Little Red by Bethan Woolvin

Little Red

 ★★★☆☆

I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I typically don’t review children’s books, but since I do read my fair share of them to my two children under the age of 5, I thought maybe I’d read one to them and see what they thought [as well as myself.]

We all know the story of Red Riding Hood and this is a short and not entirely sweet, it is very dark. This book doesn’t hide the darkness to it and it is illustrated to go along with the tale. The illustrations are rougher/cartoonish but they are done very well.

I read this to my son and asked him at the end what he thought, he said it was a good book but it was a little scary. He liked Little Red but the Bad Wolf was scary. So, keep this in mind for little ones. There is a clear depiction of Little Red with an ax in her hand and in the next scene she’s wearing wolfskin, my son knew what happened.

The bright side, it shows how fearless Red was when faced with an adversary who [visibly] ate her grandmother.

There are pros and cons to this book, it shows her being brave, but it can come across a little too dark and/or scary for a young one.

Paper Dolls by Ketley Allison

★★★☆☆

Paper Dolls

So, I’ll sum this book up. Scarlet has a penchant for things consisting of dangerous, something in her is dark and thrives when danger is around, so when her friend decides to pull her into a secret society to waitress, she’s all about it. She meets this bad boy there who is all kinds of danger, he has bad connections and to consort with her is just .. crikey! Danger, Danger! Said bad boy, Theo Sax begins to want to chase her away from this lifestyle – she’s too good for it, and she isn’t taking the bait.

Alright, so the writing is pretty decent in this book, and the characters are alright, too.. but at times [at least for me] they seemed to fall flat. I would have liked to see more depth to each of the characters. Sometimes it felt like there was too much monologue and not enough scene changing, or real storytelling here.

BUT… this wasn’t by any means a bad book, it was interesting, there were just a few things that were off to me. I really would like to see more depth as well as emotion, because although none of this scenario was relatable to me it could have been made more relatable if there was more connection to the characters which then would have really put me in their shoes.

Dragon Marked by Jaymin Eve

★★★☆☆

Dragon Marked

I thoroughly enjoy supernatural books and will binge read them. I don’t care if things are a bit cliche as long as the characters are enjoyable, relatable and have depth. This being said…

I give this book 3 stars, it’s not entirely original and there is more than enough in it that makes me cringe. The main character, Jessa, is a female shifter who has the attention of four guys, the Compass brothers, who are just as special, she is also SUPER a strong, too, on top of being a hottie. So, this kind of got old, especially with how focused the book became on the characters appearance.

The book seems more like a species guide than an actual story. The more we progress through the book it becomes campy.

I enjoy romance, humor and adventure when done right. Although this book was by far from perfect it wasn’t altogether horrible… this author does show promise of greater things to come.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

★★★★☆

Daughter of smoke & bone

“Happiness. It was the place where passion, with all its dazzle and drumbeat, met something softer: homecoming and safety and pure sunbeam comfort. It was all those things, intertwined with the heat and the thrill, and it was as bright within her as a swallowed star.”

More like a 3.5 stars,

This would be more accurate than a straight 4. Why? Well, there were some elements that I didn’t find were necessary, now some may like these, but I didn’t. That is the glorious thing about opinions and views!

So, let me tell you what I didn’t like.

I don’t tend to like stories that are written backward, what I mean by that is we start the book off with Karou, just a simple 17 year old girl who has tattoos, blue hair and oh um works for a devil of sorts. No biggie, right? She just goes about collecting teeth from traders and returns them to Brimstone, her devil surrogate father.

From there we work our way [slowly,] to meeting a Seraphim – Akiva. We begin having flashbacks which actually take away from the present. It is beautifully written, but I wasn’t a fan of the abrupt halt of the CURRENT story to what was just filler with flashbacks. However, they are beautiful though, this entire book is beautiful. Some lines are akin to poetry, but I was not at all a fan of the flashbacks – filler that took away from the current story and somewhat [to me,] made it less progressive, like the characters weren’t as developed as they could have been in this current situation.

The world or should I say worlds are wonderfully crafted though, Laini Taylor makes things her own and puts a twist on good vs evil. Good suddenly is viewed differently, from the other side of the fence it is viewed as well…not so good after all. It boasts of how there are always two sides to the coin as well as in wars.

The ending to this book leaves you wanting to know more and even though I found myself teetering on whether or not I actually wanted to read the second book [Days of Blood & Starlight,] Akiva’s tangible anguish really moved me to want to know and learn more about him.

A very interesting read!

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

★★★☆☆

Fortune Hunter

Let’s put aside the fact that Sisi was a real person and go off of the idea this was just a fictional novel, not loosely based off of or based off of anything at all, because I’m not a historian and I’m not about to critique this as a history lesson but rather a novel.

We begin the story with sweet Charlotte Baird, a comely young woman of 21 years old. She is due to inherit a great fortune at twenty five years old, a whopping 60,000 pounds a year. Charlotte is sweet and ambitious, she knows she wants to take up an occupation as a photographer and is often laughed at for it.

