Retellings

Mini Reviews #20

Hello readers, and welcome to Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don’t write full length reviews for. This installment, let’s chat about: One for All, The Bombay Prince and Crown of Cinders.…

My Imaginary Mary – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

My Imaginary Mary brings us the authors’ unique take on the life of Mary Shelley. The daughter of the brilliant Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary, a writer herself, is just waiting for the right story so that she can live up to her mother’s work, not to mention, impress the handsome poet, Percy Shelley. Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron, is a mechanical genius, but no matter how amazing her work, there seem to be men who will take over and claim it as their own. When Mary and Ada meet, they learn that they are fae, and possess the magical ability to create anything with the power of imagination. Excited to try their new abilities, the duo set out to make an machine that can function autonomously, improving upon Ada’s PAN, or Practical Automaton Number One. But things go awry, and instead of an independently thinking machine, the girls now have a living, breathing and entirely alive PAN on their hands – and an unscrupulous scientist who will stop at nothing to figure out their secret. They must now work together to keep PAN safe as they figure out the magical world they’ve been introduced to and their fae abilities.…

Elektra – Jennifer Saint

Elektra tells the story of three women whose fates are impacted by the Trojan War: Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon and Helen’s sister, Cassandra, princess of Troy who has the ability to see the future but is cursed by Apollo so that no one will ever believe her, and Elektra, Clytemnestra’s daughter and the youngest princess of Mycenae, who blinded by love for her father, never sees her mother’s side of things as she swears to make things right in the House of Atreus, which is said to have a bloodline curse upon it.…

Before Takeoff – Adi Alsaid – TBR And Beyond Tours

James and Michelle meet at the Atlanta airport while on a layover. With flights delayed all around, they decide to explore and find a strange flashing green light which turns out to be a button. Michelle presses it and while there is no effect that they can see immediately, they soon realize that the Atlanta airport has more or less been turned upside down. There are jungles growing in one terminal, snow and rain in another, and worst of all, no way to get out of the insanity that the airport is turning into. James and Michelle team up to locate their families who have mysteriously vanished in the havoc and find a way to stop the chaos. …

Wrath Goddess Sing – Maya Deane – ARC Review

Achilles has been hiding on Skyros among the kallai, living as a woman ever since she fled her cruel Myrmidon clan. When war is declared against the Hittites and Odysseus arrives to recruit ‘Prince’ Achilles, she chooses to die rather than be forced back to a life she doesn’t want, to fight as a man, but Athena, her divine mother, intervenes and grants her the woman’s body she has always wanted. And so Achilles goes to war. But as she becomes ever more entangled in the battles, she learns that it is the hand of the bloodthirsty gods behind it all. Their power fuelled by human sacrifices from wars over centuries, they have woven terrible schemes to make things fall into place and grow stronger. The cruel immortal sorceress Helen is at the center of it all and marks Achilles as a worthy foe, aiming to destroy everyone she holds dear in pursuit of a final battle with her. The war will not end until one of them is dead, and Achilles must be careful who she chooses to trust.…

Rivals – Katharine McGee – ARC Review

Beatrice has now fully stepped into her role as queen, but her next challenge is already around the corner. The League of Kings, a conference in which royalty from around the world participate, is approaching, and Beatrice is to host this time. Sam, as the ‘spare’, is now her sister’s heir, is struggling with her new situation even as her relationship with Marshall grows more serious. Once rivals in pursuit of Prince Jefferson, things take a surprising turn when Nina and Daphne find themselves on the same side as a greater threat appears in the form of Lady Gabriella Madison, and they must find a way to work together to take her down.…

Sense and Second Degree Murder – Tirzah Price – TBR And Beyond Tours

When private investigator Mr Dashwood is found dead in his study one morning by his daughter, Elinor, it signals the onset of dire circumstances for the family. The three daughters and their mother are quickly forced out of their house by their half brother and his greedy wife as an outdated will leaves them with nothing to their name. But before they leave, Marianne, who has always aspired to follow in her father’s footsteps, discovers something that could point to foul play involved in Mr Dashwood’s death. The sisters are determined to get to the bottom of things, especially as family members could be involved, but soon find themselves tangled in a web of secrets and lies that somehow seem to be wrapped up with their father’s last case, which might not have been quite resolved as he thought it was.…

