Book Review: For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1) by Hannah Whitten

Title: For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1)
Author: Hannah Whitten
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Retelling
Publication Date: June 1st, 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher for sending me out a finished copy to review! All opinions are my own.

The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.

For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn’t the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.” (Goodreads)

Red is one of two sisters and she is to be sacrificed to the Wolf while her sister gets the throne. This is such an intriguing premise for a plot and it definitely help up to my expectations for a lot of the book.

In the beginning we are introduced to Red and she is getting ready to be sacrificed. There is bits here and there that explain to an extent what it means to be a sacrifice and as to why they do it. I also like that the author doesn’t just give us all the information at once and you must continue reading on to truly understand what happens/happened to those that have went before Red.

The book is told from the perspective of Red and her sister Neve. I’m glad that it is written this way since they each have their paths as well as being in different places for a majority of the book. It keeps the tension as you switch between each one with plot twists ending some of their chapters. I also enjoyed this because I do adore sister bonds. You can tell how much Neve wants to help her sister and will do anything to bring her home. Red is also the same way but has left home to protect her sister. It’s easy to understand the sisters actions even if some of them bring chaos.

The Wolf isn’t what I was expecting at all. He is broody and wants to be the one that carries all of the burdens. He is closed off but definitely a sweet cinnamon roll inside. Their relationship is a very slow one with not much really happening between them until farther into the book. It is very much enemies-to-lovers as they didn’t choose this life. They learn to make sacrifices for one another as well as learning to let people in. I will say that the romance was my least favorite part but it did still have me smiling a couple of times.

There are other characters that are involved with the plot but it’s better if you go in blind for them. I honestly wasn’t expecting some to have as big of roles as they did. It made the plot twists that much sweeter! I didn’t guess anything right and it had me wanting to pick up the book whenever I had to step away for a bit.

While reading through it gave me Uprooted, Beauty and the Beast, and Frozen 2 vibes but obviously its a lot darker. The woods was a mix between the first and third of those mentioned and I loved learning about the intricacies of it. I still think there will be more to explain with the Wilderwood in the next book since there is some unfinished business. I’m sure we will also see Red and the Wolf hone in more to their powers as well.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I’m so glad I have been able to read it now. I am looking forward to the sequel as the ending had me gasping. I seriously need to know what will happen next.

Advertisement

Book Review: Tin (Fairies of Oz #1) by Candace Robinson and Amber R. Duell

Title: Tin (Fairies of Oz #1)
Authors: Candace Robinson and Amber R. Duell
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Romance / Retelling
Publication Date: December 9th, 2020
Publisher: Indie Published
Rating: 2 Stars

(Found on Kindle Unlimited)

“Tin is the most famous fae in Oz for all the wrong reasons. Cursed with a stone heart, he is the perfect assassin: ruthless, efficient, and merciless with thousands of kills to his name. When his old friend, Lion, offers him a small fortune to deliver Dorothy to the South for his lover to wear the girl’s head as her own, Tin doesn’t hesitate to accept the unsavory deal.

Dorothy Gale lost everything—her family to illness, her dog to age, and now her farm to foreclosure. The entire town thought she was crazy for believing in a faerie world called Oz, but even after ten years have passed, she can’t help knowing she was right. So when an emerald green portal opens in her wheat field, she jumps at the opportunity to return to the only place she ever felt like she belonged.

Tin wasn’t expecting a grown woman to step through the portal, just as Dorothy wasn’t expecting Tin to have his stone heart back, but Oz holds more unexpected things than either could have imagined. Magic has hidden dangerous lies behind glamour, trapped innocents in curses, and left the land of Oz in turmoil—none more so than the South. As Tin and Dorothy travel together for the second time in a decade, their lives begin to make sense again. Soon, they must decide who to give their loyalties to before Lion takes Dorothy’s head and Tin’s cursed heart is forever doomed.” (Goodreads)

I haven’t been doing much with my Kindle Unlimited TBR and I really need to get on it!

This was a book I added last year for the main reason that it involved fae/fairies. Stories about them always sound so intriguing. I just can’t help myself. Sadly, this one fell short in a lot of ways but it was at least an interesting take on the classic The Wizard of Oz.

