Audio Book Review: The Catastrophic History Of You And Me

The Catastrophic History Of You And Me CoverBook: The Catastrophic History Of You And Me by Jess Rothenberg, narrated by Suzy Jackson

Published February 2012 by Recorded Books|Length: 9 hours, 32 minutes

Where I Got It: audible.com

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find The Catastrophic History Of You And Me on goodreads & Jess Rothenberg on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Brie’s life ends at sixteen: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, and the news breaks her heart–”literally.” 

But now that she’s D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy Brie loved and lost–and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there’s Patrick, Brie’s mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul…who just might hold the key to her “forever after.” 

With Patrick’s help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she’s ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

What I Thought:

I started off really liking The Catastrophic History of You And Me, but as the book went on…I found myself getting really irritated with Brie.  Which turned an enjoyable read into an okay one.

I like the idea of Brie having to go through the 5 stages of grief in order to move on.  I actually found it totally believable that the dead grieve the same way we do.  I really liked the connection between her and Patrick and how it was slowly revealed over the course of the book.

Her journey is an interesting one, and while I understand why Brie acts the way she does, there were points during her journey where I started to lose a lot of sympathy for her.  She did come across as petty and bitter and intent on revenge at times.  And while I understand her actions because the people who she thought cared about her had a lot of secrets and things to work through…there were a couple times where she went too far, and I didn’t find her as sympathetic as I did at the beginning of the book.  It really did change how I felt towards her, and not in a good way.  Still, she did act how you’d expect, and she’s a pretty realistic character.  I think teenage me would have related to her and like her a lot more than adult me.

As for her romance with Patrick…I get their connection, but it was never completely there for me.  It did make the novel slightly more interesting, but it also felt a bit random.  I just wish I got to know Patrick better.

I thought Jackson did a great job narrating and I can totally picture her as Brie.  Brie’s sense of humor and personality really came through in Jackson’s narration.

Let’s Rate It: 

Catastrophic History turned out to be an okay read for me, and it’s because Brie eventually got too irritating for my taste.  I think teenage me would have really liked her but as an adult…not so much.  Still, I think the idea of an afterlife where you have to go through the stages of grief is a really different and unique one.  The Catastrophic History Of You And Me gets 2 stars.

Book Review: Fangirl

Fangirl CoverBook: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Published September 2013 by St. Martin’s Press|323 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Fangirl on goodreads & Rainbow Rowell on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words…And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

What I Thought:

Fangirl is one special book!  I can’t believe it took so long to read Rainbow Rowell, but I’m glad I finally did.  I connected so much with Cath and her love of Simon Snow.

I was so strongly reminded of my life as a Harry Potter fan, and the counting down to the next book and the midnight releases of books and movies, and time spent on sites like Mugglenet and the Leaky Cauldron and fanfiction.net, and I felt so nostalgic for that time in my life.  And the urgency to finish her own fanfic before the last book comes out, and her feelings about it all coming to an end…it’s a world that’s completely familiar to me, and Rowell got it so completely right!

I also LOVE Cath’s story and her journey through her freshman year of college.  She is a character I really love and there are pieces of her that remind me of myself.  She really came into herself by the end of the book, and I loved seeing how much she changed by the end of the book.  There is something so endearing about her, and I just wanted to give her a hug and then go write some fanfiction with her.

Another completely awesome thing about Fangirl are the excerpts from the Simon Snow series and Cath’s own fanfic’s- both the ones she wrote with her twin and on her own.  It really added something special to the book, and Fangirl would have been incomplete without it.  You see how important the Simon Snow series is to her and how it got her through so many different things and the power and impact that books can have on people, and Rowell did so amazing at showing that.

I loved her relationship with her sister and her dad, but her relationship with her roommate and roommate’s friend really stood out to me.  Cath definitely has a couple good friends in them, and I’m glad she found some awesome people who get her.

Back to Cath’s sister, Wren: they definitely have an interesting relationship, which really changed from beginning to end.  I did love their relationship and how they went in completely different directions but still had each other.  Wren definitely has her own issues to deal with, but at least she has Cath.

As much as the ending fit, there is a part of me that wanted to know a little bit more about Cath’s life after finishing Simon Snow and I kind of wanted to see a little bit of her summer.  But at the same time, the ending worked so well because it ends with the last Simon Snow book coming out.