Daughters of a Dead Empire – Carolyn Tara O’Neil

The year is 1918 and in the midst of the Russian Revolution, Anna’s family has been massacred by the Bolsheviks. The sole survivor, she flees, knowing that she will be hunted as soon as it is discovered that she is still alive, and meets Evgenia, a peasant girl, whom she pays with one of the jewels she has hidden away to take her south where she hopes to find safety with the White Army. Evgenia is a communist herself, and suspicious of Anna, but is in desperate need of money for a doctor and accepts the offer. But Anna’s pursuers are not far behind, and no matter where Evgenia’s loyalties lie, she too is being hunted now and they will have to learn to trust each other to survive.…

The Excalibur Curse – Kiersten White

Camelot is safe behind the magical barrier Guinevere has created, but only as long as Lancelot stays inside it. Now a captive of her enemies, and with Arthur lured far away by false information, Guinevere is more determined than ever to find some answers about her past. She teams up with Morgana and Mordred and the truth she discovers leaves her with a terrible decision – to right a heinous wrong that could mean destroying herself, or prevent the brewing war and stop the Dark Queen’s plans.…

Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tan – ARC Review

Xingyin has grown up on the moon and her life has been idyllic, if solitary, with only her mother and a trusted attendant for company, unknowing that her mother, the moon goddess Chang’e has been exiled by the Celestial Emperor for stealing the elixir of immortality and she herself has been hidden away from the Emperor’s wrath. When her presence is accidentally revealed, Xingyin flees her home, leaving everything she has ever known behind and finds herself in the Celestial Kingdom, alone and friendless in an unknown place. Through a happy turn of events, she wins an opportunity to learn alongside Liwei, the emperor’s son, eventually rising to become a skilled archer in the army. Never losing sight of her ultimate goal to free her mother, Xingyin embarks upon a journey with many dangerous quests to gain the Celestial Emperor’s favour and break the enchantment.…

The Winter Charlatan – Victoria McCombs – TBR And Beyond Tours | Blogmas 2021: Day 11

Rowan is the true heir to the throne of Elenvers, but she has a curse that will see her sleep for a hundred years when she turns 18. Fearing the instability her curse could plunge the kingdom into, the king and queen traded away their own daughter to a family friend, taking in return their son, Cassian, who has been raised as the crown prince. Rowan has grown up hating Cassian, and continuously searches for a way to break her curse, determined to one day reclaim her rightful place. But when the neighboring kingdom of ThornHigh threatens to invade, Rowan will have to work with the imposter on her throne to save Elenvers with only a matter of months before the curse is due to strike.…

Our Violent Ends – Chloe Gong – ARC Review

After the events at the hospital, though Juliette managed to cover up the truth of what had been going on between her and Roma, her position as heir is very much at risk, as one false move will mean Tyler taking over. Having Roma hate her for supposedly killing Marshall is an acceptable cost to keep him safe. Roma is determined to kill Juliette to avenge Marshall, but there is another danger emerging in the city. The threat of the monster still lingers even as the situation in the city grows more tense by the day. Between the gangsters, Communists and Nationalists, Shanghai is about to descend into revolution, and in the midst of it all, Roma and Juliette must join hands once more, putting aside their differences to protect their city and people.…

Skin of the Sea – Natasha Bowen – ARC Review

Simidele is one of the Mami Wata, mermaids tasked with collecting the souls of people who die at sea and brings them to Yemoja to be blessed for their journey onwards. However, Simi has been a mermaid for only a few months and flashes of memories from her human life still haunt her, making her unable to fully embrace this new life. When she one day comes across a living boy thrown overboard, she intervenes and saves his life, breaking an ancient rule. Now Yemoja and the other Mami Wata are in danger because of her actions and the only way to make things right is to seek forgiveness from the Supreme Creator Oludumare. Simi and Kola, the boy she rescued, set out on the long journey, but more is at stake than they realize and there is something out there that is determined to make sure she does not succeed.…

