Posts Tagged ‘Reviewer-Pruedence’

Barefoot On The Wind

Zoe Marriott
29235197There is a monster in the forest…
Everyone in Hana’s remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana’s father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it – or be killed herself. But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined, and the beast is not at all what she expects…

Before I begin to tell you my thoughts and feelings about this lovely book I have a big fat and horrible secret to admit to you all…. this is my first Zoe Marriott read.
Yes I know shock horror and I should probably be burned at the stake for this treachery and massive YA offence; but before you get your pitchforks let me tell you what I thought, and let me solemnly promise that I will be making amends to right this terrible wrong!

Barefoot on the Wind is a wonderful and clever retelling of one of the best (in my humble opinion) fairy tales: Beauty and the Beast.
As with many retellings Zoe Marriott put her own imprint on this story. The transposition and adaptation of the original story line to a Japanese environment, lay out and way of life was incredibly faithfully done. The village, the villagers, the rules and regulations of that period in time down to the Japanese denominations for each member of society and status were respected, making me feel like I’d actually stepped into a Japanese mountain village that was being plagued by a beast and I was about to witness the unfurling of this story.
I was all geared up with my cup of green tea to sit back and enjoy what I thought was merely a transcribed and slightly altered fairy tale to suit the new set up, when Zoe decided that actually she hadn’t quite finished with her adaptation.
It soon became clear that from the original tale, all that was taken were the bare bones, in a manner of speaking.
Now before I go any further I should tell you all that I am a massive fairy tale fan, and will happily read any retelling and any new story that comes my way, but what I came across here was pretty wonderful and a very original take on fairy tales with a pinch of modern thinking.
Although you will catch a glimpse of Belle in Hana-San’s kindness and love for her family, and you will perceive some of the Beast’s hard earned humility in Itsuki, these two sets of characters are as different as they are alike. Zoe Marriott’s Belle is a fighter, a hunter and does not fear the dangerous dark woods that have claimed many a life. She is proud and strong and although her hierarchical society does not approve, she holds her ground steadfast and fights for what she believes is right even if that means going into the beast’s lair alone. Zoe’s Beast, that Hana dubs Itsuki, is the gentlest creature you will ever meet. He cares for all those that are harmed regardless of by whom and why. He has a big heart and has worked hard to learn what patience, humility, true love and respect mean.
Although initially perplexed I soon came to love these two characters and how their interactions were so similar and yet so different from those that I have loved and grown up with.

As I mentioned before Zoe merely used the bare bones of the classic and then built her own story giving it flesh and thoughts to shape it differently and make us readers reflect.

As per all fairy tales there is a lesson to be learned, and whilst deconstructing and recreating her tale our lovely author did not forget this vital part. Whilst the Disney we all know and love focused on romance and the signature happily ever after, Zoe Marriott decided to centre her story around Hana-San, her journey to self discovery, forgiveness and its ripple effect on the surrounding characters and, indeed, the story. Although romance and love is undoubtedly a main thread to it, Zoe Marriott reminds us that the types of love that can change someone also include the love between a family, siblings and friends. She reminds us that love’s close counterpart and partner in crime is hate and the line between these two at times has been known to be thin, thin and full of its own emotions ranging from anger to sorrow.

You might ask be asking yourself what else is different aside from the characters, the set up, the nature of the beast, the strength of the belle and the society whose rules they live by?

Well I will let you figure that one out for yourself, but what I will tell you is that this is a very cleverly constructed Japanese fairy tale retelling, and that like Hana-San you will have to walk into the dark woods and tread lightly on the dark magic that has cursed more than just a man, and you will have to heed the advice of the trees and the wind that blows through them because a monster, a beast roams the woods but the two are not always one and the same and every individual is capable of monstrous things.

Barefoot on the Wind proved to be more than just a simple fairy tale with a different back drop. Zoe Marriott brought with it her own set of characters and morales to teach us. Despite the simplistic story, she managed to build into it new thoughts and feelings giving it a new dimension and complexity that I had not previously appreciated.

Verdict: I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this tale and will happily be getting lost in these dark woods again with Hana-San and Itsuki.

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: September 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 313
Genre: Retelling, Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Summer Days and Summer Nights Review

Stephanie Perkins (editor)
28817799This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. Includes: Leigh Bardugo, Nina LaCour, Libba Bray, Francesca Lia Block, Stephanie Perkins, Tim Federle, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Brandy Colbert, Cassandra Clare, Jennifer E Smith, Lev Grossman.


To be completely honest with you I picked up this Summer Days and Summer Nights for incredibly shallow bookish reasons at YAUK… the cover was simply gorgeous and velvety to touch, and it had an old fashioned material bookmark made into it! It looked like summer!! If summer teen romance was ever to take on a bookish form this would be it!

Naturally the lovely girls manning the stand did not have to work very hard to sell it to me, and got a lot of help from my dear friends Caz and Faye who happily thrust it into my hands and said “Get it, you’ll love it!” And right they were.

This is a collection of 12 stories by 12 different authors. In view of this I thought I would do something different and choose 3 words for each story that I felt best represented them.

