Category Archives: Retellings

2020 Cover Love

If you recall from last year (hehe) I did a series throughout the year called cover love to high new releases and their beautiful covers. Its 2020 and I am still keeping that ball rolling.

 

Beyond the fact that these books look gorgeous and will look absolutely stunning on my bookshelf, they sound fantastic.

What books are you looking forward to so far this year?

Year of The Asian Reading Challenge

Text: YEAR OF THE ASIAN, A 2019 READING CHALLENGE. Hosted by C.W., Lily, Shealea, and Vicky. Image is of Xiaolong the pink axolotl wearing an upside down purple flower hat eating a bowl of rice.
Image from CW @ The Quiet Pond

This year I am participating in the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge. Its a great way, at least for me, to read different styles of writing. I have a tendency of getting stuck in a specific genre to writing style and then wonder why I didn’t hit those amazing books and got stuck with more 2 stars (and below) than 3s and ups.

So anyway I saw this challenge on twitter but then couldn’t find the post. I then found it on The Quiet Pond’s blog. And my excitement to participate increase. List below is a direct quote from her post:

divider cobra

GUIDELINES

The aim of this challenge is to read as many books written by Asian authors as you can! These books can be backlist titles (i.e. released in 2018 or earlier), new releases, and ARCs. We welcome books of any genre, any format, and any length. Check out the levels we have made for this challenge (I drew them too!) and set your sights on a level you want to achieve.

In order for a book to count, you must start and finish it within 2019; the challenge will end on the 31st of December of this year. (This means that books started in 2018 and finished in 2019 do not count!) Likewise, any books started in 2019 and finished in 2020 do not count either.

We want this to be a relaxing and, above all else, fun challenge, so you can join in at any time in the year! The sign-up form will remain open until 2019 ends.

Follow us on Twitter (@YearOfTheAsian) for announcements, surprises, and more bookish fun. The official hashtag for this reading challenge is #YARC2019.

divider tiger

So here are my goals for books written by Asian authors for 2019: 

Indian cobra: 11 to 20 books read

More than likely, there will be others as I find them but this is my 2019 goal :) Are you planning on participating? If so, you can find more details here. Also I would love to know what you will be reading, please share ^_^

 

Peace & Blessing,

Tanya P.

Book Review: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Imprint
TBP Sept. 25, 2018
384 Pages

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally. – Goodreads

I am at the point in my life that I will read almost anything written by a Black (African American) author in the fantasy genre. I don’t see enough of it, specifically YA, and so I jump at every chance to read it. I was excited for this book. Once I was approved for it, I started reading it instantly. I couldn’t finish this book. It was just not for me and here is why:

The author tries way to hard to make Alice relevant to what is currently going on in the world. From the shootings, to White people and pumpkin spice, the author adds these things in the book and all I could think about was

30 Rock Hello GIF

They didn’t fit but I understand why the author did it. To me, she wanted to make the story realistic even though it is considered fantasy. She wanted Alice to be relate able to African American girls and I could get that. It just didn’t work for me.

Another issue I had with this read was Alice herself. She was uninteresting. She didn’t have any real spark or personality. She would have just been another around the way girl, if it wasn’t for her connection to Wonderland. This is not to say that a plain girl can’t do amazing and interesting things. It literally happens all the time in real life as well as fictional but as much as I feel for Alice about what happened to her in her personal life, I couldn’t actually tell you who she is after that.

Finally, Wonderland. The thing about authors, who do a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, is they try to lay on the crazy, the riddles as much as possible. Ms.McKinney is no different. I just feel like as I was reading the book. . . it wasn’t captivating me. I wasn’t interested and I kept trying since I was approved for the book.

I am not saying that others may not enjoy this book. This book has gotten rave reviews. Its just isn’t for me.