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong

The city of Shanghai in 1926 is split by a generations old blood feud between the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers. Juliette Cai returns to the city after several years abroad in America to assume her place as the heir to the Scarlet Gang, but the city is not as she remembers it. When a mysterious and deadly illness breaks out in the city, felling gangsters on both sides, rumors of monsters and plagues begin to spread. With the situation growing more dire by the day, and the growing threat of colonialism, Juliette has no choice but to team up with Roma Montagov, the rival heir to the White Flowers, whom she once loved and was betrayed by, in order to find and defeat this monster before the entire city is torn apart by the mounting chaos in the streets.…

Mini Reviews #16

Hello readers, and welcome to another round of Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don’t write full length reviews for. It’s been a while since I did one of these posts! This installment, let’s chat about: Ravage the Dark, Heartstopper: Volume Three, Hot British Boyfriend.…

Daughter of Sparta – Claire M. Andrews

Daphne has trained all her life to be a warrior, hoping to one day be accepted by the people of Sparta who look upon her as an outsider. When Daphne’s brother runs afoul of the goddess Artemis, the only way she can save him is to undertake a quest to retrieve nine powerful items that have been stolen from Mount Olympus. If she cannot find and return them in time, not only will she lose her brother, but the power of the gods will fade, throwing the mortal world into chaos. Accompanied by Artemis’ twin, the handsome Apollo as her guide, Daphne sets out on a journey that will take her across Greece and put her warrior skills to the test.…

My Contrary Mary – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows – ARC Review

Mary is the Queen of Scotland and has been betrothed to Francis, the Dauphin of France since childhood. It’s finally time for their wedding, which isn’t so bad since they’ve become very good friends over the years. Mary has gone so far as to even confide her greatest secret to him – she is an Eðian who can turn into a mouse, a secret that could mean her death if revealed, since France is a kingdom of Verities. When the king meets a suspicious end just days later, Mary and Francis are brought to the throne far sooner than either of them expected and they find themselves at the center of a conspiracy. The situation back home in Scotland isn’t much better either with the people protesting against the rule of a Verity queen. With even her own family and close confidants scheming against her, Mary must figure out the truth of the situation before it is too late.…

Of Princes and Promises – Sandhya Menon – ARC Review

A new term is beginning at St Rosetta’s Academy and Caterina is determined to prove that she is still the best, even after her breakup with Alaric. To prove to her social circles that she has definitely moved on, she comes up with a plan. Rahul Chopra hasn’t been able to forget his dance with Caterina at the winter formal, and is convinced it meant something more, so he readily agrees to Caterina’s idea for him to be her date at several social events. Several etiquette lessons, a makeover, and a mysterious pot of magical hair gel later, the socially awkward Rahul transforms into the charming RC. The plans goes off without a hitch and soon Caterina and RC are becoming quite popular on the social scene. But with each time that Rahul uses the hair gel to become RC, the more he loses himself to the cooler version, starting to hate his original self, believing that Caterina could only ever like someone like RC. But does he really need to change himself to win Caterina over or will she come to like Rahul for himself?…

A Vow So Bold and Deadly – Brigid Kemmerer

With the revelation that Grey is the true heir, Emberfall is splitting into factions even as the end of Grey’s two month ultimatum draws closer. Meanwhile in Syhl Shallow, Lia Mara is now the queen, but after a reign so ruthless as Karis Luran’s, Lia Mara’s gentler approach is less than effective, particularly as the people are not pleased to see her with a magesmith by her side. But now that the enchantress Lilith is back, they all face a bigger challenge, and though Rhen and Grey stand on opposite sides of the brewing war, the only way to defeat her once and for all is to work together.…

woods of silver and light

Woods of Silver and Light – Victoria McCombs – TBR And Beyond Tours

A few months after the events of The Storyteller’s Daughter, Cosette’s sister Anika has travelled to Wateredge Manor and is trying to adjust to her new life as a noble. It is far less of an adventure than she anticipated however, and navigating society as a lady with a title comes with many rules, but she attempts to use her new privilege to help the tenants on her land work through the aftermath of the war. When Anika witnesses a gang of thieves known as the Silver Raiders steal from another noble, she becomes curious about these bandits who steal from the rich and give to the poor. Upon learning that they are camped in the Woods of Silver and Light, the magical forest that borders her lands, she sets out to confront them and meets with their leader Ronin. While she sympathizes with their intentions, she still dislikes their methods, but Anika is increasingly drawn to the Woods even as she begins to realize that the magic that lives there is more dangerous than it seems.…

Poisoned – Jennifer Donnelly

Sophie, princess of the Greenlands, is thought to be too kind-hearted and unfit to rule, so her stepmother the queen orders her huntsman to kill Sophie. Despite the huntsman carving out her heart, Sophie is rescued by seven strangers who make her a new clockwork heart. But this is neither a perfect solution nor a permanent one. This new heart feels too much and makes it hard for her to control her emotions, and worse, like any clockwork device, it’s winding down. Sophie must now find the courage to not only make the dangerous journey to reclaim both her heart and her throne, but darker forces are at play and determined to make sure she does not succeed.…

City of the Plague God – Sarwat Chadda – ARC Review

Sikander Aziz’s normal life is turned upside down when one night, as he is working late at his family’s deli, he is attacked by demons who believe he holds the secret to immortality. He is saved by the unexpected appearance of a ninja – who he later finds out is his classmate, Belet, the adopted daughter of the goddess Ishtar – but the deli, his family’s livelihood is completely destroyed. Things only get worse as Nergal, the god who commands the demons, starts a disease in Manhattan – and the first to be affected are Sik’s own parents. Now Sik and Belet must go on a quest to find the Flower of Immortality before all of Manhattan is wiped out by the plague.…

The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh – Molly Greeley – ARC Review

Prescribed laudanum as an infant to calm her, Anne de Bourgh has grown accustomed and addicted to it over the years, turning into a weak and sickly young woman. Throughout her life, it has always been understood that she would marry her cousin Darcy, but when that doesn’t happen, Anne finds herself the mistress of a fortune and estate she has never been taught how to manage. Slowly, she begins to see that her sickly nature might actually be one caused by the laudanum and in a moment of clarity, she flees to her cousin Fitzwilliam in London, determined to discard the medicine forever and find out who she might be without it.…

The Camelot Betrayal – Kiersten White – ARC Review

Guinevere has accepted her role as Arthur’s queen and to protect Camelot, but she is still restless. The Dark Queen has risen and is no doubt biding her time to strike. Guinevere still struggles to belong, even as she continues to wonder about her past, but danger may have already arrived in Camelot, as magic is not the only threat. Not only is Mordred still at large, the real Guinevere’s younger sister arrives unexpectedly for a visit. Can Guinevere maintain the deception or will she be exposed as an imposter?…

Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston – ARC Review

The third installment in the Once Upon A Con series brings us a geekish retelling of Beauty and the Beast following Vance Reigns, who plays the villainous General Sond in the Starfield movie, and small town girl Rosie Thorn, a high school senior and Starfield fan who is trying to work her way through the aftermath of her mother’s death. Vance has been basically Hollywood royalty since birth, but that also comes with a lot of scrutiny, and he isn’t exactly the golden boy, so when his latest misadventure hits the tabloids, he is shipped off to a small town in North Caroline where the director of Starfield has a secluded house to lay low until things settle down. When Vance and Rosie’s paths cross, resulting in a priceless book being damaged, Rosie agrees to work in the house’s library to pay off the debt. They take an instant dislike to each other, and things only get more complicated when they realize that they’ve met before while cosplaying at the last ExcelsiCon and have been thinking about it since.…

