You Think It, I’ll Say It: ARC Review

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You know those books you rate a medium score and then keep thinking about, months, years later, only to realise you enjoyed them much more than you thought you did at first? And the more you think about them, the more you like them? (Or is it just me?) Curtis Sittenfeld’s book Eligible was like that for me. I read it a while ago, and rated it 3 stars but now I can’t stop thinking about it, and wondering why I didn’t give it a full 5. So anyway, when Netgalley offered me an ARC of her next book You Think It, I’ll Say It, a collection of short stories set to be realeased in April, I gladly accepted without even checking what it was about.

So first of all, thanks to NetGalley and the author for providing me with an ARC of their book in exchange for a honest review, I really appreciate!

Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
Genre: short stories, realistic fiction
Release date: April 24th
My rating: ★★★★☆

Thoughts:

This collection of short stories is what I would call realistic fiction, or slice of life, a genre that I don’t read a lotf of, but always end up really enjoying because it is usually extremely relatable. It does not have a magical happy ending, but instead, shows hard working characters that can live a life just like you. You think it, I’ll say it has stories about sex, growing up, and mixed opportunities. It shows divorced couples and single moms, among other stories featuring some celebrities, but mostly people just like you and me. I read this book really quickly, and I couldn’t put it down because I always wanted to know what the next story would contain.

Overall, I found the stories relatable just like I like it. My only regret is that it didn’t have more LGBT+ context (because for some reason, I was expecting this). One of the stories is featuring a lesbian couple with two kids which I absolutely loved, this story really spoke to me. And another story contains a character who has all the potential to be ace though this was never stated, so that’s too bad in my opinion, even though it was nice to see different characters.

In the end, yes I would recommend this book. It’s a quick read with relatable characters, and if you have read it, I would love to hear your opinion!

Stars Above: My Review

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This book was basically the perfect ending to one of the best series I have ever read. It was so good to go back in time with all these characters, to learn more about them, and just to be with them one more time.

The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication year: 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings, Companion short stories
My rating: ★★★★★

Contents:

The Keeper: A prequel to Cinder, about Michelle Benoit and how she came to be a guardian for her granddaughter Scarlet, and the Lunar princess Selene.

Glitches: A second prequel to Cinder, this one a few years later, when Cinder wakes up, is adopted by Linh Garan, and moves to New Beijin.

The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we follow Ze’ev Kesley on his journey to becoming a Lunar Special Operative.

Carswell’s Guide to being Lucky: This one seems to be a favourite to loads of people, as it follows a young Thorne trying to gather money to buy a Rampion ship.

After sunshine passes by: In this prequel to Cress, we get to see how Cress grew up, and got to leave alone on her satellite, with Sybil Mira being her only contact to the outside world.

The Little Android: This one is a retelling of classical tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, and follows an android who develops feelings for a human.

The Mechanic: This scene shows Kai and Cinder’s first meeting (at the beginning of Cinder) but this time it’s from Kai’s perspective.

Something Old, Something New: In this last tale, the Rampion crew gather together a few years later, for a much anticipated wedding…

My opinion:

One more time, I was transported to this magical world I love so much. Though magical is probably not the most appropriate terme, but it feels that way to me because I love it so much…

I can’t pick a favourite short story, honestly, I loved them all so much. I didn’t want this book to end. It was really interesting to get prequels, and learn once again more about those amazing characters and how they got to be who they are in the rest of the series. We had gotten glimpses of the events through the rest of the series, things mentioned about their childhoods, but it was great to go more in depth about it. It was also interesting to read from other character’s points of view (yes, I’m talking about The Mechanic here…)

And at the same time, we also got new content, like with The Little Android and of course, Something Old, Something New, which was the perfect way to end this series.

There’s not much more to say about this book, honestly, but I still wanted to make this post to tell you all how much I loved it. If you enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles, and haven’t read those short stories yet, I would definitely recommend you pick up this book ASAP. If you haven’t read The Lunar Chronicles, then what are you waiting for?

You can check out my reviews for CinderScarletCressWinter and Fairest by clicking the titles of the books. And if that’s not enough to make you want to read them, you can check out this video I made about 5 reasons why you should read this amazing series!

Leurs Contes de Perrault: My Review

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First of all, I want you to know that I’m going to review this book in English, because this is what I always do on here. However, it has not been translated in English (yet?) or any other language for that matter. But if you speak French you can (and should definitely) check it out as I highly recommend it!

Genre: Short stories, Adult Fiction, Retellings
Released in 2015
My rating: ★★★★☆

Why did I read this book?

I have mentioned it here and there on the blog, I am going to write a paper on retellings for my Master’s degree and I wanted to work on fairytales. I eventually chose Cinderella because my tutor said I could work on The Lunar Chronicles (EXCUSE ME BUT ISN’T THIS AWESOME I AM SO EXCITED) and this book includes a retelling of Cinderella so that’s the first reason why I picked it up.

The second reason is (and I probably mentioned this as well) that when I went to Paris’s annual bookfair, I attended a meeting with Michael Cunningham and another French author, Nathalie Azoulai, where they talked about fairytales and retellings, and she just so happened to have written a short story retelling of Cinderella, and long story short, it was the one included in that book and will be part of my work next year!

What else do you need to know about this book?

It’s written by a collective which means that 11 different authors participated, and each wrote a short story. Each of these stories is a retelling for one of Charles Perrault’s fairytales (including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Puss-in-Boots, Blue Beard, Sleeping Beauty and more.)

My opinion:

The last similar book I have read was The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, and if you have read my review, you know that I found it rather disturbing and overall didn’t really enjoy it. However, this was not the case for this book, as I did really like it. It was not the absolute best book ever however I found myself trapped in this book without being able to put it down for most of the stories.

Unlike The Bloody Chamber it does not take a dark twist on the stories, however it adds a modern touch to them, which was probably my favourite part of it. Let me take two examples: the cat for Puss-in-Boots is actually a virtual cat, living in a computer. And Cinderella’s retelling concentrates on the condition of women and how we are not allowed freedom (it also included an unexpected LGBT character, which was a surprising touch that made the story even better in my opinion).

I felt that the authors also managed to bring more diversity to the tales, by making them more modern. It also has touches of One Thousand and One Night and The Odyssey in some of the stories, nicely mixing up different part of your heritage in a way which I really enjoyed.

Overall, I felt that the authors each stayed very faithful to the original story, each in their own way, and bringing it a very pleasant modern touch. It’s a book I would recommend if you are looking for something new and different. I would not say it is exactly refreshing as some stories are darker than others, however it is definitely an interesting and pleasant read, and a must-read if you are a fairytale lover and craving for more retellings!

Four: My Review

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I really liked Divergent but I was a bit disappointed by both its sequels, so I didn’t really have high expectations when I started reading Four. However, I was taken by surprised as I absolutely LOVED it. I read it in a day yesterday, and now here I am, hoping for more.

Publication year: 2014

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Short Stories

Rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Four is a prequel to the Divergent series, told from Four’s point of view instead of Tris’s. The first short stories evolves around his Choosing Ceremony, the second one  is about his life as an Initiate, the third one about bits and pieces of his life after the Initiation, and how he notices the Dauntless are slowly changing and drifting away from their original ideals. The last one takes place when Tris has arrived in Dauntless. The book also includes three scenes from Divergent retold from Four’s point of view.

Warning:

Four is supposed to be a prequel to the series, however it is supposed to be read after them, as it includes spoilers for the rest of the books!

My opinion:

Surprisingly, I really loved this book. As much as Allegiant disappointed me, I really loved to read about Tobias before he met Tris, and what led him to make the choices he did, etc. His narrative voice was really pleasant and enjoyable to read – actually I liked him better here than in Allegiant.

It was interesting to read more and learn more about the concept of Divergent, because it really is such an interesting world. This book completes the story very well and is a must read for fans of Tobias/Four!

I think Veronica Roth did an excellent job here. Four is really endearing and feels relatable. We get to understand a bit more the complex backrgound of everything that happens in Divergent and the rest of the series. It’s also great to read more about characters whom we meet in the rest of the books, such as Tori, Zeke and Uriah as well as the rest of their friends, and of course, the unbelievably annoying Eric.

Overall, it was a great read, and the fact that it was short stories was no problem at all, as they more or less followed one another. Highly recommended for fans of the series who still want to read more about it! And I know some may say that this doesn’t add anything to the story, but is that really important? In the introduction, Roth says that when she first got the idea for Divergent, it was a story from Tobias’s point of view, so I think it makes this book even more interesting. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, so I’m happy…

Please share your opinion below if you have read it, I would love to talk about it!

The Bloody Chamber: My Review

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I have to admit, I started reading this book with really high expectations, as several people recommended it, and I love retellings, and in the end, I was really disappointed. I don’t like it when I don’t like books, but really, I couldn’t help it this time. I struggled a lot, and in the end, gave up on finishing some of the short stories because I didn’t care. Okay, I feel really bad for not liking this book. But I can’t lie to myself.

Genre: Adult Fiction, Short Stories, Retellings

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

What is it about:

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is a series of short stories by Angela Carter which was originally published in 1979. The first tale, the one which gave its title to the collection, is a retelling of Blue Beard, and it’s followed by two retellings of Beauty and the Beast. The collection also contains a retelling of Puss-in-Boots, one of Snow White, two of the Little Red Riding Hood, as well as vampire and werewolf stories.

Carter took a new twist on the stories of our childhood, and turned them into dark and sensual tales. She made them more modern, and more mature, and also made the leading ladies more powerful and important.

That sounded good, right? I don’t know why, but it didn’t work on me…

My opinion:

Maybe it just wasn’t the right time for me, but this book didn’t work on me. It’s not the fact that I’m not a fan of short stories – I’m actually liking them more and more – or the fact that these are not the stories I remember, because I know what a retelling can do. I liked the idea of this book, and the first stories were actually okay, but the more I read, the more I just wanted to discard the book and not finish it. I have to admit I just read the last pages diagonally. And I don’t even regret it. Maybe I will come back to it, but for now it is a huge disappointment. (Sorry book, I hate saying this. But really. Yes, I know, I have a problem.)

The first story was good. It was dark, but that really fits the original story. Yes, it was disturbing, but Blue Beard is really a horrible tale, and this retelling was really well-done. I found it a bit draggy (and predictable) but overall, I enjoyed it.

The retellings of Beauty and the Beast were interesting, I especially liked The Courtship of Mr Lyon, however in both tales, I didn’t really like the leading ladies. But let’s say that so far, I enjoyed the book.

My favourite was, I think, the retelling of Puss-in-Boots. Even if it had a cruel side to it, I really liked how it was narrated, and found it rather funny (though again, it was predictable, but we know the outcome of those fairytales so that doesn’t really matter).

But then, the retellings of Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood were plain disturbing, and I didn’t really care about the rest, the stories didn’t grab my attention, or interest me.

Maybe this book was not made for me, and maybe I just didn’t enjoy it because I found it too dark, I don’t know. If you have read it and enjoyed it, please tell me why because it really pains me! I’m not usually this disappointed when I read a book… Well, maybe the problem is that my expectations were to high actually.

Recommended for:

Retellings lovers who like stories with a dark side!

Kindred Spirits: Short Review

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Kindred Spirits is a short story written by Rainbow Rowell and published on World Book Day earlier in March.

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★

The story:

The new Star Wars is about to be released and Elena decides to wait in line in front of the cinema with other fans for a few days. Except when she arrives, there are only two people waiting in line, Troy, who has already waited in line for all the previous Star Wars movies, and Gabe, who seems to be around Elena’s age, but doesn’t really seem to be keen on talking to her. And that’s all. However, Elena doesn’t give up, and decides to sleep on the spot, as she had planned (even if her mother keeps driving by and insisting she comes home). And Elena is weirdly having a great time, even if things don’t go exactly as planned (especially when she needs to pee in the middle of the second night!)

My opinion:

This book was adorable. I would recommend it to pretty much anyone who is part of a fandom, even if it’s not Star Wars (I think it’s time I admit I’ve never seen any of the Star Wars movies… I know, shame on me). It reminded me of the line I did to wait for Sum 41 earlier this year (we arrived at 11am, the concert was at 7pm, and they were playing the third part) or the time I waited like 4 hours for John Green, and that time earlier this year when I waited in line for James Dashner and I thought I’d never get to see him. Yes, this is not as spectacular as what Elena did, but  there is still the spirit of the line and it is amazing.

Anyway, back to the book. The three main characters are all very different and yet endearing in their own way. Really, if you’re a fangirl/fanboy you can’t not like this book. It has its little ups and down and undying love for Star Wars. A bond is created between the characters, and they just feel so human, it’s perfect…

My only regret is that it was a short story, I would have loved to read more of Elena and Gabe!

The Survivor: Short Review

The Survivor

Author: Sara Elizabeth Santana

Publication: May 2016

Genre: YA, dystopia, post-apocalyptic, zombies

My rating: ★★★★☆

The Survivor is a novella from The Awakened universe, which basically retells the story of the first book from Liam’s point of view. It is meant to be read between book one and book two for a better understanding! It is also meant for Liam fans, but overall it can be read by any fan of the story. Book to in the series, The Sanctuary, should be released in December.

Warning: May contain spoilers for The Awakened! Read at your own risk!

The story:

Liam wanted to take some time away from his fiancée, Kat, and went on a hunting trip with his parents during Christmas break. In the middle of their trip, he received weird calls from her and talk about “the Awakened”. They decided to head back to Atlanta, but the city was on a quarantine, and every access forbidden. At the same time, Liam heard from Kat that the city was going to be bombed.

With a heavy heart, the family decides to head back to the Sanctuary, after checking on Liam’s aunt and her kids. Except things obviously don’t go as planned, as the Awakened set their car on fire.

And then, as you saw in the first book, they meet Zoey, Ash and Frank. And I won’t tell you more to keep some suspense!

My opinion:

First of all, can we all take a moment to appreciate the amazing cover?

Second of all, if you want to check out my review for book 1, here it is.

Now let’s get back to business.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Liam (okay, I’m Ash trash, you got me) so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from that book. I decided to read it anyway since I was curious, and I think it was definitely the right thing to do!

The good thing about this novella is that it goes through events where Liam and Zoey weren’t together, so first, we learn more about Liam, and then, we also get to see more of the catastrophy, and things that Ash and Zoey didn’t get to see, so that was rather interesting!

Overall, it was a quick and enjoyable read, and it got me even more curious for The Sanctuary! (And yes, I’m still #TeamAsh after reading this book. Definitely.)

Recommended for:

People who read and liked The Awakened, obviously. And otherwise, I recommend this series to people who like YA, dystopian and apocalyptic stories.

Into the Forest: Short Review

Into the Forest (Curses of VIII, #0.5)

Into the Forest is the prequel novella to the “Curses of VIII” series by Freedom Matthews, and it was released earlier in May. The first book in the series, Inherited, will be published in June by Oftomes Publishing.

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Faerys and Pirates

Rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

On the day of Ravenzara’s coronation as the Sorceress of the faerys, deep in the forest, her bitter sister casts her a curse, which will bring her unhappiness.

Ravenzara is not only a faery, but also in love with a human, Gaspard, who takes her away on his ship, to see the world, and they promise each other that nothing can separate them.

The ebook also includes a preview for Inherited.

My opinion:

Before I say anything, I just wanted to point out how gorgeous this cover is.

Now, back to business. It was a really beautiful and quick read, that got me curious for Inherited! Freedom Matthews created an amazing world for her books, and you should definitely check them out, you won’t regret it. This novella has faerys and pirates, which is already amazing. It mixes love, magic and adventure in the best possible way.

The only thing I regretted is how short it was! I would have love to read more about Ravenzara, especially what happened after the end of the story. But I suppose the point of a prequel novella is to show you little and get you curious…

Recommended for:

People who love fantasy and adventures, and want to be transported to amazing imaginary worlds!

Cruel Crown: My Review

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Genre: YA, short story, dystopia

Overall rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Cruel Crown is a series of two short stories from Red Queen’s universe. The first one, Queen Song, is that of Coriane, Cal’s mother, and how she met and fell in love with the king. The second story, Steel Scars is the story of Captain Farley before she met Mare, and her role in the Scarlet Guard.

