as a child. It was one of my least favorite tales, some girl up in a castle all her life and then BAM prince to take her away. I didn’t even like Tangled when it came out! But I definitely gained a fondness for the story after reading this retelling of the book.

Zel can take care of herself, and she would leave the castle if her mistress ever gave the chance. She has tried to escape multiple times, but she just can’t break free of her true name being used. The man who comes into her castle can help her create a plan to escape, but she still has to be the one to do it herself. She has to be able to build up the strength to fight back. She has to think of herself as worthy of being saved before she can save herself. Eventually, the man isn’t even helping her to escape much, but instead he is more like the princess in the castle, waiting for Zel to return from another one of her expeditions.

This book also explains a lot of the things that made Zel act the way she did in Fated. I never really understood why Zel was so scared of being caught at the bakery, but once you see her body count in Hidden, you know the danger. There are entire clans after Zel who would want to do to her family what she did to theirs, they do not care that Zel wasn’t even in control of her body as she killed people.

This book moved smoothly, and I was excited to keep reading as I was in the thick of it. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Zel next, and I finished both books 2 and 3 in the same day while commuting to work! This Destined series will draw you in and will not let you go until you hear the stories of all these girls.

I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a new fairytale retelling series.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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Fated: Cinderella’s Story Review (Destined #1)

Fated: Cinderella's Story (Destined, #1)

Ella is the only non-mage in her household. Her stepmother Zel has to stay hidden because she is a powerful mage. She was under the control of someone who held her True Name and was forced to kill many with her powers in the past, so she has many enemies. Now that Zel has two twin daughters who are also mages, she has to make sure that she and her girls stay hidden. If Zel is arrested, the family will be torn apart. So Ella does all in her power to keep the bakery running to support her family. She is also studying at the Royal Academy to try to get a better job to move her family out of the small apartment at the bakery. A mage named Weslan shows up at the bakery looking for protection, and his staying at the bakery threatens Ella’s family’s safety. When a bomb goes off during her final exam and she is hurt, her chance for graduation goes out the window. Ella has to pick up the pieces of her life and find a new way to protect her family.

I have run this blog for 3 years now, and I have read countless fairytales and fairytale retellings throughout my entire life. Something just always draws me to these stories of love and fantasy. I can say, hands down, that this is the best fairy tale retelling series I have ever read. At first I was thinking it would be second only to Court of Thorns and Roses, but the other books in this series continued the fairy tale retelling theme, and it quickly bumped its way up to first place for that category.

Ella isn’t your typical Cinderalla. Zel isn’t cruel to her. She isn’t forced to work for her stepsisters. She does all the work that she does simply because she loves her family and would do anything for them. She wants to get a job by graduating from the Royal Academy so that they can live more comfortably. She would work every day that she lived if it meant that they were safe, and she wouldn’t let anyone get in between her and her family. This is what made her so admirable to me. Family came first, in everything, and she was willing to work hard to keep them safe, even if it stressed her out.

I would also say that this fairy tale retelling deviates some from the original story, which I enjoyed a lot. There is an entire story about Mages versus those with no powers. Those who hold the True names of mages can force them to do their bidding, which means that the Mage population is greatly oppressed in this world. This story is woven delicately in and out of the original Cinderella tale, to make a unique and powerful one of its own. This is what made it my favorite fairytale retelling of all time, and that’s how this book dragged me out of my reading slump.

This story flows perfectly from scene to scene. I don’t believe that the POV ever shifted from Ella, but if it did, it wasn’t confusing in any way and fit right into the rest of the story. There were no dead points in the story or characters that I found to be irritating, so everything made for a very pleasant read.

I won’t spoil anything else as this book was a quick read for me and I don’t want to give any major plot points away. I would recommend this series to anyone who loves fantasy novels or who wants to read a fairytale retelling. This entire series is free through Kindle Unlimited, and book 6 is coming out this year, so I am extra excited to see what Kaylin Lee has in store!

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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Jaclyn and the Beanstalk Blog Tour Plus Review

Jaclyn and the BeanstalkSYNOPSIS

What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Jaclyn and Jack will have to work together to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.

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Jaclyn loves both of her parents, but she won’t tell them that she has dreams about monsters. These dreams attack her, cause her to see things that she never wanted to see and cause her immense pain. She doesn’t know why she has these dreams though and just asks her father to teach her how to fight in case something happens. Then, her father and his friends are taken by the monsters, and it is up to Jaclyn to save them.
Even though Jaclyn was sixteen years old, this book could still relate to younger YA readers. Some parts of the story were a bit suggestive, but other than that, she actually acted more 13 or 14 to me than 16. I especially thought this when she was so connected to her parents, and obeyed them in almost everything, even when she wanted to go out and see the world. This was a great fantasy novel, but I would recommend that if you read it, just age the character down a few years in certain scenes to make it more realistic.
I love how Jaclyn’s father never babied her for being a girl. He was willing to teach his only daughter how to fight, and Jaclyn is willing to learn. The only person who wasn’t completely on board with the plan was Jaclyn’s mother, but even she gave in eventually.
I also liked Jack and Jaclyn’s small romance in the story. It wasn’t the main focus of the story, but it was sweet, and I am a sucker for childhood friends-to-lovers books. This was definitely a good romance for Jaclyn’s type of character! Jack was just the right amount of assertive and caring, even though they hadn’t met for many years.
Overall, this book had great characters and a great plot, even though the plot felt a bit rushed. Jaclyn was a unique main character who had a healthy teenage romance, and I only wish to have been able to learn a bit more about her without flashing from scene to scene. This might have eliminated the small issue with her seeming a tad younger than her age in certain scenes. I can’t wait to read the next book in this retold fairy tales series!
I would recommend this book to lovers of YA fantasy novels.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 books
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Praise for JACLYN AND THE BEANSTALK

A mash-up of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Lord of the Rings” … RECOMMENDED ―School Library Journal

“Keenly descriptive and eloquently written with touches of sixteenth-century language, the story takes the reader into the world of monsters controlled by a diabolical villain, and into a land of mystery and magic beans.” ―Readers’ Favorite Review

Mary Ting managed to surprise me at every turn, even though I must have read this story a million times as a kid. The most impressive surprise was the creation of a girl protagonist who is so much better than the original Jack. Then she brings in the boy, Jack, as the love interest. Sheer genius and a great idea. The writing is great. The plot is good, and the various themes woven throughout the story make it a very compelling tale.” ―Readers’ Favorite Review

Mary Ting writes with an adventurous heart, a clever pen, introducing young readers to a classic that meets fantasy, shedding light on the family devotion and a love story that buds to completion by the end. This short novel comes as a highly recommended read for parents and young adults that prefer fantasy fiction with a Christian-based theme and a creative perspective. Mary Ting is one of those writers to notice and watch. ―Kingdom’s Review  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Tingis an international bestselling, award-winning author. She writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers around the world. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Being a huge Twilight fan, Mary was inspired to make book-themed jewelry and occasionally gives it away as prizes to her fans.

PHOTO CONTENT FROM MARY TING

WEBSITE: http://www.tangledtalesofting.com/
TWITTER: 
@MaryTing
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4388953.Mary_Ting
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryTing
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/authormaryting

 
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Dark Water ARC Review

Dark Water: A Little Mermaid Reverse Fairytale (Reverse Fairytales Book 4)I love J.A. Armitage’s fairy tale retellings, and this one was just as good as the others! It is in another world, so even though it says Book 4, it is really Book 1 of the new section. You can read this one without reading the others, but I suggest reading them all.

Princess Erica received a boat for her eighteenth birthday, and she decides to take a ride on it. Her mother doesn’t want her to, and her fears are confirmed as a storm pops up out of nowhere and wrecks the ship. She was saved by a strange man, but when she came to in the castle, no one remembered seeing him. Then, he shows up at her birthday ball, and her attraction to him is undeniable. Even though an engagement is sprung on her, and she is banned from going close to the sea where he is, she is determined to see him. Little does she know what world she is truly getting herself into.

Let me just say that Ari was such an amazing book boyfriend! I have loved many of the guys that have been in these reverse fairytale novels, but he is definitely my favorite.

Erica was definitely stubborn in this novel, which can be annoying for some characters, but it fit her in some ways. She was determined to be with Ari, no matter what it took. Even if it meant spending time with him on land, even when he couldn’t speak, she would do it. It was love at first sight for them, and they ran with it.

She did go through a lot of character development, especially with the engagement storyline. She doesn’t want to hurt her family or her best friend, but she can’t get her mind off of Ari. This is an interesting dynamic that is explored even more throughout the entire story. She learns more about her own past and learns about why her mom is so afraid of her being in the water. I won’t spoil too much, but the personal discoveries are some of the most important parts of this story.

The plot pace is always perfect in these reverse fairy tale retellings. It was suspenseful and did not drag, but I didn’t feel as if I was being dragged along for the entirety of the story.

I can’t wait for the next retelling that Armitage releases!

I would recommend this book to lovers of romance novels and fairy tale retellings!

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

Owl Eyes Review

Owl Eyes: A Fairy TaleNora is an orphaned servant who lives with her adoptive family in the kitchen house. Then, she discovers that her father has been living in the house with her the entire time, but when she asks about him, she is thrown in an ash-covered room. The only object she has from her mother is a silver-bladed knife, and she wants to know what really happened to her. After a royal ball is announced, Nora needs to decide whether to claim her birthright or stay with her family.

 

I have to admit, the first part of this novel was a little bit slow for me. It took a bit longer than I would have liked for things to get started, and I almost DNF’ed it. I thought that I would NEVER be able to connect to the characters. However, about halfway through the novel, everything changed. I was finally able to connect with the characters, and the storyline seemed to pick up. The closer the story gets the ball, the more things started to pick up. Overall, the pacing was off but then it fixed itself.

The world building left a bit to be desired, Some aspects of the novel were great, such as the description of the magic, while others just seemed to be left up to the imagination. For example, the ash room of punishment is never really explained. How does the ash even get into the room? I definitely wish that this had been expanded upon.

To me, this story ended a bit abruptly. I wish that there had either been a sequel to the novel, or a longer ending. The book was rather short overall, but there definitely could have been a bit more to the ending.

Other than these small gripes, the overall story was entertaining and enjoyable. Nora was a fun main character to read about, and the story wasn’t completely focused on romance. I definitely love dark fairytale retellings. I mean, the original Cinderella was pretty dark anyway, but this one was still darker so I liked it. One of my favorite characters was Jack, but I don’t want to spoil too much about him.

Overall, this story was a fun read, and I would definitely recommend it to lovers of dark fantasy/dark fairy-tale retellings. My only advice would be to just understand that even if the beginning is slow, it definitely picks up around halfway through.

Overall Rating: 3/5