ARC Review & Giveaway: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

BLLOOD ROSE REBELLIONFinal Blood Rose coverAmazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Audible/Goodreads

Pub. Date: March 28, 2017

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The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

review4/5 Stars 

*** I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & the publisher

Blood Rose Rebellion is a beautifully written thrill ride complete with thought-provoking views on equality, prejudice, and feminism. 

Blood Rose Rebellion is a stunning historical look at Hungary and the politics that sparked the uprising in the 1800s plus fairy tale elements and rich folklore. As a historian who studied Hungary during this period, particularly the poetry that sparked the revolution, I absolutely LOVED how history blended with magic and it still made a point to correct dangerous prejudices that still circulate today. From the food, to the clothes, to the behaviors and mindset of the characters, everything was rich and memorable and made total immersion possible. I felt transported in more ways than one. 

Anna is daring, occasionally naive, headstrong, and so ahead of her time. The way she views social classes, injustices, and what roles a woman should have in society are as revolutionary as the uprising in Hungary itself. Preach girl, preach. Anna is far from perfect. She is stuck in a horrible position, has been manipulated by her heart, and her desire to fit in is a heartbreaking motivation that she can’t resist. Anna says some seriously profound stuff. She owns up to her mistakes, she recognizes that she has been brainwashed by ideology, she apologizes, and what’s best is that she learns and corrects herself. Thank you! Finally. 

The magic, the lore, and the class wars mesh perfectly. This is one of those books you look at and think, how on Earth did this all fit together so well? But it does. It flows, it’s poetic and political, and as whimsical as it is dark. The fire of the revolution burns bright throughout. The fairytale creatures are menacing, twisted, and sometimes scary, but others are full of heart and helpful. Magic is neither good or evil, nor are the creatures. The descriptions float off the page. Amazing. If you’re looking for new paranormal creatures, search no further. 

One of the greatest lessons within this story is that we all have the power to make choices and decide who we want to be-freedom is deserved by every individual, but what they will do with that freedom is up to them. I paused and lingered over this section. There’s a conversation with a demonic creature who is basically the incarnate of the deadly sins and it is he who poses this question to Anna. When you give someone who has been imprisoned their freedom, there’s no telling which path they’ll choose. That’s the beauty of choice. 

The Roma. I have been waiting for someone to get this right. Derogatory terms are corrected through characters and how they are treated today and were treated in the 1800s is a poignant and important history lesson that everyone should learn about. I appreciated the sections that talked about their camps, the way they feel about their children, their beliefs, just wow. 

And the romance. It’s like a magical pulse that beats through the story growing and glowing with anticipation. That kiss is one of the best I’ve ever read in YA.

You’re probably asking why I gave this 4 stars when I clearly loved so much of this story. The major issues I had were with pacing. Some sections dragged significantly, though it picked up fast towards the end. Another was the complete disappearance of her family after she leaves for Hungary. Even the letters, there were so few. I expected more. The relationship is so strong is the beginning and her love for her younger brother so warm that it was weird that they fell off the face of the planet. I also figured out what was going on with Anna at 30% through. So that was mildly disappointing for me, but I think it will be a surprise for many readers. 

authorRosalynWebsite | Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads

Rosalyn Eves grew up in the Rocky Mountains, dividing her time between reading books and bossing her siblings into performing her dramatic scripts. As an adult, the telling and reading of stories is still one of her favorite things to do. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her chemistry professor husband and three children, watching British period pieces, or hiking through the splendid landscape of southern Utah, where she lives. She dislikes housework on principle.

She has a PhD in English from Penn State, which means she also endeavors to inspire college students with a love for the English language. Sometimes it even works. Rosalyn is represented by Josh Adams of Adams literary.

Her first novel, BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, first in a YA historical fantasy trilogy, debuts Spring 2017 from Knopf/Random House.

giveaway

3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

Week One:
3/20/2017- BookHounds YA- Interview
3/21/2017- YA Book Madness- Review
3/22/2017- Page Turners Blog- Guest Post
3/23/2017- Fiktshun- Review
3/24/2017- NovelKnight- Review

Week Two:
3/27/2017- Once Upon a Twilight- Interview
3/28/2017- YABC- Interview
3/29/2017- Emily Reads Everything- Review
3/30/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
3/31/2017- Book Briefs- Review

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Lovely reading, 

Jordan

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ARC Review: Tear You Apart-Sarah Cross

21520203Goodreads/Amazon/iBooks/B&N

cooltext1889161239 copyAn edgy fairy tale retelling of “Snow White” set in the world of Kill Me Softly for fans of Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

Faced with a possible loophole to her “Snow White” curse, Viv goes underground, literally, to find the prince who’s fated to rescue her. But is life safe in the Underworld worth the price of sacrificing the love that might kill her?

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & EgmontUSA

Please Note: I have not read Killing Me Softly, the first installment in this Beau Rivage world so all of my perceptions are based on the idea that this is the first and/or a stand alone. 

Tear You Apart is a dark and gritty journey into authentic fairy tales. The kind that aren’t made of rainbows and butterflies but revenge, envy, murder, and twisted curses. In the style of The Brothers Grimm, Tear You Apart is gritty, sinister and full of danger. The tension is high and the future is bleak. Happily ever after is far from the horizon for these ill-fated teens. 

