Book Review- Belle: A Retelling Of Beauty And The Beast by Cameron Dokey

synopsis 2

Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters’ awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one’s true love. 

During a fierce storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood — and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Charming. Enchanting. Easy for the mind. 

 

It was the beautiful cover that got me interested in this book. That, and the fact that I was on vacation and didn´t really want to read a book with 350+ pages. Instead, I picked this 204 page novel with the stunning cover.

As for the story….

Belle` by author Cameron Dokey is a simple and uncomplicated retelling of `Beauty And The Beast`. There´s nothing heavy or highly emotional about this retell. Belle

I would guess that adding overly dramatic scenes would have demanded more pages… so it´s no surprise that this book wasn´t the full-blown romance we´ve all come to love.

While the story was good ( as one would expect it to be. It´s Belle and the Beast! ) it still differed from the versions we have branded into our brains.

Belle´s life is different. The whole story has been worked on, giving us readers an altered Belle with 2 living parents and kind siblings.

The added family theme was a nice change of wallpaper. The details were ( to a certain point ) perfect. All was okay about this retelling version except for the subtle / not so subtle issues.

I´m a fan of details. In `Belle` I received a well-balanced flow of character development and details, which I fully appreciated. As I enjoyed the great story-build-up I also felt the amount of pages I had left to read. A little spooky when knowing there´s actually SO MUCH MORE to the story. I was a little over 100 pages in to the book and I was still reading about everything except for the Beast.

But I had faith. The book might be only 204 pages thin but there was still enough room to add the Hero. And that´s where I began to be bothered. The Hero is usually introduced after the first few pages, if not, then surely after the second chapter. From the point where Hero and Heroine meet there´s some sort of connection development from there on. In `Belle`there was nothing of the sort.

And when Belle and Beasts golden moment arrived I was slightly disappointed. Because it wasn´t as drawn out as I had thought it would be. It was actually short-lived and questionable, to say the least.

Even the big end scene wasn´t drawn out, as it should have been. In fact- The moment of moments was cut short. Belle and her family received lots of limelight and the Beast received a few pages. Correct me if I´m wrong- Doesn´t it add to the dramatic scene when drama is included? Thoughts on this, anyone?

The author has one thing going for her: Her writing style. It´s simple but romantic. It´s colorful and soft. Actually fitting for fairy tales. I found myself falling for her words and enjoying the way she wields them in her story.

What´s missing is balance and pace. Those two aspects drove me bonkers while reading `Belle`.

This is a complicated review to write because on the one side I experienced wonderful characters and great details. Character development plays a huge role in books as it gives a story life. Crappy characters = crappy story ( no matter if it´s a retelling or not ).

But on the other hand, the imbalance and slow pace – turned – fast pace were confusing and made my reading experience odd.

Would I recommend this book? I would. But only if readers approach this read without expecting anything major.

Would I reread this book? Probably not. I´ll stick with the other versions I´ve read.

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( Stunning )

The Story – 3 stars ( It´s basically Beauty and the Beast fanfic. I appreciated some parts while I didn´t appreciate the technical sides )

The Characters – 4 stars ( I can´t stress this out enough: character development is everything. It´s what a reader gets in this read.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Meeh.

3 stars

This book is available on Amazon.com

 

Morgana´s Book Box Instagram Book Feature for `Belle` by Cameron Dokey

 

 

Book Review- The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

synopsis 2

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself. 

 


 

My Thoughts 2

This is another case of “It´s not the book. It´s me.” Or, maybe the book is my problem…

I liked loved the synopsis. It´s captivating and just screams at a reader to buy the book.

Because it sounds interesting. The story sounds dark and mysterious. It appears to have that certain witchy atmosphere. A promise of legends and curses mixing with reality and…. above all, there´s a promise of something magical.

I can´t say that `The Wicked Deep` by author Shea Ernshaw was a complete the wicked deepdisappointment because there were quite a few parts I really enjoyed about the story. But the other parts? 40% of the story wasn´t as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be.

Was the story dark and mysterious?
Well, it did have a nice dark atmosphere and it did offer a hint of mystery in the beginning. But since the story was predictable the mystery part was flushed down the drain and that made my reading experience less enjoyable.

`The Wicked Deep` is a full blown cliché. While the writing is great the story is rather flat and shallow.

The threat was there but it felt restricted. As if the author didn´t want to go too far with her characters.

I would have liked for the “witches” ( as they were so lovingly sold to the readers ) to have had more spotlight. It wouldn´t have hurt if they had been included in more scenes. They drowned on land as they did when they were forced to drown in the pacific ocean.

As for the main characters- I would have appreciated if Penny hadn´t felt robotic. Bo was a Hero I´d consider to be 2 dimensional. Present but transparent, lacking depth.

