Blood and Snow: The Complete Set by Rashelle Workman: review

Blood and Snow: The Complete Set

Blood and Snow: The Complete Set  by Rashelle Workman

Series: Blood and Snow #1-12

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Publisher: Polished Pen Press

Release Date: February 17th 2013

Synopsis: Every thousand years the Vampire Queen selects a new body, always the fairest in the land, and this time she’s chosen Snow White.

Snow isn’t an ordinary girl. She doesn’t know that yet.

When Snow gets bitten by a Hunter, her life is thrown into a whirlwind of change where instead of worrying about what to eat, she has to fight not to drink the blood of fellow high school students. She becomes a revenant – not quite human, not quite vampire.

With the help of an eccentric old Professor, his seven adoptive sons, and her best friend, Snow learns to control her blood craving. Sort of. She drinks a bloodlust tea, but she’d rather drink from her Hunter.

Or, a human.

She also discovers a whole other realm, one filled with fairies, dragons, and magic. And not only does the Vampire Queen want her, but there’s a pendant called the Seal of Gabriel created for Snow by the Vampire Queen’s twin sister. And Snow’s supposed to use it to restore balance to all magical creatures. Including vampires.

My Thoughts:

I love fairy tales. I also love fairy tale retellings. There is just something so magical about being able to see a different version of the story I have always loved. Blood and Snow was a great retelling that was fun, exciting, compelling and unique (at least, for me, anyway). This wasn’t a perfect novel, but was a joy to read and I will definitely come back for more of Workman’s works.

Workman’s story is completely different from the original Snow White story. Snow White is still the bases, but there are many other things that make Blood and Snow a completely different creature. For example, the addition of the many magical creatures gave the story a different air. And the other little touches made the story original, even if it is compared to the well-known tale.

This novel is actually a collection of twelve novellas that make up a series. At first, I was a bit dubious about this aspect but than found that I loved that I could read the story in small chunks. Obviously, the fact that Blood and Snow is a collection of novellas gave it a episodic feel that worked very well.

The best part about retellings is seeing how the author has reformed the characters from the original tale. In this case, there are many characters that were reformed, and some original characters that were added in.

Snow, the main lead, has morphed into a clumsy girl who has some tom-boyish traits. For me, this was a welcome change. Awhile the ‘adorable clumsy girl’ thing has been put into play in many novels, I really liked Snow. She was relatable and it was really interesting to see how she adapted to the, ahem, supernatural situation she has fallen into.

I also have a feeling of fondness toward the characters that were at Snow’s side. Most of them are quirky and a bit strange at times, but I did love reading about them.

The Vampire Queen’s character could have been polished up more. There were times when I sincerely felt how menacing and evil she was, but there were also times when I found that some of her actions didn’t seem to fit her vain character.

Workman’s writing is lovely and enhanced the magic of the story. Her prose contains descriptions that have a beauty to them. It made the story come alive. Despite the episode one through episode two feel, the author is able to write a story that flows in a seemingly effortless way.

There were also some cute comics added in the pages of this book. The art is simple but nice to look at. I think that adding little comics was a great idea and I applaud Workman for deciding to insert them in her book 🙂

The verdict: Blood and Snow is a fascinating tale that allows the reader to escape in a world full of magical creatures. I had a grand time reading this and I am hoping that I will be able to read more of this author’s works.

This post is part of the Blood and Snow Blog Tour. An advanced copy was provided in exchange for a honest review.

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For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund: review

For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1)For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Romance, Retelling

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: June 12th 2012

Synopsis: It’s been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth–an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret–one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PersuasionFor Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

My Thoughts:

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you.”

Jane Austen (Persuasion)

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a beautiful book. It really is. I imagine that if Jane Austen was going to be proud of any Young Adult retelling of one of her books, it would be this one. Peterfreund has managed to perfectly handle romance, sadness, love, and the charm that always seem to radiate off of Jane Austen’s works.

The story can be described as a sci-fi Persuasion. Please don’t let the major change in the original story’s genetic makeup make you run away from this book. Peterfreund makes a fascinating dystopian world and also creates a serious, developed romance that will make one’s heart flutter at times.

The dystopian world plays a big part in the stories framework so I believe I should focus on that first, in this review. I have already said that Peterfreund’s unique world is fascinating. But I could also describe it as smart, wonderfully created, and even believable. The theory of what caused the Reduction is based on the Christian religion, but trust me when I say the story is never what could be called preachy, and I even took something from it.

This novel features a tough protagonist, called Elliot. She did seem a bit flat to me in the beginning, but halfway through her characterization was amazing and almost flawless! I was greatly invested in her story and I enthusiastically cheered her on–sometimes out loud. I felt conflicted when she did, I felt joy when she did, I felt harrowing sadness when she did. I was completely in-tune with her character.

