The Cephalopod Coffeehouse #Review: Fairest #scifi #fairytale

Sorry for being late this month. I forgot to schedule my post. For those of you in the US, be safe out there today. If you’re at home, please enjoy this hop.

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you’ve finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we’ll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us below.

Title: Fairest
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Fairytale Retelling
Pages: 256
Reading Level: Teen
Content: PG-13 (violence, brutality, doom, mature and dark themes, adult situations, oppression)

After reading Cress, I wasted no time jumping into this long-awaited backstory into the life of the Wicked Queen, aka Levana. I can barely find the right words to describe how much I enjoyed this book. I’m so afraid of giving away spoilers that I’m purposefully making this a short review.

I will say that, dang is this woman’s life messed up. She is all kinds of damaged, from an early age, and she just spirals into, what I consider, insanity. What she does, what is done to her, what the what…. I just can’t. This is such a sad, and brutal, and terrifying story. You want to feel bad for Levana, but she won’t let you. Her crazy out does any wrong done to her and any sympathy she didn’t ask for.

I absolutely love this villain. I so want her to lose so I can feel bad for her and be completely satisfied all at once… See, just reading her story has made me a little crazy.

Totally recommended to fans of this series, fans of psychological sci-fan, and dark fairy tale retellings.

I give this book a 5.

Please stop by and see what others have read. 😀

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse #Review: Cress #scifi #fairytale

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you’ve finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we’ll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us below.

Title: Cress
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Fairytale Retelling
Pages: 560
Reading Level: Teen
Content: PG-13 (violence, brutality, doom, war, mature and dark themes, adult situations, oppression)

I honestly didn’t see the girl trapped on a satellite turning into a Rapunzel retelling, but it totally works. I love how the author embeds plot points from the original fairytale into this futuristic saga in ways that actually make perfect sense. I won’t geek out about it too much because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but if you like the Rapunzel story, you’ll appreciate this installment of the Lunar Chronicles where Thorne kind of plays the role of the prince.

Before I say more about what I liked in this book, I’ll mention that there wasn’t enough Wolf and Scarlet interaction for me. I understand why they aren’t focused on too much and appreciate where the story is going. I will also admit that I’ve been on the fence a bit about whether or not I really ‘get’ Cinder as the great hero and this story really helped me to appreciate her more. I already liked her, but I just had trouble seeing her as a hero, knowing that the character struggles with that notion herself, makes her feel more real.

I also found that this installment made me appreciate Emperor Kai more. As I read the story, I was pleasantly tasked with reminding myself that these are young, teenage, characters trying to save the world. Too often, for my taste, YA stories make me wish the characters were older. I felt it was a mark of superb storytelling and character development that allowed me to accept the, few and far between, teenage angst because I realized that the story needed light tones from time to time.

Being a sucker for “the one” tales, I really enjoyed how Cinder began to hone her Lunar gifts and complement them with her cyborg advancements. I appreciated the uniqueness of her character and role she plays in bringing light to issues of stereotyping, superstition, and discrimination. I also love that Iko got more involved (can’t wait to read her graphic novel).

Recommended to teen and adult fans of fairytale retellings, cyborg or machine tales, and a good fantasy and sci-fi mash-up.

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon.

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

If you’re up for it, I could really use some support for my Thunderclap campaign, which promotes my 10 Kindle book sale and 5 paperback giveaway.

Please stop by and see what others have read. 😀

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Review: The Legends Saga #paranormal #ya

Sorry for the late post. Life happens its own way no matter how much you plan.

Goodreads

Title:  Crane

Series: The Legends Saga #1

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 298

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, some gore)

This is two stories in one with a dark comical twist… Well, actually two twists.

Ireland Crane just moved to Sleepy Hollow because she couldn’t pass on the opportunity to be associated with the legend of Ichabod… No, not really. I just thought that was a silly coincidence that was going to ruin this book, but it didn’t. Actually, Ireland just broke up with her boyfriend and needed a change so when a job in Sleepy Hollow opened up, it was a chance to escape. Of course, once she gets there, people start dying and old men start waking up in her basement. Enter, Rip Van Winkle.

One thing I’ll say about this story is that it is refreshingly dark and funny. I fell in love with the humor of Stacey Rourke in her Gryphon Series, but this was an entirely different experience. This story is more New Adult than YA, but not filled with a lot of steam. That may be a deterrent for some who feel that New Adult exists only to add more steam to stories.