The book is split into two point-of-views: Dorothy and Tin. The first chapter comes from Tin’s perspective and we are drawn into this crazy world that isn’t anything like the classic as it is much darker. Dorothy’s friends aren’t who she left behind and they definitely have their own agendas.

Even though I was intrigued by the beginning, the rest of the book just didn’t grasp my attention. There is romance blooming between Tin and Dorothy but it just didn’t work for me and needed more development. This could be due to the fact that the book is very short in the first place. It doesn’t leave much development for anything. Another reason why I never felt for the characters either.

There are some interesting plot twists here and there but it still just wasn’t enough.

Overall, this was okay. It is a unique retelling and I am sure others will like but I am just not the right reader for it.

Book Review: Gerard (The Aerowyn Tales #1) by Carla Reighard

Title: Gerard (The Aerowyn Tales #1)
Author: Carla Reighard
Genre: YA Fantasy / Retelling
Publication Date: July 12th, 2020
Publisher: Orlando House Publishing

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy to review! All opinions are my own.




“Two brothers
Two curses
One lesson

In this retelling of a tale as old as time, the enchantress Aerowyn curses and separates two beastly brothers, Gerard and Antoine, to punish them for their selfishness and cruelty. Having learned the truth about his cursed past, Gerard must now face his demons of jealousy, bitterness, and obsessive lost love to move forward.

With the help of Bellarose, an antagonistic beauty, he must try to break his brother’s curse — which has left him and his manor under a powerful enchantment. But it will take more than true love’s kiss to save his brother. Is Gerard up to the challenge, or is his heart too hard after years of suffering?

You’re invited to be our guest on this enchanting, almost-familiar adventure based on the beloved fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. Settle in for a brand new once upon a time, and be ready to be swept away. (Goodreads)

I was really intrigued by this series because its a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast but with more Gaston, aka Gerard!

In this book, there is a lot of backstory for Gerard and I really liked that. In the Disney version we get nothing besides him being full of himself and that’s about it. I mean, I do like Gaston but Gerard definitely takes the cake for me.

It’s easy to pick out the little details from other versions of the original but the author does a great job of making the story her own and putting her own twists into the popular tale.

From start to finish I enjoyed reading about the characters, with a few getting their own point-of-views in chapters. There is romance between a couple and I was really surprised, in a good way, by the pairings.

There are some good life lessons to be had which is also always nice to see.

Overall, I enjoyed this tale and because of that cliffhanger I am looking forward to reading the next installment in this series.

E-Arc Review: Tempest Cursed: A Wuthering Heights Retelling by K.C. Lannon

Earcreview2

54254670._SY475_Title: Tempest Cursed: A Wuthering Heights Retelling
Author: K.C. Lannon
Genre: YA Fantasy / Retelling / Gothic
Publication Date: August 9th, 2020
Publisher: Self Published

Thank you to the author and NetGalley for this e-copy to review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
“On the island of Moon Tithe, where sea gods called Deep Dwellers once ruled, there was a girl who became a ghost story and a boy who became a monster.

Spirited, lonely 10-year-old Pearl searches for Magic and answers after her mother’s presumed drowning. When she presents an offering to the old gods, expecting to meet the Deep Dwellers, she finds a strange boy named Hake instead. Half-human, half-Deep Dweller, and raised cruelly by a monster called the Old One, eleven-year-old Hake befriends Pearl and they make a deal: he will show her Magic in exchange for a home. But Hake knows nothing of Magic—only that Pearl’s romantic stories of the Deep Dwellers are a lie.

As Hake and Pearl grow into young adults together, both the mysteries they seek to unravel and their romantic feelings for each other become hopelessly entangled. However, Pearl’s father threatens to separate them if they dig too deeply into Tempest’s secrets—a hidden passage, a Deep Dweller cult, and rumors of human sacrifices. But when the wealthy and kind Lotham family arrives on Moon Tithe, offering Pearl an escape from the secrets that haunt her, her loyalty to Hake is challenged, especially when his monstrous nature is revealed.

Tempest Cursed is a loose retelling of Wuthering Heights in two parts. This novel is the first in a series of Gothic retellings.” (Goodreads)

reviewheader

Anything that is gothic vibes by the shore, I’m all in! It’s seriously a weakness. The blurb had me very curious since it talked about a cult and old gods. A few other things I enjoy reading about. There were definitely some great aspects to this book and ones that I wish got more attention.