1. Dark. Magic. Deep
2. Ending. Beginning. Love
3. Horror. Movie. Action
4. Hope. Choices. Words
5. Mountains. Rescue. Love
6. Love. End. Confidence
7. Memories. A chance. Healing
8. Love. Love. And thrice Love
9. Goodbye. Hello. Understanding
10. Magic. Darkness. Carnival
11. Special. Love. Different
12. Miracles. Time. Ready

Although I chose a variety of words the common underlying denominator has to be love in all its shapes, sizes and forms. Ranging from true love, loving and letting go, friendship and family this lovely easy summery breeze of a read covers it all. Being able to pick it up read a story and then put it down again made it feel like I had 12 books for the price of one and that every read was a new tale! I know that obviously it was, but it felt a lot better than having to always stop midway through a chapter and perhaps right on a cliff hanger! No cliffhangers here, only tales of romance in all of their colorful variety.

Each little story has its own set of morals to teach and impart. A few drew smiles and laughter, others drew a couple of happy tears and yet others made me appreciate a side of love I had not considered. Not all summer love is frivolous and superficial, some of it touches you forever and changes you for better.

I love how every author contributed to a different facet of what people know and think love to be. Some of these lovely authors I knew already and recognised their penmanship, others who I did know took me a little by surprise and I have to admit I was pleasantly impressed, others in turn were completely new to me but I will now be scouring the bookshelves for their work!

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Pan MacMilian
Publication Date: June 2016
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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Five Fabulous…Reasons to Read

fab-five-logo-e1397403514389Five Fabulous Books is an original feature here at Big Book Little Book. The aim of the feature is to showcase fabulous books and bookish things, with connecting themes, there by promoting reads we have enjoyed and sharing recommendations for similar books. We love to share contributions from fellow bibliophiles, bloggers, vloggers and twitter users. We love to hear from you too, so don’t forget to comment with your favourite themed books. You are very welcome to use the Five Fabulous feature on your own blog just be sure to link back to Big Book Little Book and leave your link in the comments below so we can check out your recommendations! Feel free to copy and paste our Fabulou5 graphic or create one of your own.

Reasons to read are fairly infinite, any book lover will tell you that! So being one of the latter category I have attempted to narrow it down to….well lets say five :p

To Learn
It’s the main and most commonly acknowledged reason to read. It’s probably a bit of a boring one too but to be honest it’s the truth. There is so much to be learnt and not just from textbooks and autobiographies. Even the most outlandishly impossible fantasies are initially constructed from our reality, and are designed by a mind who’s reality is very much our own so it stands to reason that something of our world will transpire and linger. And even if you don’t feel this is the case emotionally books can make you grow and learn volumes, no pun intended! For instance which of you who has read Pride and Prejudice can say they didn’t learn a thing or two about that point in time in history, and/or appreciated the subtle but strong characters and their speech which delivers strong sentiments shrouded in politeness but cutting nevertheless.

But we don’t have to look that far back in our literature history, Harry Potter has touched the lives of many young and old, and continues to do so. It has given some the courage to come out of their shell, it has brought people together, helped those who struggled to make friends, and it is an emotionally touching story.

To open your mind and stimulate your imagination
I think anyone who has even attempted to read (let alone actually finished it) The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter,His Dark Materials etc can appreciate that the minds that create these worlds are vastly imaginative and know no bounds. It stands to reason (and again has been scientifically proven) that the more you read the more your mind becomes inquisitive and starts to give shape to what you’re reading, and before you know it you’ll be imagining your own worlds and stories, and if we’re lucky you’ll write them down and share them with us. The mind is a muscle and as such needs exercise including the creative aspect of it. A famous Italian poet once said it is an endeavor to keep our inner child and imagination alive and through it our youth; and what better way to do it than by reading!

To de-stress/relax
Because sometimes there is nothing more relaxing that curling up on a sofa, with a giant mug of tea (yes even in the summer- it could be iced tea!) and disappearing into a good book, someone else’s life, a new adventure, a new world…

And just because I am a proud bookish geek through and through, it has been scientifically proven that us bookworms lead a more stress free life because we have found a healthy way of disconnecting the old noodle for a while and relaxing. It’s better than yoga!!!

Ok so these are the main “serious reasons” that a good normal sensible adult should say. And now for the real bookworm reasons!!!

To Escape
I have to admit there are infinite reasons why people read but this is the main reason I read. I love nothing better than to dive headfirst into a book, a life, a new quest, a new world and escape my own with all it’s troubles. Admittedly eventually I have to resurface (sadly) but escaping to a new place or even an old place that you are revisiting because you loved it so much the first 50 times you read it is one of the best feelings in the world. Time can speed up and slow down as you please, you can choose excitement, horror, romance or comedy or all of them at every turn of a page. You can identify with characters, make them your friends or enemies, change them in your mind, give them new adventures when the book is over if you’re not ready to let go yet. Your options are endless all you need to do is open the first page and tune the world out for a bit.
Best feeling ever.

It’s Fun
For all the afore mentioned reasons reading cannot be described as anything short of fun, exhilarating, exciting and basically AMAZING!!!

Ever tried reading the same book as a friend, starting it at the same time, in the same living room, on the same sofa? Our fearless leader, Caroline, and I have done it several times and it’s soooo much fun! The giggles, the gasps, the blushing and the inevitable shock horror look we gave each other as we both looked up at the same time is priceless and a wonderfully cherished memory. Try it!

I could go on and on and basically write you a whole dissertation on how books teach you so much and reading is an amazing thing, but you’re not reading this post so that I can put you to sleep (there’s another reason to read! Lol) so all I’ll say is that books are genuinely awesome, and if you don’t believe me get a good recommendation, turn the first page, open your mind and read…and then you will see.

