Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publishing Information:  November 8rd 2016 by Feiwel & Friends

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 464pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher

Recommended For: Readers looking for a fun, whimsical and romantic origin story.

 

Heartless was a very fun read. It was whimsical and despite being a long novel it was a very quick read. I really loved Catherine and am completely on board with her origin story. While reading, I was very worried that Heartless would end in a way that would make me unhappy. I was worried that Cath’s reasoning for turning into the villain that we know in Alice in Wonderland would frustrate me. I don’t want to divulge many details but I was worried that it would go the same way as Maleficent in the most recent film, with a man behind the wheel of her emotions. I am so happy to say that this was not the case at all.

Throughout Heartless the reader grows to love Cath, and her beau, and I can say that I felt her fury and reasoning for who she becomes. I found myself seething as she seethed and feeling satisfied as she came into her own as the Queen. The secondary characters were lovely, I don’t think there will ever be an Alice in Wonderland story where I am not a little bit in love with the Hatter. I wish that Meyer showed us more of the land of Chess, as it sounds even more intriguing than the land of Hearts. Though I am thrilled that this was a standalone, and everything was tied up perfectly, I cannot help but wish that Meyer went further with a companion novel telling us of Alice and what happens when she meets the now villainous Queen of Hearts.

Shelf Talker: Heartless is a whimsical, tragically romantic and fun novel. Highly recommended for fans of origin stories, swoons and vibrantly atmospheric novels.

Review: Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

20652088Title: Ash & Bramble

Author: Sarah Prineas

Publishing Information:  September 15th 2015 by HarperTeen

Genre: Fantasy, retellings, romance, fairy tale, magic

Series Information: First in the Ash & Bramble series

Format: Hardcover, 464 pages

Source: Received an ARC for review from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Fans of fairy tale retellings

 

I almost didn’t review Ash & Bramble because I have been feeling such frustration over the disappointment I had upon finishing. This book had so much promise, excellent writing fitted with a dark and twisty fairy tale retelling seemed like it would be a wonderful experience for me. Unfortunately, the novel didn’t just fall flat, but it frustrated me to no end. I will say that this novel was interesting and fast paced, Sarah Prineas writes eloquently and I wanted to love this novel so much for so many reasons. Unfortunately, I had a very hard time relating to our main character, Pin. However, due to her being an unreliable narrator I think that it isn’t unexpected that this was the case. It somehow frustrated me more that the secondary characters such as Shoe, were more likable and interesting than our main gal.

Throughout this novel there were continuous hints to the “before” and I needed more from that. I almost felt as if the novel was half finished, and to be honest the romance was not something that I fell into at all. I somewhat irrationally judged our male lead for liking Pin so much because I felt like she was so standoffish and somewhat rude. I like the dark parts to the plot, I liked the concept, but overall it just didn’t work for me. To be quite honest if this was the first in a duology I would probably be making excuses and saying that things were just getting fleshed out with hopes that we would learn answers to ALL THE THINGS in book two. Unfortunately this is not the case, so I was left very disappointed in the end.

Shelf Talker: The more time that has passed since I have read this novel, the more frustrated I have become. I felt that many parts of the novel were disconnected and though the ending was satisfying in a way, it still made me angry. The ending was conclusive for the most part, but on the other hand, it seemed very much like there could (ahem, should) be a sequel to explain some very open plot threads. I have just recently learned that there is to be a companion novel that takes place 50 years after the ending of Ash & Bramble. I can’t imagine how it will answer questions that I have, it seems as if a prequel would have been more helpful in answering my inquiries. I will say that there are many who absolutely adored this novel so as always I suggest you read other reviews and maybe give it a go yourself!

On the Same Page: Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Title: Peter and the Starcatchers

Author: Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Publishing Information:  May 11, 2006 by Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Middle Grade, Adventure

Series Information: Book one in the Peter and the Starcatchers series

Format: Hardcover, 452 pages

Source: Borrowed from my public library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a retelling of a timeless tale, one that brings you back to the beginning before Peter was Peter Pan. If you are looking for a heartfelt story that reminds you what life was like before you “grew up,” then this is the book for you.

Related Reviews: Brittany’s Post on retellings and Amy’s post bringing you back to the origins!

Hey there, lovelies! This month the gals and I went a little younger in our pick and chose Peter and the Starcatchers as our May read! We mainly chose it because the narration is done by Jim Dale and we loooove Jim Dale!! I actually started off listening to this one but didn’t have much time so I picked up the print copy and was very impressed by both! Much like I did for our post on The Goose Girl, I am going to talk to you guys about some retellings that you can read if you are interested in Peter Pan. Spoiler alert: Peter Pan is actually one of my least favorite stories from my childhood (as well as one of my least favorite Disney movies…ugh, Wendy) but I still felt myself enthralled by Peter and the Starcatchers. I loved the way in which it went back to the beginning, and helped show who Peter was before he became Peter Pan. The relationships were fleshed out and the whole novel was action packed and fun. It was the ending that really cinched my love for this novel. I teared up a bit and my heart melted, I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

If you want a love story that will surprise you and make your heart ache…

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily is one of the most lyrical and heart wrenching stories that I have ever read. From page one I was taken by Tiger Lily and they way she was vastly different from those around her. I fell for Peter as she did, little by little she gave into him and let him into her heart. Through Tink’s eyes I was able to see how she couldn’t quite give enough and wasn’t exactly what Peter needed. There were times I was so frustrated with her and just wanted her to be what he needed her to be even though I knew it wasn’t her, I knew she didn’t know how to give in without giving up herself. I’ll be honest, the ending was so heartbreaking yet beautiful at the same time that I read it over and over. I felt my heart break and mend almost simultaneously. It was phenomenal. The story was riveting. It was heartbreaking, tender, harrowing, compelling, breathtaking and all around gorgeous. I recommend it to fans of strong heroines such as Scarlet, fans of Peter Pan and readers looking for a fantasy novel that will make them feel an array of emotions.

“If there was a true moment that Tiger Lily fell so in love with Peter she could never turn back, it was that night, when he shivered and walked and told her he was warm, and told her he loved her so much. She was fierce, to be sure, but she had a girl’s heart, after all.”

If you want a darker retelling that will leave you shocked and raw…

The Child Thief by Brom

Brom completely re-imagines the tale of Peter Pan, turning it into a thoroughly detailed and layered story. Avalon was once a magical and beautiful paradise, until man showed up on its shores. The “man” in question being the Captain and his crew (saw that one coming, didn’t you?) The crew is made up not of not savage men, but puritans (but really, what’s the difference?) looking to start a new civilization. Brom tells the tale of horror, betrayal and dedication through a child narrator named Nick, a narrator I quickly fell in love with. Nick is a strong minded boy, who attempts to stand up for what is right while shirking away from what would be “easy.” If you are looking for a more adult retelling, one that will leave you raw then pick up The Child Thief…

Those that I have had on my TBR for a while…

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Review: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

Title: Lion Heart

Author: A.C. Gaughen

Publishing Information:  May 19, 2015 by  Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retellings, Fantasy

Series Information: Book 3 in the Scarlet Trilogy

Format: Hardcover, 348 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC for review via the publisher

Recommended For: Fans of strong heroines, and those of you needing some consolation after finishing Lady Thief

Related Reviews: Review of Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince’s clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Oh this series, I love it so. Scarlet is strong and feisty and an absolutely lovable heroine. Rob had to grow on me a little during the first two books, he was swoon-worthy for sure but I needed him to just put in a little bit of effort to try and work through his own “scars.” In Lion Heart, the secondary characters again stole my heart. I adored Allan and his antics, he was hilarious and though he was a jokester, it was clear that he had heart and cared about Scarlet as if she was his true sister. David is another new addition, and he is a perfect opposite of Allan. He loves and cares for Scarlet and her well-being, and is her dedicated knight so he is very adamant about doing things the “correct” way. That is to say, he doesn’t always go for Rob and Scar stealing kisses due to their lack of marriage! I loved the antics between Allan and David, and found them to be fantastic additions to the crew that I had crown to love from the prior two novels. Continue reading

On the Same Page: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publishing Information:  May 12, 2015 by Putnam Juvenile

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling

Series Information: Book one in the Wrath and the Dawn duet

Format: Hardcover, 388 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss *all quotes based on an unfinished copy

Recommended For: Readers looking for something that feels familiar but is wholly different, and anyone needing a multitude of swoons

Related Reviews: My review, Amy’s Pinterest board and Brittany’s review

Hi friends! I am sure that by now you have already read my RAVE REVIEW of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. Well, I loved this novel so much that I was highlighting so many quotes while reading. As you know, quotes are my favorite! So I am dedicating this On the Same Page post to the best quotes of the novel. Also? I preordered The Wrath and the Dawn. I never preorder books!! So go read Amy’s post, and Brittany’s post and then go preorder this book immediately because it was definitely the best debut that I have read this year! So, without further ado, the quotes!

