Tag Archives: young adult novels

Hunted by Meagan Spooner Review

26 Jul

If you’ve been around SGL for a while, you probably know that I really enjoy a good retelling of fairy tales ( I’ll link some of my reviews of retellings at the bottom of this post). My friend and I found this book at Powell’s bookstore and I immediately said ‘we’ve got to get this’. I mean, look at that gorgeous cover! And when you read the synopsis, I’m sure you’ll understand why I was instantly hooked.

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I’ve never read Meagan Spooner before but I’m now eager to try more of her books. I know, of course that sometimes, there’s just one book that I’ll love of an author. I really liked the different twists given on this timeless tale of Beauty and the Beast. It’s been weeks since I finished it and I’m still thinking about it. Which means I’m likely to pick this up again soon. Yes. It really was that good.

I’m going to pull the synopsis straight from the back of the book for you:

“Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones – and in her blood. 

Here in the wilderness Yeva is under no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas… or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. Here she feels one with the ebb and flow of life. Here she is home. 

But when Yeva’s father goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey : the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sister’s protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory – a cursed valley, a ruined castle and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation.”

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Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. she reminds us of what we used to be. She reminds us of what we could be.”

“She was so tired after all. Tired of fairy tales, and magic, and empty castles. Tired of wanting so intensely that she didn’t know what she wanted.”

“The satisfaction of desires sated was short and pale in comparison to the dream of wanting.”

Getting little snippets from the Beast’s side added so much to the tale, and gave us a chance to see the Beast more fully than just a selfish man having to pay a heavy price until someone comes to, basically, rescue him. His story is just as important as Beauty’s and getting to read his feelings about his transformation, about Beauty and…well, all of it, was great.

I appreciated the moral lesson that Spooner wove through the tale. She also seems to have taken inspiration from classic fairy tales that were darker and … well, more full of death. But she did it well. There isn’t any overly done, gross scenes in regard to hunting – there are descriptions of course but Spooner doesn’t get graphic with the telling.

There isn’t any sex scenes- thank you so much for that Meagan! – I appreciate a YA novel that has a good romance story without feeling the need to go to that level.

I did feel that this book could have been longer. It might have been a bit slow in pace (not that I minded) but I did feel that just all of a sudden you were at the ending. I’d have liked either a better balance or the book just enough longer that I wasn’t left going (near the end) with a – ‘wait, what?’

Thankfully, this wasn’t enough to ruin the book for me, I’m able to overlook it because she showed us a strong character in Beauty with enviable hunting skills ; a beautiful world set in old Russia ; a Beast that’s trying and Beauty’s sisters were fully rounded characters that, honestly, I’d love to read more of. I’ll add that the book didn’t end where I was going ‘wait, what?’ and that helped a lot, I think. She finished out the story a bit, leaving that bitter taste a bit diluted.

I’ve read that she’s working on a novel titled “Sherwood” and you can bet that I’m going to be reading that one. This novel has definitely made it to my favorite reads for this year. And, if you’re interested, here’s a few other retellings that I’ve read and loved over the years.

Wildwood Dancing  by Juliet Marillier

Beauty by Robin Mckinley

Spindle’s End by Robin Mckinley

~Laura

Do you love retellings? Have any favorites? I’d absolutely love to hear about them!

 

My Favorite Reads of 2018

12 Jan

I just love reading about what books people loved, so that I can add them to my To-Be-Read pile! We all know that list can never be too long, so here’s some great books to add to your own TBR!

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Series

Evie Blackwell Cold Case by Dee Henderson (somehow I only ever reviewed the second book. I’ll work on that problem this month!)

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Whispers on the Moor by Sarah E. Ladd (series review coming soon!)

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New Reads

The Finding of Jasper Holt by Grace Livingston Hill

Taken by Dee Henderson

As you Wish : Inconceivable Tales of the making of Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Truth be Told by Carol Cox

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Amazing Grace : William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas

The Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI

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Rereads

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Rose Daughter by Robin Mckinley

Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick

Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis Mcgraw

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

~Laura

 

Book Review- May!

29 May

“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. ” – Chinese Proverb

How crazy everything has been! I am sorry  that this is the first post this week, but as it was a holiday earlier in the week, I’m sure you’ll forgive me. 

Right now my hands smell like lavendar thanks to the fabric softener that I just threw together… We will see how much I like it once the clothes have dried from waving in the wind.(I have a goal of hanging more laundry out to save money by not using the dryer as much but I abhor stiff clothes and towels.) I’ll let you know – and share with you what all I did to make it if it ends up being worth it! ha. 

Next for today is to clean the kitchen – how does it get dirty so fast? – and then make some strawberry jam. Yum! 

