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

 

 

Review: The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well – Meik Wiking

synopsis 2

Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: Hygge.

‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.

Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.

 

My Thoughts 2

 

One of my most anticipated reads for this month and…. I can´t really say I was disappointed. I found this read to be gripping.

Interesting enough- This book on how the Danish live well was categorized on Goodreads under Self – Help and psychology, yet this book didn´t feel like that at all.

It felt more like a little guide of Denmark, or a guide on how the Danish live. hygge

Which is perfectly fine by me. I love to learn about different cultures and get to know what exactly it is that makes them who they are.

The word that´s focused on here is Hygge. The definition of Hygge is: There isn´t one.Hygge is a word that describes  the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

Good company, family, food and… candles.

Looks like the Danish are obsessed with light. There was no shortage on the mention of candles in this read. Looks like candles are the way to live a cozy life.

Too bad I think candles are dust collectors. I prefer my cozy moments with floodlights ( because I´m as blind as a bat )

Besides the candle parts ( which are almost always mentioned ) I do love the Danish lifestyle.

Just shows that life isn´t always about work and work and.. work.

Life is about taking a step back and appreciating your surroundings. Just ask the Danish people. They obviously have it all worked out. They know how to be content.

As much as I loved this book I did find a few things  that would never work out for me, personally. The 10 inexpensive Hygge Activities, for example:

  1. Bring out the board games. I´m a bad loser. It´s been said that I´ve thrown a board game off a table once because I can´t stand losing. ( that´s only half true. I walk away when I´m losing .  And that one time when the golf driver slipped out of my sweaty hands and flew towards my husband… An accident. ) I´m competetive and can´t lose. Board games are not an option.
  2. TV Night. I used to love TV nights with friends. Now I have friends who go to bed early ( even on the weekends ).
  3. Make a fire. Not a bad idea if someone would mow the lawn beforehand.
  4. Swap Party. NO. No no no. People never want to swap good stuff. That idea just doesn´t work for me at all. I really don´t want my best friend´s self made robot.
  5. Sledding. Another nice idea if there was something to sled on. Like snow. Or a sled. I don´t even have a sled ( because we hardly ever get snow ). I thought this was supposed to be an inexpensive Hygge activity. To sled I´d have to buy one and book a vacation to somewhere where it snows. Too expensive for me.

So, as you can see… I´ll have a hard time doing typical Danish activities.

That part about spending time with friends and family… Listen, I love my friends ( and some of my family ) but I don´t want to see them all the time. Some of them are exhausting AF. They all can destroy my Hygge vibes. Lol.

What I did approve of were the stuff I already include into my daily life.

  • read ( I had to laugh at that one )
  • enjoy a hot beverage and have ceramic ( this one got another laugh )
  • food ( because food is AWESOME )
  • going slow ( because you miss out on so much when moving too fast )
  • Wool sweaters and socks ( And I have the ugliest wool wardrobe, EVER!)

 

All in all I really liked this book. Enough to want to go visit Denmark in the near future.

It´s been mentioned many times before – The Danish people are the happiest in the world. I can believe that after reading this book.

Would I recommend this book? Definitely. It´s a nice book that gives you LOTS of insight on how simple it can be to be happy and feel content with the little things in life. Also, this book gives a taste on what Denmark is about.

Would I re – read this book? Sure. It´s definitely something I´ll take a look at once in a while.

 

The Cover – 5 Stars ( The cover was the first thing I fell in love with. )

The Idea – 5 stars ( Great idea to introduce the perks of Denmark and the people who live there. )

The Writing – 5 stars ( Written by CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking. His study sounds like a lot of fun. His writing has an easy-going, joyous touch.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – On my way to join the Hygge movement.

5 stars

Purchase Link

Amazon.comhygge

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Readers Copy – Then & Now

Book bloggers who interact with authors and hang around Netgalley will know what an ARC is. For the rest of the world who´s always asked themselves what the abbreviation means… I´m here to help!

You´re welcome.

 

arc banner

 

And now you´re thinking: “WOW! Those book bloggers get free books from publishers / authors directly? That´s awesome!”