Kai, the male lead of this tale, doesn’t leave a good impression when first introduced. In fact, I was quite angry with him. But as the pages turned and I started to get farther into the story, I began to understand Kai, his anger, confusion, and heartbreak.

And the romance between these two characters is magnificently written. Peterfreund writes the star-crossed lovers scenario with flourish. There was never a moment between Kai and Elliot that made me roll my eyes or smirk to myself. No, the romance in this story is enrapturing, as any romance inspired by a Jane Austen novel should be.

The ending is tied up very neatly and beautifully–I admit to swooning a little bit to much. But I can tell that there are many great adventures coming Elliot and Kai’s way so I am very excited for the upcoming sequel, Across a Star-Swept Sea, which is apparently inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, a classic I haven’t even heard of!

As you can see, I am in awe of this book. For Darkness Shows the Stars is an fantastic novel–with an amazing title– that resonated with my very soul. And I thank Teepee, for gifting me with this wonderful book and letting me know of its existence. I am giving you all my hugs and kisses ♥

Splintered by A.G. Howard: review

Splintered (Splintered, #1)Splintered by A.G. Howard

Series: Splintered #1

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Romance, Retelling, Fantasy, Adventure

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: January 1st 2013

Synopsis: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

My Thoughts:

I have always adored Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (a.k.a Alice in Wonderland) and Through the Looking-Glass. When I first read Alice in Wonderland I wanted to go out and find my own rabbit-hole, fall down, and have nonsensical adventure like Alice did. Actually, I still want to go find a rabbit-hole 😛 The utter nonsense and strangeness that are within the pages of the stories had me falling in love. And so began my journey eagerly looking out for Alice in Wonderland retellings in every shape and form, trying to find more beautiful Wonderlands.

Splintered is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland and I believe that the novel beautifully captures the nonsense and strangeness that the original tale contained and screams a bit of the delicious madness of American McGee’s Alice and Alice: Madness Returns. I only say a bit because those games are so disturbing and mad that they will scar you.

A.G. Howard vividly paints a twisted Wonderland that is full of life with her words. Howard masterfully creates twisted versions of the inhabitants of Wonderland with a clever mind. The author’s writing is evocative and detailed but it never becomes too flowery. The text itself is also very wonderful, dipped in violet.

Almost all the characters–side characters and main– are excellent. First, I would like to tip my hat to the twisted versions of the Alice in Wonderland characters. I loved them all. The morbidly cute Mustela netherling, the ugly little fairies, the woman who can’t remember anything without her ribbons, White Rabid, Chessie, and a great many more. They were all so colorful and eccentric that I grew attached to them quickly!

Alyssa Gardner, Morpheus, and Jeb are the main characters of this novel.  I only warmed up to two of them: Alyssa and Morpheus. Those two grew and developed which is something that I require in most books. Alyssa had a very long journey and she grew, developed, and became a stronger character. She also had her own interesting quirk–making mosaics with bugs? Yes, definitely a strange quirk. Morpheus is, to be put simple, a character that I loved and loathed. His cryptic words and scheming behind the scenes made me hate him. But he is very honest about himself, I think and some of his dialogue is very humorous. And when his regrets were revealed I felt really sorry for him. The only character I didn’t like was Jeb. Jeb was the weakest character of the group. He ruffled my feathers often. I didn’t find much personality to him

There is a love triangle in Splintered. I don’t abhor it but I do think that this novel would be better without it. Splintered had its moments where the focus was on the love triangle and not the fantastic world that Howard created. I found this incredibly irritating.

Darn, love triangle…

There is pain that the characters have to go through. Past regrets and guilt, allegedly insane family members, the threat of going mad yourself, having trouble fitting in, not feeling comfortable in your own skin, and abuse. There is also the fact that two characters have to travel and survive a insane world filled with dangers. Awhile there aren’t any tear jerking moments in this novel I did feel sorry for the characters–yes, even Jeb to some extent.

And have I mentioned how fun it was to find all the allusions–other than the all twisted up characters– to the original Alice in Wonderland? No? Well, it was very fun! Being the Alice in Wonderland fanatic I am I kept a close eye out for any allusions…even the smallest ones. There are even some nods American McGee’s Alice. One allusion to the game that I particularly liked was the Vorpal Sword.

This is a book in which the author clearly did her research and spent a lot of effort on coming up with the ideas–which were very unique. This novel does have its flaws but the fantastic Wonderland, allusions, and original ideas made it worth reading.

Two and Twenty Dark Tales by Georgia McBride and Michelle Zink: review

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose RhymesTwo and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes by Georgia McBride(editor) and Michelle Zink(editor)

Paperback

Anthology

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: YA Fiction, Horror, Retellings

Publisher: Month9Books

Synopsis: In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.

