Betrayed: Ruby’s Story Review (Destined #4)

Betrayed: Ruby's Story (Destined, #4)

The Destined series takes a turn from Ella’s family and friends and tells the story of Ruby, a local news reporter. She was determined to figure out who was dealing the drugs that were killing the people in her city one by one. Someone was choosing to prey on the poor and those who had lost everything in the plague by giving them a drug that would “take their problems away.” Ruby wanted to save those in her city, and to do so, she would have to travel outside of the city and do an interview with a member of the Wolf Clan, and finally figure out who has been bringing the drugs into the city.

This story started a bit slowly than the other books in this series, but it sped up around halfway through. Ruby spends the first part of the story lost in the woods as she tries to find her way to the Wolf Clan, and she meets a mysterious figure there who gives her help along her journey. This Wolf refuses to trust her, but he also won’t leave her outside the city limits to die on her own. Once Ruby reaches the city, she learned more and more about the Clan, the drug dealing, and the truth behind her city.

This was the only story in this series where I didn’t quite agree with the pairing. I did not think that the Wolf and Ruby were a good match for one another, even though it was painfully clear from the beginning of the story that they were supposed to be. I wanted Ruby to be with someone as passionate about their craft as she was passionate about her journalism, and although Wolf was passionate about his Clan, it did not seem equal. I just didn’t connect with Wolf much, but it could be just me!

Overall, this was unfortunately probably my least favorite book so far in the series, but that doesn’t mean much because I have given every other book a perfect rating! I still quite enjoyed this one, even if I didn’t love it as much as the others. I can’t wait to see how Ruby, this unique and ambitious character, will be included in the future books of this series.

I would recommend this book series to anyone looking for a unique fairy-tale retelling series full of action, adventure, and romance.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books.

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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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The Cold is In Her Bones Blog Tour Plus Review

the cold is in her bonesAge Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 – 9
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (January 22, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481488449
ISBN-13: 978-1481488440

Praise for THE COLD IS IN HER BONES

“A dark and enchanting tale about friendship, pain, revenge, and the power of love, The Cold Is in Her Bones is the perfect read for Greek mythology fans and YA readers alike.” ―Bustle

“Fiercely written and beautifully feminist, The Cold is in Her Bones reminds us of the power of loyalty and love in the face of ignorance and fear. I loved this tale of dangerous girls with wild hair and tangled hearts.” ―Lisa Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Magician

“A fresh, eerily compelling tale of betrayal, revenge, and the ties that bind. When van Arsdale paints a world, you can feel the fog against your skin.” ―Elly Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Frostblood Saga

One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

Suspenseful and vividly imagined, The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.

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This novel tells the story of a curse and a family. It opens with an almost Cinderella-like story where a mother hated the older daughter and constantly doted on the younger one. Nothing that Hulda ever did would please her mother, and she barely remembers the last time that her mother showed her any affection. Her mother would brush her sister’s hair for hours while she forced Hulda to do chores. Hulda found out that she could talk to snakes with some sort of secret language, and snakes became her friends.
I wasn’t that impressed with Hulda honestly, there was no real explanation of why certain things happen. I won’t spoil anything, but it had a lot to do with demons and stuff, and it was confusing as to what was really happening. Then you see the curse, and the book truly starts to pick up the pace.
As I was introduced to Milla, I was immediately intrigued. The curse had been on the village for what seemed to be a while by the time she was born, and she had grown up putting salt by windows and doors to keep the demons away. Children were being possessed by demons, and if you were taken to “The Place,” you were never going to return. Girls in the village lived in fear, and Milla was forbidden from seeing them. The only friend she had was her brother, and eventually, even he grew up. He wanted to be married and have a proper life, and his parents were ready to prepare him for that. Milla was going to lose her only companion, until Iris shows up. Milla instantly knows that they were meant to meet, she knows that Iris was meant to be her friend. Then when Iris is possessed and begs Milla to keep her from having to go to the Place against her will.
Milla and Iris are truly great friends from the start. Something was always a bit off about Iris, but something was just a bit off about this whole story. Arsdale is a great storyteller, and she builds an atmosphere of dread throughout the entire book. Why did Milla’s family live outside the village? Why couldn’t Milla have any friends? Why did putting salt down stop demons from coming into your house? All these simple things just made you feel like something wasn’t right until the truth is revealed. I won’t spoil it, but it definitely surprised me! I instantly went from being like “this book is pretty good” to saying “wow I am loving this book!”
I would definitely recommend this suspenseful read to anyone looking for a new fantasy novel to read. I would warn you though, some scenes can be a little gross or disturbing. As long as you aren’t easily creeped out by things, you should be able to make it through this read. I did, and I’m pretty weak when it comes to unnatural stuff.
I received an advance copy of this book and this is my honest review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books
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WEEK ONE

JANUARY 22nd TUESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW
JANUARY 22nd TUESDAY The Avid Reader EXCERPT
JANUARY 23rd WEDNESDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW & INTERVIEW
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JANUARY 24th THURSDAY Bibliobibuli YA INTERVIEW
JANUARY 24th THURSDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW
JANUARY 25th FRIDAY Wishful Endings REVIEW
JANUARY 25th FRIDAY Book Birds INTERVIEW
JANUARY 26th SATURDAY Casia’s Corner REVIEW
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WEEK TWO
JANUARY 27th SUNDAY Nay’s Pink Bookshelf REVIEW
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JANUARY 28th MONDAY Here’s to Happy Endings REVIEW
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JANUARY 30th WEDNESDAY Ohana Reads REVIEW & EXCERPT
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The Orphan’s Wish

The Orphan's Wish (Hagenheim, #8)Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, faraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father who is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break.

Even as a child, Aladdin works hard, learning all he can from his teachers. Through his integrity, intelligence, and sheer tenacity, he earns a position serving as the duke’s steward. But that isn’t enough to erase the shame of being forced to steal as a small child—or the fact that he’s an orphan with no status. If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune.

Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save her from unexpected danger. But will saving Kirstyn cost Aladdin his newfound status and everything he’s worked so hard to obtain?

I have never read an Aladdin retelling quite like this. Aladdin was an orphan who was rescued by Kirstyn’s family, and the two are raised together. They go on many adventures as they are children, but then Aladdin wants to make a life for himself rather than staying under Kirstyn’s family. A little while after he leaves, Kirstyn is found in an extremely dangerous situation, and it may be up to Aladdin to save her life.

This was an amazing romance story/fairy tale retelling. I honestly couldn’t remember much about this novel when I did read it a few months after plucking it from NetGalley, so I was in for a sweet, sweet surprise. Everything flowed smoothly and there was just enough suspense to back up the more typical historical fantasy parts of the story. I fell in love with their romance and wanted for them to be able to get their happily ever after.

There were no editing errors in this advanced copy of the book, and the plot moved quite smoothly. The story was not short but I did not feel like it took me ages to finish reading it. I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading it!

My favorite thing about this novel was the character development. We go to see Aladdin and Kirstyn grow from small children to capable adults who happened to fall in love with one another. They connected in a way that people around them just couldn’t understand, but their relationship did go through several stages as they got older. They weren’t born falling in love with each other, it was a process. I was just happy that the author showed a healthy boy/girl friendship before they became an official couple.

I really have nothing to complain about with this story! It was just such an enjoyable read, and I would definitely recommend it to people who like fantasy-romance stories and fairy tale retellings.

I received an advance copy of this book, and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars