BOOK REVIEW: Bright Burns the Night, by Sara B. Larson

Title: Bright Burns the Night
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Dark Breaks the Dawn duology, 2/2
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 29th, 2018

A Swan Lake retelling.

Note: This post reviews the second book of the Dark Breaks the Dawn duology. You may like to read the first book review in the series, Dark Breaks the Dawnbefore reading this review.

It has been ten years since King Lorcan of Dorjhalon trapped Queen Evelayn of Eadrolan in her swan form. Year after year, Lorcan shifts Evelayn back into her human form and offers her the chance to stay human if she will marry him, and year after year she refuses. But with the unbalance of power between the Dark Kingdom and the Light, Evelayn must put aside her prejudices and partner with the man who seemingly destroyed her life.

As Evelayn and Lorcan fight to restore the balance of power to Lachalonia, she learns truths about the past that change her views on almost everything. She finds friendship, love even, in the enemy she used to hate, while seeing others she trusted explicitly for who they really are. But can Evelayn and Lorcan remain on the same side long enough to save both kingdoms from an ancient threat?

I enjoyed this second book of the duology even more than the first! It’s rare that a series gets better, especially with the second book, but Sara B. Larson succeeded in Bright Burns the Night.

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BOOK REVIEW: Dark Breaks the Dawn, by Sara B. Larson

Title: Dark Breaks the Dawn
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Dark Breaks the Dawn duology, 1/2
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 30th, 2017

A Swan Lake origin story.

Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, has come into her full powers after turning eighteen. The timing could not be better, as her kingdom is at war with the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon. With her mother fighting the war at the front lines, Evelayn trains daily and learns how to use her new power. Lord Tanvir helps her train, earning her trust, and eventually her affection.

King Bain of Dorjhalon schemes to take control over both kingdoms, Light and Dark. Responsibility falls on Evelayn to fight the dark king and his sons, Lorcan and Lothar. The fate of her kingdom rests on her shoulders. With the help and support of trusted friends, she faces the dark kingdom. But not everything – or everyone – is as it seems, and Evelayn must face the consequences of her decisions, affecting not only her kingdom, but her very humanity.

It’s not very often that I come across a YA fantasy written as a duology (which just so happens to be my WIP). In addition to that connection, I have not only performed in the ballet Swan Lake, but have assisted in Swan Lake choreography at the Colorado Ballet Society. I’ve read Sara B. Larson’s trilogy Defy and loved it! I enjoyed her duology, but not quite as much as her trilogy.

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Poor Unfortunate Soul

 

Title: Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch 
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 3/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: July 26th, 2016

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows Ursula, while the book cover itself shows her as Vanessa. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me.

Additional note: This post reviews the third book of the Villains series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, Fairest of All and The Beast Within, before reading this book. However, these books can be read as stand-alone stories. 

Maybe I just haven’t been looking hard enough, but it seems like good retellings of The Little Mermaid are hard to come by. I was pleasantly surprised by this story in the Villains series. This Little Mermaid retelling invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of the Sea Witch and understand her motives a little better. Like the Evil Queen in the first book of this series, you may not like her any more than you did before, but you may never be able to look at her in quite the same way again.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale villain retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider following Reads & Roses. It would mean the world to have you on my team!

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The Beast Within

 

Title: The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince 
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 2/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: July 22nd, 2014

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows the Beast, while the book cover itself shows him as the selfish prince. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me. 

Additional note: This post reviews the second book of the Villains series. You may like to read the first book in the series, Fairest of All, before reading this book. However, these books can be read as stand-alone stories. 

With all the Beauty and the Beast retellings out there (and there have been a lot), I can confidently state that I haven’t come across one quite like this. The reason being? This one is all about the Beast. This Beauty and the Beast retelling invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of Beauty’s Prince. What was Prince Adam, and the servants of his household, really like before the curse? Brace yourself for a twist on this beloved fairytale that is nothing like the classic. As long as you can accept that – and the fact that Adam and Gaston are friends in this version – this book might win you over.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider following Reads & Roses. It would mean the world to have you on my team!

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Fairest of All

 

Title: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 1/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: August 18th, 2009

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows the Evil Queen, while the book cover itself shows her as the evil hag. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me. 

How did the Evil Queen become the Evil Queen? What did the King see in her that Snow White did not? Was he merely fooled by her fair face? Did she always hate the young princess and wish her dead? Or is there more to this classic tale we all thought we knew so well? This Snow White retelling invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of the Wicked Queen. You may not like her any more than you did before, but you may never be able to look at her in quite the same way again.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale villain retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider following Reads & Roses. It would mean the world to have you on my team!

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Crimson Bound

Title: Crimson Bound
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe 2/2

Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 5th, 2015

Since she was fifteen, Rachelle was marked as one of the bloodbound – tied to the forest and the evil that infests it – and forced to live in servitude for the past three years. But even though she has been turned into a monster, she wants nothing more than to destroy the Devourer – a legend, supposedly – and prevent an eternal darkness from settling over her world for the rest of time.

Rachelle finds an unlikely ally in the prince of her realm, Armand – the last person she ever thought would help her. Together, they seek a lost sword that might be the only thing with the power to defeat the Devourer and save their world. But defeating the evil of the forest means making one sacrifice after another – sacrifices of both the heart and the flesh.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider following Reads & Roses. It would mean the world to have you on my team!

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Hello, 2018!

Happy New Year, everyone! I’m sorry I didn’t make my weekly post on Monday (and I haven’t missed a Monday since I started about 16 months ago!), but at least I am posting this week. I was partying too hard welcoming in the new year. (And when I say “partying” I mean “Disneying!”)

As we all turn our attention on the new year, I wanted to share with you some of the books that I am anxiously awaiting to hit the shelves this year. Here are my top YA books for 2018!

A Court of Frost and Starlight, book 4 of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series – May 2018

War Storm, book 4 of the Red Queen series – May 2018

The Orphan’s Wish, book 8 of Hagenheim series – June 2018

Throne of Glass book 7 (Untitled) – Fall 2018

Are any of these books on your To Read list too?

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