Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (9/7/21) – Curses

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been a fan of Lish McBride’s for a few years now, ever since I fell in love with Firebug back in middle school. So when I found out that she’d come out with a new book, I was OVERJOYED. I immediately put it on hold at the library, and I’m pleased to say that it didn’t disappoint in the slightest!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Curses by Lish McBride

Curses – Lish McBride

Merit Cravan is cursed. After refusing to marry the prince her mother wanted her to marry, a fairy godling cursed her to be a carnivorous beast. The curse can only be broken if she marries a man her mother chooses by her eighteenth birthday.

Tevin comes from a family of conmen, and after his mother blunders and gets on the wrong side of Lady Cravan, he’s traded to them in exchange for her mother’s freedom. He befriends Merit, and learns of her curse, but as her eighteenth birthday creeps ever closer, they discover that the way to break it is closer than either of them could have imagined.

Disney Live Action — Emma Watson as Belle BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017),...

TW/CW: gore, grotesque transformations, body horror, animal death, violence, drugging

I know, I know. Beauty and the Beast retellings have long seen their day in YA. We’ve all suffered through countless awful ones. But I am BEGGING you to read this one. You’ll love it, trust me.

I really missed reading Lish McBride books. Her wry sense of humor and genre subversion have never failed to capture my heart, and Curses was no exception. Not only does Curses flip the traditional aspects of Beauty and the Beast on their heads, it does so in the most over-the-top, tongue in cheek way possible. It’s a fairytale retelling that regularly laughs at itself. And I loved every minute of it.

The majority of the characters were compulsively lovable, and if they weren’t, they were so over-the-top that it was impossible not to have a laugh at their expense. Tevin was my favorite by far; he struck me as a very Loki-like character, but behind the magical charm and and conniving, he was a strikingly complex character. Merit was also a great protagonist! I loved her independent spirit, and the way that her curse was explored was fascinating. (Also, I loved all of the other weird curses that the side characters got – very Courtney Crumrin…no, no, wait, I think that was frogs, not snakes…anyways)

660 My prince twice over ideas | tom hiddleston loki, tom hiddleston,  thomas william hiddleston

But what I loved best about Curses is that it’s the lovably campy, comedic antithesis of every YA Beauty and the Beast retelling of the last decade or so. It’s the cure to a subgenera that has tried to take itself far too seriously, trying too hard to make itself “edgy” in order to appeal to The Teens™️. (For reference, see: Beastly, Of Beast and Beauty, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, etc.) Everything had to be all dark and gritty, or else it wouldn’t be marketable. It got old quickly. And I’m not sure if Lish McBride had this in mind while writing Curses, but this book is the perfect cure to all of that. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s plenty of laughs at its own expense, and it’s simultaneously a unique, well-written piece of art and the perfect counter to edgy retellings past. I’m 100% for pushing back against the notion that art has to be dark or edgy to be considered “deep” or worthy of praise, and if you agree, this is the book for you.

My only complaint is the worlldbuilding. It seemed complex at first glance (what with all the different types of faeries), but the more I read, the more surface-level it seemed. There’s a timestamp given, but what does that mean? Is this an alternate history? Is it just a year according to the world of Curses? Does it pertain to actual human history? I could’ve used some answers. But it’s my only complaint, really. I loved almost everything else.

All in all…well, it’s a gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast retelling, what more could you possibly want? 4.25 stars!

Loki Gif - GIFcen

Curses is a standalone, but Lish McBride is also the author of the Firebug series (Firebug and Pyromantic), the Necromancer series (Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and Necromancing the Stone), and several other novellas.

Today’s song:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Tags

DNF Book Tag

Happy Saturday bibliophiles! I went back to school on Wednesday and…I’m already tired, but it’s great to see my friends again and there wasn’t much homework this week, so I’m happy. For now.

Anyway, I was in the mood to do a book tag, so here we are. I found this tag over at Fatma @ The Book Place, and the tag was originally created by Gunpowder, Fiction & Plot on YouTube.

Let’s begin, shall we?

