Book Review

Book Review: Pride and Premeditation (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1) by Tirzah Price

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Mystery + Historical Retelling
Length: 368 pages
Author: Tirzah Price
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 6th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Perfect for fans of the Lady Janies and Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice that reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit.

When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.

Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case—and her feelings for Darcy—become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed. 

IT WAS INTERESTING.

This was a unique combination for a book that I didn’t think I would ever come across. Pride and Prejudice with a dash of murder.

I really liked seeing all of the classic characters in their new rolls for this novel. It was fun seeing how the author chose to portray them and I felt they worked well within the plot. The addition of pieces of writing for Austen’s original story tied in to this retelling in a way that fit. Seeing Darcy and Lizzie fall in love over working together to solve a murder was somehow charming and light-hearted.

I’m a pretty big stickler for the classic and I think that’s also a downfall here. While I loved all of the originals of the story + the general originality of the story I got bogged down in listening because it wasn’t what I was expecting. It took me a bit longer to go through because I wasn’t always hurrying to pick it back up.

The final reveal of the murderer and story was great! I honestly was surprised at some of the pieces of the tale and so that’s always a nice addition to any mystery. I want to feel like I didn’t pin down everything exactly and that’s how it worked out here. I’m curious how Price will twist other stories in the future.

Overall audience notes:

  • Retelling
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, gun violence

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Book Review

Book Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Axie Oh
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking.

LOVED THIS.

Axie Oh is becoming an auto-read author for me. I loved her contemporary romance XOXO, and now a young adult fantasy just as amazing?! YES.

I looooved this story so much. It was whimsical and I love the retelling aspects. Mina was an awesome heroine. She was creative and full of passion for saving her people. I loved how she approached different things before her and the way she showed love to others.

And y’all. This romance was the sweetest. I never know how well a standalone fantasy will accomplish a romance and this was perfect. It was a slow build with a bit of resentment, turned friendship, turned love. And then the ending?! Oh goodness, absolutely fabulous. This is the kind of YA books I love and why I always come back to this genre.

The story itself is filled with action and intrigue. A bit of politics and dreams. I just loved the way everything moved and how fast the pages flew by. I felt transported under the sea with the entire cast and can’t say enough good things about TGWFBTS.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: light blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, memory loss, child death

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Book Review

Book Review: Gilded (Gilded #1) by Marissa Meyer

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA/NA Fantasy Retelling
Length: 512 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: November 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

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

MADE SOME CHOICES.

As someone who [at the time of reading] didn’t know the FULL story of Rumpelstiltskin, I gotta say, most of this story took me by surprise, holy wow. After catching up on the tale and what happens, I muuuuuch more clearly understand the artistic choices here and made me look back and enjoy it more.

I adored Serilda as the main character. She was brave and wily. I love the spinning of tales and how she just lied. And rolled with it. She was somehow a bit morally gray, and completely the hero at the same time and that’s the kind of characters I love. I wish there was a bit more depth with her romance with Gild. They didn’t get a lot of page time, meaning I didn’t get enough pages to love them.

This is a dark and twisted tale. And the chapters focusing on the actual moon cycle were good, enthralling, and kept me going. All of the stuff in-between? Eh. I found the pacing here much slower causing me to feel like this book draaaagged itself through the middle.

It was a wild set-up at the end and I have MANY QUESTIONS and answers needed. Can’t wait for the next book because as always, I love Marissa Meyer!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA/NA Fantasy Romance + Retelling
  • Language: some
  • Romance: closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: blood/gore depiction, multiple children murdered, loss of parents, kidnapping, torture, murder, animal cruelty

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Book Review

Book Review: These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1) by Chloe Gong

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Retelling
Length: 449 pages
Author: Chloe Gong
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release Date: November 17th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

OH HOW VIOLENT.

This book really does live up to its name. It’s a bit gruesome and there’s a lot of violence in many ways. It was a great read though! Just gotta get past the absolutely disgusting creepy crawlies that take over this novel.

I loved all the parallels to Romeo & Juliet here! I loved how it was revamped for this setting and I believe it’s the only retelling I’ve read of Romeo & Juliet. These Violent Delights will stand as my favorite until further notice.

Juliette was so dang fiery. I kinda loved that she was more fierce in nature. She could wield weapons, take down foes, and spoke many languages. Roma was the more quiet and reserved nature type. Hating his position, but knowing its advantages. Add in more diverse side characters and this was a cast to keep an eye on. There’s a continual rotation of point-of-views that give an angle to the story (and character insights) from every side. The only thing I’d say was missing for me was a bit more romance. I hope book two delivers on this front.

The historical setting was amazing. The fantasy aspects colliding with the history of Shanghai in the 1920’s was really interesting to see. I don’t know much about this time period, but loved learning more about it. Really excited to read Our Violent Ends!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy / historical fiction / retelling
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Violence: very gruesome and bloody, people clawing out their throats, gun violence, murder, knives, explosions, a pandemic

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