Book Review: Ensnared

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Title: Ensnared
Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: Amulet Books
Published: January 6th 2015
Genre: Genre: Fantasy | YA | Retelling

 

 

synopsis
Ensnared is the final book in the Splintered trilogy by A.G. Howard. In the final installment, Alyssa travels into the looking-glass world, where everything is distorted and backwards from Wonderland, to save her human Knight and her Wonderland King.

review
I honestly hated most of this book. I had to force myself to finish reading it. The first book was so magical and fun and probably should have ended there. The second book was okay, but really unnecessary. Then this last book was just boring and stretched out.

I was okay with the love triangle until we reach this last book. Then it gets really annoying. For me, it annoyed me that she was so stuck on Morpheus when Jeb had sacrificed so much for her. Morpheus just pulled at her until she did what he wanted her to do the whole time.

There wasn’t much about this book that I liked. I thought the ending would make me happy, as I had already read the last chapter before I read even the second book. I couldn’t help myself, it was sitting on the shelf at the library so I picked up the last book and read the last chapter. Had I stopped then and there I would have been okay with this trilogy. But reading the last book put a bitter taste in my mouth.

rating2starsI would suggest the first book, but stop there.

Book Review: Yellow Brick War

Yellow Brick War

Rating5 Nerd Girl RatingPlus Mustache

Author: Danielle Paige
Release Date: March 15th 2016
Series: Dorothy Must Die
Genre: YA | Retellings
Pages: 270
Publisher: HarperCollins
Buy it : Amazon

First Line:

The Witches were waiting. (This has got to be the most boring first line ever. Lucky it’s a second book in a series. Quick question for writers out there… If it’s the second or third (or so on) book in a series, does the first line matter as much?)

Read the Blurb at Goodreads

 

Cover:

For the series, I love that all the books match. The covers are grungy, beautiful, and eye catching.

Review:

 To be clear, I honestly thought this was the last book in the series. I just started reading the series this year and for some reason I thought it was just a trilogy. After reading the last page and getting angry that I was wrong, I found out on Goodreads that there is another book. It was a bittersweet moment. I wanted to know the ending, but I have enjoyed the story so much I am glad there is another book to wait on. Of course…I hate waiting on books!!

This book starts off with Amy and the witches back in Kansas. A quick brawl with Dorothy ends when Dorothy finds just enough magic to send herself back to Oz, leaving Amy, the Wicked witches, and Nox, stuck in Kansas. The dull lifeless place “where dreams go to die.”

Suddenly Nox is part of the Wicked and Amy is forced to go back to school to find the original magic shoes that brought Dorothy back to Kansas the first time. On top of it all, she also finds that, while she can finally admit she has feelings for Nox, because of his new status as the Wicked, he cannot have a relationship with her, not matter how he really feels.

This book was so frustrating. Not in a bad way, but in a way where I couldn’t stop reading in hopes of finding something good happening. And by good, I mean Amy and Nox finally admitting to one another that they were in love and finding some way to be together. Not that I really had any real hopes that it would happen.

I can’t help it, I am a sucker for romance!

Another thing that I found frustrating is how she is towards her mother. I understand that her mom was a completely different person before Amy was swept away to Oz. And let’s all be honest, if our home town was as dead as Amy’s, we wouldn’t even give it a second thought to stay. What bothered me is that Amy didn’t even give her mom a chance to redeem herself. I felt like it was a bunch of hogwash that she claimed she didn’t want to get close so it wouldn’t hurt her mother when she went back to Oz. Obviously, it’s going to kill her mother again, because her baby has disappeared once again.

But whatever. That was probably the only things that really bothered me about the story.

I thought this book was really fantastic. I loved every minute of it, even the parts that bothered me were enjoyable. Some answers were revealed and the story brings you that much closer to coming to a conclusion.

The ending was a little confusing. And the addition of a new character, I’m curious to see what happens in the next book. Hopefully with the next book the story will end and I can have some semblance of a happy ending. Please let me have a happy ending!

This is slowly becoming one of my favorite series I have ever read. I have always loved the Wizard of Oz story and seeing it in a new light has only made me love it more. Then again, maybe I just like the idea of being picked up by a tornado and land in a new and magical world.

