Roseblood by A.G. Howard

28818314Title: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard

Publisher: Amulet Books
Published Date: January 10, 2017

Buy Link: http://a.co/40XXFxw

Blurb: In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

My Review:  Roseblood was an unexpected surprise in January’s Owlcrate.  I mean, they give you hints about what you’ll be getting and I knew it was going to be a classic retelling, but from some of the teasers I was thinking it would be a ‘classic retelling’ in the vein of Pride and Prejudice or something of that nature.  I never in a million years would have guessed that it was going to be a Phantom of the Opera retelling!!!  I hadn’t even imagined one existed….now I’m wondering about others.

First, let me tell you, I’ve seen Phantom of the Opera…and it is by far my favorite musical ever.  I love everything about it.  And like the rest of the world, I was taken by the Phantom.  I love the music.  I own the movie version with Gerard Butler (and will be watching it again sometime soon).  And I truly loved being surprised by this book!

What I Loved:  This book wasn’t so much a re-telling as it was a world built off the original story.  I loved the pace set by this book.  I felt like the elements of the whole story were revealed perfectly, and it flowed quite nicely.  The setting, the characters, the story, all of it kept me captivated.  There were no mention of the actual musical’s songs or dances, the book still brought to memory my theater experience.  I enjoyed that.  As I said, this wasn’t a re-telling exactly, but there were scenes included that well-enough reflect the story we all know.

The romance between Rune and Thorn was so sweet and beautiful.  There are underlying layers to their relationship, things that in real life (or at least ME in real life)  would have had a hard time just simply accepting; Rune does accept easily, however the pacing of the relationship was still just right.  And without a touch of ‘unsavory events’ this couple still made my heart beat faster and me sigh with that contentment you get when reading about first love.

Not So Much:  There were a few holes in my opinion.  Or maybe not holes, but places where at first Rune was completely oblivious about things, and then suddenly she is completely in the know using terminology that she shouldn’t quite understand (as far as I could tell).  I don’t know if I missed something while reading, or if it was supposed to be in those gap-times where the characters do spend time together but it’s not written in the book in detail…however I did think, ‘wait…how did she know that, or come to that?’

The Verdict:  I loved this book!  There’s not much more to it than that.  It’s a clean read, I would let my 11 year old daughter read it if she wanted to.  (And she would LOOVE Diablo, the opera cat, if she did).

Book Review: It Started With Goodbye – Christina June

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publishing: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Blink/HarperCollins
Pre-Order: https://amzn.com/B01HAKH5LY


A beautiful cover, a blurb that boasts a modern Cinderella story; is it any surprise that I was drawn to It Started With Goodbye right away?

What I Loved: I adore the fact that, for the first time since Cinder and Ella (yet, another Cinderella story) I was sucked into a story so deeply that it took me less than 24 hours to read it. …well, it isn’t a 500 page book, so there’s that, but you get my point. It feels like it’s been a while since I was plunged into a book like that.

I enjoyed Tatum’s character a lot, and watching how she was going to handle and come through her particular predicament. She was being blamed for something that wasn’t her fault, and being punished rather harshly at that. I enjoyed how she came up with ways of overcoming this punishment, sometimes with just a positive attitude. Then even when there were times when she was being rebellious, she still managed to be honorable in her thoughts, and ultimately her actions as well. It made me like her that much more.

Of course there has to be a Prince Charming! True to the Cinderella story, we don’t really ‘see’ him too much, but I did enjoy how their relationship formed and bloomed throughout the story.

Throughout the book there was an overlying theme of misconceptions and hurts – you can trace it back through several of the characters. It was nice to see how some of these things played out and when the truth was revealed or the characters let go of their own hurt to view things from another perspective, things were made right.

Not So Much: I think one of the things I wish would have worked out a bit differently was the end when Tatum finally got to really talk to her parents. I felt like this was glossed over a bit. There seemed to be a lot of long lasting hurt feelings, however only the surface was scratched on the depth of the rejection and loneliness that Tate was going through.