As for the end of the story…. It won a smirk from me.



 

Would I recommend this book? I would. I´m sure there are many readers who would appreciate this type of witch book. It´s a nice standalone that´s not too high-toned.

Would I re – read this book? Nope.

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( The cover is stunning. Simple, colorful and the title is catchy.)

The Story – 3 stars ( While there were parts I loved I couldn´t get over the stuff I didn´t enjoy. If it´s said that witches are involved then I´d appreciate reading about witches. If there´s a curse then I would like that curse to have some magical background.  )

The Characters – 2 stars ( All had their own voices. I find it odd, though, when MC are less emotional than sub characters. I also find it worrying when sub characters have more depth. When MCs don´t stand out ( as they should) then I lose interest)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Indifferent.

3 stars

Buy `The Wicked Deep`

 

Morgana´s Book Box Instagram Feature

 

 

9 Irritating Things About New Adult Romance Books

It´s time to reveal the top 9 most irritating things about new adult novels.

But why New Adult? Why not chick – lit or just plain and simple romance? Because romance is a broad genre. If I want to criticize the romance genre I´d be busy for weeks trying to pinpoint what exactly it is that´s bothering me and possibly other readers.

Sure, there are plenty of annoying things about other genres ( especially with Young Adult, Mature Adult, etc ) and I will definitely tackle those points in the near / far future. For now, though,  New Adult is on the menu.

Over the years I´ve been blessed with great NA reads and less great NA novels. But no matter how good or awful I thought the NA book was… They all felt very alike. They all somehow have the same irritating patterns, which is A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G.

 

Here are the 9 irritating things about New Adult Books.

 

things

 

THE CHARACTERS ARE ALL WELL OFF

I have yet to read about some poor sucker who struggles financially.  They all have cars. They all have a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep in. They never seem to worry about how they´re going to pay next months rent or how they´re going to feed themselves until next pay-day. I´m not talking about college students.

 

 

BLINDING BEAUTY

“He was like a model from the GQ.” “He looked like a greek God.”

“She has thick, long wavy hair.” “Her eyes were the color of honey/the sea/the sky / chocolate.”

Immaculate skin. Beautiful orbs. Professional messy hair. Great style.

Since when have authors decided to create perfect characters when the world is clearly filled with all sorts of imperfect beauty? A guy with a crooked nose / tooth? That can be just as sexy as the sex God with the 8 – pack from down the road. And what about women with short hair? Big feet? A tooth gap? I´m just saying….

 

NO ONE SEEMS TO NEED GAS

Book characters sometimes ( if only rarely ) go grocery shopping. They even order takeout. They do all sorts of normal activities, such as driving aimlessly around town in their cars to “clear their minds” , but getting gas doesn´t belong to those day – to – day life activities. It´s as if their cars only run on love and air.
Or, maybe I got it all wrong and the characters went to the gas station before the book started. Yeah, maybe…..

No.

 

THEY HAVE MORE SKELETONS IN THEIR CLOSETS THAN A DEAD BROOKLYN MAFIA BOSS 

Secrets. They all have major secrets that are explosive and can threaten and effect the happiness of EVERYONE when they´re revealed. The thing that bugs me the most is that these “secrets” aren´t really worth being called secrets. NA readers usually deal with characters that have dealt with something in college or highschool and that… that causes a character to act as if they´ve commited a deadly crime.

 

 

LOVE: THE CURE FOR ASSHOLES

This might be the most unrealistic aspect of New Adult romances. Love conquers all. Love is the answer to all physical and mental illnesses. Love can even convert an asshole character into a soft kitty. Sure, I believe in the powers of love, yada yada yada. But I don´t believe that love can change characteristics. Some of these emotionally charged characters don´t need a girlfriend with whom they can snuggle up with at night. They need therapy. Anger management. A good beating with a frying pan? All is better than having a lunatic roaming the streets.

 

 

THE CINDERELLA MOMENT

The worst. Ever.

There isn´t a NA book I´ve read where the grey mouse ( female protagonist ) doesn´t get turned into a looker by the world´s best stylist ( female protagonists BFF ). I cannot stand these make – over scenes. There´s never anything wrong with a female lead´s wardrobe or sense of style until she wants to go on a date. THEN she´s this fashion mess that needs to be caked in make – up and dressed like a Christmas tree. Why this is necessary… I have no idea. It´s annoying, though.

If I were to go on a date with a guy then he´d have no choice than to accept my jeans and t-shirt and flip-flops because there is no way I would squeeze myself in a short red number for a date. It´s a ” take it or leave it, babe.” situation. And the thought of letting my BFF doctor on me is horrific!!

