Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: Head Above Water by Hailey Edwards

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Head Above Water
(Gemini #2)
Hailey Edwards
Release: April 30, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
Camille Ellis has tracked many killers during her career,but this time it's personal. Cut off from conclave resources, she won't let a small thing like a suspension keep her from accepting Cord Graeson's offer of help.

Pretending to be mated to him is one way to secure allies, but the best that can be said of the Chandler Pack is they haven't killed or eaten her. Yet. Between the alpha's displeasure and the pack's distrust of fae, she's working overtime to keep her head above water.

Just when the fur starts to fly, a tip cracks her case--and her life--wide open.
Review:
Camille Ellis has been tracking Charybdis, a Fae serial killer for months. She caught the killer in book one of the series, but that Fae was just a puppet. Camille wanted to keep searching for the mastermind, but her bosses at the conclave don't believe her and put her on administrative leave. Now she's on her own, with just her Warg ally Cord Graeson as backup.

But her relationship with Cord is complicated. He invited her and her family to his pack lands and told her aunt that they were dating. When she arrives, the whole pack believes they are mated and the Alpha is not happy about it. Now Camille has to fight to keep the man she didn't know she wanted before he can even begin to work on the case.

At times Head Above Water feels like a werewolf romance. Camille gets thrown in the middle of the pack and their power struggles without knowing any of the rules, just like a lot of shifters' mates. But I liked seeing Edwards's twist on it. (Though maybe liked is not the right word since it's mostly unpleasant.)

Even though some of the werewolf elements are familiar, the Gemini are unlike anything else I've seen. In this second book, we get to meet some of Camille's family and learn more about their powers. Camille also starts to embrace her abilities for the first time, which gives her confidence and competence she was missing in the first book. I like this version of her much better than the traumatized girl she seemed to be at the start of the series.

In my review of Dead in the Water, I said that the Gemini series feels like a serial even though they are full-length novels. I think that's even more true in this book. (Cliffhanger alert!) Book three, Hell or High Water, doesn't seem to have a release date yet, but I'm sure that just like with Edwards's other series, we won't have to wait long to find out what happens next.

Recommended for fans of: the Black Dog series, werewolves and fae

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

   1/2 
3 1/2  stars

My reviews of other books in this series:
Dead in the Water


Monday, May 2, 2016

Month in Review: April 2016


Welcome to our April Month in Review! We've been busy enjoying spring so here's what we've been up to at Goldilox and the Three Weres.

What We Reviewed

 
http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com/2016/04/release-day-review-arena-by-holly.html http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com/2016/04/review-raven-boys-by-maggie-stiefvater.html http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com/2016/04/review-we-dont-need-another-hero-by.html
http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com/2016/04/review-dream-thieves-by-maggie.html http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com/2016/04/really-short-reviews-random-comics.html http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com/2016/04/really-short-reviews-random-comics.html
http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com/2016/04/really-short-review-blue-lily-lily-blue.html

We've had a great reading month here at Goldilox and the Three Weres! Here's everything we reviewed in March:

Arena by Holly Jennings
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
We Don't Need Another Hero by Sierra Dean
  The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  Blood Stain, Volume 1 by Linda Sejic
The Complete Alice in Wonderland by Leah Moore and John Reppion
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

What We Recommended

Rose Red is asking for Fairy Tale Retelling recommendations in this month's Show Me Yours! We also spent the week spotlighting some of our favorites that we've reviewed on the blog. Check out the links for those below and come tell us your favorites!

We've started a new discussion feature here on Goldilox and the Three Weres called Weres Wanna Know and we've had some good ones this month. Gretl is discussing How Often You Give A Book 5 Stars? Rose Red talked about her history of reading Fanfiction and wanted to know if you do as well. Come participate in the discussions!

Fairy Tale Retelling Spotlights

We've reviewed several Fairy Tale Retellings here on Goldilox and the Three Weres and we're spotlighting a few to go with Rose Red's Show Me Yours! Here's links to all of the great content just in case you missed a day. :)


April Reading Challenge Recap

Both Rose Red and Gretl failed at their reading challenges this month. Whoops.

