Book Review

Desperately Ever After- 5 Stars

“Imagine what might happen if our most beloved fairy tale princesses were the best of friends and had the dreams, dilemmas, and libidos of the modern woman. How would their stories unfold after the wedding bells stopped ringing? Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, DESPERATELY EVER AFTER sprinkles women’s fiction with elements of fantasy, and encourages readers to rethink everything they know about happy endings. One part Sex and the City, two parts Desperate Housewives, and three parts Brothers Grimm, DESPERATELY EVER AFTER picks up where the original tales left off—and reimagines them a la Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. With the wit of authors like Jennifer Weiner and the vision of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the women of DESPERATELY EVER AFTER rescue each other from life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a scandalous new take on happily ever after.” (Summary taken from Goodreads

I started following Laura Kenyon’s blog a month or so ago and love it. She’s so fun! I love that she’s a redhead like me and she has a dog! 😉 She offered to send me an e-copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely loved this book. Anything fairy tale-ish/princess-y is right up my alley. Laura focuses on a few of the major princesses: Belle, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Penelopea, and (Dawn) Sleeping Beauty.  I love how she takes the different princesses and allows them to live simultaneously in their own realm in peace. Growing up, I watched The Little Mermaid on a daily basis. I also enjoyed Cinderella and was in LOVE with that big blue ball gown. And Beauty and the Beast… can we just talk about that library?! It wasn’t until Tangled came out that I watched a movie about Rapunzel, and I can’t remember watching The Princess and the Pea.  When I started reading I was afraid I would be depressed the whole time…I mean, these happily ever after tales I grew up on are crumbling at avalanche speed! Belle realizes her husband has been unfaithful the moment she finds out she’s pregnant… I mean really? *SOB* But, this book is hilarious, sweet, and ingenious. I was NOT depressed the whole time! From timid, does-what-husband-requires- Belle, to paranoid, full of regret Cindy, to plays by no rules but her own Rapunzel, to insomniac, hating her husband Dawn, Laura weaves a magical tale that shows the fairy tales can change, but can still be happy…just more real life! I mean, what woman hasn’t felt depressed because she can no longer fit in the dress of her dreams from her teenage years? Or wishes she would have accomplished more goals and bucket list to-do’s before she had to settle down with a career in the “real world?”  I’m only 25 and I know that feeling!

My favorite character in the book is probably Belle. Yes, at times  I was so frustrated with her because she couldn’t see what a scumbag Donner was, but as she is comforted by her friends and the idea that she’s going to be a mom, she begins to live her life the way she wants and enjoys. During the beginning I didn’t really like Rapunzel’s character, because she seemed like a hard-hearted man-eater. Yet as the story develops and we uncover more of her past, she is only that way because she’s been hurt. The romance scenes between Rapunzel and Ethan….*swoon*.

Not to give too much away, but my favorite scene was when Cinderella and Aaron are dancing at her birthday party, and she’s in the ball gown that started it all. After kids and other responsibilities, Cindy feels stuck in a rut…but this scene proves that the fairy tale love doesn’t have to end, it just becomes more real!

One of the things I found very cool was the “Hall of Curiosities.” This museum housed all the things that made the princesses famous. I also like how the friends had nicknames for each other…Cindy, Pun… very cute. I feel the overall message from Desperately Ever After is that life isn’t perfect like the movie shows, but we create our own happiness and the endings may have to change for that to happen. Overall, I think this book is fantastic, and I can’t wait for the sequel! What are you waiting for? Buy it already! 🙂

Book Review

Lost Lake- 5 Stars

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (summary taken from Goodreads)

Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn’t believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake’s owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake’s magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found.

It’s been a couple weeks since my last book review. I’ve been thinking about my approaches to these reviews. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I also don’t want to be too vague that the review is boring or doesn’t make anyone want to read it! That said, here is my review for Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen….

I came across Sarah’s books when I was in college. I thought it was neat we were from the same area, Asheville, NC. I also thought the descriptions of her books sounded very magical, but still believable. When I saw that she was writing a new book,  I couldn’t wait to read it! I actually received a free copy from the publisher. *Lucky ME!* With the mixture of magical realism, small southern towns like my own, and romance, Sarah’s books never let me down.

