Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

When was the last time you finished a book and had to sit back and collect yourself before you started crying, because you were sucked into it from the very first page and felt like you were in the book, and when it was done you didn’t want it to end? Well, for me, it was this morning.

Hunted is the epitome of what the perfect YA fantasy book should be. Engaging from the very beginning, exciting and emotional throughout, and a very climactic ending that leaves you breathless and in tears.

One of the best parts about this book, besides it being a fabulous Beauty and the Beast retelling, is that it’s a standalone. I am in the midst of so many series that I just can’t take another one. But I heard a few early reviews and put it on hold at the library so fast. I needed to read this. I’m so glad that I can recommend this to everyone without them feeling like they need to invest the next few years of their lives to another series.

Yeva is you and me. She is looking for more. More what, she doesn’t know. Just more. And when her family is forced to leave their current situation and head for the woods of her childhood, she thinks this may help in her discovery. She’s longed for those woods. But as an adult she soon learns that the mysteries they hold, are much more than she ever dreamed or imagined. And finding the Beast is just one step in finding herself.

I can’t say any more except to hold on tight for this beautiful and heart twisting story.

~Melpomene

Buy Hunted here: http://amzn.to/2nrchSO

Review: Wake the Hollow by Gaby Triana

26114202

I love fairy tales and folktales and all the assorted retellings & twisted versions that come along with them.  There’s just something about an author who takes a familiar story and puts their own spin on it without changing the basics of the story.  That’s just what you get with this take on an old favorite, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Mica hasn’t seen her mother in years, since she made the decision to move with her dad halfway across the country.  But when her mom passes away, it falls on her shoulders to settle things in Sleepy Hollow before resuming her fast-paced life with her dad. When she returns, however, she finds things very much the same while also being very different.  Prejudices against her family still exist, and rumors still run rampant about her mom.  Add in an intriguing stranger along with the legend of Ichabod Crane and Mica has one heck of a mystery on her hands.  Can she trust her childhood friend or is he on the other side?  Was her mom guilty of the crimes everyone seems to believe?  And let’s not forget her dad.  He has his own secrets hidden away.

This was a great story from beginning to end.  The author retains enough of the original story to lend a feeling of familiarity while at the same time blending it with new characters and new problems.  The mystery aspect was strong, leaving me wondering about bits and pieces until the very end. A good read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Wake the Hollow

Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

21518344

I love it when authors put their own unique twist on classic stories and fairytales.  Bonus points if their version is even more dark and twisted than the original.  This is what you get with the latest from Lisa Maxwell.

We all know the story of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.  The story from my childhood places Peter in the role of hero, saving all who are lost.  And the Neverland I remember was a magical place full of swashbuckling fun with a dash of danger thrown in.

This is not the story we grew up with.  This Neverland is full of deadly secrets at every turn.  There are more beasts than you can keep track of.  And death is a regular occurrence.  Oh and Peter?  He may not be what you remember.  This Peter is more sinister and conniving. And then there’s Captain Hook.  Because what would a Peter Pan story be without a bad guy?  But maybe Hook isn’t really the bad guy.  Or maybe he is.

This is what Gwendolyn has to decide for herself.  Her entire life has been spent moving from place to place.  Just as soon as she gets settled, her mom uproots them yet again.  She has a good reason.  They are running from monsters, after all.  To Gwen, this is just more of her mom’s eccentric behavior.  So when they end up in London, she doesn’t take any of the warnings seriously.  Keep the windows closed, don’t turn off the lights…

And when she doesn’t heed these warnings, bad things happen.  In the form of dark shadowy creatures who swoop in and capture Gwen along with her friend Olivia.  When Gwen wakes up, she finds herself on the ship of the infamous Captain Hook.  She knows the story, so she knows he’s not the good guy.  So she escapes and is rescued by Peter Pan.

Here’s where the story takes even more twists and turns.  Gwen quickly realizes that Pan may not be what he seems.   And it would appear that she holds the key to saving herself and Olivia.  Maybe her mom wasn’t so crazy after all…

This was such a fun book to read.  The author has a way with words and is able to create magical worlds that transport the reader.  While staying close to the original storyline, she still gives us a fantastical alternate version.  Add this one to your list!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Unhooked

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

01 wra “She was a dangerous, dangerous girl. A plague. A Mountain of Adamant who tore the iron from ships, sinking them to their watery graves without a second thought. With a mere smile and a wrinkle of her nose.”

This is one of the most epic and beautiful stories I have ever read. The backdrop was so rich in details I felt like I was there. The romance was a slow burn that had my heart twisting. The story itself had me neglecting my family, just so I could read faster. I was completely drawn into the story so much, that I never wanted to put it down. The words…oh, sweet heaven, the words…so romantic.