What We're Waiting For

These are some of the May releases we're most excited about. Click the titles to add them to Goodreads.

May 1
Double Down (Lois Lane #2) by Gwenda Bond
Smoke and Mirrors by Jess Haines

May 3
Warrior Witch (Stolen Songbird #3) by Danielle L. Jensen
Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins (editor)

May 24
Exile For Dreamers (Stranje House #2) by Kathleen Baldwin
Struck (Phoebe Meadows #1) by Amanda Carlson

May 31



Friday, April 29, 2016

Show Me Your Fairy Tale Retellings! Spotlight on The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

We're trying something a little different with our Show Me Yours feature this week. In addition to recommending some books in the original post, we're spotlighting some of our favorites that we've featured previously on the blog. So we'll be showing your ours all week long.

This week's topic is fairy tale retellings. If you want to show us yours, comment on the original post.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles)


Two of my most favorite things in the world are sci-fi books and fairy tale retellings. What happens when you combine the two? You get The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

I've been reading this series from the first. I found Cinder in my local Barnes and Noble and was immediately sold on the premise. It was about a cyborg Cinderella! How could I pass that up? I went home and immediately devoured it in one sitting and I've done the same with each book in the series. The following books are retellings featuring fairy tale favorites like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Rapunzel. The fairy tale elements used in each book is done so well that sometimes it's not immediately apparent that they were used. Marissa Meyer did her research when it came to the fairy tales she used and it shows.

This series is wonderful sci-fi goodness with lots of action, political intrigue, and super cute romances. Seriously. The sci-fi and fairy tale elements in this series are amazing, but the characters are what makes it so special. This series also has a villain that I really and truly hate. This is the first series that I recommend when friends ask me for fairy tale retelling recommendations. It's awesome and I think everyone should read it!

For more on the series, check out these posts:

Add The Lunar Chronicles on Goodreads
Buy the series on Amazon


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Show Me Your Fairy Tale Retellings: Spotlight on the Baba Yaga Series by Deborah Blake

We're trying something a little different with our Show Me Yours feature this week. In addition to recommending some books in the original post, we're spotlighting some of our favorites that we've featured previously on the blog. So we'll be showing you ours all week long.

This week's topic is fairy tale retellings. If you want to show us your favorites, comment on the original post.

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When we think of fairy tale retellings the first ones that come to mind are usually Cinderella and Snow White reboots, but there's more than just the Brothers Grimm in the fairy tale canon. Baba Yaga is the wicked witch of Russian folk lore and I love the way Deborah Blake updated the myth for her PNR series. Baba Yaga is not a name but a title, and there are three of them across the U.S. Instead of the traditional house on chicken legs, each Baba has her own version of a mobile home. 

But the Babas are still summoned the same way they've always been, by someone petitioning for help. Each one has a different kind of elemental magic, earth, fire or water, that she uses to help her solve the problem. I especially liked the way each book featured an environmental issue that tied into the Babas' powers. And, like I mentioned in an earlier spotlight, I like the fact that a character from children's stories gets to have an adult romance.

For more on this series, check out:
Gretl's reviews of Wickedly Dangerous and Wickedly Powerful
Gretl's review of Wickedly Powerful
Gretl's review of Wickedly Ever After

Add the Baba Yaga series to Goodreads
Buy the series on Amazon


Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater


The Raven King
(The Raven Cycle #4)
Maggie Stiefvater
Release: April 26, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Kirkus Reviews declared: "Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close."

Review by Rose Red:

I'm just going to be upfront here. There are no spoilers for The Raven King in this review and I'm not going to talk about any of the specific events that occur. Like with my review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I feel that you need to should go into this book blind to get the full experience that is The Raven King. That experience is really all in the storytelling and Maggie Stiefvater is one hell of a storyteller. Also, it's the last in a series and I don't want to accidentally spoil someone for any of the events in the series especially because everyone has a different idea about what constitutes a spoiler. That being said, I'm going to talk about my reading experience as well as my reaction to the book when I finished. If you're afraid that my feelings about it will be spoilery, I'll just tell you now that I loved it and you can close the browser and be done. If you want to know more details, read on. 

