Review: Darling Girl

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Dutton Books) for promotional purposes. 

Wow! What a book! This was a dark retelling/reimagining of Peter Pan that managed to creep me out quite a bit. This book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it worked. 

I loved the dark take on Peter Pan. There is something inherently a little sinister about the original story and this book really delved into that. It made me rethink the classic story and want to rewatch the Disney movie. 

The story moved at a good pace, with everything unraveling at the right time. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept me hooked and turning the pages. This book kept me guessing until the very end. 

As for the characters, I liked the incorporation of the original Peter Pan characters. The main characters from Peter Pan (Peter, Wendy, John, Michael, Tinker Bell, and Captain Hook) are either characters in this book or mentioned/incorporated in some way. I also enjoyed the dynamic between the main character, Holly Darling, and her mom, Jane Darling (the daughter of Wendy). They had a very complex mother-daughter relationship that grew as the story went on. 

Overall, if you love Peter Pan and want to explore a darker side to the classic tale, then read this book! 


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Review: Alliana, Girl of Dragons

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I previously read one of the author’s other books, Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch, and absolutely loved it. I was very excited to read this one since it acts as a prequel to the Eva Evergreen books. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as Eva Evergreen. 

This is a Cinderella retelling and because of that, the book felt constrained plot wise. I didn’t feel as though the story benefitted from being a Cinderella retelling. If the book was just a regular middle grade fantasy without the Cinderella aspects, it still would have worked. I also felt that the book wasn’t as magical as Eva Evergreen. Eva Evergreen had a certain charm about it and I was hoping this book would too since it is set in the same universe. 

Additionally, for a book with the word “dragons” in the title, it was light on the dragons. The book never seemed to fully explore the dragons and Alliana’s relationship with them. (Maybe this will come in a later book?)

Don’t get me wrong, I did like some things about the book. I enjoyed the supporting characters, especially Grandmother Mari and Nela. Each of them had such a special relationship and bond with Alliana that was heartwarming to see. I also liked the parts that did feature the dragons. 

Overall, there were some things I liked about this and some things I had issues with. I hope there is a sequel to this book since there’s still more to explore with Alliana. If you are looking for a middle grade fantasy, I would say to give it a shot! 


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Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

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Rating: ★★★★

I received copy of this book for free from the publisher (Algonquin Young Readers) for promotional purposes.

This was such a whimsical and enchanting read! The story was full of magic and wonder. It’s not a surprise this book won a Newbery Medal. It reminded me of the fantasy books I read as child. 

The characters were also a standout. I particularly liked the supporting characters of Glerk, the swamp monster, and Fyrian, the tiny dragon. They added a lot of heart to the story. 

The best part of this book was the writing style. It was so beautifully written. The prose flowed so lyrically; it had a poetic quality to it that added to the magic of the story.  

My one critique was that the book moved at a slow pace, especially in the beginning. It took a while for the story to take off. 

My edition was the Gift Edition which included a full color map, chapter opening illustrations, and a bonus prequel story.  As with all fantasy books, the map was very helpful and made the story easy to follow. The illustrations were cute and I enjoyed the prequel story that offered more insight into Xan, the witch. 

Overall, this was a spellbinding middle grade fantasy! I recommend this book to both young readers and adults. 


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Mao, Vol. 3 (Mao #3)

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes.

This was another solid installment in the series. 

This installment had more backstory than the previous volumes which I felt slowed down the pace of the book a little. A good chunk took place in Mao’s past and we learned more about his early days.  

Like the previous volume, this one unveiled even more about the story and the characters, including details on how Mao and Nanoka are connected. It is shaping up to be a very intriguing read! 

Overall, I really enjoyed this volume and am looking forward to the upcoming volumes. So far, this series has been full of action and mystery, with things coming together at a steady pace. If you’re looking to read a new manga series, consider starting this one (just keep in mind that all the volumes are not yet available in English yet). 


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Review: Mao, Vol. 2 (Mao #2)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes.

This volume was so good!

This installment was jam packed with action. So much happened and I enjoyed every page of it. There was a lot of world building that helped move the story along. I liked that more of the story was revealed in this volume. The first volume did not explain much and I was a little confused about the world. This volume provided some answers and got me hooked. I have to know what happens next. 