It was written by Victoria Aveyard and published earlier in 2016, and it’s a rather quick read, since it’s only 140 pages (the volume also includes a sneak peak for Glass Sword, the second book in the series).

My opinion on Queen Song:

It was really lovely to get to know Queen Coriane, and it was also a good way to discover a bit more about the past of the kingdom of Norta. It was also interesting to see a bit more of the Silver’s side of the story, since with Mare, we basically only see the oppressed side. Coriane is a unique character, and though her story is a bit of a cliché (lonely girl falls in love with the heir to the throne and gets married, which allows her family to get some of their past wealth back), there is also more than this. Coriane is deeply disturbed, and though we knew how it would end, it was a great journey. It was also nice to dive a bit into Julian’s past. The only thing I regretted was how short it was!

My opinion on Steel Scars:

The more I read of this series, the more I like Diana Farley. Through this short story, we learnt more about her and the beginnings of the Scarlet Guard. We discovered how they started developing in Norta, and at the same time, we could see about some events of Red Queen from another point of view, which is something I always enjoy. I was also anticipating the first meeting between Shade and Farley, and I have to say, I really was not disappointed here. It was really enjoyable to see their relationship evolve! (And Glass Sword‘s ending is breaking my heart even more thanks to this.) Actually, I think I liked this short story even more than I thought I would. And as expected like every time I read a short story, now I want more…

Overall:

The writing style is easy to follow, and what I probably liked the most about this book is how it completely brought me back in this universe. I hadn’t realised, but I really missed it, and now, I want more! The stories also pleasantly complete what we already knew, and help us understand more about how it works and so on. Through Red Queen, and Glass Sword, we follow Mare, who is a New Blood. Here, we get to follow some of the Silver World, and members of the Scarlet Guard who are “normal” Reds, so it is a great way to figure out more about Norta and the Lakelands, and how this whole world works!

Recommended for:

Red Queen lovers, obviously. If you like this universe, the book is definitely the thing for you! It’s great, though not extraordinary, but if you want more, then just go for it, don’t hesitate!

Feel free to share your opinion below if you have read it as well!

My True Love Gave To Me: My Review

My true love gave to me is a selection of 12 winter holiday short stories edited by Stephanie Perkins and published in 2014. (Goodreads)

Genre: YA, short stories, romance

Overall rating: ★★★★☆

I also rated each of the short stories individually since they were all very different. Logically, those with five stars are my favourite. They were really adorable, and got me swooning… This book was a really cute and refreshing read!

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★★
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link ★★★☆☆
Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña ★★★☆☆
Polaris is where you’ll find me by Jenny Han ★★★★☆
It’s a Yuletide miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins ★★★★★
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan ★★★☆☆
Krampuslauf by Holly Black ★★★☆☆
What the hell have you done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman ★★★★★
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire ★★★★★
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White ★★★★★
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter ★★★★☆
The Girl who woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor ★★★☆☆

I recommend it to people who like short stories, obviously, and to those of you who like cute stories and winter romance!

I’m not sure how to review this since it’s a collection of short stories, and there were some I loved and some I didn’t enjoy that much.

What you need to know:

If you want to cuddle up with a cute romance, that’s easy to read (and obviously if you like short stories) then you can give it a try, definitely!

It’s also lovely if you don’t want to read the whole thing in one sitting. You can just put it down after any short stories. Yes, I know I’m only stating the obvious.

Usually I’m not really a short stories person, since they often make me feel like the story wasn’t complete, so this book was a lovely surprise as I really enjoyed it! I know it’s only my opinion, but I would avdise you to definitely check out the stories I rated 5! And if you see authors you like, you will probably like these stories, and it’s the occasion to read more from them, in a different way. (And I am yet again stating the obvious…)

The stories are all very different, so there is definitely one for everyone! (as long as you like romance,  I guess, but come one, who doesn’t enjoy a little romance from time to time!)

Please share your opinon if you have read the book, I would love to talk about it!