Twisted: Belle's Story Review (Destined #3)

Twisted: Belle's Story (Destined, #3)

Belle was in Ella’s story as one of the privileged students at the Royal Academy. She was also hurt in the attacks, but her family had the money to actually fully heal her. At least, that is the story told in Fated, Ella’s story.

The truth is that Belle was only pretending to act like a stuck-up privileged student to try to bring down her abusive father. She hates her father and was looking into his finances at the bank to see why her family stayed rich during the plague when all the other families took a financial hit. She thinks that she is onto something when the attack happens, and, and the brain damage she gets from the blast causes her to lose part of her memory. Her father refuses to let a healer heal her fully, and chooses to threaten her into submission. Without complete memory of what she was trying to achieve and who she was close to, Belle also has to deal with the prince trying to hit on her. He seems rather close to her, but she can’t even remember why.

I didn’t like Belle in Fated very much, but she only showed up for a brief moment. I wasn’t sure what to expect in a book that would be completely about her, but I knew that I wanted to finish the series. This book was a pleasant surprise.

Belle wasn’t as stuck up as I originally thought she was. She was only acting rude to Ella in order to make her father believe that she was on his side. Everything she did was an act to keep her father on her side, even though she was working against him. I was so sad when she lost her memories, she had been doing so well and was so close to her goal and then everything disappeared before her eyes because of the memory loss. She was one of the strongest “rich girl” characters that I have ever read in a story before, so I hope to see more of her in the books to come.

The only small complaint I had about this story was how much time Belle spent confused. It was kind of annoying after a while as a reader from Belle’s POV to know what she was supposed to be doing, and still see her wandering around, confused and in pain from her unhealed injury. I was only frustrated for a small amount of the book, but it was worth mentioning.

Another thing worth mentioning was that I couldn’t see much of the chemistry between the prince and Belle. They were an okay couple, but I didn’t love them as much as the couples in the previous two books. Overall, I think that this book would rank at the bottom of the books in this series, but because the series is so good, I think it is still a 4 star read.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new Beauty and the Beast retelling.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

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Hidden: Rapunzel's Story Review (Destined #2)

Hidden: Rapunzel's Story (Destined, #2)

Zel is a mage with the Touch. If she touches someone, she can drain the life out of them. She has been under the control of an evil witch for years, and she can’t leave because the witch holds her True Name. Anything her mistress tells her to do, she has to do it. Every time she tries to escape she is caught and punished for it. When she isn’t trapped in her Tower, she is forced to murder people at her mistress’ demands.

When a man randomly climbs up to her tower, Zel knows she will be punished when he is found. But she just can’t force him to go away when he is willing to help her. No one has shown her kindness in years, but he wants to help her escape.

I have to be honest, I never felt much towards the Rapunzel story as a child. It was one of my least favorite tales, some girl up in a castle all her life and then BAM prince to take her away. I didn’t even like Tangled when it came out! But I definitely gained a fondness for the story after reading this retelling of the book.

Zel can take care of herself, and she would leave the castle if her mistress ever gave the chance. She has tried to escape multiple times, but she just can’t break free of her true name being used. The man who comes into her castle can help her create a plan to escape, but she still has to be the one to do it herself. She has to be able to build up the strength to fight back. She has to think of herself as worthy of being saved before she can save herself. Eventually, the man isn’t even helping her to escape much, but instead he is more like the princess in the castle, waiting for Zel to return from another one of her expeditions.

This book also explains a lot of the things that made Zel act the way she did in Fated. I never really understood why Zel was so scared of being caught at the bakery, but once you see her body count in Hidden, you know the danger. There are entire clans after Zel who would want to do to her family what she did to theirs, they do not care that Zel wasn’t even in control of her body as she killed people.

This book moved smoothly, and I was excited to keep reading as I was in the thick of it. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Zel next, and I finished both books 2 and 3 in the same day while commuting to work! This Destined series will draw you in and will not let you go until you hear the stories of all these girls.

I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a new fairytale retelling series.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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Fated: Cinderella's Story Review (Destined #1)

Fated: Cinderella's Story (Destined, #1)

Ella is the only non-mage in her household. Her stepmother Zel has to stay hidden because she is a powerful mage. She was under the control of someone who held her True Name and was forced to kill many with her powers in the past, so she has many enemies. Now that Zel has two twin daughters who are also mages, she has to make sure that she and her girls stay hidden. If Zel is arrested, the family will be torn apart. So Ella does all in her power to keep the bakery running to support her family. She is also studying at the Royal Academy to try to get a better job to move her family out of the small apartment at the bakery. A mage named Weslan shows up at the bakery looking for protection, and his staying at the bakery threatens Ella’s family’s safety. When a bomb goes off during her final exam and she is hurt, her chance for graduation goes out the window. Ella has to pick up the pieces of her life and find a new way to protect her family.

I have run this blog for 3 years now, and I have read countless fairytales and fairytale retellings throughout my entire life. Something just always draws me to these stories of love and fantasy. I can say, hands down, that this is the best fairy tale retelling series I have ever read. At first I was thinking it would be second only to Court of Thorns and Roses, but the other books in this series continued the fairy tale retelling theme, and it quickly bumped its way up to first place for that category.

Ella isn’t your typical Cinderalla. Zel isn’t cruel to her. She isn’t forced to work for her stepsisters. She does all the work that she does simply because she loves her family and would do anything for them. She wants to get a job by graduating from the Royal Academy so that they can live more comfortably. She would work every day that she lived if it meant that they were safe, and she wouldn’t let anyone get in between her and her family. This is what made her so admirable to me. Family came first, in everything, and she was willing to work hard to keep them safe, even if it stressed her out.

I would also say that this fairy tale retelling deviates some from the original story, which I enjoyed a lot. There is an entire story about Mages versus those with no powers. Those who hold the True names of mages can force them to do their bidding, which means that the Mage population is greatly oppressed in this world. This story is woven delicately in and out of the original Cinderella tale, to make a unique and powerful one of its own. This is what made it my favorite fairytale retelling of all time, and that’s how this book dragged me out of my reading slump.

This story flows perfectly from scene to scene. I don’t believe that the POV ever shifted from Ella, but if it did, it wasn’t confusing in any way and fit right into the rest of the story. There were no dead points in the story or characters that I found to be irritating, so everything made for a very pleasant read.

I won’t spoil anything else as this book was a quick read for me and I don’t want to give any major plot points away. I would recommend this series to anyone who loves fantasy novels or who wants to read a fairytale retelling. This entire series is free through Kindle Unlimited, and book 6 is coming out this year, so I am extra excited to see what Kaylin Lee has in store!

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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Let It Be Me Review (Love Unexpected #1)

Let it Be Me (Love Unexpected #1)

Megan has been a live-in nanny for Adam’s son Charlie for 5 years. She dreams of being a teacher, and she has been trying to find another job for years. When she finally gets the job she wants, she wants to help Adam make sure that Charlie has a good nanny. Someone who actually cares about him and won’t leave him again like his mother left him.

But Adam doesn’t think that a nanny is good enough, he wants a wife who will actually be committed to staying with him and his son. Now, Megan has to work as a matchmaker to find Adam a woman who will fit both him and his son. Adam thinks that he can just find a wife like a business transaction, a situation that will just be mutually convenient for both himself and the woman. Megan knows that in order for Charlie to have a good childhood, there needs to be love in the home. Now, she just has to prove to Adam that she is right.

I have read quite a few boss-employee romances before, but this one was extra special because there was a child involved. Charlie’s childhood was at stake here, as his dad couldn’t be there for him when he was overworking himself in his office job. Without a nanny, no one would be there to supervise and care for Charlie as he grew. Charlie was already feeling isolated because his dad was always busy with work; losing Megan would be devastating for him. Megan is hurt when Adam just wants to marry as a business transaction and not for love, so she could just try to set Adam up with anyone to hurt him. But instead, she actually cares and tries to find Adam a good match for Charlie’s sake.

The only thing that bothered me slightly about this book was how it woudld drag on and on sometimes. I would get tired of seeing Adam and Megan stuck in the same spot chapter after chapter. They could both tell their feelings for each other were real, but by the middle of the book they kept dancing around the subject. Eventually I just wanted them to either part ways or get together, as I didn’t think they wer a good match. Then things changed and I was back on the Alex x Megan train.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new adult family romance novel.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

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Lady Charlotte's Dilemma Review

Lady Charlotte's Dilemma

Lady Charlotte accidentally gets turned into a vampire by Bess, a former prostitute who was turned into a vampire several quite some years before. The story alternates between the points of view and Charlotte and Bess. Bess had a very interesting life as she used to be on the streets of the city during the Elizabethen era before she was turned into an immortal vampire. Charlotte was a rule-following lady who just wanted to be happy and live a good life in society before she was turned into a vampire. Now, she wants to eat, but how will she find someone to drink from as a vampire without throwing away the values she has held dear for so many years.

I was truly looking forward to this historical fantasy/fiction mixture of a wonderful vampire tale. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it half as much as I thought I would.

I didn’t feel as if I could connect with the characters. I felt as if Bess was shallow. Although she had several seemingly deep conversations with the man who had turned her, I felt like I didn’t get to know her as a character. We jump right from her being a older teenaged girl on the streets to being an old vampire who accidentally turned Charlotte. The way the points of view kept switching back and forth, I feel like I wasn’t able to learn enough about either character.

Charlotte was a good girl, but she seemed boring. Every single time I thought she was going to drink from a human and step away from society’s expectations of who she was supposed to be, she backed off and tried to go a different route.

The pacing of the story was also a bit off. I was moving through the story for the first 100 or so pages, but by the time I got to the middle, I felt like the story slowed down to a crawl. I struggled to finish the book, and this could have fueled why I didn’t feel connected to the characters.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone looking for a historical fiction novel or a fantasy vampire novel.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 books

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Bri's Favorite Holiday Things

Happy Holidays everyone! I love the holiday season, but I haven’t actually had the time to read many holiday-themed books this year. So here is a list of a few of my favorite holiday books, movies, video game events, and snacks!

Favorite All-Time Christmas Book

The Christmas Doll

This book is about two young orphans who work in a workhouse in London, and who escape to the streets after a fever sickens many of the girls. They loved a doll that was in the window of a nearby shop for months as they worked, and they soon find a doll that looks similar on the streets where they now live.

I recieved this book many years ago for Christmas, and I loved it when I read it. I can’t remember too much about it, but I am planning on rereading it soon and giving it a full review on here, hopefully before Christmas this year.

Favorite Recent Christmas Book

The Wish of Xmas Present: A Christmas Romance  (The Styles of Love, #2)

I don’t read a lot of Christmas books, and when I do read Christmas books, I rarely read Christmas romance novels. I find that they tend to be simply romance books with a tree or two, and then they call it a Christmas story. This is the second book in a series about two college professors falling for one another, and it revolves around the two and their relationships with their family. This was what truly made it a Christmas book for me, the focus on family and how that tied in with their overall relationship. If you would like to read my full review of this novel, please click here.

Favorite All-Time Christmas Movie

Image result for new york city ballet the nutcracker movie

Alright so I cheated a little bit here. My favorite Christmas “movie” is actually a ballet called The Nutcracker. Technically it has been made into a film several times or the actual ballets have been recorded and distributed as a film, so it counts to me! I personally used to take ballet lessons in elementary school and I performed in the Nutcracker at 8 years old as a soldier, so the Nutcracker will always put me in the Christmas spirit. The Nutcracker, for those who don’t know, is a ballet about a young girl named Clara who receives a nutcracker as a Christmas gift from her godfather. At night, when Clara goes to check on her new gift, she is swept away to a magical land full of evil mice, soldiers, and a handsome prince.

Favorite Recent Christmas Movie

Image result for christmas nanny princess movie

I’m not that big on Hallmark movies. I find them to be pretty boring and repetitive personally. But I don’t have a problem sitting down and watching them with my family when the Christmas season comes around. This Thanksgiving, we ended up watching this movie together, and I really enjoyed it. It is about a woman named Allie who is fired from her job as a maid in a hotel in NYC and is hired to be a governess for a princess in Europe. She takes the job because she needs to send money to her sister and brother who are still in school / looking for work, but when she gets there, she thinks that she is definitely the wrong fit for the job. Even though this movie was just as cheesy as other Hallmark films, I still enjoyed it a lot.

Favorite All-Time Holiday Game Event

Image result for buildabearville north pole

I loved Build A Bear Ville as a kid, and this is still probably my favorite Holiday Themed video game event of all time. I still remember waiting on Thanksgiving for Bearville to drop the holiday update so that I could get on with my little sister and we could skate our characters around the Ice Skating Rink while watching Hal and Holly movie that the company had released. I would also spend hours in the Mrs’ Claus cafe buying all the Christmas themed food items that I would sip on all year until the next Christmas so that I would never run out. This game, albeit simple, was probably one of my favorite games of all time because of all the fun childhood memories.

Favorite Recent Holiday Game Event

Image result for maplestory 2 christmas event

Maplestory 2 is such a cute MMO that I love to play, and their new Kritias expansion is a perfect mixture of holiday cheer with a serious game expansion. This expansion has added a whole new map to the game and increased the level cap from 70 to 99, but it has also added an area called Happy Kritias that is completely decked out for the holidays. I wish that there was a cool mount like last year, but I don’t know if that will be available to unlock yet. I am definitely going to be spending a lot of time in Maplestory 2 in between streaming and finishing Darksiders 3. Follow me on Twitch to catch my streams!

Favorite Recent Holiday Snack

Image result for clancy's pretzel stars

I love Aldi, I love minty chocolate things, and I love pretzels. This perfect mix of sweet, salty, chocolatey, and minty, I just can’t stop eating them. Perfect movie snack!

I hope you all are having a good week, let me know in the comments what some of your favorite holiday things are. Thanks for reading!