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Book Review: It Started With Goodbye - Christina June

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publishing: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Blink/HarperCollins
Pre-Order: https://amzn.com/B01HAKH5LY

A beautiful cover, a blurb that boasts a modern Cinderella story; is it any surprise that I was drawn to It Started With Goodbye right away?

What I Loved: I adore the fact that, for the first time since Cinder and Ella (yet, another Cinderella story) I was sucked into a story so deeply that it took me less than 24 hours to read it. ...well, it isn't a 500 page book, so there's that, but you get my point. It feels like it's been a while since I was plunged into a book like that.

I enjoyed Tatum's character a lot, and watching how she was going to handle and come through her particular predicament. She was being blamed for something that wasn't her fault, and being punished rather harshly at that. I enjoyed how she came up with ways of overcoming this punishment, sometimes with just a positive attitude. Then even when there were times when she was being rebellious, she still managed to be honorable in her thoughts, and ultimately her actions as well. It made me like her that much more.

Of course there has to be a Prince Charming! True to the Cinderella story, we don't really 'see' him too much, but I did enjoy how their relationship formed and bloomed throughout the story.

Throughout the book there was an overlying theme of misconceptions and hurts - you can trace it back through several of the characters. It was nice to see how some of these things played out and when the truth was revealed or the characters let go of their own hurt to view things from another perspective, things were made right.

Not So Much: I think one of the things I wish would have worked out a bit differently was the end when Tatum finally got to really talk to her parents. I felt like this was glossed over a bit. There seemed to be a lot of long lasting hurt feelings, however only the surface was scratched on the depth of the rejection and loneliness that Tate was going through.

The Verdict: It is always fun to read modernized fairytales. They are predictable, of course, but I love being swept up into the story while at the same time knowing how things are probably going to end anyway. It Started With Goodbye had me hooked from the very beginning. I recommend this book for teenager of all ages, and again I have suggested to my 11 year old daughter that she may like the book - so you know it's clean!

I received a copy if It Started With Goodbye from Blink in exchange for an honest review. I have received no other compensation, other than the joy of reading, for my opinion.

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Book Review: My Lady Jane - Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B015CYCHNQ

Another winner that I got from Owlcrate - which if you've never heard of I encourage you to look up! Owlcrate is one of those monthly boxes where not only do you get a book every month, but also book related goodies in the form of things like jewelry, art, and/or bookmarks. I purchased two, myself, and loved both of them. The boxes are $30 each, plus shipping, and are a lovely treat if you're able to do it!

What I Loved: This book was full of humor, both from the characters as well as the narrators, aka the authors, who interject their commentary now and then. It is a very light hearted read, but also an entertaining story. My favorite character is probably King Edward's grandma - who had wonderfully witty, elder-ish type things to say. The entire cast was perfect though.

The relationship between Jane and Gifford was so fun! They had a rocky start full of miscommunication and half-truths, however they always fell back to their friendly, if not flirtatious, banter and self consciousness (from both sides).

All humor aspects of this book aside (and there is plenty...I mean, many of these characters turn into animals...so yeah), there is a great story-line here too. Just like any book involving the royal court, there are game players, and tyrant leaders, and of course kingdoms usurpers.

Not so Much: I loved this story, but I do kind of wish there were a few surprises sprinkled in. I was pretty much able to predict, or make a pretty logical guess about what was going to happen the entire way through. It did take me a while to finish this book - MOSTLY because I'm busy, and the kids are going back to school, etc., etc., but partly I think it also had to do with not being completely sucked in - no mystery or something like that.

The Verdict: I've given this book 5 stars. It was very well written, and entertaining. Extremely age appropriate. In fact, I've recommended that my 11 year old daughter pick it up, as I believe she will really enjoy it (even if they use the word "consummate" **gasp** ;) ).

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Book Review: Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up - Ella Martin

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? by Ella Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Published Date: June 30, 2014
Publisher: Astraea Press Publishing, LLC
Buy Link: https://amzn.com/B00LF5W9I0

There is just something that draws me to these ‘brother’s best friend’ novels, I love the kind of taboo, ‘I’m not supposed to like you,’ scenario, and usually it’s mixed with having known said best friend for many years. They are always pretty sweet. The cover of Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? is also eye catching – so it’s no wonder I decided it was a good use of an Audible credit.

What I Loved: Honestly, I really loved the relationship between Bianca, and her brother. They were the perfect mix of that annoying relationship most siblings have, and family who love and support one another. Even though there were hints of it, there wasn’t really a lot of “I’m big brother, stay away from sister” kind of thing going on, until it became apparently necessary. Bianca’s friends were pretty awesome too, they were a great group of friends who knew each other inside and out, the kind of friends I dreamed of having when I was in High School myself.

Bianca was actually a solid character, with the normal flaws you would find with a typical 15 year old High Schooler. She had her own mind, and knew what things in her life were important. As she was dating Dante, she would often say things like, “you expect me to choose you over my friends of xx years?” Though she was trapped in the idea of having her first boyfriend, someone whom girls fell over themselves to date – she did have some reasoning skills. I do think that this book did a good job of showing how just a few words or actions can open you up to manipulation, and worse, how easily girls can be manipulated. Especially when it comes to things like self esteem, just a few words can cause many girls to doubt themselves. I think this is real, and the book does serve as a good warning against that.

Not So Much: I really didn’t care for the narrator of this story. Bianca and her friends were typical high schoolers, and used slang that is popular now, however while I was listening to the book, they (Bianca especially) came off as extremely whiney. As I think back on the book, I’m really not sure that this was the author’s intention…and as a mother, I CAN.NOT.STAND the whining voice! It took me an extra long time to listen to this book, and I nearly gave up on it because of the narration. That would have been unfortunate, because I did love how this story wrapped up.

The Verdict: I do not recommend the Audiobook of Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up, however I do recommend reading it. This is very age appropriate, and can actually help empower girls who might find themselves stuck in a manipulative relationship see things from a different perspective. Maybe. The book is clean.

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Book Review: Everland by Wendy Spinale

Everland by Wendy Spinale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B015QMBYD8

I received Everland in the May Steampunk Owlcrate. I decided I wanted the box because of the advertised Infernal Devices inclusion in the box. I was extremely excited to discover the book was a steampunk version of Peter Pan, as (if you read my reviews you already know) I've been reading a lot of Peter Pan retells lately.

What I Loved: This wasn't so much a retelling of Peter Pan as it was a reimaging. All of our favorite characters, and their personalities were present and accounted for. I really enjoyed that about this book - it was it's own story throughout the entire book, but it was also very much Peter Pan!

In some of the retellings I've read lately, Peter is cast as the bad guy while Hook is really our hero - in this book the characters are put back into their rightful places, and Pete was perfect and made me fall in love with the kid Peter Pan was, but also with the teenager and guardian he was in this rendition. He was playful and sarcastic yet he bore the weight of burden but not without its scars.

It was awesome that this was steampunked. I've read a few steampunk books, but I think I like this one the best so far. And Pete's tattoo...I really would love to see that for real. However the best steampunk element was most certainly Belle's wings!

Not So Much: Truthfully, Hook was completely unstable in this book, but I was sort of confounded by this character. At times I felt like he wasn't really such a bad person, other times he was the worst. I kind of felt like the two sides didn't come together very well, but perhaps that is as it should be when someone isn't quite right in the head.

I also would have loved to have had an Epilogue of this book. It was pretty well wrapped up, but not completely.....aaaaand as I was typing this I looked it up, and it appears that this is a series. Now I'm really wondering where this is going to go.....

The Verdict:
This is my favorite Peter Pan Retelling so far. I loved it. I loved the setting, and the characters. I do want more and am very intrigued to know how this is going to be as a series. Hopefully it does not disappoint.

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