I think this past month I have read more than any other month this year! I love it.  There’s only a few books this time around that I’m not too excited about, but most of them have hearts or exclamation points next to them (that’s how I mark their rank to me. heart = love. ! = great etc…)  Now on to the list :

True Valor (book 2) by Dee Henderson – Part of the the Uncommon Heroes series. Gracie is a pilot in the Navy and Bruce is an Air Force Pararescue man. While they both are deployed, they write love letters until one day Gracie is shot down behind enemy lines. Bruce is part of the team that their only goal is to get her out alive. Henderson once again draws you into the military world with fantastic characters and descriptions.I also love the integral role that faith plays in the characters’ lives.  For the description of the first novel, click here- https://thestartofagoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/book-review-april/

True Honor (book 3) by Dee Henderson – last book of the Uncommon Heroes series. I think this is my favorite of the three. It is intense as its’ storyline deals with the September 11th attacks. Darcy St. James is a CIA officer gathering intelligence on the men profiting from the attacks. Sam “Cougar” Houston is a Navy Seal whose team gets deployed based on the information Darcy gathers. During this war, their romance flourishes. But then they find out that Darcy’s name is high on the terrorists’ hit list. I adore Darcy. She’s tough, gives her all and yet is overwhelmed and exhausted of keeping it all together. 

The Heartache No One Sees by Sheila Walsh – I must admit, I don’t think I’ve made it even halfway through this bible study book. It is good, but it isn’t turning out to be quite what I wanted. It is interesting learning more about Sheila Walsh – as she has her personal story in each chapter. This book is to help women with broken hearts from their past learn to accept Christ’s healing and acceptance. It is very well written, my disappointment with it has nothing to do with the actual book. Like I said, it’s more that I was searching for something else. 

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Take Hold by Ariel and D’vorah Berkowitz – This is off my OH’s bookshelf. And I have not picked it up as much as I want to. This book teaches about the unity and equality between Jewish believers and non- Jewish believers through Messiah;  the inheritance of non -Jewish believers through the covenants of Israel. As the back cover states “What is your relationship to the Land, the People and the Scriptures of Israel?”  

In Sheep’s Clothing by Susan May Warren – Gracie Benson is on the run – from the man who murdered her best friends. The man trying to keep her alive, an FSB agent, is haunted by mistakes of the past, and intent on catching the man who ruined his father’s life. What Gracie doesn’t know is that she carries a medical secret that in the right hands, could save millions. Outwitting the Russian old guard with a small group of friends is the only way to save Gracie’s life. ACK! I love love love this book. This romantic suspense, has everything you want in a novel! 

The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman – This is a modern retelling of the Brother’s Grimm fairytale, Snow White and Rose Red. I must admit that I forgot how much I enjoy this book! Bear, a rough and mysterious young man shows up on Blanche and Roses’ doorstep. While the sisters’ opinions on him are opposite, he becomes their closest friend in New York City. But Blanche’s fear that he was putting her family in danger, become horribly real and they must fight for their lives. (!!!) This book is a must read! I got this years ago from a dear friend and it has become a yearly read for me. 

Black As Night by Regina Doman – This is also a modern retelling of a fairy tale. This time it is Snow White.  She handles this one as well as the last book. I am halfway through it right now – and don’t remember too much about it which makes it more fun to read!  A runaway girl named Nora is found in the vestibule by seven friars who work with the homeless. While they offer her a place of safety, Bear searches for his missing girlfriend, Blanche. This suspenseful story brings back the characters from the Shadow of the Bear book with a whole lot more background on them. (plus I just found out there’s another book to this retelling ‘series’! i’m so excited to find it!!!) 

The Belly Off Diet by Jeff Csatari – I got this book from the library to try out some new recipes. It’s actually from Men’s Health, and is interesting reading. It’s got a quick-start 7 day program – recipes, workouts, etc – that is proven and says that you will see results within days. The exercises don’t require a gym (always a plus!) and the meal plan isn’t one that leaves you full at the end of each day. It’s full of REAL food – spaghetti, chicken wings, pizza, taco salad, etc. I’ve tried several already and plan on keeping them in my ‘repetoire’! For anyone looking to lose that stubborn stomach weight but hate the gnawing on your insides because the portion sizes are too small – check this book out! 

 

I already have a list of books to read this coming month – some from the library, some from my own shelf! Including – but not limited to – Finding Betty Crocker, A Tiger in the Kitchen, Fast, Fresh and Green, A Beauty so Rare and finishing Take Hold. I do want to read the Anne of Green Gables series, but not sure when I’ll start that! 

Happy reading friend and I’ll talk with you next week! 

~Laura

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