Shazi to the wolves

“So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?”
“Shazi?” Jalal’s grin widened. “Honestly, I pity the wolves.”

beautiful laugh Continue reading

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publishing Information:  May 12, 2015 by Putnam Juvenile

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings

Series Information: The first in The Wrath and the Dawn duet

Format: Hardcover, 388 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss *review and quotes based on an unfinished copy

Recommended For: Readers looking for something that feels familiar but is wholly different, and anyone needing a multitude of swoons

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

There is so much to say, and yet I don’t think that I have enough words to convey how much I absolutely adored The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I honestly don’t know where to start…

Let’s start with all of the things that The Wrath and the Dawn could have done. It could have given the readers a love triangle to frustrate the most easy going reader. It could have provided us with a strong heroine who suddenly shifts in character and falls apart due to a man. We could have been given women who hate each other due to their beauty, or jealousy. Honestly, this novel could have fallen into every trope imaginable, and somehow the author managed to move past these boundaries and therefore succeed in writing one of the best debuts that I have ever read.

Instead, Renee Ahdieh wrote a novel that encompasses love after it has grown and become something real, between two characters who grow and learn with one another. Characters who only lose themselves in the moment, still maintaining their sense of self and strength while learning to allow another past the walls around their hearts. The slow burn love story in The Wrath and the Dawn is admittedly the best part of the novel. It is the core of the novel, weaving through every page, yet it doesn’t take away from the underlying plot, the question of why Shazi is there in the first place and the struggle that Khalid has every waking moment.

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.

“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.

“No.” His hands dropped to her waist, “Destroy me.”

Continue reading

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Crimson Bound

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Publishing Information:  May 5, 2015 by Balzer & Bray

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 448 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher for review

Recommended For: I don’t know, fans of dark fantasies who don’t have high expectations I guess

Related Reviews: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

I am going to mark spoilers as clearly as I can, but for those of you who are planning on reading Crimson Bound, you might wanna avert your eyes until after you finish. Then come back and let’s discuss!

A few things to note before reading this review…First, Crimson Bound was one of my most anticipated reads this year. Second, Crimson Bound is NOT at all part of the Cruel Beauty world; it is not a sequel or companion and has nothing to do with the author’s first book. Third, I am pretty easy to please, and rarely DNF books. I do not generally have an issue with love triangles and am not one who tears apart books due to unrealistic standards. I was an English major in college and it was necessary to critique in that way while reading so now that I have the time to read for pleasure that is exactly what I do – I am not here to be a critic. Finally, with all of that being said, I have to tell you that I did not enjoy Crimson Bound. In fact, I not only didn’t enjoy the novel, but I was angry over my disappointment upon completion. To sum up…

IMG_3672 (2)

But, let me explain…

Crimson Bound starts off strong, Rachelle is attacked in the forest (basically the only allusion to Little Red Riding Hood to be found in the novel) by a “forestborn” who marks her and leads her to make a choice that will bound her to him and The Devourer (our villain, he isn’t really fleshed out so?) forever. Race forward a few years and Rachelle is living with her choice, doing all that she can to fight for her (for lack of a better word) soul and save the world from the Devourer. She is doing so by the side of her best friend, Erec. Erec is made to be strong, unforgiving and extremely charming. In fact, Rachelle spends much time in the novel thinking about how he is a womanizer but is still oh so dreamy that she can hardly contain the stirrings in her loins. Admittedly, I liked Erec. He was definitely harsh, but he knew what he wanted and went for it and also seems to be quite a good kisser as the only swoony moments had to do with him and his ego. So as I said, the beginning of the novel was decent. There are many action packed moments and our main character Rachelle seems like she is strong and likable. Also there is a very strong “character” to be found in The Forest which often comes alive in response to The Devourer “waking,” and any novel that puts so much emphasis on a forest is okay in my book.

