The Season

The Season

by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer

**** (4 out of 5)

Season

Amazon | Goodreads

Disclaimer: The above Amazon Link is an affiliate link. If you purchase any books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

The Season is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice.  That means that I am completely biased toward liking this book!  Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book, and I have a soft spot for retellings, even if they aren’t actually that good.

The Good

I love the “Elizabeth” of this story.  Her name is Megan and she has all the components needed to be a classic Elizabeth.  She always has the best intentions, and is fiercely loyal, but she is blinded and manipulated by her prejudices.  Plus she is extremely athletic.  She plays soccer for a D1 college and this makes up a huge part of her life.  Its what sets her apart from the other Debutantes.  As an athlete myself, I loved this take on the character!

Another awesome character is Ann Foster, Megan’s debutante mentor.  I love her no BS attitude.  At first you think she is going to be awful, but she grows on you.  And she calls it like it is.  When Megan tries to do the right thing but fails, Ann tells her what she did wrong and how she did it wrong.  But she also tells her what she should have done instead.  She doesn’t sugar coat it.  I am not exactly sure which Pride and Prejudice character she was supposed to be, but she was one of my favorites in this story!

The Bad

Megan’s “best friend” is one of her fellow soccer players named Cat, but she really didn’t serve any purpose in the story.  I didn’t mind having her in there, but they had a huge random fight that made no sense.  And the resolution was quick and hurriedly stuck in there.  Plus Megan didn’t learn anything from the fight.  Some of the early comedic scenes with Cat were fine, but the other scenes seemed incomplete and random.  They didn’t help the story and were just odd.  Maybe the author’s were trying to make her into Kitty? She didn’t seem anything like Kitty other than her name was Cat, and none of the other characters has names similar to their original counterparts?

I really liked the idea of an all-star athlete debutante, but it wasn’t written right.  Her school/sports/debut schedule wouldn’t have worked.  The soccer scenes were thrown in randomly and kind of glossed over.  It was like the authors wanted to make Megan well rounded but didn’t want to take the time to actually write about all the aspects that made her well rounded.  The soccer scenes had a lot of potential, but they just fell short.

The Ugly

Not only were the soccer parts not utilized to their full potential, but they way her parents handled her soccer career really pissed me off.  First, her mom asked her to “take a season off” like it was no big deal.  I don’t know if you have ever played college sports, but you can’t just take a year off! It doesn’t work that way! Especially in a D1 school! And throughout the book her mom kept going on about how much she will learn from being a debutante, which is fine, but its not like there is nothing to learn from sports! You learn soooo much being an athlete, and none of it was shown in the book! Plus asking her to quit the team not only effects her but would also effect her team! (because of course she is the best player on the team) Second her dad claimed to be a huge fan and she has flashbacks of him helping her learn and makes him sound like this great soccer dad and fan, but he didn’t go to any of her games!  He seemed to brush off her soccer skills when it suited him.  It was weird!

I red-shirted my freshmen year of college (that means I practiced with the team but wasn’t eligible to play in games) and my parents still came to almost every one of my games! I had zero chance of actually playing and they still came to watch!! In High School my sister was in the school play and my parents went to every single showing.  They watched the same play 4 times and my sister didn’t have any lines! I know not all parents are this awesome and supportive, but the parents in the book were said to be awesome and supportive and you are supposed to think they are good parents, but I didn’t see it in any of their actions? And it really really pissed me off!

The Conclusion

So even though I was really pissed off about the soccer thing, I still gave the book 4 stars.  If you ignore that issue, it was a fun read and I really liked all the characters! So if you are looking for a fun Pride and Prejudice retelling then you will probably like this book! If you are looking for a good Pride and Prejudice sports story or a profoundly written story, then this is not for you!