This volume also made me love the main characters. Mao is so intriguing and mysterious. I’m excited to learn more about him and his past. Nanoka is turning out to be quite the heroine! Also, Mao’s assistant, Otoya, is so adorable. 

Overall, I loved this volume and cannot wait to read volume 3! 


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Review: Mao, Vol. 1 (Mao #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes. 

This was such a good start to the series!

I haven’t read a manga in a long time so it was nice to finally be able to read one again. I haven’t read anything from Rumiko Takahashi, so I can’t say how this compares to her other books. 

The art style is very simple, but classic. There’s something a little old school and retro about it that I liked. 

As for the storyline, I was very intrigued by it. It’s fast paced and there’s a lot of mystery and fantasy action and adventure that kept me turning the pages.

Overall, I really enjoyed this volume and am excited to read the next installment and see how the rest of the story unfolds. 


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Review: Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch (Eva Evergreen #1)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (Storygram Tours) I did to promote the book.

This was the cutest book ever! Seriously. It was like a Studio Ghibli movie in book form. 

First off, the world building in this book was incredible. I could easily picture the quaint seaside town of Auteri with all its little shops and its Festival of Lights. I wish it was a real place! 

The characters were another highlight. They were all so lovable. I loved Eva’s friends, Davy and Charlotte. Watching their bond and friendship grow throughout the story was so heartwarming. The townspeople were also charming. I loved how they came together and helped Eva. 

The book also had cute illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. The art style is similar to the cover art, very Japanese inspired. The pictures added to the whimsical nature of the book. 

The only thing that this book needed was a map. The world wasn’t overly complicated that it needed a map to be comprehensible, but maps in fantasy books are always so helpful, so I prefer them.

Overall, this was a feel good, wholesome, witchy read, perfect for spooky season. Readers of all ages will love reading about Eva and her adventures. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel! 


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Review: Ever Alice

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free as part of an Instagram book review tour. 

This was a really fun retelling! The book takes place years after the original, when Alice is 15 and she once again follows the white rabbit back to Wonderland. I just have to put it out there that Alice in Wonderland is one of my all time favorite stories so I was exceptionally eager to read this. 

At first I didn’t quite know if I would like this but once Alice went back to Wonderland I was hooked. I just had to keep reading to find out what happens to Alice and the fate of Wonderland. 

All your favorite characters are back such as the Queen of Hearts, the white rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat. There are some new characters too, like Thomas, the Queen of Hearts’ son. 

I really liked that the book was told from both Alice and the Queen of Hearts’ perspective. Having the queen’s point of view was very enlightening. It gave her character more complexity and dimension. 

I found that the style and tone of the book was a good continuation of the original. Obviously no one can compare to Lewis Carroll, but the author did a wonderful job in keeping with the spirit of the original while offering her own unique twist.

The ending was amazing. I don’t want to give it away but I think it was perfect for this mad tale. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this Alice retelling. If you love Alice in Wonderland, give this book a try! 


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October 2019 wrap-up

Hi beauties! Time for my October wrap-up. After reading only 3 books in August and then rocking it in September with 10 books, I ended up reading . . . 3 books. Not a great month. Life got kind of crazy and I lost motivation to read. I was planning on reading more spooky books this month but I got kind of burned out since I read so many last month.

Here’s what I did manage to read:

Overall, this wasn’t a great month but I am hopeful for November (and my Christmas TBR which I will be starting soon)!

How was your October? Did you read any spooky books?

xoxo,


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Review: Wild Savage Stars (Sweet Black Waves #2)

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from BookSparks for promotional purposes. 

I give this book 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5. 

I absolutely loved the first book in the trilogy but um okay wow this book was even more insane. It was a roller coaster of emotions. This book picks up right where the last book left off and from then on just continues all the craziness. 

At first I was a little intimidated to read this because I saw the massive character list in the beginning and was a bit overwhelmed (there’s a ton of new characters compared to the first book). But it ended up being so easy to follow. 

As for the new characters, they just added to the drama of the whole story and I loved it. I particularly liked the dynamics and politics between the characters. 

Like the first book, the ending was just wild. What a cliffhanger. The author really outdid herself with that one. 

I didn’t give this book a full 5 stars because it is on the slow side. Since this is the second book in the trilogy, I was expecting a little more excitement than what I got. Nevertheless, the book was still a page turner. 

Overall, if you loved the first book, then you’ll love this one! Now the wait for the next book begins!