This book is split into two point-of-views: Pearl and Hake. Each one comes from a different background and each has had their share of hurt.

The book is also split into two parts. The first part is when the two main characters are ten years-old. I really wasn’t a fan of the first half. Since this is a YA book I just expect the characters to be a certain age. I don’t mind flashbacks but with this being half of the book, it just wasn’t my thing. It does help to solidify the friendship between the two so I do understand why it is the way it is. It was also at a slower pacing.

The second part is when they are teens and now the impact of the old gods comes into light. It definitely picks up pace wise as there is a lot to cover. The ending did feel a bit rushed with the old one.

When it came to the plot overall, I wish there would have been more about the Deep Dwellers/old gods. It was always briefly mentioned but nothing that kept me super intrigued about them. There is more in the second part but by then everything is already starting to be revealed and I still had questions.

The plot is more about the friendship/relationship between Hake and Pearl. It’s a fine and nicely done but it just didn’t give me all the feelings.

The gothic atmosphere is definitely the part I liked the most about this book. Pearl lives in a creepy old house and has a lighthouse nearby. Plus, the ocean is nearby. It is the perfect setting.

I also can’t comment on the retelling aspect since I haven’t read that book.

Overall, it was good but just lacking where I would want more.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Graphic Novel Review: Piper by Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg

Bookreview2

34272550Title: Piper
Author: Jay Asher, Jessica Freeburg, and Jeff Stokely (Illustrator)
Genre: YA Fantasy / Retelling / Graphic Novel
Publication Date: October 31st, 2017
Publisher: Razorbill

synopsis header
“Long ago, in a small village in the middle of a deep, dark forest, there lived a lonely, deaf girl named Maggie. Shunned by her village because of her disability, her only comfort comes from her vivid imagination. Maggie has a gift for inventing stories and dreams of one day finding her fairy-tale love.

When Maggie meets the mysterious Piper, it seems that all her wishes are coming true. Spellbound, Maggie falls hard for him and plunges headfirst into his magical world. But as she grows closer to the Piper, Maggie discovers that he has a dark side.

The boy of Maggie’s dreams might just turn out to be her worst nightmare…” (Goodreads)

reviewheader
I picked this one up from Book Outlet a few months ago I believe. The art on the cover really caught my eye and I had never read a retelling before about the pied piper so I thought this would be an interesting read.

First, I want to say that the artwork is beauitful! I loved the colors that they used and it all just popped off the page.

Piper_interior spread

The plot is your typical pied piper where a stranger comes in and does his music playing to get rid of the rats. I’m not sure how the original goes since I haven’t ever read it but some of the things in this one are pretty dark. Probably not the case for most people but I’m a chicken who pretends to be brave, so. 🤷‍♀️🤣

The one thing I didn’t understand and didn’t even realize but then things made a bit more sense after that was that Maggie is deaf. It wasn’t apparent until they spelled it out for me because she must be really good at reading lips if she isn’t even looking straight at the person.

Besides that, I really enjoyed the story and how the plot went. I wasn’t sure what to expect for an ending but it was pretty wild.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Mini Book Review: East by Edith Pattou

Bookreview2

38640729._SY475_Title: East (East #1)
Author: Edith Pattou
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Publication Date: First Published September 3rd, 2003

synopsis header
A beautiful, new edition of the beloved fantasy hailed as “the stuff of epic tale telling” (Booklist), perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast from New York Times best-selling author Edith Pattou.

Rose has always longed for adventure, so when an enormous white bear appears one evening and makes her a mysterious offer, she accepts. In exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family, she must live with the white bear in a distant castle. But Rose soon realizes that all isn’t as it seems. As she tries to settle into her new life, she makes a devastating mistake. Now she must choose: return to her safe and loving family or go on a dangerous quest to fix what she has broken—and perhaps lose her heart along the way. A sweeping romantic epic as timeless as any fairy tale and thrilling as only the best fantasy novels can be.” (Goodreads)

reviewheader
I had been wanting to read this one for awhile because the cover is beautiful! I am a sucker for illustrated covers like this. I do like retellings of folklore and there wasn’t anything wrong with the book but I didn’t find myself enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

It could have been the writing. It isn’t too descriptive or anything, just pretty simplistic. Others may disagree but I found it also to be a bit slow.

