Oct 25, 2021

ARC Review--Gilded by Marissa Meyer

 

Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times-bestselling author, returns to the fairytale world with this haunting retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.

Long ago cursed by the god of lies, a poor miller's daughter has developed a talent for spinning stories that are fantastical and spellbinding and entirely untrue.

Or so everyone believes.

When one of Serilda's outlandish tales draws the attention of the sinister Erlking and his undead hunters, she finds herself swept away into a grim world where ghouls and phantoms prowl the earth and hollow-eyed ravens track her every move. The king orders Serilda to complete the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, or be killed for telling falsehoods. In her desperation, Serilda unwittingly summons a mysterious boy to her aid. He agrees to help her… for a price. Love isn't meant to be part of the bargain.

Soon Serilda realizes that there is more than one secret hidden in the castle walls, including an ancient curse that must be broken if she hopes to end the tyranny of the king and his wild hunt forever.

 

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

 

Marissa Meyer returns to the world of fairy tales with her latest retelling, Gilded. If you thought you knew the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin, think again! In true Marissa fashion, she takes the story to whole new level, while still giving the nods to the original classic.

Serilda was gifted by the gods with the art of storytelling and she was also gifted with wheel spokes in her eyes. It makes looking her in the eye a little startling for her fellow villagers, so she’s naturally an outcast. Her only friends are the small children she helps to teach at the school. Then one night she finds herself helping out some faery creatures to hide from the Erlking who is out on the Hunt. When he confronts her, she conjures up a story to explain her present that eventually leads her to say that she can spin straw into gold.

Now if you know your fairy tales, you know that this king now wants Serilda to perform this very task for him. But he’s one of fae, so basically in this world, he’s pure evil. And he really is the villain of the story. When Serilda realizes what her storytelling has gotten her into and that her very life was on the line, she’s in despair. You have to give her props for literally trying to spin the straw into gold though and it’s then that a boy around her age magically appears. He says he can help her…for a price.

The boy calls himself Gild, he’s been a prisoner of the castle that magically appears every full moon for years now that he can’t remember anything from before. Gild is able to turn straw into gold but as he explains to Serilda, all magic comes with a price. He’s not the nefarious creature that we know from the original tale and I really liked this spin that Marissa took with his character.

This story was dark you guys, really dark. It’s not for the faint of heart. As with each passing moon Serilda tries to escape the Erlking’s grasp but fails and that only makes him angry and he’s not the type you want angry. There are other faery like creatures in this world as well, some are deadly, some are dangerous, and some are something else entirely. But you can definitely feel the fairy tale vibes in the air in this story, the original ones that were dark and gloomy and not meant for little ears.

Naturally, there is a bit of romance brewing between Gild and Serilda. Serilda has never really had luck in the romance area because of her eyes, friendships weren’t easy too. So seeing her develop feelings for this mysterious boy was sweet and endearing and to see Gild returning the affections. They are a lot alike in that way.

There is another bit of mystery going on behind the scenes in this one that involves the castle that magically appears every night of the Hunt. It’s one that involves the previous owners and what happened to them as there are gravestones nearby that are without names. The mystery doesn’t take up too much attention but it’s still there and it makes you curious as to how it will tie back into the current events.

I really enjoyed this retelling! Rumpelstiltskin isn’t one of your more popular fairy tales to choose in retellings as everyone is for the “princess” stories so I liked that Marissa picked one of the lesser known ones. Gilded is a dark and harrowing retelling of the classic Grimm tale that will leave you enchanted and needing more! The fairy tale retelling genre is one that needs to be built up more in my opinion! There are so many possibilities waiting in the tales of old and Gilded is one you will want to re-read again and again!

 

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

 

Gilded releases November 2, 2021

 

 

 


 

 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.

 

Last Week I Read:

 

Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin (5 stars)
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (4.5 stars)



Currently Reading:

The Toll by Neal Shusterman



What I Plan to Read Next:

Go the Distance by Jen Calonita



Other Posts of Interest:

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays
Can't Wait Wednesday
Random Thursday
Book Blogger Hop
Let's Discuss: Morally Grey Villains vs Villains
Creeptastic Giveaway Winner!!
Stacking the Shelves

 

 

 


 

Oct 24, 2021

Stacking the Shelves

 

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks! The meme is now hosted by Reading Reality.

 

Well, the weather is starting to dip into fall finally, and I feel a head cold coming on. Right now it's not much of anything. My head feels spacey mostly with a maybe tickle in the throat, but I feel like it's the onset of a cold. I've been taking some Zicam to "shorten" the cold and will likely take cold medicine tonight to help knock me out and hopefully knock the cold out before it can take effect.


