The Noble Servant


Title: The Noble Servant

Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Thornbeck / A Medieval Fairy Tale series, book 3
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 9th, 2017

Note: Even though The Noble Servant is the third in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other two books in the series, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (book 1) and The Beautiful Pretender (book 2). However, the characters that are in this book are featured in rest of the series, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Goose Girl.

Barony of Mallin, 1365.

Lady Magdalen is summoned to Wolfberg Castle after being informed that the Duke wishes to marry her. Two years have passed since Magdalen and Steffan have spoken, and even then, they had only spent a few hours together at a dance. It seems too good to be true for him to be requesting her hand now, after hearing nothing for so long.

During the two-day journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen is betrayed by her own servant and her father. They force her to switch places with the servant, believing their treachery will go unnoticed since Magdalen and the Duke have not seen each other in years. But they have a surprise waiting for them at the castle – the Duke has secrets of his own.

Magdalen goes along with the guise, hoping to keep those she cares about from harm. As she works as a goose girl, she befriends a shepherd, who is strangely familiar. Together, they risk everything as they begin a plan of their own to save Wolfberg and themselves from the devious plot from within the castle.

I liked getting to see Magdalen have a story all her own, after meeting her as Avelina’s friend in the last book. However, it sort of dragged on. And on. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, as I do all of Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings, but the middle of the book was a lot of talking, and not much actually happening. Things picked up toward the end, but it wasn’t as action-packed as some of her other books that I can’t put down!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

The Beautiful Pretender

Title: The Beautiful Pretender
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Thornbeck / A Medieval Fairy Tale series, book 2
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 17th, 2016

Note: Even though The Beautiful Pretender is the second in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other two books in the series, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (book 1) and The Noble Servant (book 3). However, the characters that are in this book are featured in rest of the series, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling in which Princess and the Pea meets Beauty and the Beast.

Germany, 1363

Dorothea is one of ten ladies invited to the home of the margrave of Thornbeck for a two-week stay, after which he will choose a suitable bride. During the two weeks, the margrave secretly tests the women, hoping to find one whose character matches her beauty and status. He cannot help but be drawn to Dorothea, even though she does everything in her power to remain unnoticed.

But everything is not as it seems. Dorothea is not who she claims to be, and she knows that it is impossible for her to end up with the margrave, despite the connection they have. She is not actually a lady, but a servant, Avelina, posing as her lady under the orders of the earl she serves. Her situation worsens when she realizes a plot is underway to remove the margrave – the man she has come to love – from his position. It may be up to her to set all things right in the end.

I loved how this book told the story of the margrave we met in The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest. (Odette and Jorgen also make a few appearances!) Dickerson has a theme of overlapping characters and their stories, and this book is no exception. If you are a fan of fairytale retellings, I definitely recommend giving this book a try!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest


Title: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Thornbeck / A Medieval Fairy Tale series, book 1
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 12th, 2015

Note: Even though The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest is the first in a series, it can also be read as a stand-alone story, as with the next two books in the series, The Beautiful Pretender and The Noble Servant. However, the characters that are introduced in this book are featured in rest of the series, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Swan Lake.

Germany, 1363

Odette is a respectable young maiden by day, and a stealthy poacher by night. She knows that it is wrong to hunt in the margrave’s forest, but she only does it to feed the poor of the village, especially the children that she teaches to read. Her life gets even more complicated when she begins to develop a relationship with Jorgen – the margrave’s forester. It is his duty to catch this poacher and turn them over to the margrave. Little does he know that the poacher is the very same woman that he is beginning to fall for.

But Rutger, Odette’s protective uncle and guardian, thinks that the margrave’s forester is too far beneath Odette to even consider as a suitor. Instead, he pushes her towards Mathis, a rival to Jorgen who is better off. Odette doesn’t want to disappoint her uncle, but she also doesn’t want to attach herself to someone she doesn’t love. But what kind of future could she possibly have with the man who is hunting her for her crimes?

This first book of the Thornbeck / A Medieval Fairy Tale series became an instant favorite of Dickerson’s retellings. It was not hard to fall in love with Odette – a strong and fearless heroine – and her romance with Jorgen. The story felt fresh and unique, as Swan Lake retellings are not the most common. It is a light, easy read that takes you back in time. You won’t want to miss the next fairy tale retellings in this series, and in the Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

A Court of Wings and Ruin


Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses series, book 3
Genre: Fantasy, NA, Romance, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s 
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Note: This post reviews the third book of the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury, before reading this review. 

Additional Note: I would like to emphasize that this series is written more toward the New Adult genre than the Young Adult genre. Because the NA genre focuses on protagonists in the 18-30 age range, the content, especially the sexual content and the language, is much more mature than the average YA novel. 

Feyre is back in the hands of Tamlin, after an encounter with the King of Hybern that went horribly wrong. Tamlin, in his rage and desperation, made a deal with the King in exchange for Feyre, as if she were a possession he was trying to get back. What Tamlin didn’t know was that Nesta and Elain, Feyre’s sisters, would be dragged into it. During the encounter, the cauldron is brought forth and, to Feyre’s horror, used on her own sisters. They are Made, as she was, Fae. In the end, Feyre willingly agrees to go with Tamlin and Rhysand leaves with Nesta and Elain, both playing a part. (This is where book two left us.)

While Feyre is back in the Spring Court with Tamlin, she plays the part of the submissive female at Tamlin’s side, all the while working as a spy. She does everything she can to bring him down, including turning his own people against him. She cannot stomach how he stooped so low as to work with the King of Hybern, and then used her family. Any trace of the love they shared in the first book is long gone.

Thankfully, Feyre does not have to spend much time deceiving Tamlin, and is back at the Night Court with Rhys before long. Much of the book is spent in preparation for war – Hybern is coming to Prythian. Feyre continues to train with Cassian, and to learn to fly with Azriel, but her sisters refuse to join in. They hate what has been done to them, hate that they are now Fae. We see more of them in this book than the other two, and we also see the budding romance develop between Cassian and Nesta (in between their verbal sparring) and the could-be romance between Elain and Lucien (her mate). As we reach the end of book, the Archeron sisters become more important than ever in the war against Hybern.

Let me say again how much I love this series as a whole! (I did give it 5 roses, after all.) But even with such a high rating, there are a just a few things I want to mention to really give it an honest review:

  1. WHY IS THIS NOT A TRILOGY?! Sorry, but why is this not a trilogy? I think it is absolutely perfect the way it is. There are no loose ends, everything has been wrapped up beautifully, and the ending is so satisfying. So again, why is there another book coming in 2018? Not everything has to be a long series, and I for one think Maas wrote a very strong trilogy. I don’t even know what the next book will be about, unless it focuses on different characters. The story of Feyre and Rhysand has already been wrapped up so…?
  2. The love scenes. Does anyone else feel that if you have read one of the love scenes in this series, you have read them all? Seriously. As intense as they are, Maas definitely has her favorite words that she likes to go back to when she writes a descriptive love scene. If you can’t find different ways to express what the characters are feeling and experiencing, then it does start to feel like I have read it before. (And let me say that I absolutely love Feyre and Rhysand and their relationship, which I believe is healthy and full of mutual respect and focused on empowering the other person.)
  3. The ellipses. Maybe I’m getting too picky now, but… what is up with all the ellipses? I just randomly opened to a page in the book and I counted… five of them. I get that Maas is trying to make the writing conversational… so that it is like we see into the mind of Feyre… but don’t they start to lose their punch when you use them so… regularly? They should be used… more sparingly, in my opinion. Otherwise, they become… tiresome.
  4. The fragmented sentence structure. Again, this probably ties into the conversational way of writing, meant for us to feel close to Feyre. Like we are reading her thoughts. As if we were experiencing what she is experiencing. I have had to reread sentences several times because I don’t understand what she is trying to say. Before I realize that it is a fragmented sentence. I think incomplete sentences are fine sprinkled here and there, but Maas does it all the time. And when it becomes distracting to the reader, it slows the story down.

Sorry if I am being too harsh, but these were some things I kept thinking about as I was reading the series. My opinions may be unpopular, but I’m trying to give it a real review. Still, my rating of 5 roses stands, because these books really have become a new favorite! Sarah J. Maas is a captivating writer and I look forward to reading any other book she ever writes.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

Friday Favorites: May

Happy first Friday of the month!

In honor of this week’s book release, A Court of Wings and Ruin (the third installment of A Court of Thorns and Roses series), I have found some fantastic scents to help you set the perfect reading mood as you continue to journey with Feyre.

Check out these 6 oz soy candles (from Etsy shop NovelScentsCo):

Night Court candle

Day Court candle

Dawn Court candle

Winter Court candle

Autumn Court candle

Summer Court candle

Spring Court candle

Now brace yourselves, High Ladies…

Thanks to Etsy shop BookishBalms, you no longer have to imagine what Rhysand’s lips taste like. (There you go, you’re welcome.)

Rhysand lip balm

And last but not least, A Court of Thorns and Roses coloring book, to keep you from going crazy while you wait for the next installment in the series (coming 2018).

Hope you enjoyed my Friday Favorites post for the month of May! Look for the next one on June 2nd.

For A Court of Thorns and Roses series, click on the links below:

  

A Court of Mist and Fury


Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses series, book 2
Genre: Fantasy, NA, Romance, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Note: This post reviews the second book of the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series. You may like to read the first book in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, before reading this review. 

Additional Note: I would like to emphasize that this series is written more toward the New Adult genre than the Young Adult genre. Because the NA genre focuses on protagonists in the 18-30 age range, the content, especially the sexual content and the language, is much more mature than the average YA novel. 

Feyre is not the same girl we met in A Court of Thorns and Roses. She committed unspeakable horrors when she went Under the Mountain to save Tamlin. And even though she was able to free Tamlin – and all other faeries – from Amarantha’s curse, something in Feyre broke. She is unhappy with her life at the Spring Court, and cannot forget what she has done. It doesn’t help that Tamlin, afraid of losing her again, practically keeps her under lock and key. He does so out of love and an overwhelming need to protect, but ultimately drives her away – to the last place, and person, she thought she would find refuge.

Her agreement to spend a week of every month with Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court, turns into so much more than their original bargain. Instead of the selfish, arrogant monster that she had always thought him to be, Feyre finds a selfless, kind High Lord who will do anything to keep his court – and the one woman he can’t live without – safe. But his idea of protection is different than Tamlin’s: while the High Lord of the Spring Court protects through fear and control, the High Lord of the Night Court protects through trust and selfless love. And with the impending attack from the King of Hybern across the sea, all seven courts have reason to be protective of what is theirs.

Feyre, no longer a weak mortal, but a Made fae, comes into her own in this book. She is no one’s pet, and no one is her master. She finds her strength in equality – she is no less than even her High Lord. Because she was Made from the powers of all seven High Lords, she possesses some of each of their individual powers, making her, perhaps, the most powerful Fae of them all.

I surprised myself by giving this book such a high rating, because it took me a very long time to accept what was happening. I could sense the new direction of this sequel, and I didn’t want to like where it led, probably because I loved the first book so much. But as more and more is revealed in the second book, it became impossible not to approve of the shift in Feyre’s emotions and beliefs. We see an even truer love story in the second book than we did in the first, and it satisfies the reader in every possible way.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series: