It’s that time of the month again, the time for mini reviews! Since I read so many books and couldn’t possibly devote an entire post to each, mini reviews are one of my favorite ways to talk about books I’ve recently read on Bookish Serendipity. I’ve read quite a few books lately, and I’m going to feature a few of these today.
Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca
ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke, and everything around her crumbled—including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decided to move away, she couldn’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn’t ready to let her go…
Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never truly let him go. And maybe she never wants to.
As part of my unofficial campaign to read more contemporary novels, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Last Year’s Mistake. I love books about big misunderstandings, so I was really excited for this one! Overall, there were several parts I enjoyed, but they were overshadowed by high school drama and disappointing climax.
I really like the way that Last Year’s Mistake was formatted, with chapters alternating between the past and present. Although there were a few times I got them mixed up, I found that overall, the author did a great job distinguishing the two. I also really liked the author’s writing style (I would probably read another novel by her) and the plot was pretty entertaining, despite all the high school drama. The misunderstanding between Kelsey and David isn’t explained right away, but is rather told at the end to surprise the reader. While I was reading Last Year’s Mistake, I couldn’t wait to find out what the huge event was that initially drove Kelsey and David apart, but I found that the “grand reveal” was pretty disappointing.
I picked up Last Year’s Mistake hoping for a fun and potentially profound read. I can definitely label this as a fun and fluffy novel, but unfortunately I don’t think it was much more than that.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
I can such high hopes for Cruel Beauty! After hearing everyone rave about it, I was certain that I was going to fall completely in love. After all, it is a Beauty & The Beast retelling, and I do love fairytale retellings!
I don’t know what I had expected, but Cruel Beauty was lot different from what I had thought it would be, in both a good and bad way. First of all, I love Nyx, our main character. She’s so fierce, despite all the wrongdoings that have befallen her, and I would be more than happy to read another book about her. She is forced to marry to Ignifex, the wicked ruler of her kingdom, but he is different from what she thought he would be. I really enjoyed their romance as well!
There were a few parts of Cruel Beauty that confused me, namely the random references to Greek mythology (Wait, what?) and the end. I also felt like the love triangle was unnecessary (and there was a bit of insta-love involved), which was disappointing. That said, there is so much to love about Cruel Beauty, but it didn’t totally work for me.
A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.
Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.
As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.
Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.
What? Another fairytale retelling? Yes, I’m obsessed. There’s something about “after the fairytale” stories that I can’t stay away from, so naturally I had to pick up this one! A Wicked Thing had so much going for it, but I couldn’t connect with the protagonist, and most of the plot wasn’t very exciting.
When Aurora awakens, the kingdom is in turmoil. The King and Queen are convinced that she must marry their son to stop the impending rebellion, and they don’t want anything to happen to her, so she spends a lot of her time locked away in her room. While this does sound realistic, it also makes for a boring plot and unfortunately, this was my main struggle with A Wicked Thing. I liked the times that Aurora sneaked out of the palace, but those were far and few between, and the rest of the novel mostly consisted of her being locked away, or standing silently by the Royal Family’s side.
That said, I do like the twist that has been put on the classic Sleeping Beauty tale! It was something I had never thought about before, and there were a few swoon-worthy moments! I also really liked the author’s writing and since it is a series (and the end of A Wicked Thing promises more action to come), I may still be interested in reading a sequel.
What have you been reading lately?