Season2

The Hazel Wood – Guest Review

If you follow my blog regularly you may have noticed me talking about my friend Phil.  He is one of my best friends and one of three people that I know in real life that know about my blog.  Plus, he is the only person, outside of my blog, that I talk about books with on a regular basis! He was the one that told/asked me to read the Hazel Wood, so its only fair that he has to write a guest review! So without further ado, here is

Phil’s Review of The Hazel Wood

Hazel

To give some context, I really love dark fairy tales. I love the idea of taking sweet, pleasant stories that we typically tell to children, and turning them on their head with murder and mystery. It’s why I love the the show Grimm, the graphic novel series Fables and its spin off game, The Wolf among us. Its probably why I have such a soft spot for this book.

First, let me get out of the way what me and Brittany both agree on. The pacing is terrible! The beginning was way too slow and the ending way too fast. It felt as if the author was trying to hold back the intriguing mysteries of the story and forgot about a compelling beginning. The only argument I can make for the fast dizzying pace towards the end, would be that it was made to match the setting of the later half of the book. I also agree, to a lesser extent, with her point on how relationships play out in the book.

So why did I still love this book? It’s hard to fully describe without spoilers but I will try. To me (pacing aside) it was a hauntingly beautiful book. The love her mother had for her and all the trouble she went through for Alice made the stakes compelling. Alice’s growth and struggle to fight a possibly tragic destiny was the biggest draw for me. I personally hate the idea of fate or destiny. Like all the best dark fairy tales, The Hazel Wood has a great mix of beauty and tragedy.

I completely understand why some people didn’t like this book, but to me it hit a soft spot with the emotional punches it landed. Overall I have to give the book 4 stars. It would have been higher with a more compelling start and better pacing throughout.

The Wendy

The Wendy

by Erin Michelle Sky & Steven Brown

**** (4 out of 5)

wendy

Amazon | Goodreads

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

I read this book as part of the April read-along hosted by Steff @ Reader Fox and a Box of Books.  Go check out this blog! Its awesome 🙂 And it has been really cool to participate in a read-along! Right now I am planning on participating in May too, but it is dependent on the book picked and my schedule, but fingers crossed!

Lets start out with the cover.  I LOVE this cover!  It might be one of my favorite covers ever!!!

The book itself is an easy read.  Its only 280 pages and I read most of it in one night.  The way it is written it fairly simple, but it works well with the story.  There are parts where the narrator breaks the fourth wall and I really enjoyed that.

I loved the way the incorporated the original story into 1780’s London.  At first the connection to the original story was subtle.  Mostly just their names were the same.  Wendy, John, and Michael are coworkers and they are best friends.  Close enough to be family, but definitely not related.  The connection got a little less subtle when Peter Pan and Captain Hook were introduced. In all honesty I thought they kept those two characters a little too much like their originals.  Peter is too childish and Hook is too mean.  I think it would have made for a better story if they were both a little bit less single faceted.  You can keep their basic personalities but not go too over the top.  I also think the conflict within Wendy would be more realistic if Hook was more likable.  If you slowly discovered his faults instead of having them thrust upon you, it would have been much better.

Even tho I wasn’t crazy about Peter or Hook, I LOVED Wendy! She is both feminine and a fighter and I love it! She has to work to fit in and be accepted in a male dominant society.  She has to get people to like her, then trust her, then accept her, then understand her and then finally she can show them her skills and ask them to help her improve.  Its brilliant.  She is such a strong woman and she knows what she wants and doesn’t let discrimination stand in her way!

The ending was just ok.  There is obviously going to be a sequel, and it just sort of ended without any real conclusion.  This is one of my biggest pet peeves.  You are just left hanging.  Plus with the book being so short why didn’t they just make it into one larger book? Why make it into a series?  It doesn’t make sense to me.

I debated giving this book a 3 instead of a 4.  I didn’t really like Hook or Peter and I found the ending lacking.  But the book isn’t about Peter or Hook, its about Wendy, and she is amazing.  Plus it was an easy fun read and overall I enjoyed it.  Even though it has its flaws, 3 just felt too low, so 4 is my final rating.  If you like fairy tale retellings then you will probably enjoy this book too!