Here's what I bought:


One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon--signed! I didn't realize this was a local author until I stopped in my local indie store. She was signing copies of her new series so I decided to get the first book. Though oddly, she didn't sign her name, just wrote my name and Happy Halloween. Oh well!
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles--Owl Crate edition!
 
 
 
Then I found this bookmark while in my bookstore as well and thought it was cute so I bought it!
 
 


Then I bought another book sleeve...again. But it was Scooby, and Halloween, and it had a zipper and I thought I ought to give the small size a try too!





Then I also got my preorder gifts for Little Thieves:



THANK YOU Henry, Holt & Co!


Then I got this box last week but forgot to take a picture of it! My Gods & Monsters Mini Hangover box from Fae Crate!




And that was it for me this week! What did you get?











Oct 23, 2021

Creeptastic Giveaway Winner!!

 

Hey all! It's time to announce the winner of my annual Creeptastic Giveaway! Let's get to it!

The winner is...

GABRIELLY!

 

Congrats! I've contacted the winner and they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or else a new winner will be chosen. Thanks again to everyone who entered! This is my favorite giveaway to do every year and I'm glad people can still find it here since the Hop I used to join no longer does it.






Oct 22, 2021

Let's Discuss: Morally Gray Villains vs Villains

 

What prompted today's discussion was when I received a special edition book box that had an item that was directly related to the villain of the story. And I found, I didn't care for it, as I didn't like this villain. Which then had me thinking how do we get to the point where we like our villains? Sure some are morally grey, but others are straight up villainous!


Morally Gray Villains vs Villains


So there's always that villain that will pop up who's actions are questionable. Are they truly villainous? Sure they might be self-serving at times, but in the end...are they really that bad? One character that comes to mine is Jagger from Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series. Yes, he wasn't a hero whatsoever. In fact, I think he was the nemesis to Allie. But we all know how he turned out in the end. He wasn't a prince by any means but he didn't reign evil supreme either.

I'd bring up Leigh Bardugo's The Darkling...but yeah. He's a whole other bag! So many people fall on one side of the love him or kill him stance.

Then you have your villains like Rachel Vincent's Malone, yeah, I'm going totally old school here. Many of you might not have read her Werecats series, it was awesome by the way and it was the catalyst that had this blog come into creation! Hence my choice! Malone was a downright evil and vindictive character. There was zero redeeming qualities about this guy. I just hated him.

But I don't understand when you have a character that is so deplorable...why would you make a specific item of that character? Memorializing them so to speak. I don't know. I know all readers have their different tastes when it comes to books and even the characters within those books. I mean, I remember seeing great divisions when it came a handful of "teams" in YA books. Which guy will the heroine choose...because it was always a girl with two guys she had to pick between. So I guess I can see some readers loving that heinous villain. I just don't.

To me, when you have that downright evil villain with no redeeming qualities...I just don't like them. I want to see them get their comeuppance in the books. I don't necessarily want to have merch that basically shows a kind of pride in representing the series.

 

What are your thoughts when it comes to the true villains of the story vs the morally gray villains who might not actually be villains at all?







Book Blogger Hop

 

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
 
 
 
This week's question is: Would you ever consider dressing up as a book character? If so, which one? (submitted by Julie @ JadeSky)
 
 
 
MY ANSWER: Yes! Though who it would be is the question. I honestly can't decide. If I would choose a beloved favorite, a more recent favorite. At one point I did want to dress as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I know, a Disney movie, not a book! 










Oct 21, 2021

Review--Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

 

HUMANS LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES.

I CANNOT.

I MAKE NO MISTAKES.

 

The Thunderhead is the perfect ruler of a perfect world, but it has no control over the scythedom. A year has passed since Rowan has gone off the grid. Since then he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent. 

As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the "new order." But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

In the thrilling sequel to Printz Honor Book Scythe, old foes and new enemies converge. And as corruption within the scythedom spreads, Rowan and Citra begin to lose hope. Will the Thunderhead intervene?

Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?


I dove headfirst into yet another series I've been meaning to finish and chose Neal Shusterman's Thunderhead! It's been awhile since I read Scythe, but thankfully to some book recaps I was able to get the gist of what happened before and my memory was triggered a bit too. Some things didn't come back as easily, such as some of the other characters who were present in this book. I couldn't readily recall all of them and vaguely wondered if they were in Scythe or if they were "new," so to speak. Thunderhead does present a very realistic sounding future in the times ahead, one that could either be breathtaking or horrifying...

It's been a year since the events of the first book, Citra has been training with Scythe Marie Curie on how to conduct herself. Though Citra has taken on a new stance of being a Scythe, instead of gleaning people when it was time, she is giving them a month to settle their affairs and then they get to choose the way that they will die. She is still getting her work done overall, but it's definitely raising a few eyebrows.

