Oct 10

The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness #6)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness #6)The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #6) by Rhys Bowen
Published by Berkley on November 6, 2012
Genres: Cozy, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 311
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsfour-stars

She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…   On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.   So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead.  On my second day, another so-called accident results in a death – and there’s yet another on my third.  Perhaps a recent prison break could have something to do with it…that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland.

Includes an English Christmas companion, full of holiday recipes, games, and more!

The Twelve Clues of Christmas completely rekindled my interest in this series! I was starting to debate whether or not I wanted to continue with this series after Naughty in Nice, which was lighthearted and fun but not much mystery or substance and nothing really progressed in the main plot. I’m so glad I kept reading! Book 6 was soooo much better. There was a real mystery in this one, and things kept happening at such a pace I could barely put it down and even though I had suspicions about the killer throughout the book I didn’t actually figure it out until about the last third.

Things I Liked

  • Darcy had some more page time! He and Georgie seemed to work things out a little better and I liked that.
  • Georgie is, per usual, trying to find somewhere to live and somehow to support herself and this time instead of the queen coming through with an “assignment,” she actually finds a job that suits both herself and the royal relatives. Her mother just happens to be nearby, being her usual flighty but charming self.
  • The murders – yes, more than one this time – just kept coming and getting stranger and…is it weird that I really liked that? 😛

Things I Didn’t Like

  • Thoroughly enjoyed this one, honestly, but some of it still felt a little unrealistic and a tiny bit corny. I think it’s really hard for cozy mysteries to avoid that entirely.
  • Georgie, for all her talk about wishing she was more experienced in the ways of the world and envying her carefree friend Belinda, is ridiculously straitlaced. I guess I shouldn’t be expecting anything else, given how careful she is to not bring any shame to the royal family, but still. Then again, maybe her character is written that way to keep the story’s romance in the “sweet” category.

If You Like…

…the Amelia Peabody series, or the Maisie Dobbs series, you’ll probably enjoy the Her Royal Spyness series as well!

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four-stars

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Oct 09

Can’t Wait Wednesday #22 – Fireborne

Books/Writing 0

I’m joining in the fun with a Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Usually the books are ones yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday #22 – FireborneFireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1) by Rosaria Munda
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on October 15, 2019
Pages: 448
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads

Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that's full of rivalry, romance... and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.

Oh. My. God. This book sounds AMAZING. I can’t even put into words why, but I have it coming as my Book of the Month pick for October and just…

Is anyone else as excited as I am??

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Oct 07

Magnetic by Anya J. Cosgrove

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

Magnetic by Anya J. CosgroveMagnetic by Anya J. Cosgrove
on August 8, 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 209
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsfour-stars
five-flames

Who said life was a fairy tale? Because I’d gladly slice that jerk’s head off.

I’m Vicky, though that’s not really my name.

I never expected to end up half-naked in the woods with my guts hanging out. I didn’t plan to stumble upon the most powerful shifter clan in North America and three of the sexiest men I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Dominic, the fun and reckless new wolf. 

Sam, the hot doctor with glacial-blue eyes.

And Gabriel, the intense, secretive alpha who wants nothing to do with me.

My real name is a one-way ticket back to hell, and my secrets need to stay buried like the girl I used to be.

Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Red Riding Hood—I can be all three.  I can use my powers to earn a place in their werewolf town, away from the bite of my past mistakes. I can use them—and their bodies—to survive.

The only thing I can’t do is fall for them.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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So, I was on the blog tour for this a couple of months ago, but when I went back to copy the review and add it to GoodReads…apparently the review part of my post wasn’t actually there?!? *cue much embarrassment* I’m not sure what happened, but….here it is.

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“I play the cool cucumber, but I’m more of a distraught apple.”

Magnetic is Vicky’s story, a spinoff from the Bloody Hearts series. Vicky is a vandella – a supernatural creature that needs sex to survive. And lots of it. She’s phenomenally attractive (to both sexes, though only M/F relationships are in this book), and amazing in bed…but her heart is bruised and broken from constant rejection of herself. People either at worst call her a slut and a whore, or at best only want her for sex and status. She presents a hard, brittle front, but inside she wants to love and be loved.  I’ll be honest, I thought she was awful when I read her brief part in Shadow Walker, but seeing her entire story was pretty awesome and it totally changed my mind. I’m hoping for a sequel or two!

Things I Liked

  • This book was a HUGE improvement over the only other reverse harem novel I’ve read (which was so horrible I’m not even linking it). The way the author made having multiple lovers acceptable was interesting (i.e., Vicky needs a LOT of sex just to maintain a normal life, one person shouldn’t have to fulfill ALL of her needs).
  • The guys are all different. They’re not identical except for their hair color or height. They have different personalities, different styles, different needs of their own. Oh, and yes, they’re all hot. Which one you like best will depend on your own preferences. 😉
  • There was a plot! This wasn’t just a sex-fest, even though there was A LOT of sex. The whole reason Vicky meets the three guys is because she’s running from a group of vampires that wants to control her and use her.
  • Vicky goes through hell, and yet doesn’t let it break her. She puts up with SO MUCH SHIT, emotionally (especially this), mentally, and physically, and yet she never gives up. She WILL rise, and she WILL get vengeance on the one who most cruelly used her. Yessssss.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • There’s one BIG secret that stays a secret until almost the end, and it just didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to me. Can’t say what exactly without giving a lot away, so I’m just saying it kind of jolted me out of the story and made me sit there and frown for a bit while I tried to figure out exactly how this could have been such a THING…

Overall

4/5 stars. Thoroughly enjoyable, recommended if you’re a RH fan or looking to try the genre.

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four-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Oct 06

Sunday Post #20 – Milestones and Busy-ness

Books/Writing, Life 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. I’m patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now. Maybe one day I’ll get creative and make my own graphics!

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Life Update

What a week! School was pretty much normal, but my grandmother was admitted to the hospital on Thursday for a procedure – which was “routine,” but at 83 years of age few things are completely routine. My grandmother is very much loved and about 15 members of my extended family ended up in the waiting room while the procedure was being performed. I love my family, large crowds of them packed together, not so much. Also, my dad showed up (haven’t spoken to my parents in almost two years because of…THINGS that happened), and he and I were able to have a bit of a heart to heart and put at least a few things straight between us. I’ve missed my dad, and have high hopes that maybe we can at least have a semi-communicative relationship now.

All that caused a SHIT TON of emotional exhaustion, which makes me feel physically exhausted as well. Thankfully my grandma is also okay and back home now.

OH! I almost forgot. This happened:

It kind of snuck up on me! I was really kind of shocked when I got the notification.

I’ve whizzed through a ton of novellas recently, so that’s what really pushed me over. I’m slightly tempted to raise it (again, my original goal was 52 books this year), but I don’t know. There’s just less than three months left in the year, maybe I shouldn’t push my luck.

Weekly Dose of Adorableness

Throwback! I *think* this was the morning after the first night Samson slept on the bed with us. Where he has slept every night since, even though he weighs almost 100 lbs more. #noroomformom #weneedakingsizebed

Last Week on Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • Magnetic – reverse harem, urban fantasy, paranormal review
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday
  • The Twelve Clues at Christmas (Her Royal Spyness #6)

Around the Blogosphere

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Oct 03

Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness #5)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness #5)Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #5) by Rhys Bowen
Published by Berkley Books on September 6, 2011
Genres: Cozy, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 328
Goodreadsthree-half-stars

The national bestselling author of Royal Blood whisks her heroine away to the French Riviera for fun-and danger. Lady Georgiana Rannoch has once again been called into service by Her Majesty the Queen. This time she's sent to Nice on a secret assignment that's nothing to sneeze at-recover the Queen's stolen snuff box.

As much of an honor as it is to be trusted by Her Majesty, an even greater honor awaits Georgie in Nice-as Coco Chanel herself asks Georgie to model her latest fashion. But when a necklace belonging to the Queen is stolen on the catwalk, Georgie has to find two priceless items-and solve a murder. How's a girl to find any time to go to the casino?

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“Please don’t go and die on me, my lady,” she said. “If you go and die, nobody else will employ me, as you bloody well know.”

If you haven’t read the previous books in this series, they are very enjoyable cozy mysteries with a long-running plot regarding the main characters, and I highly recommend you start with the first book, Her Royal Spyness. 🙂 I apparently started up reviewing this series under the impression I had already posted reviews of the first three books, and I have not. Bad book blogger. I do have a review up of the 4th book, but that’s not very helpful…sigh. I will remedy that shortly, but it has been a VERY long time since I read those!

Things I Liked

  • Georgie seemed to come a little more into her own in this one, become a little less of the naive schoolgirl. I was happy to see her lose a little of her reserve, even if it ended up being a moot point.
  • Even though most of her family things of Georgie as an ornament at best and a useless nuisance at worst, the Queen somehow thinks the world of her and sends her off on these strange and sometimes exotic assignments…always “cracking” fun!
  • I love how Rhys Bowen brings actual historical figures into her books, like Coco Chanel in this one. Even though of course it’s still fiction, it’s fun to imagine them as they might have lived and acted.
  • We also got a little more of a glimpse into Georgie’s long-dead father’s life, in a rather SHOCKING reveal at the very end! Holy crap. I really hope something plays out of that in future books.
  • There were a lot of witty moments and in this one, which one expects from Rhys Bowen, but this story seemed to have more than the usual number of zingers.

How Binky could have plucked up enough courage to have created a first child with Fig is still a matter of speculation. Why he did it a second time indicates insanity in the family.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • Can Darcy never give Georgie straight answers? I mean, he seems to like her well enough, why not trust her a little? And why does he keep showing up in these strange places and making her question his regard for her?
  • The mystery aspect seemed slightly lacking in this one, but I was interested enough in Georgia’s doings with her mother and her friend Belinda, and also the general atmosphere, to keep reading.
  • This one just seemed to flounder a bit. Still enjoyable, but without the best punch.

If You Like…

…the Amelia Peabody series, or the Maisie Dobbs series, you’ll probably enjoy the Her Royal Spyness series as well!

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three-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Oct 02

Can’t Wait Wednesday #21 – The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2)

Books/Writing 0

I’m joining in the fun with a Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Usually the books are ones yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday #21 – The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2)The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2) by Roshani Chokshi
Published by Wednesday Books on February 4, 2020
Pages: 416
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads

Returning to the dark and glamorous world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever.


They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

I absolutely loved The Gilded Wolves when I read it earlier this year, and am so so SO excited for the next installment of this trilogy! It’s killing me to wait until February but I didn’t even bother requesting an ARC because 1) I think it’s going to be super popular and I’m a rather small blogger, and 2) ARCs of highly anticipated books tend to stress me out in a major way. Yes, I know, I’m weird. Also, I can’t wait for the ACTUAL cover to be released! Apparently this is just a placeholder. I really hope it matches the first one in some spectacular way…

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Oct 01

October 2019 New Releases

Books/Writing 0

Welcome to the October 2019 new releases list, per moi, and the books I’m most excited about. The top part of this list is just, as always, the books I have pre-ordered, it is by no means an exhaustive list of all the books being published this month…just the ones I absolutely couldn’t live without! I did include a secondary list this month because I didn’t pre-order as many books as I wanted to for October…I’m trying to be good to my wallet. There are just SO MANY good ones coming out this month! And I know I’m missing quite a few…if you want to see the top 200 for October according to GoodReads adds click here.

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All covers link to GoodReads!

Pre-Orders
Not Pre-Ordered But Fingers Crossed My Library Gets Them Quickly

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Some other October Release lists you might enjoy:

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Sep 30

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1) by Patricia Briggs
Published by Ace Books on January 31, 2006
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 289
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsthree-half-stars

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

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“I have a degree in history, which is one of the reasons I’m an auto mechanic.”

Somehow, I am only now getting into the very popular and long-running Mercy Thompson series. It’s been recommended to me for years, but I put it off…and now I am in the fortunate position of having 11 books to binge if I so choose…my library has all of the main books, but I think I’ll have to hunt down the many, many side short stories.

Can we just take a moment and lament this unfortunate cover? *eyeroll* I really, really hate cover art of this style. I literally refuse to buy physical copies of books with covers that use solely sex appeal to sell. Thankfully, there is an alternative cover version of these, which I did buy after deciding this was a series I could enjoy over the long term.

“Honey,” he drawled, pulling on his Southern roots. “When a wolf watches a lamb, he’s not thinking of the lamb’s mommy.”
I grinned. I couldn’t help it. The idea of Bran as a lamb’s mommy was too funny. “I’m not much of a lamb,” I said.

