BOOK REVIEW: Ogre Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine

Ogre Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #0.5)


Title: Ogre Enchanted

Author: Gail Carson Levine
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 16th, 2018

Ogre Enchanted is a prequel to Ella Enchanted, written two decades later. Lucinda the fairy, in her terrible judgement (as always), turns Evie, a young healer, into an ogre after turning down a marriage proposal from her best friend, Wormy. Evie only has 62 days to accept a marriage proposal and undo Lucinda’s curse – but will someone fall in love with her in ogre form?

Join Evie as she embarks on a quest to save herself from a terrible fate, experiencing friendship, heartache, and self-discovery along the way. Journey back into this beloved world created by Gail Carson Levine that has all the magic and charm of Ella Enchanted.

I enjoyed this new book by Gail Carson Levine, though I found the beginning to be a little on the slow side. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the rest of her books!

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Voyager

Title: Voyager
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time-Travel
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: August 7th, 2001 

  “‘Do ye not understand?’ he said, in near desperation.
‘I would lay the world at your feet, Claire – and I have nothing to give ye!’

He honestly thought it mattered.”
– Diana Gabaldon, Voyager

Note: This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers.

Additional note: This post reviews the third book of the Outlander series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, Outlander and A Dragonfly in Amber, before reading this review.

It’s been two decades since Claire Randall/Fraser said goodbye to Jamie Fraser, two decades of raising their child, Brianna, back in Claire’s own time period, two decades believing Jamie to have perished at the famous Battle of Culloden in 18th century Scotland.

But when her years’ worth of research leads her to the realization that Jamie did in fact survive the horrific battle, Claire knows she must at least try to find him again. She now has to say goodbye to her adult daughter to find the only man she has ever really loved.

This book gives a beautiful example of timeless love as Claire and Jamie are finally  reunited after 20 years. They risk everything for yet another chance to be together, including their lives as they voyage halfway across the world on a quest to save their family. Romance, adventure, peril – Voyager has it all!

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Redeeming Love

Title: Redeeming Love
Author: Francine Rivers
Genre: Christian, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Multnomah
Release Date: 1997

Note: I am straying from my typical Young Adult book reviews to review this book. This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers. 

Angel has only ever seen men as heartless and cruel. Sold into prostitution at a heartbreakingly young age, she has known intense betrayal and cruelty; used and abused countless times, she has long given up all hope in men. Which is why Michael Hosea rocks her world when he enters her life.

Michael believes that Angel, a high-priced prostitute in Pair-a-Dice, is the woman God has called him to marry. Confused, but obedient, he eventually convinces Angel to leave behind the only life she has ever known and be his wife. He offers her more than she bargained for: a home, security, and love. Instead of accepting Michael’s – and God’s – love, Angel is terrified of it, terrified that this sort of love would be her undoing. So she runs back to her old life, the life that feels safe, but is really dangerous and deceptive.

In this compelling story inspired by the book of Hosea, we see Michael demonstrate a love for Angel that is too powerful to outrun. She is forced to face her dark past and accept love for the first time, ultimately, the love of a God who never stops pursuing the lost and redeeming the broken – no matter how lost or broken they are.

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Red Queen: a series review

 


Series: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Books: Red Queen, Glass Sword, King’s Cage, War Storm
Novellas: Queen Song, Steel Scars
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Overall series rating:

For a review of each of these books, follow these links:

Red Queen
Glass Sword
King’s Cage
War Storm
Cruel Crown

WARNING: mild spoilers. 

When I first started this series back in 2015, I thought I had found a new favorite. I LOVED the first book, and I had high hopes for the rest of the series. Unfortunately, the first book was the only one to get my 5-rose rating.

So what happened to cause a rating of 5 to drop to a rating of 3 for the other three books and two novellas?

Not much. That’s what happened.

The second book had so much of the same thing: the finding, recruiting, and training of newbloods.

Book three had so much of the same thing: Mare and Maven and their twisted relationship.

Book four had so much of the same thing: everyone talking about taking Maven down.

