Heartless by Marissa Meyer Book Review

“Off with her head!”  – The Queen of Hearts. What made this Queen so feared, ruthless & merciless? That was a question I didn’t ask myself until I got my hands on Heartless.

My only experience with retellings was with As Tell As Old As Time (Beauty and The Beast) and that wasn’t the best. So when I say I was hesitant to read about another one of my childhoods I mean I had this book for months on my shelf. To be completely honest, out of all the times I’ve watched Alice in Wonderland I never asked myself, “what is the Queen’s story?” Although I haven’t read a lot of retellings of classic tales, I love the idea of story that can go beyond a well known one and a story to fix plot holes. No one like a plot holer (yes, it’s a word because I just invented it).

Alice in Wonderland is a well known and beloved classic and one that I later learned is pretty dark for children. Yes, there’s a caterpillar smoking hookah in front of a child, a crazy guy drinking something that I’m sure isn’t tea with a rabbit, and a queen who likes to cut off heads, but we all watched it and turned out fine, right!

How can a story make a character that you grew up disliking likable and compassionate towards? Heartless is the story of the Queen of Hearts before she was the Queen.

Catherine Pinkerton is the daughter of a marquess and a marchioness. Her dream is to become a baker and open her own bake shop. However, her parents want nothing more than for her to marry the the King of Hearts and become Queen. Cath doesn’t want the royal title and at a ball she finds herself face to face with a joker, and someone she’s been dreaming of. The ball is suddenly disturbed when a creature attacks before the King can propose and she takes that time to flee the scene. In the forest she runs into the joker whose name is Jest and finds herself intrigued by him. It becomes more complicated when Jest is named the new court joker for the King. As if her life wasn’t complicated enough, she wants to becomes a baker which is unheard of for a woman of her statues but now she’s fallen in love with a joker who is working for her betrothed.

Although this book took me a lot longer than I care to admit, I enjoyed it! I found myself eager to see when another familiar will pop up and see if they were exactly like the classic or different. It was great seeing Cath BQ (Before Queen) as a driven and caring person, someone that had similar traits to Alice. That made the story more appealing because no matter what you knew how the story will end but getting there was just as intriguing. What made a woman who had goals and dreams become someone that was feared throughout the kingdom?

Cath is the main character of this story but Jest stole the spotlight when he was in a scene. He’s charm and flirtatious game made you root for this guy! I was totally googly eye when he would appear! His confidence and charm made him attractive but his big heart made him irresistible. Along with his mysterious story, I tried placing him with the characters I already knew. What role does his play when Alice was in Wonderland? It become a game of guessing that I have never experienced before and didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did.

Retelling a story to better understand the core of it can go really good or really bad. It could answer questions you had or didn’t even think that you had. But when done right it tells the story with you wanting a different ending knowing it’s meant to lead the story you’ve always known. That is awesome writing in my opinion! Heartless had love, mystery and action. Most important it added more depth to a beloved classic, although it has no correlation to Alice in Wonderland, I know I won’t be seeing that movie the same way again…in a good way! Marissa Meyer did an amazing and fantastic job in telling a story about someone you either wanted to know more about or didn’t think you needed to know. I recommend it to anyone who wish to know about someone who stepped first into the Looking Glass.

Rush By Maya Banks (Book Review)

I have to come to terms with the realization that I’ve met the quota.  

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Gabe is a successful man and a very wealthy man at that. Having his own company along side his two best friends, he had it all. Except a woman he’s been lusting for that just so happens to be his partner’s/ best friend’s little sister.

Mia has had a crush on Gabe for as long as she could remember. With him being 14 years older than her and her brother’s best friend, she believed that he was nothing more than a fantasy to be had.

When she arrives to surprise her brother at a party, their attraction sparks. Gabe suddenly realizes that he must have her. Gabe offers her a job along with a contract for other activities. Sex, it’s sex if you didn’t get it. Gabe has been burnt once and has guarded his heart to appear like he doesn’t have one. Mia wanting to be with a man she’s been in love with for years has been given the opportunity but with the risk of heart break.

I’ve now had my share of erotic reads, clearly since I love Fifty Shades, but I have yet to enjoyed it since then. They all seem like…well sex reads. Yes I know that is what erotica book are for. Hear me out! When reading Fifty I saw it as a love story. NOT HERE FOR DEBATES! Maybe it was because I had never read anything like it before, either way since then all other books “similar to it” such hasn’t sit well with me. I’ve read others that were intense AF and that just has it’s own category but they all seemed bland to me now.

I took a break from it but decided to give it another go. By now you should have figured out how that went. It wasn’t horrible or even bad. It was just the same as all the rest. I wasn’t invested with the characters and didn’t feel the love they were describing. As I was reading I just wanted it to end and that my friends is something I don’t like feeling. I want to travel inside the story and it never end.