Then…things started to change in Crimson Bound. This novel that held such promise, and strength started to fall apart (much like the main character) at the introduction of the king’s bastard son, Armand. Armand is thought to be a Saint, as he went up against a forestborn and survived – though he lost his hands and thus lives as a martyr every day. The easiest way for me to describe Armand to you is for me to do what Rachelle did and compare him to Erec. You see, Armand was kind, and filled with the sunshine that Rachelle so needed for her soul. While Erec, oh Erec played to that dark side of her, the side that was wakened when she went up against the forestborn in the first place. Thus begins the dumbest love triangle ever and basically the reason that Rachelle spends A LOT of time putting herself down, thinking herself unworthy of Armand. Who, by the way, she was saying that she LOVED not long after meeting (and hello familiar trope) HATING him. Rachelle, who is a bad ass fighter and is strong in her convictions, falls apart when Armand (apparently) betrays her. In order to feel better about herself she lowers herself by sleeping with Erec. Yeah, you read that correctly. She goes to find Erec to “forget” what Armand did because she thinks that she is only worthy of being Erec’s mistress. This made me so angry. First of all, why is this strong woman falling apart like this over a man to where she actually thinks that she DESERVES to be with someone who hadn’t made her a priority up to that point, and when she was made a priority it is only as a piece of property. In fact, Erec stated multiple times that she belonged to him and that he wouldn’t give her up without a fight. YOU BELONG TO NO ONE, RACHELLE!! NO ONE BUT YOURSELF!!

Then throw in this whole religious aspect where The Bishop is preaching about renouncing The Devourer, and so on. Which only made me think that the author was trying to force the novel into this mold that didn’t fit, and it didn’t sit well with me. If the Bishop is preaching the will of God, and going against The Devourer, does that make The Devourer the stand in for Satan? Why is this religion taking up so much plot and reasoning for my character’s actions in my short young adult novel that has no time to give much explanation to the dynamics of the religion? Stop it. Then the ending, this is where it is going to get spoiler-y folks so look away…Rachelle finds out that Erec – you know the dude who she has such strong feelings for that she lowered herself to sleep with – is actually the forestborn from the beginning who first marked her AND the same forestborn who Armand went up against who took his hands. Erec confesses that he loves her and wants her to RULE with him (I mean every trope imaginable, this novel falls into, honestly). She obviously hates him and decides that she is going to sacrifice herself to The Devourer to wait for it…SAVE ARMAND! So she goes to The Dark Forest by sacrificing herself and of course Erec is there and they have a nice chat and he confesses his “love” and then as they are getting away from The Devourer he decides that he doesn’t want to go back to the real world and life in exile, or chains, or whatever so HAHA he SACRFICES HIMSELF TO THE DEVOURER – not to be confused with Rachelle who attempted to sacrifice herself for another, he is doing this to take his fate into his own hands. So, obviously she succeeds and comes back to life where she is no longer a forestborn but a mere human, and then she and Armand have an awkward few weeks together where they barely speak. Then within the last few pages of the novel she thinks she sees the forest come alive again and cries and realizes how bad she feels for Erec because he isn’t really dead he is just been devoured (hehe) by The Devourer so still lives in his stomach or something and what a horrible way to go?? Then Armand finds her and awkwardly tells her that he doesn’t want her to leave his side and they have sunshine and a kiss and BOOM it’s over.  What. / end spoilers

To sum up, I was pretty disappointed in this novel. I had the highest expectations and perhaps that is where I went wrong. To be fair, many people who have read Crimson Bound really enjoyed it so make your own judgments!

On the Same Page: Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede

Title: Snow White and Rose Red

Author: Patricia C. Wrede

Publishing Information:  December 15, 1993 by Tor Books

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy tales, Young Adult, Romance

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 288 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of fairy tale retellings, and for those of you who don’t shy away from dialect from Elizabethan England.

Related Reviews: Brittany’s Post and Amy’s Post

You guys, Snow White and Rose Red is easily one of my favorite books of all time, and Patricia C. Wrede is by far one of my favorite authors. When the girls and I decided to choose our favorite book to read during our own birthday months it was no question that this was the way to go for December. This book was part of The Fairy Tale Series created by Terri Windling. The covers are absolutely gorgeous (I have all but one!) and the retellings are superb, and some of the authors who contributed to the series are Jane Yolen, and Charles de Lint. For this post I am going to share some wonderful fairy tale retellings with you guys. Also let it be known that I am going to share some (I believe) lesser known titles here so you don’t see yet another list filled with Cinder, and Cruel Beauty (P.S. I also loved those books)…

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

Original fairy tale: Beauty and the Beast

Synopsis: Whistling Tor is a place of secrets and mystery. A curse lies over Anluan’s family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom. For young scribe Caitrin it is a safe haven. This place where nobody else is prepared to go seems exactly what she needs, for Caitrin is fleeing her own demons. As Caitrin comes to know Anluan and his home in more depth she realizes that it is only through her love and determination that the curse can be broken and Anluan and his people set free.