While I didn’t fall as hard for the first installment of the Legends Saga as I did the Gryphon Series, the story still won my heart. The paranormal elements of this story are right up my alley, and the comedy is just a bonus. The strong female lead, Ireland, is not what I expected which is always a plus for me. She doesn’t start off as a kick-butt character but develops a duality that lets her be the quintessential girly-girl and feme fatal all at once. Kudos to Rourke on the character.

Ireland isn’t the only likable character in this book, but I don’t want to give too much away. A sleepy Rip does steal the show a few times, and have I mentioned the dreamy Noah. Of course, there’s a love interest, but I like that the romance is not the major focus of this story. In fact, as twists go, romance and damsels get mashed up pretty good and I like it. The way the whole curse comes together was original and exciting. The rest of this series is a must read for me.

Recommended to fans of paranormal, myth and fairytale retellings, and dark humor.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Goodreads

Title:  Raven

Series: The Legends Saga #2

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 211

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, gore, mature and dark themes)

I don’t think it’s fair to compare the tale of Ichabod to the fictionalized story of Edgar Allan Poe, but that’s what we’re faced with comparing books 1 and 2 of The Legends Saga. Considering I am rating both books the same, it seems silly to say that I liked the second book more, but I did. However, I think that is mostly the fault of my enthusiasm for Poe. In any case, Rourke has thoroughly entertained me again with Raven, to which I will doubt her nevermore.

I honestly didn’t know where else this story could possibly go, and knowing who’s showing up for the third book, it’s all I can do not to speculate. I can’t wait to be surprised. To say that matters turned darker in this second book is an understatement, but there’s no denying that Ireland is still Ireland. She’s silly, and sweet, and a bit slow at times, but that’s just part of her charm.

As the Hessian, unfortunately, she gets put in her place when the scorned love of Poe turns out to be much more powerful. Let’s face it; while revenge and rage are powerful forces, love is the ruler of all. As if being the Hessian wasn’t enough to put a strain on Ireland and Noah’s relationship, the handsome Ridley shows up just having to be the missing key to resolving Poe’s century-old relationship issues.  Just as in the first book, life and death are a delicate balance held together or torn apart by love.

This story is much darker than the first, but it didn’t turn me away. Even through all the darkness and death in this book, there was room for quite a few laughs. An addition to the second book, not experience in the first, at least for me, was also a sense of sorrow. Rourke really dug deep and offered a gambit of emotions and experiences for her readers.

Recommended to teen and adult readers; fans of paranormal, Poe, and other twisted retellings.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Goodreads

 Title: Steam

Series: The Legends Saga #3

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 228

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, gore, mature and dark themes)

I’ll go ahead and admit that I enjoyed this story, but I didn’t like the way this series ended. I probably would have given this final installment of the Legends Saga a 5 rating, had the ending been more resolute. For me, having so many questions at the end leaves me wondering if these characters will pop up again down the road, just as other Rourke characters have. The uncertainty is agonizing… but still; you gotta read this for yourself. It’s totally worth it.

Aside from my issues with the ending, Rourke has managed to awe and amaze me yet again, adding extended depth to her characters and twisting ageless tales in unexpected ways. Steam takes everything to another level. If you snickered in the first two books, you’ll LOL in this one. If you whimpered a bit with the first two books, your heart will ache with this one. There is one scene in particular that actually made me feel a bit of terror, bordering this tale on the edge of horror, but it’s so much more than that.

Book one seemed to focus on conquering demons and finding purpose. Book two seemed to focus on the power and, even danger, of love. Book three is all about the choice to live with hope and the sacrifices one makes to keep hope, and perhaps even love, alive.

In this installment, Ireland and Ripley are joined with a new character who has ties to witchcraft and the story of “The Scarlet Letter”.  This oddball assortment of humans and their supernatural gifts have been gathered together by HG Wells to defeat the greatest evil any of them have ever seen. Even with Well’s ability to travel through time, he knows that even if they win, there will be a price to pay, he just doesn’t know what it is.

If you read the first two, you should definitely read the third and decide for yourself if the ending is or isn’t totally satisfying.

Recommended to teen and adult readers; fans of paranormal, and other twisted retellings.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Death of the Mad Hatter: Excerpt Three by Sarah J. Pepper

From GoodReads, click to add to your bookshelf.

“Out of all my ill-fitting hats, one has never given me a headache like you do.”

“I’ve only begun to give you a headache,” she whispered and turned around and walked down the steps.

She got to the landing before I was close enough to grab her wrist, stopping her escape. She wiggled, freeing her hand. When I refused to back off, she moved her leg like she was going to knee me in the groin, so I completely closed the gap between us, pressing my hips against hers. She had no movement to strike.

“I’m done with this charade!” I yelled even though we were millimeters away from each other. “Everything you say doesn’t make a lick of sense. Why did you come here? Surely it wasn’t just to annoy me.”

“Just because you don’t understand my way of thinking, it doesn’t mean that I don’t make sense!” she yelled. “You’re such a—”

“A what?” I interrupted. “An Otherworlder?”

She stepped closer, even though I hadn’t thought it possible, making it clear that I hadn’t intimidated her. Even though I was taller than her, she stood on her tip toes, making us closer to the same height.

“Actually, I was going to say that you are such a boy! What’s an Otherworlder, Ryley? I’m not sure that word even has a definition, or did you make it up? Now, who sounds crazy?” she said, spreading her arms wide.

I’d forgotten about everyone else in existence. Everyone was staring. Judging from the context spoken, I did sound more insane than she.

“What is Wonderland, Alice Mae?”

“Do you not remember anything?” She seemed genuinely frustrated.

“I’m not in the habit of remembering places I have never been, you stupid girl!”

“Don’t call me that!” She socked me in the gut. Normally, I would have thought it cute that she tried to attack me since she was so feeble, but today it only aggravated me.

“I was alerted that your father’s car had moved,” Alice Mae said. “Was he able to answer any of your questions?”

The hall got so quiet, not a single person coughed. I wanted to rip the damn rabbit’s head off, but it was in my backpack that I’d dropped when I noticed the hat carnage in my locker.

“My dad is not around,” I said.

“Interesting phrasing,” Alice Mae said, analyzing my comment. She tapped her finger on her chin like she was deep in thought. “You didn’t say he was dead, nor did you confirm it. Perchance you and your mom made up a series of lies about him?”

I had to shut her up before she told everyone the truth! I wanted to strangle her. I hated how she could completely destroy me with a few simple words. She knew my deepest secret, and now she was telling the whole school about my whacked-out dad!

“—where does he live Ryley? I can’t seem to remember its name. It was some kind—”

I slapped my free hand over her mouth. She bit down. I pulled my hand away. Teeth marks were embedded in my skin. Smirking at me, she licked her lips.

“You instigated this war!” she said. She spoke more loudly. She was right. Her voice did carry. “Your father isn’t dead. He’s insa—”

In a stated of extreme panic, I did the only logical thing I could think of to shut her up.

I kissed her.

∞∞∞∞

Visit Sarah J. Pepper’s website to learn more about her unique retelling of the classic Wonderland tale, right here at: http://www.peppersreadingcorner.com/.

Also, check out her special Facebook interview here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Death of the Mad Hatter: Excerpt Two by Sarah J. Pepper

From GoodReads, click to add to your bookshelf.

There were the types of girls who dressed for guys, the type who still played dress-up, the type who lived in sweatpants, and then there was an entirely different breed who wore mismatched socks with pride. This chick fell into the last category. Why anyone could possibly think bright orange and blue would go together, unless they were a Boise State fan, was beyond my thought process. Her shoes were quite possibly handcrafted a hundred years ago, and her tattered skirt looked as though she found it in a dusty box tucked away in an attic. However, the zebra patterned gloves actually appeared to be from this decade.

“Well, it’s rather fortunate that you didn’t dribble. Mr. Ruth would have a fit if he became familiar with the underside of your pet-soaked shoe,” the girl said, petting the stuffed animal’s head. Her accent was none that I’d heard before—and I’d lived in a lot of different places. She sounded like a British gal impersonating a southern bell. “It’d be quite regrettable if anything happened to him on the first day of school. He must have fallen out of his hidey-hole.”

“You named your stuffed rabbit, Mr. Ruth?”

She covered the bunny’s ears. “Rutherford is his real name, but he hates it and makes all the other rumperbabbits call him by his nickname.”

“Rumperbabbits?”

“Bunnies, rabbits, hares—rumperbabbits. Same thing,” she said with a wink. She had the most volatile light-blue eyes that were so electrifying I couldn’t look away.

Time out—just for reference, I didn’t believe in juvenile notions, like love at first sight. In my book, time didn’t cease to move forward when two people fell in love. As a matter-of-fact, I’d have to be drunk (not on love) for such an irrational thought to enter my mind.

But, there was something magical about her. A mischievous charm. I wouldn’t have said that I necessarily liked it, but it was intriguing. She was intriguing… and new. For a town whose newspaper’s biggest story was the harvest report, having a new girl in school would most likely be headlined on The Gossiper’s front page.

∞∞∞∞

Visit Sarah J. Pepper’s website to learn more about her unique retelling of the classic Wonderland tale, right here at: http://www.peppersreadingcorner.com/.

Also, check out her special Facebook interview here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords