Thursday, October 19, 2017

Another Cinderella Story • Geekerella

Geekerella book cover
Having grown up on a steady diet of fairytales and Disney films, it won't surprise you to learn that I have a rather large soft spot for happily ever afters and modern spins on classic fairytales. Geekerella is a brilliant take on the classic Cinderella story, weaving in fandom, conventions like Comic Con and references to make it something special all on its own. It is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite takes on Cinderella that I've ever experienced!

Geekerella is told from two different character perspectives, Elle Wittimer and Darien Freeman. Elle is a diehard fan of the TV show Starfield, which is getting remade into a movie with a brand-new cast. She wants to enter the cosplay contest sponsored by the producers, both because she is a fan and because the first prize would help her gain her freedom from her stepfamily much sooner. Darien, on the other hand, is also a Starfield fan, and it's a dream come true for him when he's cast as Federation Prince Carmindor in the remake. But he'll have to fight to prove that he's more than just a pretty face to the Starfield diehards who've dismissed him. Their paths cross, and sparks fly - but it remains to be seen what sort of happy ending is in store for these two.

I loved Geekerella. It's the perfect modern take on Cinderella, and feels like the novel I've been waiting for that I never knew I wanted until I was reading it already. Poston does a lovely job of incorporating familiar details from Cinderella (and even a few things that felt very much like A Cinderella Story, another favorite Cinderella interpretation of mine). But while the story mirrors the fairytale, it also stands on its own quite well. I loved Elle, I loved Darien and I adored their relationship (even though as a long-time rom-com fan, I could totally see where it was going). But most of all, I loved the way Poston wrote about fandom. As someone who wholeheartedly throws herself into the fandoms of the things she loves, it was refreshing to see someone who gets it and knows how to describe the experience, the feeling, the everything about it.

Like I said, I loved Geekerella. If you haven't yet decided whether to read this one, if it hasn't even been on your radar, if you like a good love story, if you love a young adult contemporary, if you want a Cinderella retelling, if you want something incredible to read, well, definitely get your hands on this book right away. You won't regret it!

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Publisher: Quirk Books | Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Source: ARC downloaded on NetGalley (Thanks!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bound by Blood • Far from the Tree

Grace is an adopted only child who, after giving her own baby up for adoption, is determined to find her biological family. Her search turns up two siblings - Maya, loud and opinionated and dealing with the fallout from the revelation of her adoptive family's secrets, and Joaquin, reticent and wary after years of cycling through the foster care system. As they slowly get to know one another, a real bond springs up between them that allows them to be there for each other through all life's ups and downs - especially when it involves the search for their own biological mother.

Far From The Tree book cover
Plot? It's a simple plot really, where an adopted child in search of her biological relations discovering she has two siblings and attempting to form a solid relationship with them. But apart from writing about these three siblings as a collective, Benway also gives each one their own individual problems: Joaquin with his experiences in the foster system, Maya dealing with her adoptive family's issues and Grace reeling from the loss of her child and the ostracizing she experiences in school. It's really well-done, in my opinion.

Characters? I fell in love with each of the siblings. I was immediately most drawn to Maya, as she had traits that mirror my own. But I also felt for Grace, who was so determined to bring her little family together, and for Joaquin, who was just a precious cinnamon roll of an older brother. It was really wonderful to be able to switch between their perspectives, as it effectively made me feel like I got to know them each fairly well. I also thought the secondary characters - their individual families, their friends - were interesting additions that made this novel feel more well-rounded.

Writing? Benway's writing is so easy to read, and I flew through the pages of this novel. I never once found it confusing to switch between the perspectives of Maya, Joaquin and Grace, which is a testament to how clearly each of their individual voices came through on the page. I also felt like she did really well when it came to the development of these characters and their relationships.

Overall? If it wasn't obvious, I loved Far From the Tree. It's one of the most honest, most raw, most beautiful portrayals of family (both adoptive and biological) that I've ever read, and I particularly loved that it focused on the three siblings and their relationship. Having read all of Benway's novels to date, I can certainly tell you that, without a doubt, this one is my favorite!

What is your favorite movie about siblings? Honestly, the very first movie that came to mind was The Parent Trap, and I'm specifically referring to the Lindsay Lohan version. I just adore that movie because it was heartwarming and hilarious, and I still watch it whenever I get the chance to. A close second would likely be Little Women, which would be tied with Practical Magic.

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Publisher: Harper Teen | Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Source: ARC downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Let's Make a Deal • The Wish Granter

The Wish Granter book cover
After I fell head over heels in love with C.J. Redwine’s The Shadow Queen last year, I was eagerly anticipating the follow-up companion novel, The Wish Granter. This novel centers around Ari Glavan, twin to Thad, bastard daughter of SĂșndraille’s king, who finds herself becoming a princess upon the death of the entire royal family and Thad’s ascension to the throne. It is only later that she discovers that her brother brokered a deal that resulted in him becoming king and allowing Alistair Teague to govern his reign. Determined to save her brother and her kingdom, and with the aid of the weapons master, Ari must find a way to outsmart Teague before it’s too late.

I adored The Wish Granter. While I did have a few minor quibbles when I read it – a slower start, a smaller cast of characters, minimally jarring transitions – all of that paled in comparison to how much I enjoyed it. Redwine cleverly combines elements from the traditional Rumpelstiltskin story, and weaves those into the story of a girl who is desperate to save her brother and, eventually, her kingdom. There was a great balance of adventure, magic and wits, and I was simply happy to be along for the ride.

Truthfully, a big part of the reason I was fully invested in the outcome of this story is because of titular character Arianna Glavan. She’s brimming with optimism, a confidence in the ability to figure out a solution to any problem, loyalty to those she cares for, cleverness and wit, and a passion for dessert. In other words, she’s my kind of girl! I appreciated seeing how she never gave in to the circumstances around her, and instead, kept on fighting to right the wrongs she was aware of. Her relationships with other people – the immense devotion to her twin brother, her kinship with her best friend Cleo, her budding friendship-and-maybe-more with the weapons master Sebastian – were also strong elements of her story that I liked a lot.

To sum it all up, The Wish Granter was a strong addition to the Ravenspire companion novel series. Redwine has a handle on how to write stories that integrate classic fairytale elements, clever and spirited main characters and compelling plots. I’m really excited to see what she has to offer in the next novel of the Ravenspire series, and would highly recommend that you check out both The Wish Granter and its predecessor The Shadow Queen.

The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine | Series: Ravenspire #2
Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Source: e-galley downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Buy the Book: Book Depository | Amazon | IndieBound


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