Book Review: The Wicked Will Rise

THe Wicked Will Rise by Danielle PaigeRating5 Nerd Girl RatingPlus Mustache

Author: Danielle Paige
Release Date: March 31st 2015
Series: Dorothy Must Die
Genre: Fantasy | YA | Retelling
Pages: 29
Publisher: HarperCollins
Buy it : Amazon

First Line:

The Emerald City was burning.

Read Blurb at Goodreads

Cover

I absolutely love the covers of this entire series. What I love even more is that if you remove the dust cover from these books, the naked cover is just as awesome, if not just a little more so.

 

Review

Amy has been swept away by wingless flying monkey’s that can now fly with paper wings. What? Nothing is impossible in Oz.

Amy has failed her mission. Her mission was to kill Dorothy for the Wicked so that Oz could become the beautiful place it once was. But Amy failed. Not only did she fail, but she doesn’t know where any of the Wicked are and she has Oz’s broken Queen, Ozma, tagging along with her as she escapes the burning city.

Now Dorothy is sent on a mission to figure out how to fix Ozma, reunite the Wicked, figure out how to kill Dorothy, and try to decide who she can actually trust in Oz. Though, as far as she has seen, no one in this place is trust worthy.

I have always loved the Wizard of Oz and the magical world that Dorothy finds herself in. What I hate about this book is that it has taken a beautiful story and turned it into something dark and sour. But we wouldn’t have stories without something dark and sour, now would we.

I will admit, I still struggle with the idea of Dorothy being a bad guy and I keep hoping Amy comes across something that proves Dorothy was corrupted by something she had no control over and instead of killing Dorothy, she just has to save her.

Of course we don’t get that in this book. *sigh* This book is just more destruction of Oz. We learn of new places, and wonderful places saved from Dorothy’s darkness, only to see it all go up in flames as her reign of terror spreads.

In all honesty, Danielle Paige is a brilliant story teller and I have loved everything about this book. What is amazing about this book is that I thought it was going in a totally different direction then where it actually ended up going. I love a story that keeps me from figuring out the ending. Even as one of “those readers” That will read the last few pages of any book before reading the rest, I still didn’t see what was coming! That alone convinces me to rate this book 5 stars.

The beginning picked up right where the first book ended and I love that. Sometimes I hate when a next book in a series starts months or even years after the first one ended. But this one literally picks up the exact moment that the first one ended. You are thrown right back into the middle of the war within Oz and there is no resting.

The ending was just as amazing as the rest of the book. An ending that satisfies the reader, yet has you coming back for more. Where would I be without the next book? Possibly curled up in the floor crying about how much I need the next book. Or maybe trying to find a way to stalker the author or the publisher and convince them that I need an advanced copy or I would go mental. (I will keep this in mind when I finish the third book.)

Overall, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. Possibly my favorite series I have read this year and It will go on my special shelf of favorites…as soon as I get a new shelf that can house all my favorite series books.

I think this whole series deserves the time it takes to read and I am so sorry I let the negative reviews hold me back this long!

Book Review: The Wrath & the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehRating5 Nerd Girl RatingPlus Mustache

Author: Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: May 12th 2015
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn
Genre: YA | Fantasy | Retelling
Pages: 388
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Buy it : Amazon
Read the Blurb at Goodreads

First Line:

It would not be a welcome dawn.

 

Cover:

This cover is so gorgeous. I would have bought this book on the cover alone. The blurb just made that much more desirable.

Review:

 Shahrzad is 16 years old, and she is out for revenge. The King, Khalid, has been marrying young girls of his kingdom and bringing them to their end before dawn. His recent victim was Shahrzad’s best friend. Now, she has volunteered to be the kings next bride and she doesn’t plan to come to the same fate as his last victims, in fact, she plans to make him see his own end before the dawn.

But things sometimes change. Shahrzad tells the king a story and keeps herself alive to see the dawn again, but fails to end Khalid’s life. Even more amazing, she makes it through the next night and the next by continuing the story, before Khalid himself guarantees her safety, but now she has a new mystery. She plans to find out why Khalid has killed so many of his wives, and she is determined to do it without falling in love with the murderous king, except, it might be too late.

Despite her best efforts Shahrzad has fallen in love with the young king who has killed so many before her and she sees that he is not the evil monster she thought him to be. There is something more to the story, and she plans to see this story to an end of any sort.