Bay Middleton is a horseman, a lowly born but quite exceptional rider who has a reputation that surrounds him, he is friendly with Fred Baird, Charlotte’s older brother and as chummy as they are Fred knows he doesn’t want the like of Bay around his sister who can aim for the stars as far as a match goes.

Elisabeth, or Sisi, is the Empress of Austria, she’s on holiday in England and is renowned for her horse riding skills and also her beauty. She requests a pilot to aid her through the hunting grounds while she’s there and finds herself quite smitten with Bay Middleton.

Now that you have these main characters….let me begin my review!

Charlotte is perhaps the only likable character in the book, everyone else is fairly trivial and shallow but perhaps that is the point behind it all. To showcase how petty the upper class folk were, especially when it came to gossip. Charlotte is sweet, relatable, and genuinely personable. She has wit, tact and shows she has feelings as well as depth.

So when Bay comes along and begins to find himself growing attached to her I was rolling my eyes, for me, he was unlikable off the bat. His character is weak as he gives into temptation at a constant and you want to believe him but he gives you no reasons to. As things progress I found myself more disgusted especially as he began to fawn over the Empress and he succumbed to her seduction (this is how I saw it, she wanted him, she got him.)

Charlotte is sensible throughout the tale, even amidst heartbreak and Bay remains a bumbling fool, only to realize he chose lust when he had love. Charlotte handles herself well and though she is breaking she chooses the higher road and decides instead perhaps a little adventure will do her some good – even if it is at the cost of gossipers ruining her honor.

In the end all is resolved for the best, the heart is far more forgiving than the mind at times. Charlotte was… a grand character, I think. Feminine and yet strong, she listened to her heart but when she had enough she stood her ground. In the end she did exactly what she wanted.

This wasn’t a fast read, but it was a good read…if not a little dull at times but it was worth it, I think. Even if the characters were a bit flat, which they were I’m not going to sugar coat that. The story largely is focused on Bay as he is the Fortune Hunter and it encompasses much about horses as well as photography, but then again Horses and Photography, as well as equine history (jumping, racing, etc) are right up my alley!

The Wrong Girl by C.J. Archer

★★★☆☆
The Wrong Girl

Okay, so every so often I like to read books that are either free or heavily discounted and that happen to be by unknown or debuting authors. I’ve found several of my new “unknown” authors by doing this.

So, this happened to be one of the freebies I found available through my iBooks.

To begin with, this is a gothic tale about a girl [now young woman,] who had been locked in an attack with an Earl’s daughter, who seemingly has an ability to start fires, while Hannah Smith [our MC,] has a disorder – she’s a narcoleptic.

Eventually she is abducted by Jack, the new gardener at the house and believed to be Lady Violet, the Earl’s daughter. She’s then brought to Freak House, or it’s actual name is Frakingham Manor. There she meets the mad doctor, a sweet girl, a mute footman, and an onslaught of other characters. She is promised that all will be alright, that they only want to help her with her powers – what powers?!

As the story goes on you begin to question what is actually going on [or if you’re like me, you kind of guess the story because when you’ve read so many books it’s hard to surprise us, right?] there is a twist in the story, we find out some interesting things and altogether it’s a fairly easy, quick read and interesting.

I’m not going to gush about this story, but I do believe it’s worth a 2.7 to 3 stars. I think it could have been better if the background stories had been embellished on but maybe that is to come since this is a series? It’s written well, I just wish there had been more depth to it.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

★★★☆☆

scarlet

I think I need to stop reading books named Scarlet, I don’t have a good track record with them.

This book is vastly overrated, while this is my opinion on the matter I’m going to tell you why I feel this way.

For starters, this is loosely based off of Little Red Riding Hood and is a retelling that doesn’t really have much to do with the original tale at all. When I say loosely I mean that… there is a girl with red hair named Scarlet, there is a grandmother and then there is a “wolf” creature. That’s it. There are science fiction aspects with the book such as airships and another planet with a different race of people “lunars.” This is the second book in the series and I bypassed Cinder because it wasn’t available from my library. I all along said that I would not be purchasing these books because I long since gave up on “hype” books. Thank goodness.

Scarlet, I have no nice things to say about her. She is foolish and inconsistent with her personality, I find that is so with most of Meyer’s characters. Scarlet’s grandmother goes missing and she decides to take it on herself to figure out why and how. While the story has holes in it, it is a rather interesting idea, which is probably the only reason why I continued to read on.

We meet several characters from the previous book including Cinder herself, Kai and the list goes on. We often see them in between scenes or chapters, which although I had no issues with, I wish there had been more depth in regard to “Wolf” and Scarlet.

In the end there is a twist that I actually didn’t see coming because I have no idea what the first book in the series is about aside from Cinder, who I picked up on small bits and pieces about her life grew up in a home much like a Cinderella I prefer.

I feel like this book is overrated, mostly because when you read it you feel like you can embellish on it and make it better in your head, but when you pull back and realize its really not that great. That’s how I felt with this, the ideas were there and the story could have been much better, but it wasn’t there. It was worth a 2.8 rating. 3 is generous.