You´re right. It is AWESOME.

Us book blog folks can´t really complain when it comes to receiving books before they hit the bookshelves.

But receiving ARCs comes with a price. It´s not just about getting free, yet to be published, books.

 

Granted. The price we pay isn´t necessarily high. But it´s tiresome and even taxing over time. But sometimes reading those ARCs can be rewarding.

I think it´s fair to add that there is a difference between traditional published and self published ARCs. And then there´s Netgalley, which is a whole different level of giving out unpublished free copies to readers.

Traditional published advanced copies are usually reserved for journalists, celebrities, major blogs. Of course, any every-day-book-blogger can receive a traditional published ARC, as well. It just involves a little more work and luck.

Self published ARCs are much easier to get our hands on. We either wait for an open opportunity to add ourselves to a list or an author may ask us directly if we´re interested in reading an ARC.

Or, we hop over to Netgalley and include ourselves to a list there and then hope for the best.

Either way – ARCs come with a set of rules. These rules may vary but they core of rules is always the same.

  1. Do not forward the book to a third party
  2. Must leave a review ( either before or after or directly on publication date )
  3. Include publisher / authors name
  4. Meet the deadline
  5. Don´t publish a review with less than a 3 star rating. ( not a mandatory rule, but it still pops up once in a while )

 

So, basically you get to read for free if you promise not to let anyone else read the unpublished book and if you include the publisher / author in your review by thanking them for letting you read the free copy then everyone´s happy.

 

Many book bloggers will mention that the book they´ve read was an ARC in their reviews. Sometimes it´s even asked of us book bloggers to add a small recognition line in our reviews. That might look something like this:

 

I received an Avanced Readers Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review”

 

A simple line, right? That can always be easily worked into a review before it´s published. That line might raise some questions to normal reader who´s only looking for his/her next read, though.

 

No matter how a book blogger receives an ARC the rules stay the same.

 

Don´t do shit you promised not to do! Do shit you promised you´d do!

 

 

The price we pay is truly small compared to what we´d normally spend after the ARC hits the bookshelves.

Are Advanced Readers Copies worth it?

I´d say yes and no. Yes, because it´s a fabulous way to get our hands on new books and ARCs are kind to our wallets.

No, because book bloggers tend to agree to read more ARCs than they´re able to fit into their schedule

.
Let´s do simple math that displays what I´m talking about:

2 ARCs a week = 8 ARCs a month = better have a calendar or else you´re screwed.

 

 

And then there´s that issue when you want to DNF the ARC. You have to contact the publisher or author and give details as to why you can´t continue to read.

Meeting a deadline is also sometimes exhausting.

Life is often not nice to us book bloggers. Sometimes we have to hop back to reality and can´t meet a deadline. You have to contact the publisher or author and explain why.

 

So, are ARCs truly worth it?

Sort of. Kind of. Depends on what type of person / book blogger you are.

 

ARCs Then & Now

Nowadays, 98% of all ARCs come in e-book format. Why? Because it´s much easier and quicker. There´s no hassle with printed ARCs and no shipping issues. ARCs flow from one device to another within seconds or a few hours. ARCs these days look like this:

 

arc 2
Taken from my unloved Kindle

 

Or, dare I share this little gem from Netgalley:

 

arc 3
Another shot from my unloved Kindle

 

A few years back, though, there were still publishers and authors who made a point of giving out printed advanced copies to readers.

 

arc
ARC taken from my personal bookshelf.

 

Weird, right? Hardly imaginable in the day of modern technology yet they existed. Printed ARCs were a thing and I miss them dearly.

 

 

These days, authors love to give out e-book arcs because they´re efficient. Low cost and no wasted effort.

And many authors have misunderstood the meaning of an ARC. The roots of ARCs.

What was once an uncorrected proof read turned into a nearly finished – finished project ready to hit sales.

Let´s do a quick listing of things that made ARCs different from the past and now.

ARCs Back Then

  • Uncorrected proof reads
  • No final cover image
  • Story wasn´t final
  • Paperback format came as a naked product

 

Readers gave feedback on the proof read and THEN the whole book was combed through again before it would be published, 3 – 6 months later with a cover image.