Posted by Pruedence

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The Sleeping Prince

Melinda Salisbury
Sleeping PrinceReturn to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater’s Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more.
Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.
When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

Having read The Sin Eater’s Daughter I was quite eager to get my hands on Melinda Sailsbury’s sequel. What I did not expect was for it to match if not almost rival its predecessor. A rare occurrence in the world of sequels, where although good, a sequel does not usually quite compare to the initiating chapter of the story.

The world I’d previously encountered was already perilously fragile and hanging on by a diplomatic thread, surrounded by mystery and alive with the promise of rebellion and so much more. I didn’t think much else could be added to make it more enticing but naturally I was wrong.

Errin’s tale added alchemy, magic, and more impossible love. The stuff of fairy tales, if you will. But not the nice ones. The dark ones. Where the prince does not bring salvation but damnation, where courage springs from the most unlikely of sources, love grows even though it is forbidden, sacred vows are broken and we are once again reminded that history is written by the victorious and therefore not always a true recollection of that which has actually happened.

I devoured this book in less than 24hrs and am now wishing I hadn’t. Needless to say it all ended far too soon and am now left wanting more dark magic, more alchemy, and well just generally more!

Melinda’s narrative technique made me feel as though I’d been plunged into a world falling apart in every aspect, where kindness has long been forgotten and considered weakness but magic still happens and the power of plants and alchemists has not completely vanished. Although for all intents and purposes this YA has everything a fairytale requires, each member and each scene is overcast by shadows, darkness and the threat of impossible obstacles. And I loved it!

The unfurling darkness that surrounded the ever so feeble light at the end of the tunnel tantalised me all the way through this story, and now that I’ve finished it remains there taunting me to find out what happens next, and whether despite its distance will the light come back to this world and good overcome evil.

Each character had light and dark in him/her, and the returning characters were further enriched and had new depths added to them. Everything felt like a new story even though technically I was coming back to somewhere I had kind of already partially visited. The seamlessness with which one character’s tale finished, whilst a new one started, whilst equally carrying through an overall story, pulling on several threads and important chess pieces was wonderfully done, and I take my hat off to the author for it.

Melinda has undoubtedly done a fantastic job at creating something new whilst continuing this saga. I’m only sorry that I’ve turned the last of its dark pages. But the chance of a “happy ending” remains, and although I’m fairly certain it won’t be pink and fluffy I remain hopeful that a perhaps darkened pink but not quite shadowed final page awaits us all in the next book. And I cannot wait for it to come!

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book

The Sleeping Prince and it’s predecessor, The Sin Eaters Daughter, are available to buy now. Click here for a short cut to Amazon. Alternatively , learn more about The Sin Eaters Daughter series and its author by visiting Goodreads here

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BBLB’s Favourites Reads of 2015

A new year begins, which means by definition that another chapter is closed but not forgotten. In spirit of this here are but a few of the books that will be amongst the most memorable to me for 2015.

I’ll be honest and start with stating that to choose an overall favourite is absolutely positively impossible, so you’ll have to settle for one for each category and even that was a struggle!!! No true book lover can have only ONE favourite 😉

Contemporary
Do No Harm by Henry Marsh was my 2015 read contemporary favourite. I know it’s not YA or your average adult read but it was very interesting and thought provoking

Caroline: The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn– Slightly predictable but pee your pants funny!

Faye: Ways to see a ghost by Emily Diamond

Sci-fi
Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series continues to be one of the best sci-fi series I’ve read

Fantasy
I read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas over Christmas after a lot of badgering from our fearless leader Caroline, and the onslaught of messages I sent her after I finished are a mere small symbol of how great this story is. Cannot wait for its sequel!!!

Faye: A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E Schwab

Caroline: It’s a close contest between Uprooted by Naomi Novik and A Darker Shade of Magic.

Romance
The book that I have most simply adored and found unbelievably amazing (and that I have shoved in more people’s faces than I care to admit) has to be hands down Ensnared, the final installment in the fantastic trilogy of Splintered by A.G.Howard.

Caroline: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Faye: Christmas at Lilac Cottage by holly Martin

Daisy: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Diversity
Faye: Aristotle and Dante Discover the sec tests of the universe by Benjamin Alirez Saenz

Caroline: The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Daisy: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Dystopian
I would have to say that The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski takes this place. Anxiously awaiting the sequel, feels like a constant state of being with all these brilliant books!!

Crime/Thriller
Although Storm and Stone by Joss Stirling was not published in 2015, I unfortunately only managed to finally work through my forever ending TBR pile and get to it last year so am going to be a little sneaky and use it. Despite not portraying the usual cloak and dagger murder, there is a fair bit of crime, investigating and spying involved and for those of you who have read it I’m sure you’ll agree it more than qualifies for this category

Faye: How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

Action/Adventure

Faye: The Oatbreakers Shadow by Amy McCullough

Historical

Faye: Catching Falling Stars by Laren McCombie

UKYA author
It has to be The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, who I am very fortunate to have met just prior to reading her book *I know I know horror and shame*

Faye: The Sin Eaters Daughter by Mel Salisbury

Caroline: LOL its a full house! The Sin Eaters Daughter!