Note: There are three short stories that are not included in the ARC version of this book

My thoughts: I I loved the idea of this anthology. I love dark retellings so I was very excited to read this anthology which is filled with retellings of the Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Many of the original nursery rhymes were already creepy so I was expecting a lot.

My high expectations of this anthology went down when I started reading the first short story. It was a pretty bad opening to the anthology. Unfortunately, there were many stories that had a lot of potential but were not executed very well. The anthology was filled with stories that had at least one of these faults: “dark and mysterious men”, insta-love, aimlessness, and not much relation to a nursery rhyme. It seemed like the story was written and then had some vague references to a nursery rhyme shoved inside of it. And some of them made about as much sense as this:

I got bored and my mind started drifting off which is obviously not a good sign. Fortunately there are some short stories that were able to snap me to attention.

The good short stories in this anthology were amazing! They had everything I wanted. There was sadness, horror, and creepiness inside the stories and I was a little sad when they were over. These short stories were a breath of fresh air and I loved reading them.

My favorites include:

Sing a Song of Six Pence: a dark and heartbreaking retelling of Four and Twenty Blackbirds

 Wee Willie Winkie: very creepy and had me scared to stay up past eight o’ clock

Candlelight:a sad story about two people who don’t appreciate what they have

Sea of Dew: a story about four teenagers lost at sea that made my heart break

The Well: a retelling of Jack and Jill that tells us the sad truth about what really happened.

If you mind digging through all the bad and so-so stories in this anthology to find the gems then I don’t think you should try reading this. But if you can then I say go for it!

*An advanced copy was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley

Tiger Lily By Jodi Lynn Anderson: review

Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily by Jodie Lynn Anderson

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything–her family, her future–to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

This book…I can’t say how beautiful it is with simple words. The bittersweetness of this Tiger Lily is just amazing. My emotions were so undecided when reading this book, should I feel happy, sad, angry? Tiger Lily was beautiful and will always hold a special place in my heart. The characters are all so beautifully crafted, from Tiger Lily’s quiet, bravery, loneliness and crow feathers, to Tik Tok’s patience, kindness, and hair to Peter’s pride, cluttered mind, and unfinished carvings. I felt myself loving these characters as if they were my family. The characters are masterpieces and will forever be engraved in my mind. Tinker Bell who observed Tiger Lily’s life and told her story to us. This book is like Neverland itself an immortal, precious world.

The writing is just amazing and unique. Written in Tink’s point of view we read about the pain, happiness, and sadness of Tiger Lily’s life. Tinker Bell was an observer who watched over Tiger Lily until the very end… The story is magnificent. The story is about Tiger Lily and her life. The story is about her love with Peter, her life in the village, and the people she loved and still loves.

Tiger Lily was such an emotional story and after finishing it I just layed down for a while thinking about it. The ending is not happy nor sad. The ending of this story is the kind of ending you wished were happy but you know that it would not have been better any other way. Tiger Lily is the type of story where you read each page with such emotion that you feel like you are experiencing the very emotions of the characters you are reading about. I loved this book with all my heart.

I give Tiger Lily 5 out of 5 Stars

Alice in the Country of Hearts By QuinRose: review

Alice in the Country of Hearts, Vol. 1 (Alice in the Country of Hearts, #1)

Alice in the Country of Hearts by QuinRose

A girl named Alice wakes up to see a white rabbit who forces her down a rabbit hole. The white rabbit than turns into a man with white rabbit ears. The man forces Alice to drink a potion that will make her stay in Wonderland. The only way for Alice to return home is to fill the vial back up by meeting and getting to know the inhabitants of Wonderland.

This is a review of the entire manga series.

Alice in the Country of Hearts is a very great manga indeed. I just loved scavenging for the Alice in Wonderland references. This manga is based off a otome game of the same name so you would think that this manga would have awesome characters. If you did think that you are correct! This manga has characters that you just want to pull out of the pages and just take them out to dinner or something. Alice the main character of this story has a awesome personality. Unlike the original Alice she actually questions the world that she had fallen in instead of just going with it. Alice(the one in this manga) is goal driven, strong willed, sarcastic, hardworking, and not a pushover. These traits make her one of my favorite characters of all time. The residents of Wonderland are all equally awesome. Their personalities are very…out there and are all lovable. The characters range from death obsessed twins and a sociopathic\obsessive guy in love. I believe that the characters are one of the best qualities in Alice in the Country of Hearts. The world of Wonderland is a very strange and interesting world. The Country of Hearts is divided into four territories three of which are at war.The Castle of Hearts:Vivaldi(Queen of Hearts) Peter White(White Rabbit) Ace(Knave of Hearts) and the King. The Amusement Park: Mary Gowland(The Duchess), and Boris(the Cheshire Cat). The Mafia: Blood Dupre(the Mad Hatter), Dee and Dum(Tweedledee and Tweedledum), and Elliot(March Hare). The only neutral territory is the Clocktower:Julius Monrey(Time). People do not value life as much as the people in Alice’s world and only a select number of people have a “face”. I had a lot of fun reading about Alice’s journey in this strange world.

