Sunday, 17 November 2019

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen Book Review

This is a spoiler free review.




Stolen Songbird
Written by Danielle L. Jensen
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Pages: 469
Source: Bought Paperback
Places to Get this Book: Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository

Recommended Age: 13 and up!


Summary:

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When C├ęcile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse. 

The more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing and she might be the one the trolls have been looking for. 

(Summary from Goodreads)

Review:

Stolen Songbird is a book that many people don't know about so I had no expectations heading into this book. This book is basically a combination of Beauty and the Beast and Fairest and though there are many similarities to those stories, this is a story that can completely stand on its' own.

COVER

The cover doesn't give much away about the book. I really like how the dress the model is wearing on the cover seems to fit with the time period.

WORLD-BUILDING

The world-building in Stolen Songbird is fantastic. Danielle L. Jensen weaves the information throughout the book so we don't get an info dump. The trolls in this novel are not the ugly and stupid creatures that we know from myth. These trolls are powerful, strong, clever and ruthless and they have magical abilities, can't lie, are resistant to iron and can be controlled by their 'true names'. These trolls reminded me a lot of fae in young adult books and you can see their similarities throughout the book.

Then there are the characters.


CECILE

Cecile de Troyes is an aspiring opera singer, who is also a fabulous heroine. She managed to be very relatable and humorous. She was a heroine who was thrown into a world that she had no idea about and she had to navigate it and figure everything out alongside the reader. She was trying to prove her usefulness so she isn't seen as expendable and simultaneously making decisions that would both benefit herself and help those in Tollus who she'd come to care for. Cecile was an overall relatable heroine who was likable from the first chapter.

TRISTAN

Tristan is the Prince of Trollus who comes off as untrusting, rude and deceptive. However, after we get to know him, he shows how smart, brave, charismatic, protective and selfless he is. He's a very flawed individual who is roped into a unwanted marriage with a human whom he's never met before. I really enjoyed getting to see how much he changes as he opens himself up to Cecile.

FRIENDSHIP/FAMILY

Cecile is taken from her family quite early in the book so we don't see much of her relationships with them. However, we do get to see how she is able to make friends in Trollus. Cecile is a very kind person who easily makes friends with some of the trolls she meets and lives around. I liked her relationship with them a lot because it showcases her kindness and selflessness.

We also get to see how Tristan interacts with his own family. Tristan has complicated relationships with his father and his brother which we get to see a lot of. His family doesn't seem to think he can be a suitable king and are unsure about him leading Trollus.

PLOT

Stolen Songbird is about a young woman named Cecile who is an aspiring opera singer until she is kidnapped by a former friend and taken beneath the mountain to be sold to the trolls in exchange for gold. She is then forced to bond with/marry Prince Tristan to fulfill a prophecy to break a centuries-old curse cast upon the trolls which has prevented them from ever returning to the human realm. While there, Cecile gets caught up in a revolution brewing between the trolls in servitude and the aristocracy. She also must learn to adapt to this world and prove her usefulness because as long as she is living without the curse being broken, the more she becomes expendable in the eyes of the trolls. The plot was very unique and I loved every bit of it.

ROMANCE

I really liked the romance and how it was developed. As many of you know, enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes in books and this one fits into that category. I really liked how they started out not liking each other at all and they gradually began to trust each other and become friends before they began to like each other. Their relationship is also one of sacrifice as they are devoted to a cause that is higher than their own and they know that if you love someone sometimes you have to let them go. I liked how much their relationship grew over the course of the book and I'm sure it will continue to change over the course of the trilogy.


WRITING

Danielle L. Jensen's writing made me get immediately sucked into the story and she really managed to bring the world and characters to life.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Stolen Songbird is a fast-paced and unputdownable book that leaves you wanting more. It's full of magic, complex characters, romance and politics. I am shocked that it took me this long to start this series and I recommend it to all young adult fantasy lovers.

Quotes from the Book:


“I think it is our nature to believe evil always has an ugly face,” he said, ignoring my question. “Beauty is supposed to be good and kind, and to discover it otherwise is like a betrayal of trust. A violation of the nature of things.”

“I cannot stop the world from moving. All I can do is be prepared for when it does.”

“To be bound is a burden, but it is the actions we freely take that cause us the most pain.”