Debut Author

Daisy: It wasn’t released in 2015 but my favourite debut read this year has been Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Faye: The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Caroline: The Sin Eaters Daughter by Mel Salisbury

Middle Grade

Faye: Catch A Falling Star by Karen McCombie

Books for Younger children

Faye: Queen Sardine and Princess Persia by Kate Willis-Crowlwy

Caroline: You Can’t Take An Elephant On The Bus by Patricia Cleveland-Peck and David Tazzyman

Non 2015 read in 2015
Well I feel like I may have already qualified a few books for this category earlier :p buuuuuut seeing as they’ve already been used I’m going to take full advantage to mention yet another one of my many 2015 favourites. This one has to go to Neverland by Anna Katmore.

Faye:Trouble by Non Pratt

Caroline:I had a lot of catching up to do this year! My favourites were The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R Carey, The entire Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo and Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott.

Book in a Series

Faye:Scorch by Gina Damico

Daisy:Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Caroline:The Winners Crime by Marie Rutoski

2015 re-read

Probably one of the easiest choices I’ve had to make so far. Without a shadow of doubt this spot belongs to Easy by Tammara Webber. This has got to be one of the sweetest and loveliest comfort reads I’ve had the pleasure to come across in all my book worming years and cannot help but sneak back to it once in a while.

Caroline: 2015 was the year I introduced my eight year old to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling

Non fiction
This is going to seem a bit of a random choice but bear with me. This last, but not least, category must go to Bonsai Basics by Colin Lewis. I’m urged to pick this book mainly because I’ve had 2 bonsais thus far. The first one (Bing) died a very slow death by lack of watering and general attention. In my defense I had no idea what I was doing and was too busy trying to sort my life out to remember to prune the tiny tree. However I am very proud to say that his successor, known as Groot (some of you will get the reference) is extremely grateful to Colin Lewis as he is very much still alive, green and thriving after a full year of ownership!!! Go Bonsai Basics!!! lol

Daisy: The Amazing Boon is not on fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester

Caroline:The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the hormone of Calm, Love and Healing by Kerstin Uvnas Moberg

Faye: Colour Me Mindful

Most anticipated read of 2016

It HAS to be the sequel to Sarah J Maas’ A Court Of Thorn and Roses, A Court Of Mist and Fury.

Faye: Probably a toss up between Thicker than Water by Bridget Kemmerer, The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine and A gathering of shadows by V.E Schwab

Caroline: Gah its too hard to pick just one! Mine are all continuations of series I LOVE so, The Raven King by Maggie Stievater, the forth and final book in the Raven Boys series, A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab, book two in the A Darker Shade of Magic series and The Sleeping Prince, book two in the Sin Eaters Daughter Series by Melinda Sailsbury.

Daisy:hmmmmm I’m trying to get hold of 5th Wave (by Rick Yancey) to have a read of because the film’s out soon…

Posted by Pruedence

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TTT: Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, bloggers and bookworms to join in.

I hate to admit it but this Top Ten post was far too easy to complete. Sadly there are so many amazing books out there (both new and old series) that I just can’t keep up so unfortunately series like the ones below sometimes get left behind, but not forgotten. I still remember them well, and how they made me feel and regardless of how long it takes I will eventually finish them ☺

Fallen Series by Lauren Kate

I started this series when I was on holiday and got through the first 3 books quickly and swiftly. But as soon as my plane landed back home, I got sucked into so many new and shiny covers that I got totally sidetracked. But I have every intention to come back and finish this series as I enjoyed it waaaaay too much.

The White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter

I fell in love with this series straight away what with me having a huge soft spot for fairytales and all that is a little dark and dangerous. And then in my anxious wait for the sequel I got sidelined and eventually caught up in so many other things, but still something I am determined to come back to.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Yes I know I am severely sinning with this one but I solemnly swear I will finish it asap just please don’t throw digital rocks at me and don’t shoot an innocent book worm with eyes bigger than her reading stomach >_< Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks

I’d been itching to read this book and figured since the series was complete it would be nice to be able to start and finish a whole series without having to wait for the sequel to come out. Guess again!!! But will be returning to the depths and mystical blue sea of Anna Banks’ tales.

Inescapable by Amy Bartol

To say I love this series and it’s lovely lovely lovely author is to say not enough, and I have to admit I am incredibly ashamed that I have not managed to finish this particular one. I eagerly devoured all the published books one after the other and whilst I was waiting for the grand finale to become available the inevitable happened. The magpie book blogger’s attention got caught by another equally great read and that was it, totally distracted. I have promised Amy though more reviews and that I will be reading her new series so watch this space because I refuse to leave this one much longer on my kindle shelves!

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

What can I say. Yet another great story to which I desperately need to hear the ending of but somehow missed it. But not for long. I have not forgotten and determination remains to complete it.

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

I was totally grabbed by this series and its somewhat unorthodox characters and storyline. The strength of its themes and emotions hit me strongly so how I got distracted is a mystery to me, but like with so many others I simply need to know who the girl picks?! So I will definitely be reading this one to finally tie off that loose end and give my story an ending.

Under the Never Sky Series by Veronica Rossi

Loved it. Totally and utterly loved this one. I have no excuse. I am a terrible terrible person *bashes head against wall in self punishment*

Dark Heart by Lee Monroe

I stumbled across this series because every time I bought a new book amazon kept suggesting it to me. Having read the synopsis I thought it sounded pretty good and all the positive reviews tipped me over the edge. And in a moment of weakness I bought the whole trilogy. Did I finish it? Nope. But am I going to? Hell yes!!! It’s climbing fast my TBR pile!!!