PROS:

  • Beau Rivage is quirky and creative. The idea is that in this world, people are cursed with fairytale fates and not the Disney kind. From a prominent birthmark, citizens know their future and have to take matters in their own hands to achieve a happy ending. Full of giant slayers, fae, mischievous witches, and dark Princes, Tear You Apart is a magical wonderland of invention that plays on urban fantasy. The characters may look like Snow White or Sleeping Beauty but their personalities are their own and sometimes, it’s startling just how much they contrast with expectations. 
  • Characters are multidimensional, they’re both good and bad. There aren’t true villains because each person is governed by choice within the confines of their fairy tale. Secondary characters are packed with personality and charm. I adored the spoiled princess who survived the Goldilocks curse. She’s a constantly complaining nuisance. I appreciated that Sarah Cross included lots of diversity, from different races and cultures to LGBTQIA. 
  • The Underworld is wickedly cool. It’s made for illicit activities, partying, and like a giant costume party full of chic clothes and themes. The boats to the castle, the ferrymen, the 12 Princesses curse and the Underworld Princes, it’s enthralling, the sort of cleverly crafted scenery that sucks you in and makes you want more. The details are all there and vibrant. 
  • The King of the Underworld is vile, evil, and sadistic. When his sins come out it’s sickening how seriously he took his curse and the damage he’s done. The lack of care for human life is dreadful. The secrets hidden in the Underworld castle are a consistent addition to the plot and fuel for Viv’s hunger to escape her alternate fate.
  • Henley is a chivalrous, lovable, loyal friend and love interest. He’s there for Viv even when she verbally attacks him and does everything in her power to make him think she doesn’t want him. He comes to her rescue consistently and gets her out of trouble at his own peril. Despite everything, he never gives up. His heart is pure and even if he wasn’t attractive, his personality is golden.
  • The wedding scene. OMG. Rivals the “Red Wedding”. Horrifying.
  • Bouts of genuine horror and helplessness resonate through the story. The tone is dark and made of anticipation of when the next ax will drop of their miniscule moments of happiness.

CONS:

  • Viv is antagonistic. She pushes people away and is kind of self-absorbed. She cares more about her own feelings than others until reality harshly slaps her in the face. Viv is so rude to Henley, her so-called best friend and Huntsman. She insults him, instigates fights, and then gets mad when he doesn’t fall at her feet and beg for forgiveness. Viv doesn’t know what she wants and is guided by crippling fear of her own mortality. She didn’t have many redeeming qualities but I did sympathize with her situation. She grew up dreaming of a happily ever after and was brutally hit with fate when her love interest became the hand that may or may not kill her. All Viv wants is to be loved and because of the curse, she had a sickly mother, an absent father, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing of a step-mother. 
  • There wasn’t enough of many characters. There are brief tidbits that have lots of promise to enhance the story but then disappear. Jasper, Minuet, the sisters, their emotions and personalities, how the feel towards their fates and father would have made it easier to get why they behaved the way they did. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Cover Reveal: Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After-Various

REUTSanthology-coverartGoodreads/Twitter

cooltext1602390596 copyWhen it comes to fairy tales, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. Things so morbid and grotesque, so sinister and diabolical, they haunt your imagination; warnings from generations past that still manage to terrify.

In 2013, authors came together for the annual Project REUTSway writing competition, penning their own interpretive twists on stories we’re all familiar with. Seventeen were chosen, bringing twenty-five new versions to life. From The Brother’s Grimm, to Hans Christian Andersen and beyond, these tales are not the ones you grew up with. They are, however, Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After. Dare to find out what happens when “once upon a time” ends in the stuff of nightmares?

prw2014-black badge copyThe 2013 organization was Reading Tree/Discover Books, a “green” charity which promotes literacy in the US by keeping books out of landfills, funding library sustainability, providing books to low-income families, and more.

For the 2014 season, we’re giving you the chance to decide where proceeds will go! The new year also brings with it a new theme. So brush up on your histories, legends, and cultural lore, because we’ll be looking for the most original, fantastic versions of tales that have braved the centuries.

To learn more: check out the website

Pleasant reading, 

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Review: Bewitching- Alex Flinn

1/5 Stars

Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles, #2)- Alex Flinn

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Let me preface this by saying that I read Cloaked and I loved it, I thought it was fun and such a cute retelling of the frog prince story. I wanted to like this but 50 pages in I gave up.

Plot:
From Goodreads blurb

Kendra Hilferty, the witch who curses Kyle Kingsbury in Beastly, tells about her immortal existence-how she discovered she was a witch and the various ways she has used her powers to help people throughout the centuries. (Unfortunately her attempts have often backfired.) As it turns out, Kendra has actually had a hand in “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “The Little Mermaid”-but these are not the fairy tales you think you know! Kendra’s reminiscences are wrapped around a real-time version of “Cinderella,” except the “ugly” stepsister is the good guy. With dark twists, hilarious turns, and unexpected endings, Bewitching is a contemporary read for fairy-tale lovers, fantasy fans, and anyone looking for more Alex Flinn.

PROS:
• The cover is haunting and mysterious. The dark sky and whispy clouds shroud Kendra in an air of magical anticipation mixed with a jaded sense of the past. Plus that killer black dress, I would have loved something so fiercely beautiful for prom.

CONS:
•The conversations between characters often felt stilted and awkward. This took away from the authenticity and believability of the conversations so that they felt forced and robotic.
•Some of the phrasing was off and the sentence structures could have been reworked so that they read more smoothly.
•There were a few typos.
•The cliched phrases killed me every time. When I read things like “dead as a door nail” I cringed. I understand that this may have been intended as a literary technique to make Kendra’s story read more like a fairy tale but it came off as odd and uncreative.
•The characters, from what I gathered in the first 50 pages, were emotionally bankrupt. They had no real staying power and I would not want to follow them on their story because I had no connection to them.

If you like fairy tales, retellings, witches, and magic you might enjoy this.

-BB