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Retelling

Review: Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram’s son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver’s constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she’d finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram’s, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver’s stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But Finley doesn’t want to be won, and she doesn’t want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver’s heart—and keep her own—she’ll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

blue4

Hi, everyone! I hope everyone’s having a wonderful Monday! I certainly am, since it’s Family Day and I got to catch up on some much needed rest! Anyways, enough about me; I’m really excited to talk about the book of the day! Today’s review is on Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson. It’s a retelling of Mansfield Park, which I wasn’t sure if it would wound up being a great book, but I took a chance on it since it had mentions of the entertainment industry, with acting, directing and whatnot. I was not ready for how unputdownable this book was, though!

First off, I have to say that I’m in love with how the story was told through our main characters, Finley and Oliver. Readers get to see the world from both their perspectives, getting a better picture of what’s actually happening instead of just one person’s opinion. But out of the two, I honestly thought that Finley’s POV was more raw and well-written, given how she was raised and treated, as well as the fact that I feel it shows an honest character development. Oliver’s not so much, especially since he’s worried about Finley or thinking about her most of the time… Honestly, the only thing I felt was missing from Finley’s story was that she didn’t get a chance to face one particular obstacle, when all throughout the novel, I was really hoping she would.

I also loved the amount of theatre and movie info that was brought into the text. If you’ve read Mansfield Park, you know that theatre plays an important role (no pun intended) in the novel. So it was nice to see it in the retelling in a number of ways. Plus, I think it’s clear by this point that I really like novels that include almost any facet of the entertainment industry, so there was a good chance that I was going to enjoy the book anyways.

Anyways, that’s all I have to say on Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson. It is definitely a retelling worth reading! Side-note: I’ve been reading so many retellings lately, but I really love it when they’re well done with a bit of something new! Has anyone else been reading any great retellings? Feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. I would love some recommendations! 😉

Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

 

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Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Summary

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

purple2.5

I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Hi, fellow book lovers! I’m finally back with another review, this one being on The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. Well, this review has been in the works for a long while now! But it’s finally done! To be honest, that’s kind of how I felt reading the novel, especially near the end. I loved Cynthia Hand’s other books, so this was kind of a let-down for me.

First of all, the retelling sounded pretty interesting. I’ve never read or watched A Christmas Carol, but I’ve heard of Ebenezer Scrooge, bah humbug, and all that jazz. Anyways, it was really nice to read and learn more about the tale in general, the roles people play in the Scrooge’s life and vice versa. I loved the concept of what would happen if the story wasn’t tied up with a happily ever after once Scrooge learned the error of his ways. What would happen if he thought it was all a big joke? Well, this book goes into detail answering that and more by creating a world where people are trying to save others before it’s too late. It did bring up some questions for me, though. Like, why couldn’t it be certain times of the year instead of just Christmas? Or why is it only one person at a time?

While I loved the world building, I didn’t like the characters as much. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them well enough in the beginning, but by the end, I lost the idea of what the story was about and how it even got there. What was it more concerned about: Holly’s character development or romantic development? I’m not really sure. Once the romantic aspect of the novel started, I felt myself getting less interested in the book to the point where I could put it down easily and continue onto other books. It’s not that I’m against romantic entanglements in novels; it’s just that I didn’t feel like it was balanced well against Holly’s character development…

Well, that’s all I have to say about The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. It wasn’t my favourite by the author, but I loved the concept! Has anyone else read this book or others by Cynthia Hand? And if so, what did you think of it? Let me know in the Comments Section below!

Have a nice day, everyone!

– Sumaya

Review: Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

Summary

Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

pink4

Hi, everyone! I’ve finally finished reading something- and that something is Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George! It was pretty great as far as retellings went! I remember reading Much Ado About Nothing, the play Speak Easy, Speak Love is based on, back in university and loving it, so I was really excited for this book! And rightfully so, because I can see the play shining through the retelling as well as a few additional details the novel adds to the tale.