This may come out as a long, rambly mess because I actually have no idea how to review this book in general. I've been thinking about it for a week now because I was lucky enough to find an early copy in Barnes and Noble almost a week before it released. I don't think I've been so excited or anxious to read the end of a series, or a book in general, like this since I stood in the midnight release line for the last Harry Potter book. It was also a reading experience I haven't had since Deathly Hallows. Everything was immediately familiar as soon as I started the book. So much so that it felt like coming home. I'm fairly new to this series having only read the first three books less than two months ago, so I wasn't expecting this book to incite those kind of feelings. It's amazing how I've fallen in love and become so invested with this series in so short of an amount of time.

Just because it was comfortable falling back into Stiefvater's storytelling doesn't mean that I wasn't anything but a huge ball of anxiety while reading. I had to get up every fifty pages or so and walk around my apartment to deal with all of my feelings. And I had A LOT of feelings. Guys. I cried just reading the prologue. I wasn't ready for this series to end and was super emotional the whole time. I don't think I've cried this much while reading a book in a long time. There was both happy and sad tears and outright ugly crying in a few places. This book was running my emotions through the wringer but I couldn't stop. I needed to know how everything wrapped up so I read it all in one go.

Once I finished, I couldn't go to bed. I went back and immediately reread certain parts several times, then all I could do was lie on my bed hugging the book to my chest. I felt lost and overwhelmed with feelings. To be honest, I'm still processing everything. One thing I do know is that I want more. More adventure and banter and these friendships. The relationships in this series were everything! I loved that the important relationships weren't romantic. The important relationships were those between friends and those between family. I want more of that in my fiction.

The Raven King was everything I wanted it to be but didn't have the imagination to predict. It felt like coming home and being surprised all at once. Simply put, I adored it. It was terrifying, hilarious, sad, and just plain magical. Maggie Stiefvater wrote the perfect ending to this beautiful series. It made me laugh, and it made me cry multiple times. I'm still kind of shell-shocked that this series is over and I'm still feeling kind of lost. I'm not ready to say good-bye to these characters. I'm brokenhearted that it's over and that I can never again read it for the first time.

That's all there is.

I guess there is really only one more thing I can say...

Excelsior.



    

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Show Me Your Fairy Tale Retellings: Spotlight on Uprooted by Naomi Novik

We're trying something a little different with our Show Me Yours feature this week. In addition to recommending some books in the original post, we're spotlighting some of our favorites that we've featured previously on the blog. So we'll be showing your ours all week long.

This week's topic is fairy tale retellings. If you want to show us yours, comment on the original post.




Uprooted was everything I wanted it to be and more! A Dragon who isn't a dragon, a witch who doesn't do normal magic, and an amalgam of fairy tale elements were all rolled into this book and the product was absolute perfection! I loved everything about this book! The setting, the characters, the magic, the conflict... EVERYTHING! It has that modern fairy tale feel to it similar to that of Neil Gaiman's Stardust and a storytelling style very reminiscent to that of Robin McKinley.

This book has definitely made my list of all time favorite books I've ever read. I think it may have even achieved a spot in the infamous Top Ten. I have so much love for this book already and I can only imagine how that love will grow with each rereading as little details make themselves known.

Simply put, this is a story EVERYONE needs to read. Seriously. Go read it.


For more on this title, check out
Rose Red's review of Uprooted

Add Uprooted on Goodreads
But it on Amazon

Waiting on Wednesday (80)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating. Here's this week's WoW pick:


We've been talking about retellings this week so I thought I'd share one that I'm looking forward to. In Monday's Show Me Yours post I told you how much I loved Christina Henry's Alice. The sequel is coming out this summer and I can't wait.

One of things that made Alice so creepy for me was that all of the women in the Old City were victims, even Alice, though she overcomes her past in some ways. I'm really excited to see the difference powerful women make in this world. Alice is becoming more powerful herself as she discovers her magical abilities, but she's also meeting the queens.