The Verdict: It is always fun to read modernized fairytales. They are predictable, of course, but I love being swept up into the story while at the same time knowing how things are probably going to end anyway. It Started With Goodbye had me hooked from the very beginning. I recommend this book for teenager of all ages, and again I have suggested to my 11 year old daughter that she may like the book – so you know it’s clean!

I received a copy if It Started With Goodbye from Blink in exchange for an honest review. I have received no other compensation, other than the joy of reading, for my opinion.

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Book Review: My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B015CYCHNQ

Another winner that I got from Owlcrate – which if you’ve never heard of I encourage you to look up! Owlcrate is one of those monthly boxes where not only do you get a book every month, but also book related goodies in the form of things like jewelry, art, and/or bookmarks. I purchased two, myself, and loved both of them. The boxes are $30 each, plus shipping, and are a lovely treat if you’re able to do it!

What I Loved: This book was full of humor, both from the characters as well as the narrators, aka the authors, who interject their commentary now and then. It is a very light hearted read, but also an entertaining story. My favorite character is probably King Edward’s grandma – who had wonderfully witty, elder-ish type things to say. The entire cast was perfect though.

The relationship between Jane and Gifford was so fun! They had a rocky start full of miscommunication and half-truths, however they always fell back to their friendly, if not flirtatious, banter and self consciousness (from both sides).

All humor aspects of this book aside (and there is plenty…I mean, many of these characters turn into animals…so yeah), there is a great story-line here too. Just like any book involving the royal court, there are game players, and tyrant leaders, and of course kingdoms usurpers.

Not so Much: I loved this story, but I do kind of wish there were a few surprises sprinkled in. I was pretty much able to predict, or make a pretty logical guess about what was going to happen the entire way through. It did take me a while to finish this book – MOSTLY because I’m busy, and the kids are going back to school, etc., etc., but partly I think it also had to do with not being completely sucked in – no mystery or something like that.

The Verdict: I’ve given this book 5 stars. It was very well written, and entertaining. Extremely age appropriate. In fact, I’ve recommended that my 11 year old daughter pick it up, as I believe she will really enjoy it (even if they use the word “consummate” **gasp** 😉 ).

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Book Review: Everland by Wendy Spinale

Everland by Wendy Spinale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B015QMBYD8

I received Everland in the May Steampunk Owlcrate. I decided I wanted the box because of the advertised Infernal Devices inclusion in the box. I was extremely excited to discover the book was a steampunk version of Peter Pan, as (if you read my reviews you already know) I’ve been reading a lot of Peter Pan retells lately.

What I Loved: This wasn’t so much a retelling of Peter Pan as it was a reimaging. All of our favorite characters, and their personalities were present and accounted for. I really enjoyed that about this book – it was it’s own story throughout the entire book, but it was also very much Peter Pan!

In some of the retellings I’ve read lately, Peter is cast as the bad guy while Hook is really our hero – in this book the characters are put back into their rightful places, and Pete was perfect and made me fall in love with the kid Peter Pan was, but also with the teenager and guardian he was in this rendition. He was playful and sarcastic yet he bore the weight of burden but not without its scars.

It was awesome that this was steampunked. I’ve read a few steampunk books, but I think I like this one the best so far. And Pete’s tattoo…I really would love to see that for real. However the best steampunk element was most certainly Belle’s wings!

Not So Much: Truthfully, Hook was completely unstable in this book, but I was sort of confounded by this character. At times I felt like he wasn’t really such a bad person, other times he was the worst. I kind of felt like the two sides didn’t come together very well, but perhaps that is as it should be when someone isn’t quite right in the head.

I also would have loved to have had an Epilogue of this book. It was pretty well wrapped up, but not completely…..aaaaand as I was typing this I looked it up, and it appears that this is a series. Now I’m really wondering where this is going to go…..

The Verdict:
This is my favorite Peter Pan Retelling so far. I loved it. I loved the setting, and the characters. I do want more and am very intrigued to know how this is going to be as a series. Hopefully it does not disappoint.

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