First things first, this book helped me learn a lot more about the Roaring Twenties! As I was reading, I researched the Prohibition era as well as speak easies to get a better sense of the situation within Speak Easy, Speak Love. The author’s note at the end of the novel was pretty helpful as well! I haven’t read much historical fiction lately, and even then, it would be about the Victorian era, never the first half of the century. So there was a lot of new things I learned upon reading this book. 😉

Also, I loved the slew of people that appear in this novel! I felt as if the author had adapted Shakespeare’s characters perfectly into the 1920s! Not only that, but I thought that there was even more character development going on in comparison to the original – especially in Hero’s case, since she was more of a flat character within the play – which made the story a whole lot more interesting and new to me! I love when retellings become something more than the original, having its own twists and whatnot. Otherwise, unless you haven’t read the primary source, the retelling would seem a bit stale, in my opinion.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George! It was a delightful retelling that I would recommend to anyone who liked Much Ado About Nothing! Has anyone else read Speak Easy, Speak Love? What did you think of it? Let me know in the Comments Section below!

Have a nice day, everyone!

– Sumaya

Review: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Summary

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

red3-5

Hello, lovely readers! I’m back with another review. Today’s review is on Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz. I thought it would be interesting to read a Pride and Prejudice retelling after a long time. I think the last time I read a Pride and Prejudice retelling was 2012 or 2013. I just remember for a good moment I read them A LOT. To the point where I would only be reading Pride and Prejudice retellings. Never mind the fact that I didn’t read the actual book it was based on until my third year in university. I was lost in the sea of multiple retellings to the point where the original didn’t mean as much to me. Just the idea of it, I guess.

Anyways, I liked reading this retelling, because it mixed a whole bunch of things together, character-wise. For instance, at times, I felt as if Darcy Fitzwilliam was a combination of the Elizabeth and Darcy of the original Pride and Prejudice. Same goes for Luke Bennet. But I loved the original parts to the story as well, like Darcy’s job or her backstory in terms of her relationship with her family and hometown. I also liked how the novel didn’t leave me with any questions. It was pretty entertaining to read!

You might  wonder why I gave this book 3.5 stars instead of giving it 4 stars or more. That’s because while it was a quick and easy read (I finished this book in a few hours), I thought that it was a bit too “Hallmark movie” for me and did barely anything to subvert the genre. Also, at a certain point, I was ready to move on from the novel, but it kept on going with more plot. But I understood afterwards that the extra plot was meant to tie up any loose ends, which was a pretty good reason for it. And even though I liked Darcy’s POV, I would have liked to have heard from Luke as well.

Overall, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz was a pretty quick read that I would recommend to people who don’t mind predictable stories (both because of the retelling aspect and the fact that it adheres to certain tropes and ideas). Have any of you read Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe or other Pride and Prejudice retellings? Let me know in the Comments Section below! Have a nice weekend, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

Summary

The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating: black3

(3.25 stars)

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hey, everyone! Another day, another book to talk about! And today, I’d like to express my thoughts on Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. Now, Lily Anderson has already written a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing and Not Now, Not Ever is her second go at another retelling, this time of The Importance of Being Earnest. What really drew me into reading Not Now, Not Ever was the camp aspect of it all. I always love reading about summer camp and thought that this book would be no exception. Except it kind of was…

Now, when I say kind of, I mean that I liked some parts of the book and wasn’t much a fan of other parts. I’d have to encourage myself to read the book instead of wanting to read it on my own at times. There would be moments where nothing would happen, and then wham – the plot thickens. While those latter moments were great to read, it didn’t make up for the fact that I was previously bored and, for a good chunk of the book, wanted to  move onto something else. Then there was that ending, which left me more confused than not. The book’s conclusion just left me with more questions than answers to the point where I wasn’t at all satisfied with it.

Also, I didn’t really like the protagonist as much as I thought I would. In the beginning, I couldn’t really relate to her and the choices she makes, but I did warm up to her nearer to the middle. By the end though, I was back to square one in not understanding her decisions again. I preferred reading about other characters though, like Leigh, Jams, Hunter, Meg, even Trixie and Ben! Sure, Elliot/Ever could be really fun sometimes, but I thought she was way too rash and in the end, I didn’t witness much character development from her.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. I know that a lot of people loved this book, but, for me, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I would recommend it for people who like retellings as there are a whole bunch of references from the book’s primary source, The Importance of Being Earnest. If you have any thoughts or questions about the book, I’ll be happy to answer them in the Comments Section below. And for those of you who are wondering, Not Now, Not Ever is released on  November 21st, 2017. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

My Thoughts on Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: green5

(4.75 stars, because of Calaena in the beginning, but other than that…. 😀 )

OMG! OMG! OMG! You’ve done it once again Sarah J. Maas! I’ve got a serious book hangover and probably have to wait awhile before I can enjoy another book again. So thank you!

At first, this wasn’t the case. In fact, I was so bored with Calaena’s whining that I went to read Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout (which to be honest, is really good so far). But then I came back to it after I was on my kobo for a little while and decided to read it again. And that’s when the story became interesting and enjoyment began.

I think it all started with Manon’s POV. Manon is a Blackbeak witch fighting for dominance among the witches for her grandmother. In her POV, all the witches go to train with wyverns in order to become a part of the king’s army and later earn their freedom. Which sounds really ironic when I say it that way. More like win the chance to go back home once they fight for the king of Adarlan. Manon is a lot like Calaena in the way which she is trained to be the best and have total obedience to her Matron, who is coincidently her grandmother. Told that she has no heart and soul in the beginning, Manon acts the way she was made to be, but soon changes her tune and develops feelings that she doesn’t regard as feelings but we, the readers, can see them for what they truly are. I liked reading her POV, especially in the earlier chapters, if it meant getting away from Calaena.

It’s not that Calaena wasn’t great in this book; it’s just that she has to overcome a lot of self pity in order to become the person she was meant to be. And I think that was the problem. Everyone had such high expectations for her as heir to the throne that it caused her tremendous anxiety and guilt whenever she couldn’t be there for someone. She would put so much blame on herself throughout the book, calling herself useless, worthless, and many other names. I mean, there were some things that were her fault but there were many others that were out of her control. Calaena/Aelin probably thought that she didn’t deserve the sacrifices made for her, because she didn’t know what to do back then, and afterwards tries to escape it. At the end of the novel, she changes her tune about that, and instead of escaping her identity, she embraces it, every part of it.

Which is more than I can say for Chaol. At the end of Crown of Midnight, I thought they would get back together after sorting out their differences. But I didn’t notice until now that Chaol didn’t really love all of Calaena, but rather bits of her. He never really liked the dark side to her, whenever it would manifest itself. Chaol makes this apparent in Heir of Fire when talking about Calaena and their relationship. It’s like one character says: ” You do not have the right to wish she were not what she is. The only thing you have a right to do is to decide whether you are her enemy or her friend.” I was really floored by that quote and thought that it was exactly the type of problem Chaol had. There were moments where you had to give Chaol props, too. So he’s not totally a lost cause but has some room for development, like all of them. Do I want to see him and Calaena back together? I don’t know, especially when there was an eligible candidate to pair up with Calaena in Heir of Fire. Nothing happened with them, but it seems like the author is teasing us with the potential for a relationship.

Dorian becomes more active in this book as well. From keeping secrets for others to his stance at the end of the novel, we can all see that he’s improved from someone who would just ignore the trouble surrounding him. I’m really sad about what happened to him when I finished the novel and cannot wait for the next one, Queen of Shadows. Would we see his POV in that novel? And what would it look like? Hmmmmmm……

Spoiler-Warning

Anyway, I cannot wait for my fix to come soon! I need to know if Rowan and Calaena are a possibility! At the beginning, I didn’t care much for him, but by the end, he won both my heart and Calaena’s (and possibly every other person who read this)  Or what happens to Aedion! Will Calaena rescue him in time? Will they meet again? Dorian needs to be rescued, too! And what about the King of Assassins? Calaena is planning to meet him or at least retrieve the Wrydkey from him. I wonder where he fits into all of this… Is he working for the king or does he have his own agenda when it comes to Calaena? Because he knew she was Aelin and taught her to hate herself. And what will Chaol do in Anielle? How will he help the rebellion that he’s finally aligned himself with? We’ll probably see what home is like for him after all this time, which will probably be interesting given what has been told to us by Chaol.

What were your thoughts on Heir of Fire? Excited for the release of the next book in September? Feel free to leave your comments below. Happy reading everyone!

-Sumaya

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