My Rating: 4 out of 5 Crowns

Sunday, 3 November 2019

OCTOBER '19 WRAP-UP


Time for another wrap up!

October is always the month where I try to read a lot of spooky books and normally fail. But, this month, I managed to read three!

I also worked on getting back into blogging and writing my novel. Fall TV shows are also back which is fun!

 Anyways...

Time to talk about the books I read this month.


PHYSICAL BOOKS




The first book I read was There Will Come A Darkness by Katy Rose Pool. This is a story that some people compared to Six of Crows because of the multiple points of views, however it is very different. This is about  Without giving too much away, this is about a world where seven prophets used to guide humanity until they all disappeared leaving behind a secret prophecy fortelling an age of darkness and the birth of a prophet who would either be the world's salvation or the cause of its destruction. There are five people who have points of views in this book: a prince exiled, a ruthless killer, a leader torn between duty and his heart, a reckless gambler and a dying girl. I had very high expectations for this book and while they weren't all met, I still enjoyed this book a lot. I rated it 4 Crowns. 

The second book I read was The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen.  This is about Fie who lives in a world broken down into castes. She belongs to a caste called the Crows who are serve as undertakers in order to take those who die from a horrible plague. They are called out to collect a dead royal, and she is expecting a great payday. Instead, they find out that Prince Jasimir and his bodyguard have faked their deaths in an effort to protect the kingdom from being taken over by a vicious queen. Fie offers the prince protection in his mission if he'll provide protection for the Crow caste when he ascends to the throne. I really liked this book and I wrote a whole review about it which is up on my blog. I liked how the characters all had a lot of character development and I thought the plot was very unique. I rated it 4 Crowns. 

The third book I read was Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I watched the Alfred Hitchcock movie based on this book a couple of months ago and never read the book so I decided to give it a try. This is about a woman who is swept off her feet by a widower aka Maxim de Winter. The two get married and since she's a orphan and working as a lady's maid she believes she's stumbled upon a lot of luck. However, after they arrive at his country estate she realizes how his late wife casts a shadow over their lives. It's a spooky gothic mystery romance. What's really interesting about this is that the heroine of the story isn't given a name which adds to the spookiness. I rated it 4 Crowns. 



The fourth book I read was The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. I picked this one up because it's a thriller and I love reading at least one spooky book during the month of October. This is about a town that has no cheerleaders because five years ago all of them died and the cheer squad was disbanded. Now the faculty and students don't want to remember them. But for the main character, it's harder to forget as one of them was her sister. Now, a lot of things are starting to show up and Monica realizes that what happened five years ago isn't over. I expected a spine-chilling thriller however I was disappointed. The plot was a little predictable and I wanted to be shocked when I found out everything. I rated this one 3 Crowns. 

The fifth book I read was Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I have owned this book for a long time and never picked it up because I was scared that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. This book is about Yelena who is about to be executed for murder until she is offered a reprieve. She is offered the position of a food taster and she takes it. However, the chief of security doesn't seem to trust her and deliberately feeds her a deadly poison and appearing for her daily antidote is the only way she can delay an agonizing death from the poison. However, that's not her only problem as rebels plot to seize the kingdom and Yelena also develops magical powers she can't control which could also get her killed. I loved this book so much and I am so glad that it lived up to my expectations. I loved how character driven this book was and how the romance didn't overshadow anything. This is compared to Throne of Glass but it is so different and I really enjoyed it. I rated it 4.5 Crowns. 

The sixth book I read was Contagion by Erin Bowman. This was the last book that I read this month but it was a great spooky book to end the month with. I have read this book once before and I loved it just as much the second time. This is about a ragtag group/crew who are sent to an outer rim planet, in response to a distress call. They have no idea what to expect and when they arrive they find it abandoned and littered with dead bodies along with creepy written warnings. They all have to figure out what happened and discover that some things are better left alone. It's a very scary book and the plot twists will continue until the very end. I rated it 4.5 Crowns. 