📖THE DNF BOOK TAG📖

1. DO YOU DNF?

David throwing a Ravkan edition of Shadow & Bone a... - Tumbex
the chaos that this gif radiates

Indeed I do. It happens less these days, what with my taste slowly being fine-tuned over the years, but I still end up DNFing a handful of books every year.

2. IF YOU DO DNF, DOES IT COUNT FOR YOUR FINISHED BOOKS FOR THE MONTH?

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I’ve only started to keep track of the amount of books I read per month this year, but I still count them. I read part of them, anyway, and they still count towards my Goodreads goal, so I still think they count.

3. IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DNFING & JUST PUTTING THE BOOK DOWN FOR A LITTLE BIT?

evan peters quicksilver | Tumblr | X-men apocalypse, X men, Evan peters

Well…uh…I’ve never had an experience where I just put the book down for a little bit (I can’t read more than one book at once unless there’s a book for school involved), so I wouldn’t know…

4. WHAT POPULAR BOOKS HAVE YOU DNFED?

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1) by Brigid Kemmerer
Amazon.com: Red Queen (Red Queen, 1): 9780062310644: Aveyard, Victoria:  Books
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel (The Carls): Green, Hank:  9781524743444: Amazon.com: Books

I DNFed A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Red Queen, and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing at different times for different reasons (didn’t like any of the love interests/couldn’t hold my interest, every bad YA trope known to man, and some SERIOUSLY iffy bisexual rep, in order), but everybody else seems to love these ones…not my cup of tea, really.

5. WHAT ARE SOME BOOKS YOU WISHED YOU DNFED?

Amazon.com: Night Owls and Summer Skies: 9781989365250: Sullivan, Rebecca:  Books
Buy Deep Blue: Book 1 (Waterfire Saga) Book Online at Low Prices in India |  Deep Blue: Book 1 (Waterfire Saga) Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in
Amazon.com: Wings of Ebony: 9781534470675: Elle, J.: Books

When I read Night Owls and Summer Skies, I didn’t know that it was acceptable to DNF an ARC, so I tried to plow through it…I ended up finishing it in about an hour and a half, but it just sucked the whole way through. I felt obligated to finish Deep Blue because I’d bought it, but it didn’t get better. At all. PAIN. And Wings of Ebonyman, I feel really bad about giving this one such a low rating, but the only good thing I have to say about it is that I loved the unapologetic approach to racism/colonialism. Otherwise…yikes.

6. HAVE YOU EVER RE-ATTEMPTED TO READ A DNF, AND WAS THIS SUCCESSFUL FOR YOU?

Damn abbreviation forma GIF on GIFER - by Rainseeker

Nope. Usually when I DNF a book, I hate it with a passion, and even if middle school Madeline did it a bit too frequently, there’s usually no going back with DNFs for me.

7. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH DNFED BOOKS?

Library GIF - Find on GIFER

If it’s on my Kindle, I’ll delete it, and if I borrowed it from the library (which is most often the case), I derive great joy from forcefully shoving it in the return machine. Usually I don’t end up DNFing books that I bought physical copies of, but in that case, I donate them.

I TAG:

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Today’s song:

ksjdhfskjdfh my shuffle just said “hey let’s throw Madeline back to April 2019 for a bit, how about that”

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books

Popular YA Books I Couldn’t Get on Board With

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a little while, so here goes nothing…

We all know the feeling. We’ve picked up a book because of the seemingly endless 4 and 5 star reviews and the high praise from friends and fellow readers and book bloggers, and then it turns out to be a steaming disappointment. For me, popular YA books live up to the hype about 50% of the time for me, and the other 50% is either just…not feeling anything from it, or not liking it at all. And there’s plenty of hyped books that I’ve loved! But sometimes, a lot of these books just haven’t worked for me.

And before I start, I just wanted to say this – if you liked any of these books, this post isn’t meant to shame anybody’s reading preferences at all. If you liked them, good for you! These are just my opinions here, and as per the Latin proverb, to each, their own is beautiful. I just wasn’t a fan of these books.

Let’s begin, shall we?