The Winter Trilogy by Ruth Warburton

This trilogy I discovered because I happened to meet the author at a book signing, and after hearing her talk about her book so passionately I simply had to read it. I did, and I thought it was completely up my street and couldn’ wait for the sequel. Sadly the series was finished long before I realized that the second one had even been released so I have some serious catching up to do but will gladly do so 😀

Needless to say there are plenty more that I could list but think these are enough to make me severely guilty. So instead of prattling on any further, boring yet more and embarrassing myself furthermore I think I’ll go pick up one of these series and polish it off to ease my book heavy conscience!

Posted by Pruedence

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Pan’s Revenge

Anna Katmore

pan's revenge“Are you ready to be kissed?” he breathes against the corner of my mouth.
My knees start to tremble and there are butterflies in my belly now. Way too many. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”
“I think it’s the best idea I had in a long time.”
Desperate to leave Neverland and find his love in this notorious town called London, James Hook makes a grave mistake. He puts his own wishes above those of his half-brother and once-arch-enemy, Peter Pan.
The consequences alter Peter’s life in a way no one could have foreseen. The boy who wouldn’t grow up swears revenge, and what better way than by stealing Hook’s girl?
The first to arrive in London, Peter finds Angel once again without any memory of ever being in Neverland. That gives him time to plant the idea of a ruthless pirate captain in her mind—someone who tried to kill her once and is now on his way to kidnap her again. If only this stubborn girl would stop playing with Peter’s head. He’d completely forgotten how beautiful she was. Or is it only because he sees her through different eyes now?
Through a shower of falling stars, a loop around the moon, and then a hard left at the Clock Tower—when James Hook finally arrives in London, he has to fight with a vengeance for his love and face a boy who grew up after all…

*this is the review of a sequel so inadvertent spoilers may be present*

I delved into this sequel not long after reading Neverland as I had enjoyed it so much, and I have to say it did not disappoint!

Having never really come across a sequel to Peter Pan’s story except for what Disney presented to me as a child, and might I say it did not seem like a likely plot-line option, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The only thing I was certain of was that Peter Pan was going to become darker than before, Angelina had lost her memory and poor Captain James Hook was going to have to prove himself all over again after it had already taken him 300 odd pages the first time!

My hunch was correct and the book delivered more upon that.

The alternate point of views for each chapter once again gave the book a little more depth, and I was pleased to see that Peter Pan himself had a stronger voice this time. Seeing the story unfold from the supposed “good” and “evil” characters is always very interesting and makes for a good read but especially when the latter get a voice as it is so uncommon.

Needless to say romance was a strong theme as poor Jamie was left to prove his love again, restore lost memories and save Neverland. But equally a strong thread of family, trust, betrayal and forgiveness was laced through the book. Infact I would almost dare say that it was as important if not almost more so than the romantic theme, as a reminder that love is familial too and just as important. And although I am a declared sappy and romantic saddo through and through, I will happily admit that I was not at all disappointed or saddened by this. The equal sharing of this made the book that much more of an enjoyable and interesting read.

The pace was initially slow but picked up as the story unravelled and I flew from Neverland to London and back again. Anna Katmore threw several rather unpredictable twists in her plot and left me hanging on the edge off a cliff right until the very end.

Verdict: A sequel that lived up to it’s prequel’s set standards, and that proved to be not only a fun and romantic read, but one with a little more depth and emotion than I expected endearing itself to me that much more.

Reviewed by Prudence

Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: July 2014
Format: eBook
Pages: 346
Genre: Retelling, fantasy, romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Prudence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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TTT: Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, bloggers and bookworms to join in.

I’ve done one Top Ten Tuesdays and like to think I didn’t completely botch it so here’s my second attempt!
I tried to put on my mentor/teaching hat. When teaching my students (and I do genuinely have students) I aim to be honest, fun and enthusiastic. So with this post I’ve made a mixture of things that would be just for fun, thought provoking, educational and all 3 put together. Here’s hoping a disaster did not come of it!!

1 – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Yup I’m going old school!!! This amazing woman and her literary achievements need no introduction. The style of writing is one that is sadly being lost, especially now with increasing texting and shorthand with stuff such as OTT, TBH and (my personal favourite – not) OMG!!! Aside from the fact that the story itself is wonderful, full of characters that reflect a truthful representation of the time, and there are several themes aside from the most obvious romantic one; the choice of words and language is simply beautiful and something I would like more to appreciate. The woman uses no swear words and yet her tongue is sharper than any string of profanities, her wits are fast and cunning, ruled by a cool and pensive mind that thinks before acting something that too many of us have long forgotten by speaking before ensuring the brain and mouth are properly connected! I think a lot could be learned and it is a masterpiece that should not be forgotten.

2 – Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling

I believe this series equally needs no introductions. Who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter, and who wouldn’t happily write an essay on it dissecting any number of characters, themes or just let the imagination run wild!!!
I remember a school friend of mine, with whom I was not in class with sadly, who actually had Harry Potter on her syllabus and I was sooooo jealous!!!!
I would also like to point out that I could rather easily use each Harry Potter book to fill this Top Ten Tuesday post but I won’t. Just saying though :p

3 – Splintered series by A.G.Howard

Ok well it’s no secret that I love this series very much, all you need do is read my previous Top Ten (Tuesdays) Fairytale Retellings. And not just from an amazing plot line point of view. I think this series has a lot of potential from both a literary point of view as well as storyline. I cannot praise A.G.Howard’s genius, style of writing, narration technique enough and the effort that went into planning the words as well as the characters and their thoughts. This series would make a fantastic adventure for any class to dissect any which way they like from any point of view!