ARCS NOW

  • handed out in exchange for an honest review
  • often final product
  • often comes with a finished cover image

 

In short: readers receive a copy for review purposes and then the book gets published within 1-3 months ( or less ).
So, the idea of an ARC has changed over the years. And then there´s the time issue. We live in a fast living world. If authors / publishers don´t get said book out yesterday then the genre might go out of style tomorrow.

There´s hardly any time to send out a paperback ARC across oceans to the opposite side of the world when the same thing can be sent via technology within a blink of an eye.

Makes sense, right?

It still doesn´t change the fact that I don´t like ARCs, no matter what form they come in.

They´re added work. The story has to sound freaking special before I accept an advanced copy.

Do you like to read Advanced Readers Copies? How often do you accept ARCs?

Let me hear your thoughts! I´m dying to discuss this topic with you.

 

Hope you all have a lovely day!

Much Love,

Morgana ❤ ❤

 

 

 

 

Book Review: A Court Of Frost And Starlight – Sarah J. Maas

synopsis 2

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

 

My Thoughts 2

 

I wasn´t a huge fan of the first 3 books. What was there to be a fan of? Stealing major parts from other successful stories and adding them to an already good story isn´t going to win any plus points from me. ( review- ACOTAR, ACOMAFACOWAR )

So, why did I read `A Court Of Frost And Starlight`( A Court Of Thorns And Roses # 3.1) by Sarah J. MaasA Court Of rost And Starlight?

Because I have hope. That´s all.

I don´t know why but I feel like the autor is just holding back. I could be wrong, though. Let´s hope I´m not wrong. Let´s keep our fingers crossed that the author will write a book that doesn´t have Rhys and Feyre ( MCs from books 1 – 3 ) in it.

I´m not going to beat around the bush with this one.

A Court of Frost and Starlight wasn´t fully a waste of time but it wasn´t a mandatory read, either. It was a book for devoted fans of the series.
When a blogger buddy ( it was Sabrina  @5171 Miles Book Blog )sent me a Whatsapp with the cover I felt my blood pressure rise. ANOTHER ONE? Good Lord above. Aren´t Rhys and Feyre ever going to call it a day? I thought the whole story was done after book #3 – It sure felt like everything was over.

Apparently not. So, as the good blogger I am…. I didn´t bother buying the paperback and went straight for the kindle version and began reading.

The truth? The ugly truth?
This book is about exchanging presents. Nothing more. It´s less about how the characters dealt with their lives after the great war ( although that was mentioned… if only a little ) and more about what each character was going to gift the other in great detail.

A shame, really, because the author had SO many options she could have chosen from for this book to make this an exciting read.

If it weren´t for the Nesta and Cassian scenes I would have eaten my carpet out of pure frustration.
Nesta and Cassian have a really gripping story going on and their spotlight is far over-due.  Unfortunately, Nesta and Cassian´s story is an over shadowed side story at the moment.

The author created SO MANY characters… she could have easily given a few more some major spotlight. But she didn´t. And now I´m not satisfied at all.

 

Would I recommend this book? No. Because 1) it cannot be read as a standalone. One has to read the other 3 bricks to understand this read. 2) It´s basically for the hardcore ACOTAR ninjas. If you are not a fully devoted ACOTAR fan nor a fan of having to start at book 1 to understand book 3.1 then I simply cannot recommend this read.

Would I re – read this book? No.

 

The Cover – 4 stars ( My favorite cover from the whole series so far. )

The Story – 2 stars  ( Not really what I would call a story when you get to read about Faeries going shopping for gifts. Nesta and Cassian saved the day )

The Characters – 2 stars ( My feelings haven´t changed for the characters so far.  All I´m now asking for is to be able to read more about Nesta and Cassian because those are the only 2 characters with substance. I wouldn´t mind seeing a bit more from Tamlin, if I´m honest. His character has so much potential.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Feeling disappointed.

2 stars

Purchase Link

Amazon.comA Court Of rost And Starlight