My Disappointment Is Immeasurable And My Day Is Ruined | Know Your Meme

😕POPULAR YA BOOKS I COULDN’T GET ON BOARD WITH😕

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1) – Victoria Aveyard

Amazon.com: Red Queen (Red Queen, 1) (9780062310644): Aveyard, Victoria:  Books

MY RATING: ⭐️ (DNF)

It’s been about three years since I’ve read this one, but it was a pretty quick DNF for me. Red Queen felt like every bad YA trope melted into a single book – an unoriginal dystopian world with the “plain heroine that doesn’t realize how beautiful she is and is THE CHOSEN ONE” and gets into an insta-love romance…gah, I forget how long it took before I put it down, but this was just painful.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) – Holly Black

Amazon.com: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, 1) (9780316310314):  Black, Holly: Books

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️

Holly Black is a hit-or-miss author for me, but The Cruel Prince definitely fell among the misses for me. The worldbuilding was great here (and I loved the little ink drawings at the beginnings of the chapters!), but all of the characters were astronomically unlikable. Everybody just seemed intent on bullying and backstabbing everybody else, and there wasn’t any balance with a character with a slightly better moral compass. And don’t get me started on Jude and Cardan being a thing…WHY? If I remember correctly, Cardan spends about 3/4 of the book relentlessly degrading Jude, and then gets down on his knees and tells her that he loves her…HUH?

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HOW MUCH MORE TOXIC CAN YOU GET? And somehow, Cardan’s up there with Kaz Brekker and that dude from ACOTAR (I don’t remember his name, I haven’t read the books and don’t intend to) with the brooding YA dudes that everybody fawns over? Makes me lose a little faith in humanity sometimes…

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) – Sarah J. Maas

Amazon.com: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, 1) (9781599906959): Maas,  Sarah J.: Books

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️

Here’s one that everybody recommended to me…should of listened to that guy in my class in middle school who did a book report on this one and didn’t like it

Okay. Maybe this one’s a little skewed. I read most of Throne of Glass when I was home sick with a stomachache, but even then, I think I wouldn’t have been a fan. The ✨fantasy names✨ were a pain to pronounce, Calaena came off as a very static character with very little development, if any, and everything seemed to worked out a little *too* well for her in the end. The worldbuilding was interesting, though. I guess. Probably not gonna pick this one up, but I don’t think I’ll go for ACOTAR or Crescent City either. Meh.

Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik

Amazon.com: Spinning Silver: A Novel (9780399180989): Novik, Naomi: Books

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️

My main problem was the same one I had with The Cruel Prince – the toxicity of the main relationship. Mirnatius spends about 3/4 of the book being borderline abusive towards Miryem, and then, ✨poof!✨ Happy relationship!

Schitts Creek Excuse Me GIF - SchittsCreek ExcuseMe WeekendVibe - Discover  & Share GIFs | Funny relatable memes, Schitts creek, Relatable

Yeah, no, that’s just weird. Also, wasn’t there a significant age gap between the two of them? Final nail in the coffin, really…

All the Stars and Teeth – Adalyn Grace

Buy All the Stars and Teeth: 1 (All the Stars and Teeth Duology, 1) Book  Online at Low Prices in India | All the Stars and Teeth: 1 (All the Stars  and

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️

This one lured me in with a gorgeous cover and the promise of mermaids, and…well, we got a mermaid, but the rest of the book didn’t make up for it.

All the Stars and Teeth felt very formulaic for me, right down to the conveniently-placed puppet show to explain the worldbuilding. We’ve got a protagonist with dangerous magic, the mysterious love interest…it just felt like every other YA fantasy in the last few years. Not much to distinguish it from the others, if anything at all.

Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Barron

Amazon.com: Cinderella Is Dead (9781547603879): Bayron, Kalynn: Books

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️.5

Out of all of the books here, Cinderella is Dead is probably the one that I had the highest expectations for. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with a book with a sapphic, POC lead taking down the patriarchy in a world sculpted from the myth of Cinderella?

…several things, as it turned out.