Things I Liked

  • There is just so much wit infused through the entire book. I chuckled so many times and belly-laughed a few times as well. Mercy has such a dry sense of humor, I loved it.
  • The age-old werewolves vs. vampires thing is present, which makes it easy for anyone remotely familiar with that mythology to jump into this story.
  • Politics, brawls, and feelings – there’s a mess of all three, and I feel like there is SO MUCH backstory for all the main characters yet to be explored.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • I was not entirely convinced of the attraction between Mercy and Bran. It felt a little forced. Also, I’m kind of terrified it’s going to turn into something a la Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and her never-ending-on-again-off-again relationship.
  • The guys don’t seem to entirely respect Mercy. They’re forced by circumstances to let her participate, but they keep trying to baby her. ARGH!

If You Liked…

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, you’ll probably like this series. Very similar in setting, but with a female main character and different tone.

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three-half-stars

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Sep 29

Sunday Post #19 – Hello, October!

Books/Writing, Life 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. I’m patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now. Maybe one day I’ll get creative and make my own graphics!

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Life Update

live your best life

This week I have felt more normal, yay! Still low energy and coughing but not quite as much like I’m at death’s door, so that’s been awesome. I also got some reading done, and some blog posts, and a friend and I took Saturday and went to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, which was awesome and also WAY too hot for the end of September (yes, in another side of my life, I’m a fiber/yarn/fabric geek).

It WOULD be really great if we could get some fall-like weather here in Virginia. It’s been miserably hot, and dry, and this coming week is supposed to be in the 90s for at least 3 days. WAAAAH!!! I’m planning to pull out my fall decorations tomorrow, maybe that will convince the weather gods to send some cool breezes our way…

Weekly Dose of Adorableness

My two babies, hanging out together. A rare sighting, since usually they’re wrestling.

Last Week on Blog

Covers link to GoodReads, descriptions to my reviews!

Next Week on the Blog

Some backlist titles this week!

  • Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) – urban fantasy
  • Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness #5) – cozy historical mystery
  • October 2019 New Releases – this month is a DOOZY for publishing! At least of books that appeal to me.
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday

Around the Blogosphere

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Sep 26

House of Salt and Sorrows

Book Reviews 0 ★★½

House of Salt and SorrowsHouse of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Published by Delacorte on August 6, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadstwo-half-stars

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Am I the only person who didn’t love this book? It has a 4+ star rating on GoodReads! I just don’t see how…I wanted to like it. I wanted to LOVE it! Come on, just look at that cover. It’s stunning. Sadly though, the cover was really the only thing I could 100% get behind with this book.

The Good

  • The writing itself was quite good. I would read something else by this author without hesitation. It was just the actual plot and storyline I didn’t care for.
  • As I’ve already said, the cover!
  • The creep factor in the last half of the book really amped up and was extremely well done. I completely doubted the conclusions I had already drawn, haha! The author was great at dragging the reader right along into all the confusion and dream-in-a-dream confusion of reality along with the characters.

The Bad and the Ugly

  • Our heroine, who is built up as this fearless, snarky, go-getter in the first few chapters of the book, takes one look – LITERALLY one look – at a handsome man and becomes a tongue-tied, bumbling, helpless girl. She’s had a sheltered life, has met very few men outside one of her family’s servant’s sons and her father, and all of a sudden she sees a stranger and completely falls for him. Really? This is 2019, I thought we were past this sort of ridiculousness.
  • The first half of the book is almost all dancing and balls and fancy dresses and shoes. I wanted to stab my eyeballs out. How many descriptions of dancing shoes and ballgowns does one really need? Like nothing was happening except they were dancing. I get it, it’s a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses…but COME ON.
  • The villain of the story was SO OBVIOUS and it was such a worn-out trope I wanted to fling the book across the room (except, I was reading on my iPad, so I couldn’t). Can stepmoms catch a freaking break already?
  • At the very end, I actually thought the author was going to redeem the story by not wrapping everything up in a pretty little bow as far as the romance. BUT OH NO! There must be a romantic interest and there must be a pairing up or I guess it’s not a good YA story.

2.5/5 stars. If you’re a die-hard fan of retellings you might enjoy it more, also if you’re more of a love-at-first-sight person than I am. Otherwise I’ll have to recommend you skip it, but keep an eye out for other books by the author!

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two-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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