Other things happened, definitely. And there were some good parts that I really enjoyed. But this series dragged on and on and on. The story probably could have been told in half as many words, and been better for it. I had such a hard time remembering what was happening, who some people even were, and why I liked the series to begin with.

Believe me when I say that I wanted to love this series – instead, I lost all interest in it after the first book.

What do you think? Have you read the Red Queen series? I’d love to know what you thought of it!

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War Storm

Title: War Storm
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen, 4/4
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 15th, 2018

Note: This post reviews the fourth and final book of the Red Queen series. You may like to read the first three books in the series, Red Queen, Glass Sword, and King’s Cage, before reading this review. 

Mild spoilers.

The ending of the third book of the series, King’s Cage, left us just as brokenhearted as Mare Barrow. When Cal ultimately chooses his crown over the girl he loves, Mare (and the Scarlet Guard) must continue to fight for what they have all been working toward – taking Maven down. And the only way to take down the prince who nearly broke her is to side with the prince who broke her heart.

But this rebellion is bigger than just a messed up love triangle, and always has been. The future of Norta, and the kingdoms surrounding it, is at stake. Will the Reds rise together as the dawn and defeat the Silver oppression once and for all, or will they be so defeated that they will never rise again?

Believe me when I say that I wanted to love this series – instead, I lost all interest in it after the first book. There were some good parts to this book that I really enjoyed. But the series overall dragged on and on. I had a hard time remembering what was happening, who some people were, and why I liked the series to begin with.

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A Court of Frost and Starlight

Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses series, a novella
Genre: Fantasy, NA, Romance, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: May 1st, 2018

Note: This post reviews a novella of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. You may like to read the first three books in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin 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. 

Let me begin by saying that I really do like this series. But this novella was disappointing.

What bothered me about A Court of Frost and Starlight was the utter lack of plot.

I’m serious. Nothing. Happened. When I think back to this book, I remember the characters planning a party, shopping for gifts, exchanging gifts, having conversations, and – oh yeah, it’s Maas – having sex. I do not think this makes for a good book, not even a good novella. There was no tension, no suspense, no plot.

The one thing this book had going for it was – the best part of this series! – the characters. I love Feyre, Rhys, Cassian, Nesta, and the rest – but… having great characters who simply interact with each other on the page, no matter how much we love them, is not enough.

Having said this, if you plan to continue with the series, you should probably not skip this novella. It sets the reader up – barely – for what is to come, mostly concerning Nesta. The last ten pages of the book – the sneak peak of what is to come – offered more to the reader than the 250-page novella.

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Dragonfly in Amber


Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time-Travel
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Release Date: July 1st, 1992 

“It’s me that has the easy part now. For if ye feel for me as I do for you –
then I’m asking you to tear out your heart and live without it.”
Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber

Note: This is one of the few times I am straying from my typical Young Adult book reviews to review this book, and the rest of the series. This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers. 

Additional note: This post reviews the second book of the Outlander series. You may like to read the first book in the series, Outlander, before reading this review.

I love what the author, Diana Gabaldon, has to say about this book: “It doesn’t start where you think it’s going to. And it doesn’t end how you think it’s going to, either. Just keep reading; it’ll be fine.”

Imagine my surprise when I began reading book two only to realize that 20 years have gone by since the happenings in Outlander, and Claire Randall is back in the 20th century with her grownup daughter, Brianna. (No spoiler here, I just hadn’t read the back cover teaser!) Thankfully for us as the readers, Claire takes us back in time, where we left off at the end of Outlander. In an attempt to end the Jacobite uprising that will inevitably end in absolute defeat, Claire and Jamie travel to Paris, to face Bonny Prince Charles himself. They do their best to socialize in the French court, filled with intrigue. But will their efforts be enough to save the Highlanders from the decimation that awaits them if Charles Stuart continues his course of action? Can Claire and Jamie actually make a difference… and change the history Claire knows?

I really enjoyed this book! Not quite as much as I enjoyed Outlander, but I still loved it because of awesome characters like Claire and Jamie.

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