The characters were interesting and since there are a lot of characters, quite a few play a larger role in the plot, there are multiple point-of-views. I did like this  since it adds perspective especially when it comes to talking about Rose.

It’s also great to read a book that doesn’t have much romance. It was sprinkled in and didn’t overpower.

Overall, I thought it was a good read. I do own the second book so I will continue on but probably not right away.

Book Review: The Beholder by Anna Bright

Bookreview2

42739534._SY475_Title: The Beholder
Author: Anna Bright
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retellings
Publication Date: June 4th, 2019

synopsis header
“Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.” (Goodreads)

reviewheader
I picked this one up from my library on a whim. I have always been fascinated by the cover. The cover is really the only good thing about this book for me.

I was pretty intrigued by the beginning but my attention quickly disappeared as the plot moved rather slow. There were some decent parts but not enough to make me enjoy my read through.

Selah is not an interesting character. She is emotional and falls too easily for people. There wasn’t anything that made her stand out from any of the characters. She was just plain. The other characters were also not ones I cared enough to read about.

The world building was many things pushed into one plot. It was very choppy and I questioned a lot of it.

As for the plot, it was okay but not it just wasn’t engaging. It really lacked and the retelling parts were just meh.

Overall, it was just an okay read if that. It didn’t leave me feeling any way so that is why this review is so short, haha.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Bookreview2

16096824Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: New Adult Fantasy (definitely not YA)
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015

synopsis header
“Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.” (Goodreads)

reviewheader
This is the second time I have read this one. It’s funny because I started them on the same date but two years apart.

I don’t have a review from the first time and I can tell you that if I did it would be completely different than the one I am about to write.

This will have spoilers for this book as well as some from the other books.

I’m just going to start this off by saying that I don’t hate Tamlin.

giphy.gif

Yes, I know it will come as a shock to many people but oh well! I said what I said. #sorrynotsorry

From the beginning we are introduced to Feyre. A young woman who doesn’t have a fear of anything. She shoots down a rather large wolf, talks calmly to a beast to protect her family, and doesn’t listen when people tell her to stay put.

In my first read I liked her. In this one, I still did for the most part. I did get tired of her forgetting how to breathe though. She kept sucking in breaths and holding them quite a lot!

Lucien will always be one of my favorite characters though. He goes through a lot of growth throughout the series. The banter between him and Feyre is always a joy to read about. I still think he was a bad friend for abandoning Tamlin. Tamlin literally took him in and maybe if Lucien would have been a better friend he could have prevented many of the bad decisions Tamlin decided to do. 🤷‍♀️

Rhysand, I didn’t like him in this. Not one bit. He kept mocking Tamlin. He called Feyre mortal trash. Sure, he has ulterior motives but it doesn’t make up for his actions. There is more I can complain about but I don’t want to damage the old image I have in my head of him.

Tamlin, my little cutie pie. Everyone is quick to judge him for everything that he does especially later on in the series. He clearly suffers from some sort of PTSD. Rhysand mentions something about his last lover in one of his mocking visits and yet what does he do? He steals away Feyre. I think the whole mate thing was a cop out. People also question why he didn’t help Feyre during the trials but Lucien and Rhysand did. I don’t know maybe because he was on a short leash with Amarantha. If the roles were reversed and Feyre didn’t help Tamlin would people still feel the same? Tamlin got shafted throughout the whole series. Many people will say they will do anything for their loved ones. Tamlin was doing the same thing but he is looked down upon for it. Feyre broke up with him in a freakin letter, but people now a days don’t want to be ghosted or broken up by text. Tamlin deserves better. No one can forgive him for his bad decisions but can forgive Feyre and Rhysand for theirs. Everyone looks past his bad past but pities Rhysand for his. It’s a double standard. There’s more I can say but then this will turn into a super long review.

I still skip past the sexy scenes because it’s too much for my prude self.

The growling from males was hilarious. It was also done quite a lot.