4 – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Yes my English teacher would be very proud of this choice of mine. This is a book that when I first bought it for my own syllabus at school I thought I was going to get bored stiff. And to be fair initially I did. This is a book that I never would have picked up of my own accord off of any shelf, in any bookstore. But my very own amazing English literature teacher made me appreciate it and the narrative depths and themes it reached in the creepy dystopian world not fair away from our own, created by Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale holds a special place on my syllabus and bookshelf, not only for the endless theme possibilities and narrative stances any reader can take, but because of what it represents to me. Being able to turn a book that I would have never picked for myself, into one that I thoroughly enjoyed analyzing and appreciating on a literary level, is a rare gift for most literature teachers, and I would hope that someday I can achieve this.

P.S. I now hold this book in high esteem and care for it a great deal. I highly recommend it for those who want more than just another dystopian novel with a good story, it’s for those of view who wish to read into every colour, every expression, every gesture all the possibilities of what Margaret Atwood was actually meaning and hinting at.

5 – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m taking another leaf out of my teacher’s classes (in case you hadn’t noticed, I loved reading and dissecting themes, narration styles and passage analysis from the word go lol). I picked this book for the simple reason that I thought the difference between it and it’s screen counterpart would be a good example of the variations between the two, and how little changes can drastically alter the bigger picture and significance to the story. Zombies who can fall in love raises a variety of themes ranging from religious, to social etc but throw in a few varying twists and well you have a whole new set of delivered meanings! I felt Isaac Marion was trying to give us more than just another zombie story. I think perhaps an underlying gentle reminder to enjoy life, and that love is what fills us and separates us from the insensitive cold empty corpses. But that’s just my opinion. Watch and read, and you may come up with a whole new theory of your own. Discuss…

pride and prejudiceharry potter 1splinteredthe handmaids talewarm bodies

6 – Do No Harm: stories of life, death and brain surgery by Henry Marsh

Ok I’ll be honest I haven’t read this book yet but it’s almost at the top of my TBR pile and fast climbing. I figured that aside from adventure, drama, period drama and paranormal I should have some in depth emotional reading going on. And I thought this would do the trick. Written by a brain surgeon and with each chapter a particular case that hit him strongly, made him stop and think, I thought this would be perfect. I’m a total sucker for Grey’s Anatomy so I was totally sold! I thought this would be the perfect read for some emotional searching and philosophical inner turmoil.

7 – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Eeeeeeer I have a confession to make about this one. I kept thinking about what I would want to be on my syllabus and this book kept popping back into my head no matter how many times I pushed it aside. I studied it myself right at the beginning of secondary school and I’m not entirely sure why but it struck a chord with me. Something about the particular dysfunctionality and polar opposite characters who somehow though manage to survive together and make it work got me hooked. I’ve done several passage analysis on this novel and there’s always something to be found hidden among the language styles, scenes, actions and choice of words. It’s hard to explain but I felt this book deserved a spot on my list. For those of you who have read it hopefully this will make more sense to you :p

8 – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I thought we were overdue for a not-so-serious choice lol!
I discovered stardust initially as a film and absolutely loved it!!! And when I then found out it was based on a book…. well the love just deepened.
Stardust is an amazing and thrilling story that has something in it for everyone. Some magic, some scary parts, adventure, pirates, fighting and romance. And if that none of that appeals to you, well then the chance to imagine and see Robert DeNiro in a pink tutu should be reason enough!!!
I loved this story in both forms and picked it because I thought every student reader could find something in it to fall in love with and relate to.

9 – The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

Well I figured we were due a little more darkness and horror. I’m trying to be sensible and keep romance, adventure and horror equally balanced here :p
The Picture of Dorian Grey is a very interesting tale and each reader will find his own interpretation of the curse, it’s purpose or lack of and indeed the mystery behind it all. This is a novel that has left authors and readers alike puzzled for a longtime and to be honest there is no right or wrong answer. One of the few lessons I truly learnt in literature is that no opinion or interpretation is incorrect or wrong so long as you can back it up.
So bring it on. What’s your interpretation of Dorian Grey and his creepy (I think we can all agree it is creepy) picture? Thoughts anyone? You there at the back speak up!

10 – Finding Sky by Joss Stirling

I thought I should finish on a high note and on something that I personally identify with, something that represents me. I have fallen for a lot of books and their tales (all of the above included in varying different ways) but this is one of my all time favourites that I simply cannot get away from. This story is basically me in a book essentially. It’s simple, sarcastic, short and sweet and with some magic.
I picked it as my final choice because I think it’s important that whilst you’re learning that you don’t forget who you are and what opinions are your own, ensuring that others do not rub off on you simply because you’ve heard it enough times. I would encourage all readers, students and learners to stick to their guns, thoughts and opinions.
Learning is serious, but it’s also about having fun and staying true to yourself.

do no harmof mice and menstardustpicture of dorian greyfinding sky

And on that note I wanted to add a little bonus. Being the amazingly cool teacher that everyone wants *cough cough modestly cough cough* I would let every pupil pick a book of their own choosing that they feel resonates the most with them, that they relate to or that they just simply enjoy time and time again. They can make this choice provided they can justify their reasoning and attempt to put into words what it is that keeps drawing them back for another read.
And with that….. Classed dismissed!!! :p

Posted by Prudence

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Ensnared

A.G.Howard

ensnaredAfter surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world–a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

As this is a review of a sequel it may contain spoilers

Before I type up my review of this amazing book (I wish there was a better word than amazing but I can’t find it right now) I need a moment to piece myself together because it was, as previously said, amazing and I need to do it justice, or atleast try to.