AUDIOBOOKS READ

NONE THIS MONTH


ARC'S READ

NONE


REVIEWS IN OCTOBER: 

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen Book Review


WEEKLY WRAP-UP:




DISCUSSIONS/OTHER:





FAVORITE COVER OF THE MONTH:



NEW FICTIONAL BAE'S: 

Tavin from The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

Valek from  Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Coen from Contagion by Erin Bowman


NEW FAVORITE FEMALES: 

Ephyra from There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

Fie from The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

Yelena from Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Thea from Contagion by Erin Bowman

Nova from Contagion by Erin Bowman


NEW FAVORITE BOOK RELATIONSHIPS: 

Fie and Tavin from The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

 Valek and Yelena from Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder


TV SHOWS I WATCHED THIS MONTH:



MOVIES I WATCHED THIS MONTH:



WHAT BOOKS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:




There's so many more but these are the main ones! 


NEW BLOG FINDS

NONE


SONGS ON REPEAT

I Warned Myself - Charlie Puth 

Kill My Mind - Louis Tomlinson 

Teeth - 5SOS

There Will Be Blood - Kim Petras

Nice to Meet Ya - Niall Horan 

Lights Up - Harry Styles

Queen - Loren Gray

Clockwork - Kristina Bazan 

Killer - Kristina Bazan 

House of Memories - Panic! at the Disco 

Liar - Camila Cabello

Dangerous - DeathbyRomy 

Toxic - Nina Nesbitt 

My Spooky Playlist on Spotify


 BOOKS I WANT TO READ NEXT MONTH





The graphics at the top belong to me. The background pictures for them, however do not.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Weekly Recap: 10/14 - 10/27

Weekly recap is where I update you on my life, reading and watching. Plus any posts I have done or will do.

I've been catching up on writing my novel as well as writing on here.

Now, let's get into recapping.


New Books

Purchased:




Library: 





Received for Review: 




In Case You Missed It
This Week I Read



This Week I Watched




This Week I Listened To 

Teeth by 5 Seconds of Summer
Kill my Mind by Louis Tomlinson
Looking at Me by Sabrina Carpenter
Fingerprints by Kita Klane
There Will Be Blood by Kim Petras
Nice to Meet Ya by Niall Horan
Lights Up by Harry Styles
Queen by Loren Gray
Clockwork by Kristina Bazan
Killer by Kristina Bazan
House of Memories by Panic! at the Disco
My Spooky Playlist on Spotify


Next Week I'm Reading



Upcoming Reviews




Upcoming Posts


Monday: TBD

Tuesday: TBD

Wednesday: TBD

Thursday: TBD

Friday: TBD

Saturday: TBD

Sunday: Weekly Recap



Around the Blog Community

CG over at Paperfury did a post about preparing for and surviving Nanowrimo

Aimal over at Bookshelves and Paperbacks did a September Wrap-Up Post. 

Heather over at The Sassy Book Geek did a Halloween Book Recommendation Guide


Book, Movie, and TV News 

None This Week!

Saturday, 26 October 2019

FAVORITE SPOOKY/SCARY BOOKS

Since it is October and Halloween is right around the corner, I decided to make a post of my favorite spooky/scary books for Halloween. These aren't necessarily thrillers/horror books but are books that have spooky tones. None of these are in any particular order. 








The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is a retelling of Frankenstein with Elizabeth (aka Victor's betrothed) as the main character. It is a feminist retelling with Elizabeth as a morally grey character and follows her from when she moves in with Victor and his family until after Victor creates the monster. This is a very atmospheric and spooky book with an intriguing villain and shows that some monsters can be human. 

2. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper follows Audrey Rose, an upperclass woman in the 18th century who'd rather be studying forensic medicine with her uncle than doing all the things a woman of her age and stature should be doing. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial killer, her search for answers brings her a little closer to her own sheltered world than she expects. This is filled with graphic descriptions, an eerie ambience and twists and turns that you never see coming. 

3. Contagion by Erin Bowman  

Contagion is a science fiction horror book about a ragtag group/crew who are sent to an outer rim planet, in response to a distress call. They have no idea what to expect and when they arrive they find it abandoned and littered with dead bodies along with creepy written warnings. They all have to figure out what happened and discover that some things are better left alone. This is such a scary book and it is also one of my favorite books. It is a perfect book if you want to be scared but don't want a straight horror book. 

4. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda 

Pitch Dark is another sci-fi/horror book that is scary but isn't straight horror. It's about Tuck who has been in cryo/stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries along with his crew. The ship has part of Earth on it which is the last hope for the failing human race. Laura Cruz is a ship raider who is searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered across the stars. Her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo and they are sure that the human civilization is saved, however they must work together to save the John Muir from the enemies and brutal monsters. 

5. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert 

The Hazel Wood is about a girl who's mother has made her move around a lot because of bad luck that is constantly following them around. Her grandmother is a reclusive author of dark fairy tales and when she dies alone on her estate aka the Hazel Wood.  Alice's mom is then stolen away by a figure who comes from the Hinterland, the supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice has to work with a fan of her grandmother's work and venture into the hazel wood. The Hazel Wood itself is such a scary atmosphere which makes the book a perfectly spooky addition to this list. 

6. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

One of Us is Lying is a young adult thriller which is about five students who have detention together but only five students come out of detention as one of them has died during it. According to investigators, his death was not an accident. Also, the very next day, he had planned to post juicy reveals about the other classmates which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. This is a less scary book than many of the others on this list but it still has it's creepy moments. 


The Darkest Part of the Forest is another creepy fantasy book. It's about Hazel and her brother Ben who live in a town where humans and fae exist side by side. There is also a glass coffin in the woods with a fae boy sleeping in there. Both Hazel and Ben have been in love with him since they were children but he never woke up until one day he does and their lives are turned upside down. The fae world that Holly Black creates is very dark and mysterious causing it to have a spooky atmosphere. It's very eerie but also beautiful and if you haven't already read it, then you should try it. 

8. Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Ten is a retelling/reimagining of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. It is about some teenagers who are invited to an exclusive house party on an island and they are expecting a weekend of fun, however when they discover a DVD with a sinister message, things take a turn for the worse.  The teens are cut off from the outside world as a storm rages outside and a killer begins picking them off one by one. The teens turn on each other and the main character: Meg has to figure out the killer before more people die. This is such a scary thriller and I read it pretty quickly because I had to figure out who the killer was.  

9. And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich 

This is probably one of the scariest books on this list. Don't read it at night! It's eerie and suspenseful and has a lot of classic horror elements aka woods, old houses and dolls. This is about Silla and Nori who arrive at their aunt Cath's manor house which is a house that has been in the family for generations. The manor is creepy and the woods surrounding them are eerily still and there are also many secrets and questions that Silla wants to figure out. The trees keep moving forward, a boy has been appearing from nowhere and her sister (Nori) has been playing with a man in the basement that only she can see. It's a super creepy book and will give you shivers long after it ends.  


10. A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

This is a science-fiction thriller with horror, mystery and historical fiction aspects. It's about a girl who has been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace under the suburbs of Paris. She and several other gifted teenagers are the first to set foot in it for over two centuries, or so they're told. However, they soon find themselves in a game that is far more dangerous and sinister than they could have ever imagined. The book is super suspenseful and full of twists and turns that you could never see coming. 

11. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

This is a spooky book that also has a bit of a fairytale vibe. Shea Ernshaw created a story soaked in revenge, and fear. This is about the town of Sparrow where two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three girls so that they may seek their revenge by luring boys into the harbor and drowning them. Penny Talbot is a seventeen year old local girl who has accepted the fate of the town, however this year a boy named Bo arrives and has no idea the danger he's just stumbled into. Books about small towns that also feature some kind of supernatural event are always a spooky favorite. 

Have you read any of these books or do you want to? 

Sunday, 20 October 2019

SEPTEMBER '19 WRAP-UP


Time for another wrap up!

September wasn't too busy besides the fact that I started my first part-time job which takes some getting used to.

I only read six books this month but I enjoyed all of them and even had a five star read! I am working on getting back into blogging, but I am focusing more of my time on writing my novel especially since nanowrimo is fast approaching.

 Anyways...

Time to talk about the books I read this month.


PHYSICAL BOOKS



The first book I read was Stain by A.G. Howard. Stain is about Lyra who is a princess incapable of speech or sound and is cast out of her kingdom by her wicked aunt. A witch takes her in and raises her in an enchanted forest where she is disguised as a boy known as Stain. In the rival kingdom, the prince is dying and the only person who can save him is Lyra as she is his true equal. It took me awhile to get into this book as it is a little slow at the beginning and a little confusing, however once i got through the first couple of chapters, I ended up really loving this one. I really enjoyed both Lyra and the prince who's name was Vesper and I loved the dark setting. It is supposed to be a retelling of The Princess and the Pea but there are elements of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella mixed in with it. I rated this one 4 Crowns. 