Will I be continuing on with my reread? No. I don’t want to tarnish the views I have of this series. I mean obviously it is already tarnished a bit. 🤷‍♀️🤣

Overall, it was good. I’m going to pretend this is the only book in the series because at least Tamlin gets a happy ending.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Bookreview2

36575823.jpgTitle: A Touch of Gold
Author: Annie Sullivan
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Publication Date: August 14th, 2018

synopsis header
“King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?” (Goodreads)

reviewheader
I have been trying to stay away from the library and read what I own since I have a bazillion. I decided to pick this one up because I thought it was standalone (it is until sometime in 2020) and it was a shorter read. Plus, I enjoyed a book by this author earlier in the year. I did at first have a hard time getting into it but as the plot thickened it was just too good to put down.

This is a retelling of King Midas which I am unfamiliar with so I can’t comment on that. I liked how the author introduces the plot at the beginning. Even though King Midas was the reason for how his daughter turned out, he is not the main character. Kora is doing the best she can under her circumstances. She is brave, loyal, and just wants someone who can truly understand her. I would say there were times that she felt a bit bland but overall she is was good character.

There are other characters in this book that shine as well. There are also ones that you believe are bad and turn out good plus the opposite. I wasn’t even sure who to trust!

The plot is filled with pirates, fighting, and reclaiming stolen treasure. There is also some romance too. There is also some scenes that may have had me feeling quite sad. The twists were definitely unexpected and left me wanting to keep flipping the pages.

Overall, I enjoyed this one. I didn’t like it as much as her other book I read but it was still good and I can’t wait to see what the next book is about!

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

The Shrike & the Shadow: E-Arc Review

Earcreview2

47561087._SY475_Title: The Shrike & the Shadow
Author: Chantal Gadoury and A.M. Wright
Genre: Fantasy/Retelling
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2020

Thank you to the authors for reaching out to me and providing a copy of the book to review.

synopsis header
“Men have gone missing before.

The village of Krume is plagued by a haunted wood and a hungry witch. It’s been that way for as long as Hans and Greta can remember, though they have never seen the witch themselves; no one has.

When men start to disappear once again in the cover of night – their bloody hearts turning up on doorsteps – the village falls into frenzied madness.

Hans and Greta, two outcast orphans, find themselves facing accusations of witchcraft and are met with an ultimatum: burn at the stake, or leave the village forever.

With nowhere else to go, they abandon their only home.

As they venture into the strange forest, their path is fraught with horrific creatures, wild and vivid hallucinations, and a mysterious man tied to the witch’s past.

The Shrike is watching, just beyond the deep darkness of the woods.” (Goodreads)

reviewheader
Retellings are an interesting thing. I love that authors can take an older idea and create it into something new. It’s a remarkable thing. I will say that not many retellings have really impressed me. This one is based around Hansel and Gretal. I have never read one for them before so I was very intrigued. There were things I liked about this book but I also had issues too.

One of the things I liked was how different the retelling was. I wasn’t sure what to expect before reading but it did leave me engaged for the most part.

The book’s chapters are base around two point-of-views (Hans and Greta) until later on when another character gets their own as well. I do usually enjoy multiple point-of-views but for this book in particular it seemed to slow down a bit of the story. I also didn’t feel that the third one added anything new and could have been left out.

Since Hans and Greta are siblings, there obviously is a dynamic there but it usually felt one-sided. Hans may not have been dillweed to his sister to her face but he sure knew how to run his mouth around town. He used her as an excuse/crutch to not marry and stick his dilly dally in whoever wanted it. He definitely was a character I could care less about. As for Greta, she was sweet and wanted to always see the best in people. She didn’t care what people thought about her and wanted to help the villagers even when she knew what they thought about her. At least she had more sense than her brother.

The other characters in the book are pretty minor besides the Shrike and Barin. The Shrike is an interesting character and there was a bit of background to understand how she came to be. The thing is, I still don’t think I fully understand why though. How did she decide one day that she was going to rip out hearts? Did the woods make her? Is something else in the woods? Is she possessed? The possibilities are quite endless at this point.

Like I said above, the plot was engaging. Of course there were some slow parts but I did find myself curious and kept reading. The ending was definitely my least favorite part of the book since there wasn’t much closure. I also didn’t like the relationship that was forming between Greta and another character. It was very instant and I am just not a fan of that.

Overall, it was good but I just needed a bit more in certain areas of the book. I didn’t find myself connecting too much with the characters and definitely wanted a better ending. Maybe the book isn’t truly over and there will be a sequel? Who knows.