Meanwhile, Rowan is living in secret since he was supposed to be glean a year ago. Instead of living in the shadows, he has taken on a new role for himself. More of the traditional reaper. He is going after the Scythes who enjoy the killings they do. Scythes who are essentially like Goddard, the Scythe that was teaching Rowan before Rowan killed him too.

We also get glimpses of other characters, such as Tyger, who was Rowan's best friend who is been given an opportunity of a lifetime...in Texas. In this world, Texas is something of a free territory, one which the Thunderhead doesn't get too involved in. Just about anything goes in Texas. We also meet Grayson, a young man who is eager to begin his schooling to one day become a Nimbus agent. Instead, life has a new plan for him. One that will involve an entirely different course for his life.

Something ultimately SHOCKING happens in this book. I won't say what since it was a pretty big deal even if it happens in the first 1/3 or so of the book. It was a game-changer. It's why I never accept a certain occurrence that happens in books until the series is done, because in fantasy, you never truly know...and that's all I'll say on that! It was truly shocking though and to learn the manner of how and why...game-changer!

I was also a bit tickled to see Citra and Marie visit the city of Fulcrum, which once went by a city of another name. One in which there was a tall sliver Arch that stood proudly, until time and people all but destroyed it to be less than half of what it was! Yes, they were in the long ago city of St. Louis! It always gets me grinning when I see this happen in books since authors so rarely tour here pre-pandemic! That the Arch was once again destroyed reminded me of another book I read where this happened too! Our poor Arch. Lol.

I was a bit sadden by the lack of page time with Citra and Rowan. We get to see what's happening with them separately, but because of Rowan's "wanted" status, they really can't afford to spend time together. So the budding romance between them that started to develop in the first book has taken a direct pause in this one. Though their feelings for one another are still going strong, they sadly remain apart for the majority of the novel until the near end.

Which that ending. Omg, that ending was downright terrifying! It's an action packed kind of ending that is sure to tug on some heartstrings. I won't get into it, but it did remind me of other "events" in the world. Thankfully, I'm about to dive into the final book of the series so the hurt and pain will hopefully soon be ebbed! 

Thunderhead continues the Arc of a Scythe trilogy in which we have dystopian world setting where things like life and death are trivial matters. But just because death is no longer a guarantee doesn't mean the world is without problems. This is a series that is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat as you race to finish each book and see what will happen and who will ultimately survive.


Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars





Random Thursday

It's time for another rousing trip with True Facts That Sound Like Bull$#*t by Shane Carley where we learn more fun and obscure facts in the world of entertainment and pop culture!


(image borrowed from Wikipedia)

Did you know that Will Smith turned down the star role in The Matrix in order to star instead in Wild Wild West?


That would've been a whole other movie. Never really did sit through the whole first one though.



(image borrowed from Wikipedia)

Did you know that Kelsey Grammer once starred on Star Trek: Next Generation as a captain?



(image borrowed from Wikipedia)

Did you know that in the Marvel Universe many characters have wielded Thor's hammer that was meant only for him?


I mean, I know the movies basically showed us this in the end, so I kinda figured it would apply to the comics too!



(image borrowed from Wikipedia)

Did you know that the set of The Addams Family was really pink?


I mean, I assume they're talking about the TV show since it was in black and white! But how funny!



(image borrowed from Wikipedia)

Did you know that on the Batman TV show, Robin says the phrase "Holy 'something,' Batman!" over 300 times?


That's hilarious!






Oct 20, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday

 

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

 

The squad you love is out of time. Prepare for the thrilling finale in the epic, best-selling Aurora Cycle series about a band of unlikely heroes who just might be the galaxy's last hope for survival.

Is this the end?

What happens when you ask a bunch of losers, discipline cases, and misfits to save the galaxy from an ancient evil? The ancient evil wins, of course.
Wait. . . . Not. So. Fast.
When we last saw Squad 312, they working together seamlessly (aka, freaking out) as an intergalactic battle raged and an ancient superweapon threatened to obliterate Earth. Everything went horribly wrong, naturally.
But as it turns out, not all endings are endings, and the te4am has one last chance to rewrite thirs. Maybe two. It's complicated.
Cue Zila, Fin, and Scarlett (and MAGELLAN!): making friends, making enemies, and making history? Sure, no problem
Cue Tyler, Kal, and Auri: uniting with two of the galaxy’s most hated villains? Um, okay. That, too.
Actually saving the galaxy, though?
Now that will take a miracle.

 

I still need to start this series but past experience with this author duo tells me that waiting is never a bad idea! Lol. So I might try binging it when I have everything lined up and there's time!

 

TITLE: Aurora's End
AUTHORS: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

PUBLISHER: Knopf Books for Young Readers
GENRE: YA Sci-Fi
RELEASE DATE: November 9, 2021

 

 

 

 


 

Oct 19, 2021

Review--Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin

 

STAR-CROSSED LOVERS BROUGHT TOGETHER BY FATE OR PROVIDENCE.