The Court of Miracles – Kester Grant

Il était une fois…in a world where the French revolution failed and the instigators were made a harsh example of, Paris is now split between the royalty, who are more ruthless than ever and the nine criminal underworld guilds who form the Court of Miracles which runs on its own law. Éponine ‘Nina’ Thenardier joins the Guild of Thieves to escape her violent father and eventually becomes the Black Cat, one of the most skilled thieves in the guild. When her adopted younger sister Cosette catches the eye of the Tiger, the lord of the Guild of Flesh, Nina is determined to do whatever it takes to protect her, refusing to lose her to the cruel lord as she did her sister Azelma years ago. But the laws of the Court of Miracles are strict, and Nina’s actions and thirst for revenge could set off a war between the guilds as they bring face to face not only with the various Masters, but also revolutionaries and Royalty.…

My Calamity Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

The third installment in this unique series brings us the story of Calamity Jane. Wild Bill’s Wild West is a show that travels around putting on exhibitions of sharpshooting. This is however a cover for the group of garou (that is, werewolf) hunters tracking down the leader of the Pack, only known as the Alpha who has been running wild biting and turning humans. Jane, along with Wild Bill Hickok and his son Frank arrive in Mississippi following a lead and after a hunt goes awry, Jane finds out that she has been bitten. When she hears rumours of a cure for garou, she takes off immediately for Deadwood, but things aren’t what they seem and the rest of the crew are in hot pursuit as she is running straight into even bigger trouble.…

The Traitor Prince – C. J. Redwine

Javan Najafai, Crown Prince of Akram, has finally completed his studies at an elite boarding school and is eager to return home to his father. But there is a deadly plot afoot, and after barely escaping an assassination attempt, he makes his way to Akram only to find that an imposter has taken his place. Having not seen Javan in the last ten years, no one is ready to believe that he is the true prince, and he is thrown into the dangerous prison of Maqbara. There is only one way to get out and reveal the truth to his ailing father – to fight in the prison’s yearly tournament which involves some of the deadliest creatures in the world. Sajda, a slave of the warden, agrees to help him gain the skills he needs to win, but she has secrets of her own, but she has secrets of her own, and Javan will need to find trustworthy friends and allies to make it to the end.…

The Wish Granter – C. J. Redwine

The second book in the Ravenspire series brings us to the kingdom of Sundraille where the King’s illegitimate twins, Thad and Ari Glavan, have just had their lives changed in the blink of an eye. One moment, they were being pursued by the queen’s hunters who had already killed their mother, and the next, the royal family has mysteriously died, leaving Thad to take the throne. Ari soon begins to suspect that these events weren’t mere coincidence, and finds out that Thad has made a bargain with the Wish Granter Alistair Teague for her safety. But every wish comes with a price, and it is Sundraille’s people that are paying it as Teague’s criminal empire terrorizes them. Ari is determined to outwit him and recruits the weapons master Sebastian to train her even as she works to find Teague’s weakness before she loses not only her brother and Sebastian, but also her own soul.…

The Shadow Queen – C. J. Redwine

This retelling of Snow White begins with a prologue narrating how the evil Queen Irina took over Ravenspire and how the Crown Princess Lorelai and her younger brother became fugitives in their own kingdom. Years later, Lorelai is training in secret, honing her magic and skills as she plots to take back her throne, avenge her father and put an end to the suffering of her people. Meanwhile in the neighbouring kingdom of Eldr, second-born Prince Kol finds himself ascending to the throne he never wanted after his family is killed during an ogre invasion. These are magical ogres however, and only magic can destroy them, so he sets out to seek aid from the only known Mardushka, Irina, Queen of Ravenspire. The Queen offers him a deal – in return for her aid, Kol must bring her Princess Lorelai’s heart.…

Mini Reviews #11

Hello readers! It’s time for another round of Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don’t write full length reviews for. This installment, let’s chat about: The Kingdom of Back, Girls With Sharp Sticks, Sword in the Stars and Aru Shah & the Tree of Wishes.…

Mini Reviews #10

Hello readers! It’s time for another round of Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don’t write full length reviews for. This installment, let’s chat about: The Shadows Between Us, Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta and The Warrior Queen.…

Mini Reviews #9

Hello readers! It’s time for another round of Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don’t write full length reviews for. This installment, let’s chat about three books: We Unleash the Merciless Storm, Blood Countess, and Scavenge the Stars.…