 

 

MID 20´S VIRGIN

I´m not saying this isn´t realistic because there are women who´re in their 20´s and are still happy virgins but it feels like the whole New Adult female character population are virgins. Why? WHY? Do authors believe this to be acceptable? We´re not talking Young Adults. We´re talking New Adults. It´s perfectly fine to have a female lead who´s already had her fair share of men without making her out to be the village mattress. Let the ladies shag, for crying out loud!

 

 

DRAMA 2.0

Drama is okay. In fact, I expect drama from people in their early – mid 20´s. It´s what they do. There´s not enough daily routine to provide a drama – free life so lots of things are quite dramatic for New Adults. Just don´t make characters over dramatic. That´s far from realistic and can be a turn off.

 

 

CHARACTERS HAVE MORE LIFE EXPERIENCE THAN GRANNY AT AGE 96

I 100% hate this.  I hate hate hate hate…..

Young boy with no living family deals with anger issues. Runs away for years and magically pops back into the picture at age 23 and owns half a city / state / country.

Teenage girl- Physically and mentally abused by alcoholic adoptive parents.  By the sensitive age of 22 the young woman has had 8 jobs, has lived on the streets, has had no luck with men…..  throw in an abortion and more beatings from boyfriend #5…

Again, I´m not saying that isn´t realistic. I´m sure a few mid 20 year olds have been through Hell and back but…. I just can´t.  There are too many book characters going through the same shit over and over and over again. Not every character has to have such a heavily loaded life story.
I get the message. But we´re talking about New Adult romances here. WHY go to such extremes? Because we´re just not reading about over exaggeration here. We´re reading about extreme cases. It´s okay for a character to not have been through so much in their short lives.

 

In all fairness… I understand why authors include all of the points I´ve mentioned. Many of the above work perfect for certain stories in the New Adult genre. I mean- reading allows us to forget about our own personal exhausting lives. We get to live in another world, in a different place and accompany characters on their own crappy paths and find happiness when they do. Readers are able to have moments they probably wouldn´t have in real life.

It´s an escape.

But is the escape worth it? Do we really need another New Adult romance with too much drama? Do readers need to read about characters who have it all and have experienced the worst from the absolute worst?

Yes. In my opinion… it´s worth it… to some degree. As long as there´s a healthy balance in all areas.

Tone down on the drama. Give characters some realistic features. Hell, let them have a job as a barista. Just give them something readers can relate with.
Unfortunately, many New Adult romance novels lack balance and therefore offer little readers can relate with.

 

What are your thoughts on New Adult romance novels? Do you agree with the list or is there anything else you´d like to include? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

Hope you all have a great day!

Share the book love,

Morgana ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Cake – Carmen Jenner

Synopsis

A hilarious new rom-com from USA Today best-selling author Carmen Jenner. 

Poppy Porter’s ex is getting married … to her ex-best friend. To land her dream job of partner in the most prestigious firm on the Upper East Side, Poppy must now pull double shifts as their wedding planner and maid of honor. And the icing on a truly craptastic cake? Leo Nass. Handsome, infuriating, womanizer, and … the best man. Despite their longstanding loathing, Poppy doesn’t see Leo coming. Literally.

One ruined cake.
One archnemesis.
One hour to save the wedding.

Can they put their hatred aside long enough to save Poppy’s job and Bridezilla’s head from exploding?

Piece of cake, right?

My Thoughts

Fun fact- I don´t like watching rom – coms. I don´t like reading rom – coms, either.

The reason for that is:  I find them far too cheesy and full of clichés. And most of them take place in Manhattan…because that´s the place for rom – coms.

You´d have a better chance catching me reading a Sci-Fi than a rom-com. If I want to be dragged out of my comfort – zone then I will most definitely not start reading romantic comedy´s.

Believe it or not… There´s a huge difference when it comes to romances. There are so many sub categories to the genre.

It´s the „I can´t live without you“ and „You had me at hello.“ that has me constantly doing the face of all faces.

I cannot, by all that´s pink and fluffy, remember what drove me to buy `Cake` by author Carmen Jenner.Cake

I remember seeing the cover on all social media platforms and reading a handful of reviews. The next thing I remember is scrolling through my TBR list on my Kindle and POOF, there was `Cake´. So, my guess is that I made a mistake.

I was in for a surprise.

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit Cake!

I actually enjoyed `Cake`. Like…really really enjoyed it.

The story? It was nothing new, or nothing I haven´t heard of a million times before. The story was the exact thing that usually bothers me with rom – coms.

Wedding planner gets a triple slap in the face when her ex wants to marry her best friend and has to co – plan their wedding PLUS be the maid of honor.

Things become interesting when Poppy, the wedding planner, has to deal with the groom´s best man – Leo, who´s also a childhood enemy of Poppy. They bump into each other more often than not.