I also thought that her relationship with Hatcher was really interesting. It's not exactly a romance, but it might turn into one. I'm curious about how it will play out in Red Queen.

Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice, #2)Red Queen
(The Chronicles of Alice #2)
Christina Henry
Release: July 12, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
The author of Alice takes readers back down the rabbit hole to a dark, twisted, and fascinating world based on the works of Lewis Carroll...

The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. A place where Alice could finally rest, no longer the plaything of the Rabbit, the pawn of Cheshire, or the prey of the Jabberwocky. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash—and hope is nowhere to be found.

Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter, a quest they will not forsake even as it takes them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen and her goblin or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King.

The pieces are set and the game has already begun. Each move brings Alice closer to her destiny. But, to win, she will need to harness her newfound abilities and ally herself with someone even more powerful—the mysterious and vengeful Red Queen...

What book are you waiting on?






Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Show Me Your Fairy Tale Retellings: Spotlight on The Transplanted Tales Series by Kate SeRine

We're trying something a little different with our Show Me Yours feature this week. In addition to recommending some books in the original post, we're spotlighting some of our favorites that we've featured previously on the blog. So we'll be showing you ours all week long.

This week's topic is fairy tale retellings. If you want to show us your favorites, comment on the original post.

Red (Transplanted Tales, #1)The Better To See You (Transplanted Tales, #2)
Along Came a Spider (Transplanted Tales, #3)Ever After (Transplanted Tales, #4)



In one of my reviews I described the Transplanted Tales as what would have happened if Once Upon a Time aired on HBO. The characters come to our world in a similar way to the ones on the show, via a spell gone wrong. But many of these characters from fairy tales (and nursery rhymes and classic literature) become criminals in their new home. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves run a brothel, for example. It's a darker version of what might become of these familiar characters.


It's also one of the rare adult retellings and I loved the idea of transforming children's stories into something more mature. One book features a serial killer and another a fairy dust smuggling ring. Enter Detective Tess Little (Red Riding Hood) and her friend CSI Trish Muffet - she was my favorite. Each book focuses on a new couple, but Red is usually involved in solving the mystery as well. If you're tired of all the YA fairy tale adaptations, check out this adult PNR series.

For more on this series, check out these posts:

Add the Transplanted Tales series to Goodreads
Buy the series on Amazon


Really Short Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater


Blue Lily, Lily Blue
(The Raven Cycle #3)
Maggie Stiefvater
Release: October 21, 2014
Goodreads Amazon
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.
Review by Rose Red:

How do these books keep getting better and better as the series goes on? I loved everything about this book! The plot, the writing, and the characters are so on point that it feels like a dream and not a real book. The more I thought of what to write for this review the more I became convinced that it's one of those books that you should go into a little blind so I'm just going to leave you with my initial reaction from Goodreads. I really can't think of a better way to review this that wouldn't involve spoilers.

"Well... hell. I did not see that coming. I saw none of that book coming. Holy hell! This series is SO amazing! How is it possible? Seriously. All of these books have been so full of everything I love all wrapped up in beautiful writing. Maggie Stiefvater is a freaking genius! This is a series I think I'll be finding something new with each reread for years to come. It's so good! And I'm shipping everyone together. Especially Pynch. I'm shipping Pynch so hard right now!

Oh my goodness! How the heck have you all that read this when it came out been waiting for book four? Seriously. How? I only have to wait two months and I'm thinking that will be a long and terrible wait. How have you all waited a year and a half? I think this is the most scared I've been for the last book in a series in a very long time. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!"

Yes. I went online and found out what the ship name for Ronan and Adam was. I'm totally behind that friendship becoming more. That aside. How have people waited for eighteen months for The Raven King without going insane? Seriously. HOW?!?

Now let's just all keep our fingers crossed that Maggie Stiefvater doesn't completely crush us with this next book. My anxiety levels are so high waiting for this book. I need for all of these characters to make it out okay. I'm all for #SaveGansey2016. I can't even begin to predict what's going to happen in the next book but I need it in my life!


    
  5 / 5 Stars!

My reviews of other books in this series:
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater



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