This has received great reviews and it don’t shock because again it wasn’t horrible or bad. I just believe I’ve burnt out the erotic genre. A few months wasn’t enough of a break and I might end up reading the rest of this series later on who knows. When I recommend books I make sure that they understand that because I love one book or not so much, that is my opinion on it and it shouldn’t stop them from reading it for themselves.

“No two persons ever read the same book.”- Edmund Wilson

King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) Book Review

Psychological and war tactics…that seems about right.

THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE PREVIOUS BOOKS.

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The way Glass Sword ended you can say that the wait has been FREAKIN TORTURE! Mare is held prisoner to Maven, the king. From the last two books it was made extremely clear that Maven was in love with Mare, along with Cal. However, we see that there is a fine line between love and obsession.

This book had me conflicted and I loved that! It wasn’t so black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. In the case of Maven we learn why he is the way that he is and I began to feel some sympathy towards him…just a bit. In all you felt the frustration Mare felt when dealing with her feelings towards him too. She’s held against her will, mentally and physically abused by Samson (Whisper) and forced to act as if she’s with Maven. With all that and everything he’s done he’s someone she trusted and in some moments he acts like his old ways. Could you forgive someone who has caused so much and harmed so many?

The battle between Maven and the Scarlet Guard continues and you see division within the guard too. Some want to fight, others want to flee and Cal wants to get Mare back with no deaths, which causes conflicted already. Cal’s mind in strictly on Mare and her rescue and I found that heart warming! Cal struggles without Mare but ultimately it made they realize their true feelings for each other.

I was surprised to read about Evangeline and again the psychological trauma that the characters deal with and had to deal with that has shaped them into the people they become. You see the impact someone has on someone and it can be either positive or negative.

The book started a bit slow but picked up and held the intensity throughout the book. Even after I finished and read that a movie is now in the works and will be directed by the amazing and talented Elizabeth Banks.

Overall King’s Cage was amazing and I’m eager to see where the characters will end up in the next book (2018) and BEYOND EXCITED to see more news on the movie!

Ready Player One Book Review

When being a total geek is all you need to become a legend and filthy rich.

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The world is bad (relate-able) but instead of progress people escape reality and into the Oasis, a virtual stimulation world used with visors. You can leave the life you are currently living and enter a different one as a different person, a “better version” of yourself. James Halliday, the creator of Oasis, created a game within the game before his death that would give the winner his entire inheritance.

Wade lives for the Oasis. Living in a trailer park with his drug addict aunt and psychotic boyfriend, Wade tries to find a way to escape and the Oasis allows that. Halliday is Wade’s idol and since the announcement of the game, Wade has learned everything there is to know about the creator. Along with everything Halliday ever loved, including favorite movies, games, songs, television shows etc. and in order to win you had to know just that.

The game is designed for the biggest and most loyal fan! The game went on and with no success the game was later theorized as a practical joke by Halliday. Wade, Parzival the name of his avatar continued to search. After 5 years since the game Parzival found the first key to the first game out of three. That sparked the world’s interest once again and the search began again but this time with a price for Wade’s life.

The game had a ton of nostalgic! Dungeons & Dragons, Pac-man, Rush, Blade Runner, Atari 2600, etc. The players had to know everything that Halliday has ever said, wrote, watched and played by heart. Including lines from those things too to help locate the final gate. Wade is a loner and the only friend is someone who he’s never even met in the real world. The game gives him purpose and although he is searching for the first key his expectation is one of denial.

The book was slow and didn’t pick up until more than half way. Thank God for audiobooks! After weeks of still reading the book I had to pick up the audio book to speed up the process and in hopes that I would enjoy it more. The audio book read by Will Wheaton was exactly what I needed and I have to say that if it weren’t for it I probably would have stopped reading it, which is a total fail for me!

Once it finally picked up I was intrigued and found I liked the characters. You were rooting for the under appreciated geeks! Although this was a game you see that if this were to happen in the real world people would act the exact same way and I mean people would go bat shit crazy!

One thing I loved was how I could relate to the dedication Wade and the rest of the players had when memorizing certain things. I know I can recite stuff from movies and shows because I loved them so much and watch them multiple times. It goes to show we are cool humans! This wasn’t because they wanted to find the prize, for most of them anyway, but it was something they enjoyed and made them feel like they belonged.

Overall I liked it and again I give some credit to the audio book as well!

The Woman in Cabin 10 Book Review

This book took me a lot longer than what it should have but it kept me guessing until the end. That’s something at least.