Let’s Rate It:

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED Fangirl!  It really is a special book about a girl trying to find her place in the world.  I related to so much of Fangirl, and it really did make me feel all nostalgic for when the Harry Potter books were coming out.  Fangirl gets 5+ stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Things I Want To Own

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren’t Books) That I Want To Own

Okay, so, bookish things that aren’t books that I want to own…it’s not something I think about.  As much as I love books, I don’t pay any attention to the non-bookish things I could own.  With the help of pinterest and etsy however, I managed to find quite a few things that look completely awesome.  All pictures and links will take you to etsy or pinterest!

  • I’ve always wanted a Hufflepuff scarf, and considering I crochet, it wouldn’t be that hard to make a scarf.
  • I’ve seen a lot of awesome reading spaces/bookshelves on pinterest, and while I don’t think I’ve pinned any of them, I want some awesome looking bookshelves some day.

I love these coasters, found in Oh Gaud’s etsy shop.

  • I really need these Harry Potter coasters.  They’re chapter coasters!  With the chapter illustrations! Could I have regular coasters?  Of course, but they’re not the same as Harry Potter chapter coasters!
  • I came across this one shop on Etsy when I saw a Harry Potter charm bracelet that has all 7 books as the charms.  It looks like she has all sorts of book charm bracelets, and they look pretty awesome.

Accio Energy mug found on etsy, in Thristers shop!

Espresso Patronum mug, found in TooLegitTooKnit’s etsy shop

  • I also like this other mug with the grim on the inside.  I just love the idea of grim “tea leaves” on the bottom of a mug.
  • And this other shop I came across has really cool Harry Potter and Hunger Games inspired jewelry.

Really cool book page pendants, found in OwlsNestCottage’s etsy shop

Found on etsy, from PendantLab’s esty shop

  • And this owl pendant also found on etsy.  Mostly because it reminds me of Hedwig.

The Alohomora Deskpig Shirt, found in the Alohomora store

  • Is it weird that I want a deskpig shirt?  Because that would be awesome!

Book Review: Sirensong

Sirensong CoverBook: Sirensong by Jenna Black

Published July 2011 by St. Martin’s Press|254 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: Fairiewalker #3

Genre: YA Paranormal (of the fairie variety)

You can find Sirensong on goodreads & Jenna Black on twitter & her website

Goodreads Summary: 

When Dana is invited to Faerie to be officially presented at the Seelie Court, it’s no easy decision. After all, everyone knows Titania, the Seelie Queen, wants her dead. But Titania claims not to be the one behind the death threats; and her son, Prince Henry, makes the decision a whole lot easier when he suggests Dana might be arrested for (supposedly) conspiring with her aunt Grace to usurp the Seelie throne. So she and her father better do as they’re told…

The journey through Faerie is long—and treacherous. Dana thought it would be a good idea to have friends along, but her sort-of-boyfriend, Ethan, and her bodyguard’s son, Keane, just can’t seem to get along, and Kimber’s crush on Keane isn’t making things any easier. When a violent attack separates Dana from their caravan, the sexy Erlking saves her just in the nick of time…and makes it clear that he hasn’t given up on making her his own.

Arriving at Titania’s beautiful palace should be a relief. But Dana is soon implicated in an assassination attempt against Titania’s granddaughter, and is suddenly a fugitive, forced to leave her father behind as she and her friends flee for their lives. Will she be able to prove her innocence before the forces of the Seelie Court—or, worse, the Erlking—catch up with her? And will she save her father before he pays the ultimate price in her stead?

What I Thought:

Sirensong is an interesting conclusion to this series!  We finally get to go to Fairie and meet Titania.  Who, as it turns out, is not the one behind all of the crazy stuff that’s been happening to Dana.

What I didn’t expect was all of the stuff that happened at Seelie Court!  All of the stuff with Henry and who was really behind the assassination attempt (because we all know it’s not Dana).  Like, there’s another fairiewalker out there, which wasn’t expected at all, because I didn’t think there would be two of them!

Dana’s been such an interesting character, and after spending so much time trying to save everyone, I think she’s finally coming to the realization that she can’t save everybody…most of all, her mom.  Dana has so many issues trusting people- which is totally understandable- but I also feel like she’s headed in the right direction and starting to work them out.  I also love her friendship with Kimber and how her relationship with her dad changed over the course of the series.  Especially in Sirensong, where he finally started to be a little more open with his daughter.

As for the romance…I’m still not sure about Ethan and Dana as a couple.  All the stuff with Erlking that we saw in Shadowspell…well, that threw some obstacles in their way, but Dana manages to get out of the deal with the Erlking, which means he’s a non-issue.  As is Keane, who ends up with Kimber.  I don’t know that I was necessarily thinking of romance in this series, but the deal with the Erlking and his interest in Dana was definitely interesting.

Let’s Rate It:

Sirensong really did end the series so well!  While I didn’t love it, I still really enjoyed it and Dana’s story. Sirensong gets 4 stars.

ARC Book Review: The Forever Song

The Forever Song CoverBook: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Expected Publication is April 15, 2014 by Harlequin Teen|Expected Number Of Pages: 408

Where I Got It: I got the digital advanced copy from netgalley.com, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: Blood Of Eden #3

Genre: YA Dystopic/Post-Apocalyptic with some vampires

You can find The Forever Song on goodreads & Julie Kagawa on Twitter, Facebook and her blog

Goodreads Summary: 

VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS 

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? 

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer. 

MONSTER 

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. 

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

What I Thought:

I can’t believe The Forever Song is the last book in the series!  I’ve really enjoyed this series, and The Forever Song is such a good wrap-up to the series!

I’ve always liked Allie and her struggle to figure out this whole vampire thing, but I’ve never completely warmed up to her. I was hoping I finally love Allie in The Forever Song, but sadly, it didn’t happen.  Still, she is an interesting character, and there were certain things that happened in The Forever Song that were interesting.  One was her reaction to finally learning something that happened in The Eternity Cure, and the other was finally realizing what was needed for the cure we learned about in the last book…and what needed to happen for the cure to work.  It was definitely sad and a bit heart-breaking.

I thought Zeke was really interesting in The Forever Song, given everything that happened in the previous books.  He’s definitely a lot more interesting than he was before.  Granted, he did whine a bit, but who wouldn’t?

Jackal…I just love the guy!  I liked him when we first met him, and while he knows who he is and all that, he still was the same Jackal we knew from before.  Still, I like that he’s so consistent and that he’s not all over the place.  As for Kanin, he did surprise me in the end, but I’m still not completely sure about him.  I felt like we never got to know him, but I can definitely appreciate him and understand where he’s coming from.

Everything was wrapped up really well, and I liked how everything worked out!  I’m also glad things ended up on a happy/more positive note, because it’s much deserved in such a bleak world.  It’s good that things are looking up.

Let’s Rate It:

I really liked The Forever Song!  It’s a solid series-ender, and I’m glad things were resolved the way they were.  I never completely warmed up to some of the characters, but they were still interesting characters.  The Forever Song gets 4 stars.

Audio Book Review: The Naturals

The Naturals CoverBook: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynne Barnes, Narrated by Amber Faith

Published November 2013 by Listening Library|Run Time: 7 hours, 28 minutes

Where I Got It: audible.com

Series: The Naturals #1

Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller

You can find The Naturals on goodreads and Jennifer Lynn Barnes on Twitter, tumblr, and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But, it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie. 

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides-especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive. 

Think The Mentalist meets Pretty Little Liars-Jennifer Lynn-Barnes’ The Naturals is a gripping psychological thriller with killer appeal, a to-die-for romance, and the bones of a gritty and compelling new series.

What I Thought:

The Naturals is really interesting!  I’m really glad I listened to it, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.  I really can’t wait to see where things go.

I really like the idea of exceptional teenagers with really interesting abilities in a classified program working on cold cases. Barnes did a great with holding my interest, and I like that all the kids can work together on cases because they all have something to contribute.

I really liked the mystery through out the book and how there were chapters from the killers perspective.  I had a general idea of who could be, but even I was slightly surprised at who it was and was really surprised at the reason why.

I want to randomly talk about the narration, because I have some thoughts on the chapters from the killer’s perspective- it came through well, but because I listened to it, it always took some time to adjust to that perspective.  I think I would have found that more interesting if I had some way to distinguish it, because while Faith did a great narrating. it was a bit hard to distinguish it from the rest of the book.  It was just different enough that I could tell the difference, but I kind of wish there were more of a difference in the audio book.  Still, I’m glad I listened to it, because Faith did do a great job narrating, and because it just worked really well as an audio book.

I liked the characters and I’m glad they have different abilities.  I really liked some of the teamwork that came out when the working on the serial killer case, and I hope we see more of it in the coming books.  I also liked that it was perfectly normal for some kids to have such abilities as the ones seen in the book, and that they were treated pretty normal.  And not weird or anything because of their abilities.

I was really reminded of both The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting and Mind Games by Kiersten White, so if you liked The Naturals, you’ll want to check those books out.  Or if you liked The Body Finder or Mind Games, you’ll want to check out The Naturals.