Overall,

1 Pickle

Book Review: Beast by Parker Kingston

Self Published
Published Aug. 17th 2018
476 Pages

Aasim Daniels had a perfect life. Money, a family that he loved, a reputation that opened doors for him wherever he went, and a long-time girlfriend that he was intent on marrying. That all changed when an unforeseen betrayal and dark turn of events left him heartbroken and fighting for his life. Hell-bent on revenge, Aasim finds himself on a quest that leads him to new surroundings and right into the unexpected path of a curly-haired beauty he can’t seem to shake. 

After her ex-boyfriend Gabriel betrays her in the most unimaginable way, Reygan Haynes is done with love. Her only focus is putting the pieces of her shattered life back together and fighting with herself to resist the pull of Gabriel’s advances and demands of reconciliation. Just when she’s convinced that she has it all together, a random encounter between her father and handsome yet scarred stranger flips her entire world upside down and threatens to destroy everything that she holds dear. 

Gabriel Brown wants what he wants when he wants, and doesn’t care how he gets it. Realizing that he made the biggest mistake of his life letting Reygan get away, he’ll stop at nothing to get her back. Already on edge due to his crumbling position in the streets, Reygan’s sudden disappearance causes him to completely unravel, as he’ll stop at nothing to get her back. Not even murder.- Goodreads

Fairly tales are my thing. Retellings are my thing. Make it an urban novel, written by a Black woman and I am all over it.

I was extremely skeptical when I began reading this book. I am not big person that enjoys saying or reading curses, especially the N word. The author doesn’t shy away from that type of language within this book and that was off-putting for me. When I began reading, I wasn’t too sure how she was going to tie the traditional fairy tale to this modern version. When everything started coming together it was great. The tie in was smooth and believable in the modern sense. It satisfied my requirements for a fairy tale retelling.

But here was my issue. Reygan screamed idiot to me from beginning to end. All I can say is she has a thing for abusive men. Granted in Beauty and the Beast, the beast had some anger issues but Reygan’s first and then on going interaction with Aasim (for some chapters) are down right verbally abusive. What really through me for a loop was how she ended up in his home and the exact moment you see her feelings for him change. It was as if someone clicked a switch. I was just shocked in all honesty as to not how easy. . . well how easy it was for her to get a soft side to him.

Other than that the pace of the novel was alright. There was a lot of moving parts, which kept me interested in the book. I wanted more fairy tale aspect to this book and that is really because I am a fantasy reader. I also wanted more description of apperances. The author glimpes over this. There wasn’t enough for me to drool.

Overall, not a bad read. Long but not bad at all. But as previously mentioned the cursing in everyday conversation was a bit too much for me.

2.5 Pickles

Book Review: Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen

Candlewick Press
TBP July 10, 2018
352 Pages

They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier’s cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside.

But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.- Goodreads

This book has been on my tbr 2018 edition since I heard about it last year. So when I got approved for an arc via Netgalley, I put everything down to take a stab at it.

Man, was I disappointed.

About 30% through the book, I couldn’t stand Lucie’s voice anymore. I understand her revenge and her wanting to see how the revenge plays out. I even understand her slight mercy. But she has this tone that becomes redundant. When she sees the beast changing and becoming the “person” she hoped the Chevalier would have been, she fights with herself to stay mad, to stay hateful. After what he did, it shouldn’t take a whole lot to state in hate mode. I actually was surprised by the change of heart. Yes, they were technically two different people but how Lucie was able to look at the beast and not remember what he has a human had done…. I have no idea.

The book moves fast enough. It doesn’t take a lot of time for you to see his transformation to a beast and to a likeable beast. The story begins off one way but then you’re literally disguised how quickly it turns left. The author wrote a very intense scene, that I had to put the book down for a moment to regain my composure. This is why I didn’t understand how Lucie was able to jump ship.

But what I really enjoyed about this book was how the author spun this retelling. The point of view, Lucie, is completely different from what I have read. She is literally the third party to the classic fairy tale and it was interesting to see her point of view. However, for a story about revenge, there wasn’t enough intensity and anger that I had hoped for.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read but it could have better.

2 Pickles