I found the worldbuilding to be full of holes, none of the characters were very distinct, the villain was an irredeemable caricature, and all of the attempts commentary on abuse and misogyny and such relied way too much on telling, as opposed to showing. For me Cinderella is Dead was just a case of a great idea, but poor execution. Shame…

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1) – Brigid Kemmerer

Amazon.com: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (The Cursebreaker Series)  (9781681195087): Kemmerer, Brigid: Books

MY RATING: ⭐️ (DNF)

This one was another DNF for me about two years ago. I still really appreciate that Kemmerer chose to have a disabled character at the forefront of a YA fantasy (Harper has cerebral palsy – not sure how accurate the rep is, though), but otherwise…meh. On top of the obvious attempt to make this Beauty and the Beast retelling as Dark And Gritty™️ as possible, the love triangle (and both love interests, if memory serves) put me off in the end.

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger, #1) – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger Series Book 1)- Buy Online in Antigua and  Barbuda at antigua.desertcart.com. ProductId : 134271270.

MY RATING: ⭐️ (DNF)

Ugh, this one was a mess…

This was my first exposure to Jennifer L. Armentrout, and I don’t think I’ll be reading anything of hers after this. Again, this falls into almost every YA trope that I hate – the Chosen One who is so very clearly Not Like Other Girls, the Sarcastic Bad Boy Love Interest (Zayne still makes me squirm)…I forget where I DNF’d this one, but I just could not take another page. Yikes.

Instant Karma – Marissa Meyer

Amazon.com: Instant Karma (9781250618818): Meyer, Marissa: Books

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️

Instant Karma was a sore disappointment…I’ve loved almost everything else of Marissa Meyer’s, but I just didn’t click with this one. I loved the premise of a magical-realism rom-com and all of the Beatles references were great, but Pru really got on my nerves, and the romance never made me feel anything.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What were your thoughts on these books? What’s a popular YA book that you didn’t like?

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Today’s song:

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Reread Book Tag

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

This tag was created by Brianna, who also tagged me in the post. It looked super cute, so I had to give it a go! (Also, she has an incredible blog, so if you haven’t checked it out already, go check it out!)

Let’s begin, shall we?

Rules:

The Search for WondLa (Search for WondLa Series #1) by Tony ...

GUESS WHO’S BACK…

I can’t stress enough how much The Search for WondLa series has changed my life. Even now, it’s just as enchanting as it was when I first checked it out at the library. I’ll definitely be giving the series a re-read soon; book 1 turns 10 this September! 😭

Amazon.com: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (The Cursebreaker Series ...

I forget exactly why I DNF’d A Curse So Dark and Lonely (though I shelved it as “cliche” on Goodreads, soooo…), but everybody else seems to love this series, so I might give it another try. Maybe. Possibly.

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Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books

The Kingdom of Back was such a lushly written and enchanting novel, and I’m always up for another round of Marie Lu’s stellar writing, so I’ll absolutely be re-reading this at some point.

Amazon.com: Red Queen eBook: Aveyard, Victoria: Kindle Store

Ugh…Red Queen was such a steaming mess of bad tropes…

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

I. NEED. TO. READ. THIS. BOOK. AGAIN. The Catcher in the Rye was just PHENOMENAL.

Without a doubt, Jay Kristoff. Even though I haven’t read everything of his, I haven’t read anything of his that I haven’t rated between four and five stars. What a mastermind…

Now that I own the entire duology, I seriously need to get back on the space-thrill-ride train that is the Heart of Iron series

happy book birthday, eleanor & park! |

Not a series, but it’s just been announced that the Eleanor & Park movie has a director (!!!), so I’m simultaneously excited and scared for that.

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle Book 1) eBook: Kaufman ...

I’m not much of an audiobook person (I’ve only listened to…maybe one or two? Either way, it was ages ago, and…possibly on my old Hello Kitty CD player? Anyway…), but I’d be interested to see how Aurora Rising translates into an audiobook. It’s got a full cast of characters for all of Squad 312, so I’d be down for listening to that. I did listen to some of the snippets that the publisher had in the article, and they all sounded good, though Cat seemed uncharacteristically perky. (Hey, that’s just me, though.)

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE! GIVE BRIANNA SOME LOVE!

Star Wars Thumbs Up GIF - StarWars ThumbsUp HarrisonFord ...

Since I’ve already posted once today, you can head over to today’s Book Review Tuesday to see today’s song.

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!