The Simplicity of Cider

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

**** (4 out of 5)

The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

Cider

I got this book in my September Lit-Cube Subscription.  The theme was “Apple Spice & Everything Nice.”  This book fits perfectly into the theme.  Its about a Cider maker (fulfilling the “Apple Spice” quota) and her journey to save the orchard and finding love in the process (fulfilling the “Everything Nice” spot)

Its a great book to cuddle in front of the fireplace with, and drink apple cider.  The love story is a bit cliche. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl starts to fall in love with boy, boy messes it up, boy makes it better, they live happily ever after.  This isn’t a bad thing, it is what it is.  The rest of the story is fairly original.  The setting in the orchard lends itself nicely to the story and the characters are super passionate.  There is a little bit of whimsy added, but it is not overwhelming.  It adds to the romance but isn’t over the top unrealistic.

All the characters are so real.  They all have realistic flaws which adds to their personalities.  The brothers and sisters even fight like normal siblings do.  There is a lot of character growth which was really well written.  It came on slowly and you could follow along with the changes.  No character randomly had an unrealistic change of heart for no reason. One character, a ten year old boy named Bass, is hilarious.  He perfectly sums up the life of a 10 year old boy and reminds me of my brother (who also happens to be 10).  My favorite part is when he names his butt Gary.  Its so random, but speaks volumes to who he is.

The only issue I had with the book was that the ending was a little rushed.  The whole story took its time and brought you along for the ride and then all of a sudden all the loose ends were quickly tied up and then its two months later and the book is done.  I did appreciate that all the loose ends were tied up, but it still felt rushed.

Overall I liked the book a lot.  I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a feel good book.

I didn’t include any gifs in my review so here are some gifs of adorable animals eating apples:

 

The Kiss of Deception

**** (4 out of 5)

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Kiss of Deception

NOOOOOO

One of my biggest pet peeves is when an author draws out a story into too many books.  I like when each book in a series has its own story-line that gets resolved at the end of book.  Then all the smaller stories lend to the bigger story.  There are some cliffhangers, but the plot itself is not left half finished.  Does that make sense? Think about Harry Potter.  In The Sorcerer’s Stone Harry recovers the stone.  In The Chamber of Secrets Harry kills the basilisk and saves Ginny.  In The Goblet of Fire the tournament is concluded.  Each book is its own story inside of the bigger picture.

Reading The Kiss of Deception I got completely sucked in.  I couldn’t put it down! But towards the end of the book, I started to get the feeling that there wasn’t enough pages left for everything that needed to happen.

Not Enough Pages

And I was right.  The story didn’t resolve anything.  It felt like the author wrote one really long story and just needed a dramatic place to make the cut between book one and book two.

giphy (10)

But it was still a really good book, and I am dying to find out what happens next.  So after finishing book one I had a mad dash to get the next book.  Of course I finished it at like 1 am so there weren’t a whole lot of options.  (I didn’t want the kindle edition because I got the first one in paperback and I like to read all the books in a series in the same format).  The day after I finished it, I went to Barnes and Noble during my lunch break, but they only had book three. The customer service guy helpfully offered to order it.  It would only take a week or two to come in.  Hells No! I can’t wait that long.  I politely declined and went back to work to order it on Amazon.  With Prime I got free two day shipping so it should arrive today.  In the meantime I am stuck with nothing to read because I don’t want to start a new book in the middle of reading a different series.  I did end up buying the third book from Barnes and Noble so that I won’t have to go through this again.

The only thing that kept me from giving The Kiss of Deception 5 stars was the sudden ending with no conclusion.  Other than that I loved the book.  It is fast paced with plenty of action.  Lots of plot twists and turns. Its amazing.