I was hooked from the first page.  The setting is Paris, 1962. Newlyweds George and Eby are celebrating their honeymoon roaming the Parisian streets at night, loving life and each other, avoiding going back home to Atlanta. One night, they witnessed a young girl jump from the Bridge of the Untrue…and then we flash to Kate in Atlanta, present day.

The idea of Kate being asleep for a whole year after her husband died was easy to understand. When you’ve experienced such a tragic loss, you essentially fall asleep to the “real world” and are stuck sleeping inside the shell of your past. What I didn’t like was that Cricket, her mother in law, was trying to dictate her entire life. I wondered why Kate would let Cricket force Devin, Kate’s daughter, into private school, and make Kate and Devin move into Cricket’s house. It’s the day Kate and Devin are supposed to move in with Cricket. Devin finds a post card from an enchanted place of Kate’s youth-Lost Lake, home to her great-aunt Eby. Kate had the best summer of her life there when she was 12 years old, and her and Devin decide to see if it’s still the magical place it once was.

Once Kate and Devin arrive in Lost Lake, Kate realizes it is run down, and Eby has decided to sell the place. We encounter a whole gaggle of  heartbroken misfits, from the elderly Bulahdeen, mute Lisette, and mysterious, quiet, Wes. Kate is searching for herself and doesn’t know what she will find now that she’s at Lost Lake. I really enjoyed the histories of Bulahdeen, Lisette, and Selma because I felt they really added to the history of Lost Lake. Bulahdeen was an orphaned, uneducated young girl who, with the help of a friend, decided she could change her ending and become something different. “You can’t change where you came from but you can change where you go from here. Just like a book. If you don’t like the ending, you make up a new one.” (p.254) Aside from Kate, Bulahdeen was my favorite character because she loved reading so much and she believed in the magic of books and Lost Lake. The imagery S.A.A creates with her beautiful choices of words is just spectacular. One of my favorite lines from the book was a description of Wes: “His hair was a russet shade, like an autumn leaf, and it was stuck to his forehead with sweat.” (p.105)  Another is when Lisette, the cook, is reminiscing about old recipes, and how they remind her of her grandmere“Lisette loved the flavors of old, simple recipes, ones made so often that their edges were worn down and they tasted soft and sure of themselves.” I can actually picture my mamaw making her old tried and true recipes, with a recipe card handed down from her grandmother, and the warmth and love that it emits.

This book is all about second chances and rediscovering the magic of your life and S.A.A did an excellent job making me feel like I was at Lost Lake with all the other quirky visitors.

Book Review

Endless- 5 Stars

*I received this ebook via NetGalley*

Okay. I told yall I read a wiiiide variety of books. This exemplifies that! I go from reading a cozy mystery, to a chick lit, to… this. I cannot EVEN! This book was fantastic. Have you ever been so into a book that you don’t want to get up to eat, go to the bathroom, nothing except finish that book? This was me while reading Endless. I’ve loved fantasy/paranormal books for as long as I could remember, and I haven’t read one this awesome in a while.

I’ll be honest, the cover is what grabbed my attention first. I’m that way with a lot of books. Then, of course, the summary….

Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them.
When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life.
Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren’t alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has travelled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. 
While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock – and the Order – Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life – and beyond death. Taken from Goodreads

I was intrigued by the time travel bit, and especially Romanov Russia. That is a fascinating time period! Jenny is an only child, trying simultaneous to hide her power as a “Seer” (one who can see the past lives of others) and figure out what the heck is going on with her, living with her lonely father in a small town.  With the exception of Jenny having visions, I thought the author did an excellent job making her to be a realistic teenager. She has a passion for painting, books, and has only one best friend, Tiffany, who is loyal and supportive. I loved the fact that she works in a bookstore! A girl after my own heart. 🙂

So the story starts out with Jenny and some acquaintances (she does NOT classify them as friends) deciding if they should play around with a Ouija board. Jenny is basically forced into trying it, and apparently blacks out, only to come to and everyone looks scared to death. The Ouija board gave them a cryptic message…explicitly for Jenny. From that point on “weird” things continue to happen, and when Jenny meets Ben while working on a house with her father, they realize the weird things connect them. Jenny lost her mother at a very young age and is seeking answers, thinking it will explain why she is having visions of her in a past life as Maria Romanov. I enjoyed the dream sequences Jenny had where I was transported to Russia, right in the middle of romance and family turmoil. A mixture of suspense, fantasy, history, and romance make for one stunning novel. I hope there is going to be a sequel!