Let’s Rate It:

I really liked The Naturals and I can’t wait to read the next book!  It’s such a good mystery and I couldn’t stop listening to it. The Naturals gets 4 stars. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read

There are so many things that make books special, and some stand out for so many different reasons.  Some are unique because of the characters, others are unique because of the settings, and a few are even unique because of what it’s about. No matter why a book is unique, these are the ten that stand out because of how awesomely different they are!

  1. Evie from Paranormalcy.  One of my favorite things about this series that Evie is a pink, sparkly person who is full of awesome and kick-assery.  It’s one of my favorite combinations.
  2. Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins.  I like that it’s an Amish guy because almost everything else I’ve read that has someone who’s Amish has been a teenage girl.  So it’s nice to see an Amish guy for once.
  3. Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb.  I like that the main character is a witch, and that conflict between Elizabeth and Mary is minimal.
  4. Between Shades Of Grey by Ruta Sepetys.  It’s WW2 historical fiction that doesn’t focus on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.  It’s nice to read a book set during WW2 that focuses on a part that doesn’t seem to be talked about a lot.
  5. Eon by Alison Goodman.  It’s fantasy that’s not reminiscent of medieval Europe.  I know fantasy and medieval Europe are BFF’s, but honestly, I find it kind of tired, and so it’s nice to see a fantasy novel not in a medieval Europe-type of society.
  6. A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury.  It’s about the partition of India, which I didn’t even know was an actual event until I read this book!  Basically, it led to India and Pakistan being two separate countries, and the book focuses on three very different teens who are affected by it.  I really love it when historical fiction focuses on something I know nothing about.
  7. Shadow And Bone by Leah Bardugo.  I like that Shadow And Bone makes me think of Russia, and not medieval Europe.  For some reason, non-European fantasy settings intrigue me.
  8. Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck.  For me, Tiger’s Curse was just okay, but what’s unique about it is that it focuses on Indian mythology.  It’s such a nice change from Greek mythology!
  9. Exposed by Kimberly Marcus.  I found Exposed to be interesting and unique because it’s narrated by a girl caught between her brother and her best friend, when her best friend accuses her brother of rape.
  10. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.  I just love what she did with fairies in this series, and how there are fairies who have changed to be okay with being around iron.  She made fairies so interesting and awesome and different.

Book Review: Tempest Revealed

Tempest Revealed CoverBook: Tempest Revealed by Tracy Deebs

Published July 2013 by Bloomsbury|270 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store/e-book

Series: Tempest #3

Genre: YA Paranormal- Mermaids

You can find Tempest Revealed on goodreads & Tracy Deebs on her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Half-mermaid Tempest Maguire is trying to have it all: fulfilling her duties as second-in-line to the merQueen Hailana while periodically returning home to the California coastline to be with her family and longtime boyfriend, Mark.

Living under the sea and rebuilding Coral Straits is grueling work, while being back home reminds her of everyone she loves and misses. But when her old flame Kona arrives bearing news that Hailana has died and Tempest is now officially merQueen, she returns permanently to Coral Straits, even though it devastates her family and rips her apart from Mark.

Once there, she discovers that an old enemy has resurfaced, hell-bent on taking over her throne… with or without her. As Tempest prepares for her final showdown against Tiamat and anyone who stands with her, she must decide what – and who – is really important to her. Because there will be few survivors in the ultimate sea battle that is brewing – and Tempest isn’t sure she will be one of them.

What I Thought:

I have mixed feelings about Tempest Revealed.  I mean, I liked it and all, and I’ve really liked the entire series, but I also didn’t enjoy as much as I did the previous books in the series.

So, I’m going to start with the big battle between Tempest and Tiamat.  I wanted more of a big battle and more conflict between them then what we got in Tempest Revealed.  After reading it?  My reaction was “that’s it?  where’s the big battle?” I really was hoping for something more.

I’m not super-happy with Mark and Tempest as a couple, but I don’t think I’d be happy with her and Kona either.  The romance just got more irritating (to me) as the series went on.  I know that Mark and Kona represent her life as a mermaid and her life as a human, but I just grew really tired of the competitiveness between them.  I think I just feel like they bring out one side of Tempest, and that they’ll never truly understand the other part of who Tempest really is.

So, Hailana dying, which leaves Tempest as merQueen…naturally, it happens when Tempest goes to visit her family, and I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if she were with her (mermaid) people.  I don’t know that I particularly liked that she was with her family when Hailana died, mostly because I feel like she should have been taking care of the Tiamat stuff.  Still, I liked that she tried to balance both the mermaid side and the human side.