My thoughts: As is her style, Marillier included some dark elements to the tale that really drew me in as a reader. I was invested in the characters, I felt their pain and disappointment as they did, and found myself on the edge of my seat hoping for a happy ending. As many of you know, Juliet is the queen of slow burning romances. This story did not disappoint, every look and small gesture radiated with something more and as always, Marillier broke my heart a little just to put it back together. Thankfully, Juliet Marillier made my heart sing per usual, she stayed true to her path of weaving so many elements into a beautifully layered story. She creates friendships between characters (both human, Other, and animal) that bring tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. This book comes highly recommended; it is an absolutely unique and gorgeous retelling of an age old tale.

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Review: No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige and Men Who Wish to Drown by Elizabeth Fama

Title: No Place Like Oz

Author: Danielle Paige

Publishing Information: November 12th 2013 by HarperCollins

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling

Series Information: Dorothy Must Die 0.5

Format: eBook 196 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Readers who are not complete Oz enthusiasts like myself.

I picked up No Place Like Oz because I am a HUGE Wizard of Oz fan. I actually collect different editions of the novels as well as anything else Oz related. Perhaps that is why I had such a hard time with this novel, I wanted to get a glimpse of the world to see what Danielle Paige was working with and I don’t know how to feel about it. On one hand there were some aspects that were reminiscent of Baum’s Oz, and those parts I really loved, the imagery could have been taken directly out of the original novels. Unfortunately, there were so many aspects of the novel that had me rolling my eyes. I didn’t like Dorothy, and not in the “she’s the villain and we aren’t supposed to like her” way, but I found her incredibly annoying. Though the idea behind this series is a really great concept, I was not enthralled while reading. Instead I found that I just wanted it to be over, and it didn’t make me excited to read the upcoming novel at all. How disappointing. Continue reading

Review: The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson

Title: The Mirk and Midnight Hour

Author: Jane Nickerson

Publishing Information: March 11th 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales, Historical Fiction

Series Information: Standalone (though apparently the three books are companions in the “Strands” universe)

Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers looking for a quick read with an enchanting setting and vibrant setting.

A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest. All collide at night’s darkest hour.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother.

When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion.

Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.

From the author of Strands of Bronze and Gold comes a haunting love story and suspenseful thriller based on the ancient fairy tale of “Tam Lin.”

I was wary to pick up The Mirk and Midnight Hour because I had heard very mixed reviews about Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson, and by very mixed reviews, I mean that some people downright LOATHED it and they were very passionate as to why. Upon hearing that The Mirk and Midnight Hour was just a companion set in the same world, and not a sequel, I thought I would give it a go. How gorgeous is the cover, and the a retelling of Tam Lin hooked me right away.

The best compliment that I can give The Mirk and Midnight Hour is that months after reading it, I still can’t stop thinking of the haunting and vibrant setting where the story takes place. Much of the novel takes place in the woods, where Violet finds a wounded soldier, Thomas. I am a sucker for a gothic tale, and I love me some beautiful, bird filled woods. The setting and the secondary characters ended up adding some depth that the novel was missing from the beginning. I enjoyed Lainey and Michael, who work on Violet’s farm as slaves, and I absolutely adored Violet’s cousin, Seeley.

First, there is a lot going on in this novel. There is a focal point on Violet’s home life, her relationships with her stepmother and stepsister play an important role in the growth of the novel, and though at first they seemed irrelevant to the plot, I really enjoyed they way that the relationships grew as the characters did, I was surprised to find how much I liked Violet’s stepsister and mother come the end of the novel. For me, the love story was, in a word, rushed. I realize that some growth in their relationship happened “off the page,” but I still couldn’t see how they fell in love so quickly and deeply. Though I did enjoy it to an extent, it was not deeply moving in the least.

Probably the biggest flaw in The Mirk and Midnight Hour was found in the “retelling” of Tam Lin. Readers have to trudge through quite a bit of the novel before we actually meet his character and  though I can understand how certain circumstances can bring people together, the romance felt a little too easy for me. The fairies found in Tam Lin are replaced with (what is described in the blurb as being) Voodoo and I found it to be a tad out of place. Violet also has a rather nonsensical affinity with bees that somewhat plays into the novel but again, it felt out of place (and quite frankly confused me).

Shelf Talker: The Mirk and Midnight Hour was a very quick and vibrant read, if you are willing to look past some frustrations over the under developed romance and and less than stellar retelling. If you want a gothic novel, filled with a girl growing up in the south during the Civil War that focuses on the struggles of this time with hints of romance, voodoo, and a creepy atmosphere, then give this one a go.