Mini Review Monday: Backlist Books Edition

gilded ashesGilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe #1.5
Published by:
Balzer + Bray
Pub Date:
April 1, 2014
Date Read: April 8, 2014
ebook | Source: purchased
young adult, retelling, fantasy
Rating: 5_star_rating_system_5_stars

A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale, Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author’s debut novel, Cruel Beauty.

As much as I would love this to be a full-length novel, it works so very well as a novella. The imagination and depth of character is extraordinary, as is the feeling that you’ve read a complete and detailed story. Gilded Ashes dovetails nicely with Cruel Beauty; it is dark and horrifying and sorrowful, yet romantic and full of love. The author writes so beautifully and really knows how to turn a phrase. And I can never resist a pretty dress. The ghost angle was SO interesting and creepy. I loved how the story unfurled and I loved the echos of Cinderella mixed with unconventional details. I loved the characters, especially Maia’s meeting with Anax. Beautiful, haunting story to complement Rosamund Hodges’ dark world.

vengeance roadVengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Series: Vengeance Road #1
Published by:
HMH Books for Young Readers
Pub Date:
September 1, 2015
Date Read: October 5-9, 2015
hardcover | Source: library
young adult, historical fiction, adventure, western
Rating: 5_star_rating_system_4_stars

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

I’m shocked at how much I loved this! Westerns are not my thing but I loved this book. It was exciting and tense, like watching a movie. I loved the action and the characters. I loved the romance. Kate reminded me of Scarlet from AC Gaughen’s series- not only her dialect but her toughness mixed with her femininity. It was a little info dumpy at the end but the book was fantastic in general. And I’m fascinated by the Author’s Note and the fact that so much of the story was based on real legends.

entwinedEntwined by Heather Dixon
Published by:
Greenwillow Books
Pub Date:
March 29, 2011
Date Read: March 23-28, 2012
hardcover | Source: library
young adult, fantasy, retelling
Rating: 5_star_rating_system_4_stars

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

I thought this was a magical and engrossing fantasy. I loved that the sisters were alphabetically named after flowers, and thought each of them had a distinct personality. Azalea was a wonderful heroine, and I loved Lord Bradford as well. He sounded so sweet, and warm, and I loved the description of his eyes being the color of cinnamon bread. It was charming. Even the King grew on me, as he was supposed to, which means great writing in my opinion. I liked that the world wasn’t so very different from our own, except for a hint of magic. The secret passage and fairyland sounded so beautiful; Dixon did a good job of making it sinister and creepy too… parts of it reminded me of the movie “Coraline”.

There was quite a lot of dancing, which after the tenth description gets a bit monotonous, but the author had a wonderful way of describing places and events, and people. I only wish that the ending was a bit more dramatic. The Keeper was such an intriguing character, and I wish there was a bit more to him. I have to say, the book was imaginative though, and even if the writing isn’t the most sophisticated in the world, it was well done and enthralling. I literally couldn’t put it down-  it was the perfect escapist read, and I do love fairy tales. Plus the cover is absolutely gorgeous!

Have you read any of these titles? Are they somewhere far back on your TBR? 🙂

2 thoughts on “Mini Review Monday: Backlist Books Edition

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