The story takes place in New York and the Maldives ( of course! ) and cash is being tossed around as if someone had it growing on trees in their backyard.

So, why did I like this book so much?

Besides the humor ( which I fully appreciated ) it was the writing style and the way the characters were portrayed that made this read great. Poppy and Leo definitely helped me enjoy this book more than I was willing to.

Plus, there was cake. A lot of cake involved in this story. Who doesn´t love cake? Cake rules.

I couldn´t help myself. Falling for Leo and Poppy was not what I had planned but it happened anyways. Their overall chemistry was lovable.

What I also enjoyed was how movie – like this read felt. I kid you not… Reading `Cake ` felt like watching a Kate Hudson rom – com. ( I like watching Kate Hudson… not the romantic comedy´s she plays in )

The end was great. I liked how things played out for the MCs and the sub – characters.

Would I recommend this book? Sure. `Cake` is quite funny and entertaining. I don´t necessarily think that this book cured me of my dislike for rom – coms… but it did put a smile on my face more than once. That alone is reason enough to recommend this book. Maybe I´d be more open to rom – coms if they took place in Iceland or…. some other place that´s not in / near / around Manhattan.

Would I re – read this book? Not sure. Maybe. Maybe not. I have a strong feeling that this is a once – is – enough type of book. But who knows… I´m open for surprises.

The Cover – 3 stars ( The cover is nothing I´d go nuts over. And it´s definitely not the worst I´ve seen.)

The Story – 3 stars ( Uuhm… Not really unique but due to the writing style definitely highly entertaining. )

The Characters – 5 stars ( Loved them. )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Really happy.

4 stars

Purchase Links   Cake

Amazon.com 

Amazon.co.uk

Book Review: To Kill A Kingdom – Alexandra Christo

Synopsis

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

My Thoughts

Have you ever read a book and wished you were the female protagonist? Or, have you ever read a story and so desperately wanted to live in the world created by the author?

I have. It happens to me all the time!

I´ll watch the X Men and wish I was a mutant. I´ll watch Game of Thrones and imagine I´m Sexy Jesus ( Jaqen H´ghar ) just because he´s cool AF ( and because he wears a loose robe all day. I love loose clothes and flipflops )

I had the same experience while reading `To Kill A Kingdom` by Alexandra Christo. to kill

I desperately wanted to be a siren and desperately wanted to live in the world the author created.

But wait – The author didn´t completely offer an original story.  `To Kill A Kingdom` is actually a warped retelling of The Little Mermaid. A darkish, morbid version that´s been tweaked and bent to fit the author´s ideas.

I absolutely LOVED IT!

Get that picture of  Disney´s Ariel with her perfect hair and shell bra out of your mind because the mermaids portrayed in this book are less attractive and appealing. Even the sirens, with all their incredible beauty, have a glowing neon sign above their heads that screams “RUN, bitch! RUN!”

The synopsis spoils enough so I won´t reveal an awful lot about this story.

Just know that it has mermaids, sirens, magical portrayed human lands, a siren hunter crew and a prince who´s ready to end the evil that occupies the ocean. Things get messy on quite a few levels. Messy and exciting.

I LOVE PIRATES AND SIRENS! Mermaids… not so much anymore. Not after this book. But that´s okay. I´ve got some major siren love going on now.

Besides the fact that I was in sea heaven I couldn´t ignore the great writing. I had absolutely no troubles with anything. The descriptions were pretty good. The details were perfect ( not too little and not too much ). I was able to see, feel and taste the story.

The romance ( yes, there was a hint of a romantic flair in this book ) was subtle. Perfect for a young adult fantasy novel. Usually, I´m someone who wants the feels and adventure in equal proportions but that wouldn´t have worked with this story. The adventure was the spotlight and I´m glad it stayed that way until the end of the book.

There´s even a moral to the story! Why I´m so happy about that? Well, these days, stories often don´t have a message for readers anymore. There´s hardly anything to take away after finishing a book. With this read, though… a reader is allowed to walk away with a moral.

All in all, I have nothing to complain about.

 

Would I recommend this book? Yes! Although it´s a YA read the story still has a strong dark side to it. And some parts are graphic, which I fully enjoy. So, yes. I´d recommend this read.

Would I re- read this book? Absolutely.

 

The Cover – 4 stars ( It´s a little too dark for my taste but I do love the title. How eye catchy!)

The Story – 5 stars ( The author didn´t re- invent the wheel with the story but I did enjoy how the story was told. The magic is always in the writing.)

The Characters – 5 stars ( A vicious siren princess and a prince with a purpose. I want to be best friends with both )

My emotional state after finishing this read – I want to be a siren just like princess Lira and show off my vicious, badass side. AWESOME!

5 stars

Purchase Link : Amazon.comto kill