House of Salt and Sorrows – Erin A. Craig

Annaleigh Thaumas lives at Highmoor, with her father, stepmother and eleven sisters. But lately the family is rumoured to be cursed, as one after another, four of the sisters have died in mysterious and tragic accidents. But Annaleigh is certain something else is going on, and that the latest death, Eulalie’s, was in fact a murder. Equally mysterious is a secret door that the sisters find on the estate, that leads them to anywhere they desire, and the girls begin to sneak out, night after night, attending grand balls like they’ve always wanted to. But is everything really as it appears or is something more sinister lurking under the surface?…

Dark and Deepest Red – Anna Marie McLemore – ARC Review

In this retelling of The Red Shoes, a dancing fever strikes Strasbourg in the year 1518, and amidst accusation of witchcraft, the blame turns to the most easy targets – Lavinia and her aunt who are Romani in hiding. Five hundred years later, the fever strikes again, and this time, the victim is Rosella Oliva, whose family is famous for the red shoes they make. But the shoes seem to be leading her straight to Emil, who, unknown to her, is related to Lavinia, and uncovering the truth of past events may be what decides if Rosella will survive the dancing curse.…

A Heart So Fierce And Broken – Brigid Kemmerer – ARC Review

Rhen’s curse is finally broken, but Emberfall isn’t out of trouble yet. Rumours of him not being the true heir continue to circulate and the people are discontent. Meanwhile, Grey has made it out of the modern world and back home, but is living in hiding, determined to keep the knowledge of his birth a secret. But when Karis Luran threatens to invade once again and his secret is revealed, the only way to save Emberfall might be to challenge Rhen after all.…

A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark And Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a darker twist on the tale. You know how the story goes, you know how it ends, but reading this feels like hearing it for the first time all over again – not an easy feat for such a classic fairytale. …

The Guinevere Deception – Kiersten White

Arthur is the newly made king of Camelot and magic is now forbidden in the kingdom to the extent that the magician Merlin too, has been banished. Princess Guinevere arrives in Camelot to wed the King, except, she isn’t Princess Guinevere at all, but a changeling, Merlin’s daughter, sent to protect Arthur from his foes. Taking up the mantle of Camelot’s Queen, Guinevere must adjust to a new world of court politics as she tries to find the threats to Arthur, working to protect him in the only way she knows how – forbidden magic.…

Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly

Stepsister begins with the ending of the original Grimm brothers’ version Cinderella, immediately creating that delightful dark fairytale vibe. Ella and the prince ride off to their happy ending, but this story is about her stepsisters Isabelle and Octavia who are now stuck in a town which hates them for their mistreatment of Ella.…

The Princess and the Fangirl – Ashley Poston

Around a year post-Geekerella, Starfield is a huge success, and a sequel is being planned. Actress Jessica Stone, who plays Princess Amara, is not too happy about this however. She hates Starfield and was rather pleased when her character died in the movie. Eager to avoid being typecast, Jess is ready to move on to more meaningful, Oscar-worthy, and especially, non geeky films, especially given the less than enthusiastic reception she has had from some parts of the fandom.…

Geekerella – Ashley Poston

Geekerella so accurately captures the essence of fandom in a tale that is truly heartwarming. Danielle Wittimer is an avid fan of the Starfield TV series, and is less than impressed when teen heartthrob and soap opera star Darien Freeman is cast for the lead role of Prince Carmindor in an upcoming movie adaptation.…

The Blood Spell – C. J. Redwine

Who doesn’t like a good Cinderella story? The fourth book in the Ravenspire series is set in the coastal kingdom of Balavata and focuses on Prince Kellan as he returns home from years of schooling and prepares to take up his royal responsibilities.…

Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh

Mariko is the sole survivor of an attack on her convoy taking her to the Imperial City to be married to the second son of the Emperor. Believing that her attackers are the Black Clan, she decides to find out why they attacked her and who paid them to do so by infiltrating the Black Clan disguised as a boy.…