Lo is travel journalist and is about to write a piece on a cruise line named the Aurora. While on board Lo is among photographers, investors, other journalist and business men and women. Lo suffers from anxiety attacks and it doesn’t help when on the trip something goes horribly wrong.

Next to her cabin Lo has a quick encounter with the woman next to her. Lo hears a scream and a splash, as if someone has fallen or has been pushed off the boat, at night. When she investigates she learns that everyone is accounted for. To add to the mystery the woman she meet has never been seen on the boat and the cabin was registered as empty.

The first half started off slow and I found it hard to continue. What did keep me invested was that I still had no idea who was behind the whole incident. That saying a lot considering most stories you can kind of figure out the perpetrator before the ending.

The ending was a surprise, it had twist and turns and the mystery keeps you guessing until the end. It was definitely better than A Dark, Dark Wood and I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a mystery book.

 

Six of Crows Book Review

“No mourners. No funerals.” 


In the Barrel you either steal from others or they’ll bleed you dry. Survive, that is what it’s like to live in a place like the Barrel and Kaz knows all too well. Kaz is asked to complete an impossible rescue mission. The rescue mission is breaking out someone from the most guarded prison known. A drug has been forced on Grisha, people with special abilities, which has caused their powers to triple. Other side effect, they become addicted to the drug after the first use.

Kaz is asked to break into the prison and retrieve the very scientist that created the drug, while not getting caught and thrown into a cell in the process, oh and die of course. Even though Kaz would be receiving a big payout he knows he needs a team and highly qualified to help him pulled this off.

Definitely not a group of friends but more thieves, killers, survivals of the Barrel. The story is told by different members, Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Wylan, and Jesper. All have a story and how they ended up living in poverty.

Each of them have a special skill that they had to learn to stay alive. What I wasn’t expecting was high emotions between the group. You have thieves, gamblers, a Grisha, whose people are looked down about, a known person who no one really knows, a slave and an ex soldier. The group not only have to try to achieve this suicide mission but have to work along side the very person/people they hate.

The beginning and middle was a bit slow for me but I enjoyed Kaz’s and Inej’s weird relationship that it made me want to know more. A pair that works so well together and yet they don’t know each other. Kaz is someone known and not messed with. Other than his reputation his story and even his real name is a mystery. Inej kidnapped, sold and forced to work at a whore house knows that in order to live you want walk in the shadows and get them before they get you.

What I loved was that they woman weren’t damsel in distress! They were kick ass woman! Granted they have issue, but let’s face that’s reality. A group that hate each other, forced to work together for one common goal, freedom. With the money they would get if they full it off would change their shitty lives.

This book took me way too long to finish, granted there were times I couldn’t read but for the most part it didn’t grab me as much as I wanted it to. When I was near the end was when I was finally intrigued.

I will say that because of the way it ended I will pick up Crooked Kingdom, which is the sequel.

As Old As Time Book Review

As you might have seen, I love Beauty and the Beast, so it’s no surprise I was eager to read a retelling of it. The second I read the summary I was intrigued. “What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?” To add more to it, the cover it perfectly.

I thought I would love it because it’s based on one of my favorite Disney movies…I was wrong.

The beginning goes back and forth between Maurice, Belle’s father, and how he meet her mother, and Belle’s present time. The summary and on the cover reveals that the Enchantress that we’re introduced in the beginning of the movie is Belle’s mother. In the book she isn’t the only magical being.

Les Charmantes, people with magical abilities, are being hunted to near extinction. The plague adds more fuel to the already big flame, when people begin to blame the charmantes as the reason people are getting sick. With the kingdom on lock down, the Enchantress aka Belle’s mother, seeks help from the King and Queen, the Beast’s parents, for safety of her people.

The King and Queen only caring about themselves ignore her and the rest of their kingdom. Angry the Enchantress returns to the castle and curses the prince into the Beast as punishment for letting her people die.

Without giving too much away. Even though we know the story, I hope you know the story, the book changes a lot, not just who cursed the beast. What I did like was some of the dialogue was the same of the movie, which I enjoyed. I could visualize the scenes like it was in the movie.

What I dislike enormously was that Belle was made into a sarcastic character that disney movie Belle isn’t. I found that when she would make sarcastic comments I disliked her all together. There was no need to change her when there was nothing wrong with her to bring with.

I continued to love the Beast, which was a relief considering I was being to dislike Belle. The theory of the portrait was a much better one than the one I came up with and I liked it. The story is different and ends in a way I didn’t really like. I loved the Beast and the secondary characters, Cogsworth, Lumiere and Mrs. Potts even more.

I am extremely disappointed it didn’t react my expectations. I bought this book solely on the fact that it was Beauty and the Beast, so I had hope that it wouldn’t disappoint. If I hadn’t thrown away my receipt I would have returned it.