*zen position assumed to gather my thoughts that are still reeling from awesomeness*

Ok here goes.

Ensnared is, unfortunately, the final book of what has been a fantastic rollercoaster ride of a retelling of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and although I can by no means speak for Lewis Carroll I think I can safely say A.G.Howard has done an amazing job of taking his story and bringing it to a whole new level whilst staying true to the spirit of the world he’d created.
Once more I plunged into A.G.Howard’s novel except that this time my journey started in AnyElsewhere a world in equal parts dangerous, beautiful and crazy as Wonderland if not more, as this is the home of the rejects. And if wonderland didn’t want them, you can only imagine what they’re like!

Alyssa and her father are on a mission to save her mortal and netherling knights, and to end Red’s tyrannical existence that sows death, pain and destruction once and for all. But the tasks at hand are harder than what they appear. Morpheus is unchanged and eager to save his beloved Wonderland but Jeb is not. All two volumes worth of adventures, emotional blackmail, torture and near death experiences in this deliciously creepy world he cannot call his own have finally taken their toll. Both the knights of Alyssa’s heart demand her attention, undying devotion and love, and both stake a claim to her heart. And although Alyssa is desperately trying to give just that to both in fair and just fashion, Wonderland’s undoing by Red’s hand declares and demands her immediate attention as both a netherling queen and a human with a conscience and a sense of responsibility.

This tug of war triangle increases with emotional and physical strength throughout the book with rapid pace until it spirals out of control and the ultimate price is paid.

But dear readers do not forget the most important thing of all, this is a story taking place in a world where madness and genius are two blades of the same sword that can take life, as it can give it. You need only but let go of sense. Afterall to quote the brilliant mind behind this enticingly dark novel “netherling logic, and therefore the solution, resides in the hazy border between sense and nonsense”.

The final chapter in this deliciously dark and yet vividly coloured novel that dances on the fine line between insanity and reason, plays out on Alyssa’s heart. The heart of this book is hers and it is equally the battlefield where the final verdict for herself and wonderland will be decided. And although the common enemy is Red, the remaindering opposing sides are none other than Morpheus and Jeb. They will be Alyssa’s undoing and her salvation, for what can tear apart can equally reunite. Netherling logic is at work readers and only by walking this incredibly tortuous path, forsaking sanity and clarity will you truly understand the true beauty of this novel.

A.G.Howard’s narrative techniques and style of writing clearly showed her skill in not only creating a fantastic storyline but also utilizing language and themes that further enhanced and brought to life the world that she was creating, a skill unfortunately not many use. Creating the story is half the battle, but it takes a lot of talent and dedication to carefully pick words, language and metaphors that stick to the storyline, are faithful to each character whilst generating the feeling of a dark, dangerous world so vividly coloured that you’d want to step into despite everything you know.

This was a simply beautiful and amazing ending to a fantastic series that I will be sad to see end, but that I will not hesitate to revisit. I cannot help but feel that I have been infected with netherling logic where every “act of madness is driven by the voice of reason”. Afterall the two are so closely entwined they are virtually one and the same, it just depends which side you choose to look from.

Verdict: High praise to A.G.Howard from a humble book worm who is now a little insane, but then again all the best people are 😉

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Fairytale retelling, fantasy, romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Prudence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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TTT: Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read/Want To Read

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, bloggers and bookworms to join in.

So today is my turn to do a top ten list, and as soon as Caz mentioned fairy tales she had my total and undevided attention. I love books in general but I am a total sucker for fairy tales of any sort. Legends, myths, tales, stories you name it and tell it and I will be your happy listener.

Now I haven’t read all of these so this is a bit of a mixture but they are all on my kindle in the reading pile to either be relived and enjoyed once again, or to be taken on a new adventure. I should add that these are in no particular order except that which sprang to mind ☺

1 – Splintered Trilogy by A.G.Howard

To those of you who know me well this will come to no surprise as being my first choice. I positively loved this trilogy, all the way from the cover, through the story and colour of ink all the way to the credits. I cannot praise or recommend this series enough to all of you book and fairy tale lovers. I enjoyed the bizarness of Alice in Wonderland and always thought it a little quirky in a funny way but at the end of the day Alice woke up and it was all just a dream. But A.G.Howard catapulted me down a rabbit hole where bizarreness has taken on a dark, dangerous and intriguingly beautiful edge. Madness and genius are to sides of a sharp knife that plunges you into a colourful darkness you will not wish to emerge from. Just talking to you about it makes me want to re-read this series all over again! This is a very short summary of what is an amazing retelling with more twists than you would expect, and I would keep going on but time to move onto my next top ten, but you get my point. READ IT!!!!

2 – Adventures in Neverland by Anna Katmore

I recently came across this duology, I have read the first one and am currently reading it’s sequel. It was an interesting spin on Peter Pan’s story and origin where perhaps not all is as it’s seems. Maybe Peter isn’t actually a good natured and fun loving young boy, and maybe the enchanment stopping everyone from growing up is more like a curse, one that Angelina has every intention to break if she doesn’t want to forget her home, her family and all that she holds dear. But even that comes at a price. Anna Katmore has a simple and yet lovely style of writing that breezed me through the pirate sails, the mermaid lagoon and the lost boy’s tree all the way back home leaving me wanting another fly-by which is why I didn’t wait long to read Pan’s Revenge.

3 – Heartbound by P.I. Alltraine

Having read how much enjoyed Neverland our fearless blog leader, Caz, approached me Heartbound. The cover was rather insipiring and then having read the synopsis and realizing it was yet another different recollection and retelling of my new found friend Peter Pan, well I simply couldn’t say no! So watch this space to read my upcoming review but it’s sounding very promising, and heaven knows I’m going to need another fix of pixie dust when I finish Pan’s Revenge *smiles cheekily*

4 – Beastly by Alex Flinn

In my time prior to blogging I stumbled across this book when I was house bound with the good old flu. I researched amazon for a new read and every time I searched the recommendations from those who’d read my favourite books this one just kept popping up, so eventually I caved, used my mother’s card details very sneakily and bought the book. And very much fell in love with the modern time retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I will admit I missed Lumiere, Cogsworth and Miss Potts but Alex Flinn made up for it. I particularly enjoyed how she related the simple and yet important morale of the story to our times and our young society. Beauty is not skin deep and is in the eye of the beholder, not the media or fashion magazines. I’ve read this book countless times and watched the film a few times too. I am not too ashamed to admit that Alex Pettyfer made a rather nice Beast :p but the book is always the best 😉 I will also admit that after having read it I simply had to re-watch the Disney version because I am a saddo and love the music and the story I grew up with.

5 – Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

This was recommended to me by Caroline, as she knew my love for fairy tales with a different spin on them or perhaps just a slight alteration. And having just read Beastly it seemed like the perfect book to follow onto. This is a retelling of Little Red Riding hood, although this time she’s not little and there are two of them. The story pleasantly surprised me and I very much enjoyed Jackson Pearce’s style of writing to the point that I went in search of more of his work and As You Wish was another very nice discovery! I shan’t say more but it was definitely a very welcome recommendation and was sad to return the book to its rightful owner ☹ I shall however be getting my little non-grubby mitts onto my own copy soon enough, and might I suggest you do the same 😉

6 – Twelve Dancing Princesses by Jessica Day George

This is a trilogy series of books that I came across a while ago and have still, frustratingly, not been able to read although I own all 3 of them. It is a retelling of the original Twelve Dancing Princesses story that admittedly not many know of. Each book is a sister princess with her own sets of trials, tribulations, a kingdom to save a prince charming’s heart to win. I will endeavor to read these soon with a bit of luck!

7 – The Goddess Series by Aimee Carter

Ok I will admit this is a little bit of a cheeky entry but just let me explain my decision before you condemn this book worm. Fairy tales come from myths and legends and well The Goddess Series is based on legends and mythology that goes a lot further back than Hans Christian Andersen. The Goddess Series is based on the Greek and Roman gods and their pesky meddlings with us humans, and the quest that all sentient beings voluntarily or not go on – that of the search for love. It is a heart-wrenching trilogy that I passionately read and re-read whilst painstakingly awaiting the release of each sequel. I feel deserves a place here as it is story based on legends and myths that I have always loved as a child and that (thankfully) Aimee Carter decided to put together to create a more complex story of family, betrayal, revenge, truth and, ofcourse the constant in any true fairytale, love. The pace and style of writing heart-pounding and yet gentle, slow and yet the end came too quick. It is definitely a series that is now complete I would recommend.

8 – Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that a fairytale lover and book worm such as myself has not yet read this very much acclaimed retelling of one of the classic Princess Stories. Cinder recounts it’s extended namesake: Cinderella. Except now she’s a cyborg and she’s in the future. One can only wonder how Marissa Meyer managed to work a glass slipper onto a cyborg’s foot. Or if indeed it is glass at all. Maybe it’s bullet proof and has rocket launchers underneath!! Don’t know about you but I am intrigued to find out though!!!

9 – A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Yup this is another Flinn book as she seems to have a soft spot like me for fairytales. I think the title sufficiently hints to the character this retelling is based upon lol but for those of you who perhaps are not familiar with the Disney classics this is Sleeping Beauty story. Except her prince charming wakes her up, by accident, several centuries later. I’ll be honest it wasn’t at all what I expected but I had a laugh reading it and seeing how it all turned out because let me tell you, prince charming and sleeping beauty do not get along! The additional interest was generated when Alex Flinn added at alternate chapters both of their points of view allowing the usually silenced prince to have a voice of his own. Something, I should add, she did in Beastly too! A Kiss in Time the led me to discover several other slight variations of the original story one of my favourites being Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz.

10 – The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

I thought I would finish with something not quite so airy-fairy and with no princesses to speak of. The Treachery of Beautiful Things was a deliciously dark book. Yes it has sprites, magic and fairies but the more beautiful they are the more life threatening they reveal themselves to be. I positively loved this book and it’s author if anything for the originality of it all. It’s like someone had taken a bit of every Disney and then darkened it all with evil, where good just doesn’t have it quite as easy as it normally does. It was a page turner, written in faerie language, full of riddles as nothing is quite what it seems making all the more alluring. Ruth Frances Long did an amazing job and I have been itching for more of her work so I think it’s about time I tracked down something new of hers and sank my teeth into it.

Posted by Prudence

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