The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre

Title: The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Genre: Adventure, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, YA
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Note: This book is written as a stand-alone prequel to The Two Princesses of Bamarre. If you are new to the world of Bamarre, I suggest beginning with The Two Princesses of Bamarre, since it introduces us to some of the characters in this book. 

The Two Princesses of Bamarre was the second book I read by Gail Carson Levine, and it became an instant favorite. I was pretty excited when she wrote this prequel over a decade later. I had high hopes for this book – and it did not disappoint. It is also worth mentioning that this is a subtle (so subtle that I almost missed it) Rapunzel retelling.

Peregrine is born a Bamarre, the people hated and oppressed by the Lakti. Taken from her family as a baby, Perry is raised as an ideal Lakti: she runs the fastest, fights skillfully, and says it like she sees it – a trait noticed and admired by her best friend, Willem. Raised to see the Bamarre that live among the Lakti as inferior, she never gave them much thought. Until, of course, she learns that she herself is one of them.

Thrown amongst a people she does not know, Perry sees that the Bamarre are not weak and cowardly as she was taught to believe, but kind and brave. With the help of her newly discovered people, her family (including my favorite: little brother Drualt!), and her love, Willem, Peregrine becomes the reluctant hero who must deliver the Bamarre from the oppression of the Lakti before their entire civilization is slowly wiped out and forgotten.

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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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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

 
Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
Author: J.K. Rowling 
Genre: Fantasy, Screenplay, YA
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: November 18th, 2016

Note: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them can be read as a stand-alone book, as it takes place long before the events of Harry Potter with a completely different cast. However, you may enjoy it more if you have the groundwork laid by the Harry Potter series first. 

Like most Harry Potter fans, I was sad to see the series come to an end, both on page and on screen. I remember being so excited when this and Rowling’s other screenplay, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, were first released back in 2016. I liked seeing the classic series continue, in one way or another. The mistake I made was seeing the movie first, I think. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie – but I think I would have enjoyed reading the screenplay first, before seeing it brought to life on the big screen.

Newt Scamander is a British Magizoologist – a person who studies magical creatures –who has just arrived in New York City for work. What happens when his magical briefcase that holds a world of fantastic beasts is misplaced, and some of its contents are released? How does Newt keep his magical friends safe in such an unmagical place as New York City? And where does the muggle-hating Grindelwald fit in with all of it? Find out in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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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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Blog Tour for Happily!

Blog Tour Banner - Recommended for _Featured Image_

I’m very excited to share this week’s post with you! It’s not one of my usual book reviews. Instead, I will be participating in a blog tour for Happily, a book by one of my writing friends, Chauncey Rogers. Some of you might remember seeing my review of Happily back in February. In case you missed it, you can read it here.

I have the honor of wrapping up the blog tour today! In the blurb below, Chauncey talks about a fun song he would pick for an “Ending Credits Song,” for when the book will be adapted into a movie (as we all hope it will!). I hadn’t actually heard this song before now, but I love it. It’s a perfect fit, even if the shoe isn’t!

Happily Book Cover - Recommended
Thank you, Rosie, for letting me end my blog tour on your lovely blog!

I suspect that most people who write stories dream of the day that their story might be turned into a movie. I don’t know about other authors, but I particularly enjoy daydreaming about what song might be used for the “Ending Credits Song.” I’m not sure why that is. It might just be because some of my favorite songs have been used as ending credits songs, or because some of my favorite movies also have wonderful ending credits songs.

Whatever it is, it’s something I enjoy thinking about, whether or not the day ever comes.


As this is the end of the blog tour, I thought it might be appropriate to share an “Ending Credits Song” here, as well as to thank everyone who has participated.
Thank you, each and every one. This has been a great experience for me, and I hope it has been equally wonderful for the rest of you.

Now, as for the ending credits song, I will admit that I didn’t choose this song out personally. Instead, my mother happened to hear it being played while she was out shopping. She’d recently finished reading Happily, and felt that this song would make a wonderful ending credits song.

So, without further ado, I give you “I Believe in You” by Michael Bublé:

Thank you! And until next time, I wish you only the very best.