Lou has spent her whole life running. Now, after a crushing blow from Morgane, the time has come to claim what is rightfully hers.

BY LIFE AND BY DEATH

But this is no longer the Lou her friends know. No longer the Lou who captured a Chasseur's heart. A darkness has settled over her, and this time it will take more than love to drive it out.

BY GODS, OR PERHAPS MONSTERS.

While Lou battles her demons, and witches, Chasseurs, and the spirits of the land themselves rally for a final fight, Reid is faced with a terrible choice: a devastating sacrifice or the death of everyone he has come to hold dear.

WE WOULD END WITH A STAKE & A MATCH.


After months of waiting for my special edition copy to arrive, I have finally read the conclusion to Shelby Mahurin's Serpent & Dove trilogy, Gods & Monsters and it was beyond amazing! You always hope for the best when it comes to series finales, you want that happy ending, you want justice and comeuppance in regards to the villains, you want that sense of finality, but also the hope of more stories and adventures for the characters, even if we the readers can't see them. I can safely say that Shelby provides all that and more!

From this point on, it's going to be hard to avoid spoilers from Blood & Honey. The description alludes to the main one, but I will be discussing that one next. So if you're not up to date on the series, tread carefully friends.

When we last left everyone, Lou had become possessed by someone or something, and naturally, none of her friends are aware of this year. The case of stolen identity always sets my blood on fire because I worry for the hero/heroine who is being hurt by this. In some cases, the heroine somehow becomes the villain and everyone is out to get them. Well, thankfully, this one didn't get THAT intense, but it was still frightful for Lou. We learn that one of her mother's witches is possessing her and pretending to be her, while Lou herself remains trapped in a deeper part of her mind, struggling to regain control.

Thankfully, it's not overly long before her friends realize that Lou is not Lou and they work to get the witch's spirit out of Lou to put her back in charge. Then of course there's still the whole battle with Morgane they need to prepare for. But before they can do that they need to gain one more ally, the melusines, who will require a favor before they lend their help. 

This book was a whirlwind of action and non-stop adventure. I was amazed by how much was done in a mere 600+ pages. That sounds extreme since the typical book is usually under 400. But let's just say that Shelby really knows how to dole out the pacing and keep things lively as we move from one small adventure to the next.

I was a bit sadden by the amount of time Reid and Lou spend separated. Lou isn't Lou for about 1/3 of the book, then, naturally, Reid becomes "occupied" with this own turmoil. I won't get too into that separation, but yeah, it was hard not having these two at each other's throats again, even in the loving sense! Coco and Beau definitely make up for that though with their budding relationship happening. Then of course we have a few other characters added to the gang that I won't mention as I don't want to spoil too many little things for you.

I will admit I had some confusion a few times in the beginning of the book. It was mostly with the warring points of view with Lou and Nicholina. It didn't help that Nicholin wasn't all to stable either. It was just hard to figure out what was happening a few times since Lou isn't really physically and mentally present. The confusion didn't last too long, so that was always a plus.

Gods & Monsters was certainly a page-turner as allies were gathered and we neared what was going to be an epic battle to end all battles. It's as they say, "the final countdown!" Shelby really hit the mark on the ending battle as well. What really hit home for me with this finale was that epilogue. I won't get into that one since I also didn't mention something else earlier that I wanted left as a surprise for other readers who may not have gotten to this one yet like myself. But needless to say, Shelby ended this story perfectly!

If you're looking for a highly entertaining series with an enemies-to-lovers romance, I cannot sing the praises high enough for Serpent & Dove! It has everything one would want in a fantasy series from magic, a smoldering slow burn romance, outrageous humor, endearing friendships, and so much more! This trilogy has been without a doubt one of my favorites! It is sure to enchant any reader who dares to read that first chapter!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars







Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

 

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker



Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.

 

"'Everyone is afraid of death,' I muttered petulantly. 'Those who say differently are drunk.'" p 219


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TITLE: Gods & Monsters
AUTHOR: Shelby Mahurin

PUBLISHER: HarperTeen
GENRE: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: July 27, 2021



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

 

This week's topic is: Top Five Online Resources for Book Lovers

 

*in no particular order
**couldn't think of 10 this week...I apparently don't have a lot of resources! I mean does Google count? Lol.

 

1. GOODREADS--love being able to find info for specific editions
2. BOOK FINDER--great for trying to find that specific edition of a book!
3. ABE BOOKS-another great source for tracking down hard to find books!

 

4. THE BOOK DEPOSITORY--is there a better source for UK books when you live in the US?
5. BOOK SALE FINDER--when you want to find book sales in your area or nearby places, this is a great site!