Publisher: Amulet Books

Review: Roseblood by A.G. Howard

Posted January 2, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments

Review: Roseblood by A.G. HowardRoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Published by Amulet Books on January 10th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: ebook
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
two-half-stars

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

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.

Let me start this review by saying that I have not read the original Phantom of the Opera. I have seen the musical numerous times, so I know the original story. When I picked up Roseblood, I was under the mistaken impression that it’s a retelling. I was looking forward to a reimagining of the story of the Phantom, but this isn’t it. If anything, it’s a continuation of the story, picking up where the original left off.

I finished the entire book, but I spent most of it bored. I didn’t like it for numerous reasons.

I’m not a musician. I have never had a real connection with music. I had extreme difficulty identifying with the main character, Rune’s, compulsion to sing and perform. Intellectually, I understand that it is a very real thing that exists but it means nothing to me. Music was a huge part of Rune, who she was and her motivations and it all went right over my head.

The word ‘gypsy’ is a slur. The term for the people is Roma or Romani. There’s no reason or excuse for using that word. I am not Roma, so I can’t speak from personal experience. However I have done research and read articles about the use of this word. Rune is a part of the Roma community yet she uses the term ‘gypsy’ exclusively in the book. A curse also plays a role in the plot. This is a terrible stereotype about the Romani people. It’s a hurtful and negative attitude that needs to change. Here is a better article than anything I could ever say on the subject. The Problem with the word Gypsy

The premise of the romance was super sweet. I love soul mates and predestined love when it’s done right. However, there was no struggle between Rune and Thorn. They never wondered if they weren’t destined to be together. They spent the majority of the book apart and then suddenly, BANG, instalove.There was no time to wrestle with their destiny before they accepted it. Their scenes together would have been beautiful and romantic, if I was able to buy their relationship. I just didn’t believe it.

Finally, the more I read, the more outlandish this book became. I really didn’t like the introduction of paranormal elements into the traditional story.

All in all, I wasn’t a fan of this particular retelling. Did you read it? What did you think?

two-half-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: 1

Posted November 8, 2016 by Kendice in Events and Features, Top 10 / 1 Comment

Ten Books I’ve Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

1.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1No Good Deed by Kara Connolly
Published by Delacorte Press on July 18th 2017
Pages: 352
Goodreads

Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.
Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.
Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?
Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

This is the newest book added to my TBR! I was cruising IG and came across a post by Uppercase and read in her comment thread that this was a Robin Hood, but with a female MC. My interest was piqued immediately! I absolutely love retellings and I can’t wait, even though it will be potentially for another 8 months for this one!

2.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 28th 2017
Pages: 464
Goodreads

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

I heard about this books quite a few months ago and wanted to read it then. The pictures of the new ARCs reminded me that it was coming soon and I officially added it to Goodreads. Black Lives Matter is such an important movement right now and as a white woman I find it essential to read everything I can that will help me understand things that will open my eyes to others’ realities. I’m looking forward to this one. Hurry up February!

3.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1Wait for Me by Caroline Leech
Published by HarperTeen on January 31st 2017
Pages: 384
Goodreads

The perfect blend of sweet romance and historical flavor, Wait for Me, from debut author Caroline Leech, brings a fresh new voice to a much-loved genre.
It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?
But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.

Wait for Me is by one of the Swanky 17’s author. I love historical fiction with a bit of romance, so when I read the description it was an immediate “Want to Read” for me. I also love reading and supporting debut authors, so it’s a win-win.

4.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Published by HarperTeen on August 30th 2016
Pages: 432
Goodreads

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.
Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

The cover of this book has caught my attention on more than one occasion, but what ultimately made me add it to my TBR was a recommendation I read on author Becky Albertalli’s Twitter. She and some others chimed in saying what a good read it is, so I added it to my Amazon cart and GR!

5.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 17th 2016
Pages: 352
Goodreads

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.

Another Becky Albertalli recommendation! She called this one, “literally nerd heaven in book form.” Who would not want to read that?! I didn’t just add this to my Amazon cart or Goodreads, I bought it immediately! I can’t wait for it to come in so I can dive right in.

6.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Delacorte Press on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 432
Goodreads

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.
At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.
As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

This is an add to my TBR purely based on the author. I adored Jennifer E. Smith’s other books.

7.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1The Royal We by Heather Cocks, Jessica Morgan
Published by Grand Central Publishing on April 7th 2015
Pages: 454
Goodreads

"I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they'll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next."
American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.
Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.
Which is how she gets into trouble.
Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

I can’t remember the author who asked for chick lit recs (I think it was Susan Dennard) and tonssss of people recommended this one! I asked my group of friends if anyone had read it and Tracy at Cornerfolds also really enjoyed it. I picked this up at the library and I’m about a quarter of the way through. So far it’s super cute and swoon worthy!

8.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Published by Amulet Books on January 10th 2017
Pages: 432
Goodreads

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

I may be a black sheep here, but I struggled to get into AG Howards book Splintered. It could have been some outside source of a book slump or the fact that I’m not exactly a Wonderland fan, but I do plan to attempt it again at some point. Anyway, I wasn’t initially all that interested in Roseblood until my friend Aila at One Way or an Author told me it was fantastic! Now I can’t wait for January!

9.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
Published by Razorbill on February 7th 2017
Pages: 344
Goodreads

EmpressRhee, better known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.
FugitiveAly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a holo-vision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he's forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.
MadmanWith planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.
***
Rhoda Belleza crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy in her exhilarating debut, perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer and Pierce Brown.

First off, this cover is stunning. It’s hard to ignore and not be drawn in! The selling point for me was when I heard it was like Game of Thrones in outer space. That sounds super original and exciting. February won’t come fast enough!

10.

Top Ten Tuesday: 1Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 24th 2017
Pages: 400
Goodreads

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.
Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.
Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.
There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?
In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

Another breathtaking cover that’s super intriguing. Perhaps that’s what caught my interest, but the synopsis is what convinced me. Honestly, this sounds like a super heavy read that I suspect will be very emotional. I recently made a trade for this one and I’m so anxious for it to arrive.

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FFBC Tour: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

FFBC Tour: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria Published by Amulet Books on October 11th 2016 Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, paranormal, Historical Pages: 384 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn. 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. Iron Cast by @TheDestinySoria is the book about friendship and magic and mind control that I didn't know I was desperate for. — Emily (@Emren) October 8, 2016 This tweet pretty much sums up my feelings about Iron Cast. The friendship between Corinne and Ada was really touching. I loved that there was no competition or pettiness. They understood […]

Posted October 9, 2016 by Emily in Blog Tour, Review / 0 Comments
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ARC Review: Devil and the Bluebird

ARC Review: Devil and the Bluebird

Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black Published by Amulet Books on May 17th 2016 Genres: Young Adult, Magical Realism Pages: 336 Format: Paperback Source: Free for Review “Devil-at-the-crossroads” folklore finds its way to YA via this moody, magical tale Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, itÂ’s her runaway sisterÂ’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals BlueÂ’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass. Armed with her motherÂ’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places. In Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black delivers a heart-wrenching depiction of loss and hope. I have a really hard time with books in the magical realism genre. I usually want more explanation about why mystical stuff is happening or I can’t reconcile the magic elements in the real world. Normally, I want magic in books to be overt and in your face. The more complicated and complex the magic system, the more I love a book. Devil and the Bluebird was the […]

Posted May 16, 2016 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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