The plot of Alice in the Country of Hearts is very simple and otome-ish. Alice needs to get to know the inhabitants of Wonderland and probably as this is a manga based off a otome game pick a guy that will be her boyfriend. I loved this because the plot allowed us to get to know the characters which are very very awesome. The dialogue is very good(except for Peter’s as the translation company thought it would be a awesome idea to make him speak in rhyme) and the comedy was very cute and funny in my opinion.

The art was wonderful and I loved all the character designs. Sadly this manga had one flaw…the ending. I wanted to know why the people of Wonderland loved Alice so much, I wanted to know more about the “game”, I wanted to know what Alice wasn’t supposed to remember,there was a whole bucket-load of questions the were not answered. Alice just picks her guy and than it ends. I have heard that the game explained more about Wonderland and Alice but the manga answers absolutely NOTHING. I had to go research the manga to actually understand it all(which was totally worth it)
Overall Alice in the Country of Hearts was amazing and is one of my favorite manga.

I give Alice in the Country of Hearts 5 out of 5 White Rabbits

Alice in Zombieland By Gena Showalter: review

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

Off with their heads.

I love Alice in Wonderland with all my heart! So when I saw this book at the store I had a heart attack of joy. I thought a book about Alice falling through a hole and then proceeding to chop off zombified versions of the inhabitants of Wonderland’s heads with a weapon would be the most awesome thing in the world. This book was not about Alice falling through a hole and then proceeding to chop off zombified versions of the inhabitants on Wonderland ‘s heads with a weapon. There were barely any Alice in Wonderland allusions to look out for which disappointed me greatly. I read it anyway and then found myself not being able to sleep without finishing the book.

Alice was a very awesome narrator. She was sarcastic, witty, and brave and I loved that about her. Through all the tragedy she has been through she soldiered on. Alice’s love interest in the story was a bad-boy named Cole. Cole was a typical bad-boy: Tough, handsome, and authoritative. I was annoyed by him at first but I grew to like him. He truly cared about Alice and her safety. Kat, Alice’s friend was a good character to. She was cheerful, she knew what she wanted and had confidence in herself. I really liked that even she had some development through the story as normally the friend of the main character have no purpose other than be the friend of the main character. Kat was not like that, as I learned about Kat I was able to sympathise with her and remember her as a person who had a role in the story. Alice’s other friends I hate with passion. I believe they were made to be hated so I applaud the author for that. I really wished the members of the Anti-Zombie gang had more development. We only get real development from three of them and two of them only had two sentences worth of development. I felt as if the members were faceless. They only had dialogue when they were speaking to Alice-which was pretty rare. I did grow to like the members that were given a face through the story.

The plot was pretty simple: Girl experiences tragedy. Girl aims for revenge for said tragedy. Girl falls in love for a bad-boy. I enjoyed the plot anyways. The unique elements the author puts in the story make up for the formulaic plot. The zombies were…..weird. In this book the zombies are spirits born from evil that feed on the spirits of humans and turning victims into new zombies. The twist on traditional zombies was pretty awesome. I enjoyed the Alice vs. Zombies fight scenes. I could clearly see what was going on.All in all Alice in Zombieland was a very enjoying read.

I give Alice in Zombieland 4 out of 5 White Rabbits

Masque of the Red Death By Bethany Griffin: review

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club–in the depths of her own despair–Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for–no matter what it costs her.

I really enjoyed reading this! Masque of the Red death had some very uncommon stuff for the YA genre: Drug use, self-destructive characters, a suicidal main character, and LOTS of death. This was the reason I picked up this book in the first place-the book was so unique I just had to buy it!

The characters were all very real. They all reacted to all the death and disease in different ways and were very interesting and unique. Most of the characters did a great amount of growing throughout the story.

The world building was just PERFECT!!!! I could imagine this really happen if a deadly disease really struck. The rich are able to survive and try to remain oblivious to all the chaos around them and the poor are just struggling to not get the disease. I really thought the idea of the Debauchery Club being a safe haven for the rich was really clever. I think the author did a really good job building the world and the characters.

The plot was great to! A revolution to help the struggling people and their city-count me in! The love triangle in the story was pretty good to. There was actually competition between the two men. I did not know who Araby was going to pick until the very end. The pacing was perfect! I did not feel like the story was being rushed or going to slow just to fill up some more pages. The reason I am only giving it 4 Stars is because the book did not exactly make me feel like I would explode if I put the book down for a couple of days.

I really enjoyed reading this book! The ending was pretty open-ended but I was pretty satisfied with it but I am definitely going to get the next book when it comes out!

I give Masque of the Red Death 4 out of 5 Stars