Chauncey Rogers

Chauncey Rogers - Optional


Happily
on GoodReads
Purchase Happily on Amazon!

Day 13 of 13 of Happily’s Release Blog Tour. See the full blog tour schedule here.

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As Old As Time

Title: As Old As Time: A Twisted Tale
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales, 3
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: September 6th, 2016

What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?

Similar to the Villains series I reviewed earlier this year, this series takes beloved stories from classic Disney movies and twists them into something new and unexpected. This book tells the story of Beauty and the Beast. As the tagline suggests, the twist of this tale is that Belle’s mother is the enchantress who curses the Beast in the beginning of the story.

As Old As Time follows the storyline of Beauty and the Beast pretty closely – up till Belle finds the enchanted rose in the West Wing. Upon finding this rose, Belle touches it and immediately learns the truth – the truth of who her mother was, and what happened to the Beast and his cursed household. Belle and the Beast must work together if they are to uncover the mystery surrounding the castle and break the enchantress’ curse.

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Once Upon A Dream

Title: Once Upon A Dream: A Twisted Tale
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales, 2
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: April 5th, 2016

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up?

Similar to the Villains series I reviewed earlier this year, this series takes beloved stories from classic Disney movies and twists them into something new and unexpected. This book tells the story of Aurora. As the tagline suggests, the twist of this tale is that true love’s kiss did not wake the sleeping beauty. Instead, she remains trapped inside her own dream world – along with her prince.

At first, Aurora has no idea that she is living in a dream world, but instead believes that her aunt Maleficent – now ruling as queen – saved the kingdom from the destruction caused by her careless parents. But when she accidentally stumbles upon Maleficent mid-spell to keep her spirit alive in Aurora’s dreams, she realizes the terrible truth. It is up to her to save herself from the sleeping curse, and she must find a way to do it before everyone runs out of time.

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A Whole New World


Title: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales, 1
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: September 1st, 2015

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?

This is the first of a new series I will be reviewing, Twisted Tales! Similar to the Villains series I reviewed earlier this year, this series takes beloved stories from classic Disney movies and, yes, twists them into something new and unexpected. This book tells the story of Aladdin. For the first 80 pages, you are reading the story you saw in the movie – up till the point of the lamp’s new master. In this version, Jafar – not Aladdin – becomes the master of the genie. And it’s as bad as you can imagine.

No help escaping the Cave of Wonders, no magic wish to transform into Prince Ali and win the heart of Princess Jasmine – not this time. Aladdin has to do it all without the help of the genie, but with the help of his friends, the Street Rats, and also Jasmine, the princess who is full of surprises. Together, they must take down Jafar and put an end to the terrors he has wrought as the Sultan of Agrabah – while there is still an Agrabah to save.

A Whole New World is one of the better retellings I have read, providing the reader with fun twists while keeping the integrity of the classic tale. This is a must-read for Disney fanatics like myself!

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Tower of Dawn

Title: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass series, book 6
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 5th, 2017

Note: This post reviews the sixth book of the Throne of Glass series. You may like to read the first five books in the series, Throne of Glass, Crown of MidnightHeir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and Empire of Storms before reading this review.

This sixth installment in the Throne of Glass series follows not Aelin, but Chaol Westfall in a journey of his own. After narrowly escaping with his life in the devastating finale of Empire of Storms, Chaol – no longer Captain of the Royal Guard but Hand to the newly crowned King Dorian – travels with Nesryn Faliq – newly appointed Captain of the Royal Guard – to the Southern Continent to the city of Antica, in hopes of gaining aid from the Great Khagan for the war in Erilea. But that is just part of their quest.

Chaol is hopeful of finding someone in the prestigious Torre Cesme who can heal the paralysis in his legs, a result of the wounds he suffered. But the most skilled healer, Yrene Towers, may prove difficult to convince. Having suffered at the hands of Adarlan, she wants nothing to do with this young Hand to the King, even though she has taken an oath to help those in need. Will Chaol find a way to help himself, and the people he cares for in Erilea?

This book was a bit slow for me, and I didn’t get sucked in the way I did with Aelin’s story.

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