SYNOPSIS
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

I’ll admit, at first, I never saw this turning into a romance, even though everyone said it was. I just couldn’t see how anyone could love a boy who had his wives murdered each night. I thought that there was no way he could ever be loved. I was so very wrong!

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

Shazi is a good wife. She will do her duties to the king, even though she is terrified. She has more determination to stay alive and find out why all of the wives are found dead each morning, and to not become one of them. She is different than Khalid’s past wives and he finds himself intrigued with her.

The more I read, I knew there was more going on with Khalid!! I just knew it! Heck, I even fell in love with him. This murdering boy-king stole my heart.

“This dangerous girl. This captivating beauty.
This destroyer of worlds and creator of wonder.”

I read this book back in December but I could never review it fully, due to the fact that my simple words could never convey exactly how much I love this story. Now as I prepare for my reread, in anticipation for The Rose and the Dagger, I felt I needed to try. I highly recommend this story to those who are in the mood for a rich romance set in the beautiful Arabian nights backdrop. Your heart will thank you. If you are unsure as to how much I loved this book, look at this picture and notice the amount of tabs I used. So many beautiful words. I wish I could use them all in my review.
10603316_1096487107057756_4839099766041747609_n

~Melpomene

Buy The Wrath and the Dawn

Be sure and check out the short story,The Moth and the Flame: A Wrath & the Dawn Short Story, which, even though it’s only a few pages, will make you fall in love with Khalid all over again and have you wanting more from his point of view.

Preorder The Rose and the Dagger before it release April 26th.

Review: Never Never by Brianna Shrum

01 ner
I’ve been hooked on fairy tale retellings and books based on fairy tales. Since I’ve never read them, as a child, I think that’s why I like them now. So when I was gifted Never Never, I was super excited to start it. Now that ABF is over, I was finally able to do just that.

SYNOPSIS
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child – at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

Since I’ve never read the Peter Pan story, so I really have no idea how it goes. But when I finished this book, I had tears forming in my eyes. I have no idea what to do now. James Hook had my heart. I wanted him to be good. I really did. I wanted him to find peace and a home and to find love. But I never expected this. I’m a bit shocked, but yet, not really. He is a pirate after all. He does the usually pirate things, but I knew it was for a reason. There just had to be!!

One part of this story made my romantic heart very happy and, at the same time, broke it into a million pieces. I wanted such good things for James. He deserved it, after what Peter did to him. My heart really wanted the happily ever after. But sadly, life, or in this case, fairy tales don’t always work like that.

“I grew up for you.”

And that Peter Pan…..I was a bit mad at him. I don’t wanna talk about him. I understand he was a boy, but there’s a side to him that smashed the Disney version to pieces. SHATTERED.

If you like retellings, you will enjoy Never Never.

~Melpomene

Grab NEVER NEVER while it’s on sale!! Only $1.99!!!

Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K.Johnston

01 thou A fantastical retelling, with a twist.

SYNOPSIS
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

A Thousand Nights was a total shock to me. And by shock, I mean that I wasn’t even going to read it. Not that I didn’t want to, but that I was grabbing it for my daughter first. But since she was reading something already, I decided to read it before her. And let me tell you, this book was amazing. I was totally engrossed in this story. The scenery was so well developed, I felt like I could actually see everything. The stars, the colors, the clothes…It was so beautiful, even if it’s only in my imagination. E.K.Johnston has a way of telling this story and making you believe that you’re in the story.

Since I only have vague knowledge of the Thousand and One Nights tale, I was going into this sorta blind. But I think that made this story even more special to me. A clean slate, if you will. No preconceived ideas. And I think that actually helped me enjoy it more, honestly.

I think the best part of this story, for me, was that is wasn’t about love, in the sense of romantic love, but about familial love. My teens and their friends like stories about girls who can kick butt, but they’re not always fans of the romance aspect. They want adventure and intrigue. This book will make them SUPER happy. This girl loved her sister and wanted to save her from a certain death. And in volunteering, that way she did, she ended up changing the world around her and bringing an end to this horrible tradition, if you will.

I was lucky enough to take my daughter to meet the author last week. My girlie sat next to me and listened to her talk and make jokes the whole time. When we got into the car, she turned and told me that she needs to read this book ASAP. I call that success. Now, do I let her use my copy with all the post its, or buy her another one….

~Melpomene

Buy A Thousand Nights

At the signing we were told that, in December, she has another releasing another retelling called Spindle. Sleeping Beauty!! I can’t wait!!