This story had me on edge. With every turn of the page I was afraid that Shahrzad would meet her end, that Khalid’s secrets would be his burden and only his. Of course, we know there is another book after this one, so obviously something happens to keep Shahrzad alive.

This story is a world of twist and turns, dark secrets and whispered rumors. Just when you think you know what is going on, you are taken down a different path and become completely lost in the story again. Just when you figure something out, you find out it maybe wasn’t exactly how things were going down.

There seems to be so many secrets and the one I became most afraid of in the story was the fact that Shahrzad had come, not to win the heart of Khalid as he thinks, but to kill him. The chemistry between the two was not instant. They didn’t not fall in love with each other at first sight. It was a slow process and neither one of them really knew what was happening until it was too late. But that is only part of the story in this book. That is only the thin top layer. There is so much more going on and love could be the one thing that saves the day, or destroys the world. 

I usually don’t give a favorite quote or passage, but this passage hit me right in the heart and tore it to pieces and made me melt into a puddle of dreamy eyes and butterflies.

Favorite passage:

“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.

“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

 

DESTROY ME! Favorite quote of any book ever! Okay, you have to add the context to it to get it, but I can not tell you how many times I re-read this bit of the book. It was something unexpected and amazing. I have never had a dialogue hit me so hard before. In that moment there is a power given to Shahrzad and I don’t think she even knows what power she holds in her hands with those words.

 

I would read this book again and again. Maybe I am a sucker for romance, but the story behind the love story is just as powerful. I don’t think there was a single thing I didn’t like about this book.

Book Review: Dorothy Must Die

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Rating25 Nerd Girl RatingPlus Mustache

Author: Danielle Paige
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Series: Dorothy Must Die
Genre: YA | Retelling
Pages: 452
Publisher: HarperCollins
Buy it : Amazon | B&N 

 

 

 

First Line: I first discovered I was trash three days before my ninth birthday—one year after my father lost his job and moved to Secaucus to live with a woman named Crystal and four years before my mother had the car accident, started taking pills, and began exclusively wearing bedroom slippers instead of normal shoes.

 

Blurb: I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, do you?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. TO be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road—but even that’s crumbling

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

ReviewBorder

I picked up this book in 2014 right after it was published simply based on its cover and title. I have loved Wizard of Oz and every remaking of it since I was a child. There is no denying my love for the strange and unusual. So when you throw a book at me titled “Dorothy Must Die” I am intrigued.

After buying the book I made the same mistake I always make. I read reviews about it. Let me tell you, not all the reviews are nice. Actually a good many that I read, or half read, were not so great. Not too many people enjoyed this book. So, this book sat on my shelf until this past month.

I hadn’t even read the first line of the book (or rather the first paragraph) before I decided I would wait until last minute to pick it up. I am so mad at myself for waiting this long to read it.

I read the first line and I was instantly hooked. I was mad at Amy’s life and the fact that she felt like she was trash. And I hated so much that there was a bully, picking on this poor girl who didn’t have the greatest home life. Not to mention the bully was a high school girl already pregnant.

I was captivated from the beginning. And then there was a tornado that sweeps Amy away and brings her to Oz, just as it had done Dorothy, only this time Oz is not the wondrous place it once was.

When Dorothy left Oz, she didn’t stay gone. She came back and she basically destroyed Oz and the beauty it was known for. Sure, she killed the wicked witches, but she replaced those witches with something much worse. A nobody farm girl trying to be more.

Now that Amy has found herself in Oz and just happens to also be from Kansas, everyone expects her to be the one to save them from the horror that Dorothy has become.

Amy is such a lovely character. She may complain a little about where she is and claim she isn’t qualified to save all of Oz, but she eventually sucks it up and does only what she can, she tries. And even through the heartbreak and torture she has suffered in her life, she still has a heart of gold and a need to save the people she can.

I may have had some issues, believing that Dorothy could become the great evil she has become, but the book explains pretty well how a good little farm girl like Dorothy could become a power hungry villain and I am somewhat okay with it.

Danielle Paige is a brilliant author and I love what she has done with this book. I am only sad that I don’t have the next book on hand to continue the story right now.

I don’t understand the negative reviews that this book has received, or maybe it was just the early reviews. I loved every second of this book and it helped me get out of my reading slump.

Have you read Dorothy Must Die?? What did you think?