This book was also a first for me, in that I didn’t know who was who.  I don’t get a lot of firsts anymore so it was really cool and creative.  Most of the chapters are from the point of view of Lia, the runaway princess.  She meets two characters named Kaden and Rafe.  As the reader you know one is a prince and one is an assassin, but you don’t know which is which.  Every once in a while you get a chapter from Kaden or Rafe’s point of view, and other times you get a chapter from the prince’s or the assassin’s point of view.  The Kaden/Rafe chapters are about the characters interactions with Lia, and the prince/assassin chapters are about the characters internal thoughts, and interactions away from Lia.  The reader is left guessing who is who.  I kept flipping back and fourth trying to decide who I thought was which person.

giphy (11)

It was a super fun, unique way to experience the story.  About halfway through the book you do find out who is who.  (The reader finds out when Lia finds out)  After that all the chapters are Lia or Kaden/Rafe.  Pearson did a wonderful job keeping all the interactions/thoughts just vague enough that she didn’t give anything away until the big reveal.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult fantasy.  It is a really great read.  Just be prepared and have the second book ready when you finish!

 

The Fairytale’s Daughter

**** (4 out of 5)

fairytalesdaughter

I won this book in a GoodReads giveaway.  If you have never been to GoodReads its an awesome website where you can keep track of all the books you have read, and the ones you want to read.  Its also great for getting info about books, series and authors.  In other words I am a huge fan.  They also have this section for giveaways where you can enter to win free books (Yay!!).  In return they ask that, if you win, you write a review. (easy peasy).  So checkout the giveaways page, and remember to only enter for books you are actually willing to read!

Anyway, back to my story. I won this book in a giveaway.  Usually when you win a book they send just the book, but Carolyn Swanson went way above and beyond. In addition to signing the book, she also wrote me a nice little note and gave me a $15 gift card to Starbucks. (Yum!) Nothing is better than curling up in a snuggley blanket and drinking hot chocolate while reading a good book.  Or, in this case, the second best thing is reading sprawled out on the back porch, enjoying a slight breeze and drinking some passion fruit tea (cuz 90 degrees is too hot for a blanket and hot chocolate).  It was super nice of Carolyn to include that, and I hope her book does really well because, she seems like the kind of person that deserves it.

I debated giving this a 3 instead of a 4 so really its like a 3.5 and I rounded up (I promise it has nothing to do with the gift card and everything to do with the goods outweighing the bads.) Overall I really liked the story but there were a couple things that bugged me.

Lets start with the good:

I LOVE fairy tales!!

giphy (1)

And this book nailed it! It has all the components needed for a fairly tale; princes, princesses, villains, love, friendship, curses, jewelry, and fights. But Carolyn did not just retell the same old fairy tale, she created a brand new one!  She found a way to incorporate all the classics (with her own twist of course) while creating a completely unique tale.  I could not put the book down, I got hooked! I just had to find out what happened next! (I read waaay past my bedtime)

I love Aylan and Garrick, they felt so real.  Their relationship was super believable even in the midst of a fairy tale (however, like all fairy tales, they fall in love very quickly, though that is not a negative against the book).  All the other characters were great too.  Gala’s internal struggles made her particularly relatable.  The fight between doing the right thing and doing the thing you feel compelled to do is a very real issue that people deal with an a daily basis.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book to everyone (children, young adults, adults, old adults, etc.) who needs an easy read with a feel-good story.

Now for the bad

giphy (2)

The beginning was slow and confusing.  I had to re-read a couple sections to figure out what was going on.  If you are going to read this book PLEASE stick with it past the beginning!  Its worth it, I promise.

And the ending left too many questions. Specifically: WHAT HAPPENED TO GALA?!?!?! Cliffhangers are fine, but this is not really a cliffhanger.  (I am trying really hard to not include any spoilers so I can’t express exactly what I am feeling. ) But the last time you see her its unclear what happened and then she is kind of forgotten for the rest of the book.  I would have also like some more details on the ship.  For starters, who was on the ship? Was her brother there? How did they react? You know Gunner is there, but it sort of glosses over everything, and I would have liked to know what went down, and WHAT HAPPENED TO GALA?!?!?!

If you are thinking about reading this book, don’t let these negatives deter you!!! The story is worth it! I really really enjoyed this book!  I can’t wait for the sequel.

P.S. I can’t figure out how to pronounce “Aylan” which really isn’t a big deal but I am still trying to recover from the whole “Hermione” debacle.