Graudin_growsEmrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love. 

Paperback, 463 pages  Published February 11th 2014 by HarperTeen  ISBN 0062187414 (ISBN13: 9780062187413)

 

Emrys is assigned to guard Prince Richard, but soon finds that her veiling spell has malfunctioned and he can see her. She introduces herself to him as his fairy godmother and explains that nobody else can see her. This causes problems because she is never supposed to reveal herself to any human. Plus, now that Richard can see her..he begins to fall for her. When the birds send the warning that trouble is coming, Emrys must help gather beings of all forms to fight against it.

Set in a modern day England, Richard is next to take the throne. Richard and Emrys begin to fall in love, but right away their differences seem to separate them. The royal blood line has dormant powers of its own and it’s the Frithemag who have sworn to protect them from creatures wishing to shed their blood. The message that danger is coming, sends all of the Faery Guard into a frenzy and soon nobody will know who to trust.

This story is very much a modern day fairy tale with supernatural creatures of all kinds. There is a focus on the environment as the technology and iron of today have an affect on the faery guard and their magic. Emrys battles constantly with her heart and her head. Richard is her soft spot and she struggles to control her actions when he is involved.

It is a very fun, light read that took me back to the fairytale stories like Cinderella. Castles, magic, dancing, beautiful clothing and woodland creatures. I felt that it was very well put together with a lot of twists and beautiful ideas of love and happily ever afters. I recommend this story to lovers of fairytales and elaborate romance escapades. I was very happy to have picked up this book because it is a very sweet read and great for sunny weather reading.



hodge_cruel beautyGraceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Hardcover, 342 pages Published January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray  0062224735 (ISBN13: 9780062224736)

I was surprised by how dark this story turned out to be. I knew to expect some similarities to the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, but found this book to be so different that it really stood out on its own. Rosamund Hodge brings out the darker side of an already dark story; Nyx is trapped in a never-ending mansion with a demon for a husband. Either one could lose their life at any time, yet they bide their time together, sizing each other up, as well as the situation they are in.

The story focuses on Nyx and Ignifex and their relationship. There are few side characters as the majority of the story takes place in the mansion. Nyx is mostly left alone, especially at night, and wanders through the locked-up house. The doors are locked for good reason, as she finds throughout the story, but with nothing else to spend her time on, that is what becomes her focus when she is alone—discovering the demon’s secrets.

There is, surprisingly, plenty of world building and back story to this book, even though the actual setting is inside one house. There are many twists, and storylines unravel to reveal more depth than what is originally presented. I did not come to love any of the characters as they all had their faults, and this particular story does focus on the darker aspects of their lives. Nyx spends a lot of her time feeling put upon, jealous, and angry, and has a hard time focusing on where to put that anger. So instead of lashing out, she bides her time, finding out more about her peculiar situation, trying to stay alive, and making plans to free her father from his bargain.

As this is the first book in a series, we do not get to see all the characters and plot fully fleshed out yet. What we do get to see is this weird kind of understanding and connection between the two personalities of Ignifex and Nyx. Many secrets are revealed and there is some adventure as we find out what is behind the locked doors.

As the story developed, I started to really enjoy where it was going—the idea of learning about yourself and finding connections to others even in the darkest of circumstances, and a feeling of constantly being on guard, yet developing a sense of comfort and expectations from your surroundings. I am excited to see where the story continues to go and it’s a book I recommend. Those who enjoy reading darker fairy tales that don’t end up with happily ever after should pick this one up!



amateua-tateTwelve-year-old Georgia Tate wishes she could stay home in Mississippi forever with her preacher granddaddy and her best friend Ginger. After losing her nana to a heart attack, she desperately wishes she could tell her granddaddy why she can’t possibly move in with Daddy — about the things he does that make her feel so ashamed. With a vivid narrative voice, Gigi Amateau tells an unflinching tale of a sensitive girl caught in the trauma of incestuous abuse. But it is also a story of survival — an ode to the solace of family, the mercy of strangers, and the possibility of hope and healing. 

Paperback, 208 pages Published April 10th 2007 by Candlewick Press (first published May 24th 2005)

This story confronts several heavy topics in one go. Georgia Tate has been raised by her grandparents (her father is unfit to parent and her mother is dead). Her grandfather is a preacher and nana is the one who makes sure she is well-behaved and raised with good manners. She’s raised in a close community and the family is well-known as her grandfather preaches for several churches in the area. When nana dies, her grandfather decides it’s best to send her to live with her father in Florida.

The life she has with her father requires Georgia to grow up very fast. At the age of 12, he makes her go to bars with him while he drinks and has her drive him home. He has her dress inappropriately and, when his girlfriend leaves him, he becomes dangerous for Georgia to be alone with. Georgia is open-minded and friendly. She makes friends with some of her neighbours and, as things get worse for her, she leans on them for support.

For a very powerful story aimed at younger readers, the writing is not too descriptive, but the message comes across clearly. Georgia’s character is strong and you can see the cycles of her thoughts as she goes through these experiences and how to approach others. The book is about overcoming challenges and staying strong. I admired Georgia Tate and her love for people in general. Even though she goes through a lot at a young age, she always has hope and an open heart for others.

This is a story I would recommend, especially for fans of Judy Blume or Cynthia Voigt.



lampson_juliaJoe’s twin brother, Alvin, disappeared. And with him went Joe’s tenuous grip on real life. The rest of it: the road trip, the maybe-murder, the burned-down house–all of that came later.

At eighteen, Joe is stuck in limbo. Directionless and simple, he blows through his inheritance playing poker and eats only cheeseburgers, pizza, and guacamole. Then his twin brother, Alvin, disappears–and Julia, Alvin’s tempestuous girlfriend, takes Joe on a whirlwind road trip from L.A. to Tennessee. There, he’s thrust into the dysfunctional dynamic of her wealthy family. For the first time, Joe has a job. He has a suit he wears every day. And he’s in love with a crazy, beautiful girl who only talks honestly in her sleep. Joe’s so blinded by his seductive new life that he almost misses the truth about what happened to his twin…

Maybe Joe can’t grow up–but he can love.

Paperback, 232 pages

Published February 2nd 2012 by Razorbill

 

Now here is a story that threw me for a loop. It’s a contemporary tale with a light mystery atmosphere, and it is a curious read – the main character we follow is in a limbo state, and ‘simple’ is a kind way to describe him (as the summary does). He is introduced to us about six months after his twin brother has run off with a girl. They have never been separated before, and Joe has taken to ‘speaking’ to his brother through hallucinations. He now lives with his older brother Marcus, and their personalities clash.

Joe spends his time playing poker, gambling away his $100 a day inheritance, eating at McDonalds, and wandering. Those are the only things on his mind and, when he is out of money, he wanders home. His brother, Marcus, had to raise the twins after their parents died, and is strict and always thinking about the future. His life is planned out and the fact that Joe doesn’t seem to care about anything but Alvin, frustrates Marcus no end. Alvin appears out of the blue one day and takes Joe to dinner, also inviting him to sail around the world with him. But by morning he is gone, and Julia appears. They decide that Joe will return with Julia to her home in Tennessee and work Alvin’s old pool boy job.

It seems that all of the characters are attracted to Joe because of his simplicity; he is always ready to go along with whatever is happening and only speaks up regarding his ‘special diet’ from which he will not stray. Julia likes the quiet, unassuming Joe who doesn’t judge her or ask too many questions. They fall into a romance of lazy days and comfortable, relaxing nights, which is a good way to describe the atmosphere of this story: very laid back, breezy, and uncomplicated. The story peaks towards the end as the real mystery comes to a head: where did Alvin go?

Each character introduced into the story plays a pretty major role in the plot. There are few minor characters as Joe’s world is pretty small. We get to know each of the characters well and they all come full circle as the story-lines unravel. The pacing is steady throughout and I felt like I was a part of the story, easily losing myself in the events, and sometimes feeling like I was in a dream-like state while reading.

What I liked about the story was that it was unusual. I never thought that a character who has no character could make for an interesting novel. The author pulls us in by introducing a complicated circle of ‘other’ personalities who make up for it. That is the reason I’d recommend it; I don’t read a lot of contemporary romance, but this was not your usual…



Meet another one of our wonderful staff members, Krista McKeeth. Krista is a book worm who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and has her own website over at Cubicleblindness



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