Still, I did like Tempest Revealed, and that all of the loose ends were tied up.  There is something about Tempest Revealed that kept me reading, and I couldn’t wait to see how things turned out…even though I wasn’t completely thrilled with how some things worked out.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked Tempest Revealed, and was glad that all of the loose ends were tied up.  While I generally felt underwhelmed with Tempest Revealed, I liked that she did try to balance two very different worlds, and there’s definitely something addicting about this series.  Tempest Revealed gets 3 stars.

Book Review: Altered

Altered CoverBook: Altered by Gennifer Albin

Published October 2013 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux|295 pages

Where I Got It: nook store/e-book

Series: Crewel World #2

Genre: YA Dystopic, Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy

You can find Altered on goodreads & Gennifer Albin on twitter, facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Deadly Secrets

Tangled Lies

Woven truths

Life. Possibility. Choice. All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.

But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for.

Altered is Gennifer Albin’s thrilling sequel to Crewel. Adelice is about to learn how tangled up her past and future really are. Her parents ran to protect her, but nothing can save her from her destiny, and once she uncovers the truth, it will change everything.

What I Thought:

I really liked Crewel when I read it over a year ago, and I was really looking forward to reading Altered…which I liked, but not as much as Crewel.  I really liked seeing the ruins of Earth, and how different it is from the world of Arras.

There really is so much more to this world than I ever could have imagined, and there were some things I didn’t see coming at all.  The remnants are definitely interesting, and I kind of wish we saw more of them. Especially one we happened to see for part of the book…

I really like the parallel between earth and Arras, and the connection to World War 2 and Einstein and how/why the looms were created.  Those connections were fascinating to me, and it worked really well.  It’s also one of those things I didn’t see coming.

But while there were things I really liked and elements that were really interesting, there was also something about Altered that I didn’t find as captivating.  It’s an interesting world, but…I just wasn’t as interested in the book as I thought I would be.  I’m feeling pretty “meh” about the characters, and I’m not sure why.  I don’t know if it’s because they left Arras and found themselves on Earth or something else I don’t feel like trying to identify, or even something I can’t identify.  I just know that things got really interesting in Altered and I liked it, but I didn’t love it like I thought.

I will say that Adelice’s abilities as Creweler got really interesting, because of the people she meets and the things she learns along the way.  I am curious about how she’ll use her abilities and how everything will turn out for both Arras and Earth, given everything that comes up.

Let’s Rate It: 

I liked Altered, and I really liked a lot of the revelations and elements that come up in Altered, but there’s also something about it that wasn’t as captivating as Crewel.  Altered gets 3 stars.

Book Review: Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty CoverBook: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Published January 2014 by HarperCollins|229 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store (e-book)

Series: For now, it’s a stand-alone, but there may be other books and novellas set in this universe

Genre: YA Fantasy with a Greek Mythology and Beauty And The Beast twist

You can find Cruel Beauty on goodreads and Rosamund Hodge on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

What I Thought:

When I first saw the summary for Cruel Beauty, I was really excited!  It seems like such a different take on re-tellings, and I love that it’s a blend of Greek mythology and Beauty And The Beast.  So when I started reading, I wasn’t sure about it, but by the end I was enjoying it a lot more than I was at the beginning.

So, here’s why I wasn’t sure about it at first.  There is this very alternate history feel to the book. which is awesome, but it also made me feel like there was some piece of history that I was missing, and wasn’t being explained.  It very much felt like I needed to have some special knowledge to know what was going on, and it was driving me crazy that I didn’t know what it was.  It definitely takes a few chapters before you learn what’s going on.

Despite me feeling like I was missing some key knowledge at the beginning, I came to really like Cruel Beauty.  Nyx is an interesting character, and it’s interesting how drawn she is to Ignifex.  Ignifex is also an interesting guy, and I really like their relationship, which really changes throughout the book.

I really liked Ignifex’s castle, which was described really well,  It’s creepy but very vivid, and I could picture it so well!  Much better than the world that the castle resided in, because that world…there’s something about it that doesn’t seem completely explained.  Then again, most of the book focuses on Ignifex and Nyx, so perhaps that part of things doesn’t need to completely be there.

I’m not sure how I feel about the romance.  Maybe it’s because of Nyx’s mission, or something else I can’t identify, but I wasn’t completely into the romance.

Let’s Rate It:

Initially, I felt slightly confused by what was going on, and I felt like I was missing something, but as the book went on, I got really into Cruel Beauty.  It’s a very detailed world, and there’s something very intricate and vivid and imaginative about this world.  It’s definitely a great read for fans of fairy tales and Greek mythology.  Cruel Beauty gets 4 stars.