I’m slowly getting caught up on all the fabulous books I read while my blog was down. Even though these are quick reviews, it’s my chance to make sure you notice these books for those times when you’re standing in front of the stacks at the library and you have no clue what you want to read. OR, better yet, put them on your Amazon wishlist and watch out for those price drops!
Princess of Thornsby Stacey Jay
Published by Random House, Delacorte Press on December 9th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.
Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.
Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?
A lot of other reviewers went into this book with expectations of a retelling of sleeping beauty. Me? I was just tickled to finally be reading a Stacey Jay novel. I don’t know why I never picked up Juliet Immortal. But then I saw Princess of Thorns available for review and dove into the book head first. I don’t even recall seeing the book marketed as a retelling. Wouldn’t have mattered either way – I don’t remember my fairy tales that well anymore, especially the classic, non-Disney versions.
And non-Disney is exactly what Ms. Jay delivers in an elaborate, well written world full of Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses, ogres, the fae, and seers. I honestly don’t think this story is meant to be a retelling but is rather more like fan fiction of Sleeping Beauty and other older fairy tales. From an amazingly heartbreaking beginning to the hanging on my seat ending, I absolutely loved the complex and vibrant world Ms. Jay built for our heroine and hero to kick butt through.
Character depth was outstanding as well. A tiny detail like the idea that Aurora was hiding her hair so she would be considered just one of the boys made a huge impression on me and on the story. Aurora went to great lengths to make sure she looked like a boy. I usually don’t like this “trope” but it’s done so well for this story! It all goes along with her curse (and therefore her personality). I told you it was a complex story, didn’t I? Add to that Niklaas’ curse and you’ve got a mission to the castle and two curses that need curing. Who is going to get their curse removed? Who is going to “win”? Put this book on your radar and find out. I insist you won’t be sorry.
A School for Unusual GirlsSeries: Stranje House #1
by Kathleen Baldwin
Published by Macmillan, Tor Teen on May 19th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.
After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts...
I am just now getting more and more into historicals. I’ve even read two whole historical romances… Crazy! After reading Susan Dennard’s Something Strange and Deadly series (which I highly recommend), I have a huge love of historical young adult because I think it can inspire teens to look into the history surrounding the stories.
I started writing my review for this and had to go over to Goodreads to check something out. I saw that the reviews were all over the place for this book. It seems people were either bored or their expectations were too high to let themselves enjoy this book. Totally their prerogative! I, myself completely enjoyed reading this! I wasn’t looking for a classic or overly thoughtful book. Any book that starts off with monsters in the front yard of a mansion won’t be taken too seriously by me 🙂 And no, I didn’t change my review or rating because of what I saw.
Let me back up first. Our heroine, Georgie, is getting “dumped” off at the Stranje House, a reform school that will make Georgie more presentable to society. Or so her parents think. Georgie has no clue what is going on. But she’s a very inquisitive person by nature and soon she’s finding trouble in secret walls and tunnels around the school. The synopsis pretty much reveals everything you need to know about the story. By the end, our girl is becoming more confident in her abilities and in trusting her new friends. I actually commend Ms. Baldwin on the ending she wrote! I don’t think it could have ended any other way and be as genuine.
What I enjoyed most about this story was that Ms. Baldwin pulled a total “what if?” to history. It’s amazing to think of the butterfly effect and what one little change could do to the entire map of history. Being that this book is set during the time of Napoleon’s banishment to Elba, you can imagine the implications of one little change in the war.
If you do add this book to your reading list, just make sure you read all the reviews 😉