The second book I read was Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. This was described as Mulan meets Project Runway which is such an accurate description for this book. It's about Maia who dreams of being the greatest tailor in the world, however since she's a girl she is sure that it will never happen. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father to court, Maia takes his place by posing as a boy. She knows she will be killed if her secret is discovered but she takes the risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. Maia ends up being one of twelve tailors vying for the job as court tailor which she did not know. She has to engage in a competition with the other tailors in order to get the coveted spot. She is sure that it won't be that complicated but boy is she wrong. I really enjoyed Maia as well as Edan who was the court magician as well as her love interest. I am probably going to write a full review but I ended up rating this one 4 Crowns. 

The third book I read was Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen. This is a book that I've had on my shelf for a long time and I never picked it up until now. Stolen Songbird is about Cecile who is an aspiring opera singer until she is kidnapped by a former friend and taken beneath the mountain to be sold to the trolls in exchange for gold.  She is then forced to bond/marry Prince Tristan to fulfill a prophecy to break a centuries old curse cast upon the trolls which has prevented them from ever coming back to the human realm. Cecile gets caught up in a revolution brewing between the trolls in servitude and the aristocracy. She is also trying to prove her usefulness and protect Prince Tristan from his father who grows tired of her not fulfilling her duty. I loved this book. The characters were so interesting and the story was so unique. I loved how we got to see trolls who are not ugly creatures on the outside but are complex, powerful, clever, ruthless and sometimes beautiful. I rated this one 4 Crowns. 



The fourth book I read was Circe by Madeline Miller. Circe is a book that I have been hearing so much about and though I've never read her previous books, I knew I had to try this one. I really enjoyed this one as I liked how Madeline Miller transformed the greek myths and epics to suit her own story with a badass female lead. Circe is a character that isn't explored much in greek mythology, apart from usually being the villain, however in this story we get to see her character in a different light. From the beginning she is shown to be a brilliant, clever woman. I don't want to say much because it would spoil a lot of the book but I loved Circe's character and her relationship with others. I rated this one 4 Crowns. 

The fifth book I read was The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. I have recently been getting into adult romantic comedies and I love them. This one is about Olive who believes she is unlucky in everything while her twin sister has things handed to her. When her sister and her new husband get food poisoning (along with the rest of the wedding party/guests), she insists that Olive goes on her all expenses paid honeymoon. Olive agrees but she is mad when she finds out she has to go with her sister's husband's brother, Ethan, aka the person that Olive has had a rivalry with since they met. They agree to go together as long as they don't see each other for most of the vacation, however Olive runs into her new boss while in Hawaii and has to pretend that Ethan is her husband which forces the two of them to spend time together. I thought this was such a hilarious and cute romantic comedy and I love the fake dating trope. I think this has shot up to be one of my favorite books of the year. I rated it 5 Crowns!

The sixth book I read was Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev. Pride and Prejudice is probably my favorite classic and this one is a retelling of that book. This is about Dr. Trisha Raje who is San Francisco's most acclaimed neurosurgeon but her influential immigrant family think that's not enough. The Rajes have three non-negotiable rules: never trust an outsider, never do anything to jeopardize your brother's political aspirations and never defy your family. Unfortunately, Trisha is guilty of breaking all three of these rules but now she has a chance to redeem herself. Enter up-and-coming chef DJ Caine who has known people like Trisha before. He needs the job that the Rajes offer but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha's arrogance and then he discovers that she's the only surgeon who can save his sister's life. I loved this book especially since it's kind of a gender swapped Pride and Prejudice story. Trisha is the Mr. Darcy character (though DJ Caine's real name is Darcy) and DJ is the Lizzie character. I rated this one 4 Crowns. 


AUDIOBOOKS READ

NONE THIS MONTH


ARC'S READ

NONE


REVIEWS IN JUNE + JULY + AUGUST: 

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal Book Review


WEEKLY WRAP-UP:




DISCUSSIONS/OTHER:




FAVORITE COVER OF THE MONTH:



NEW FICTIONAL BAE'S: 

Vesper from Stain by A.G. Howard

Edan from Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Tristan from Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Ethan from The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren


NEW FAVORITE FEMALES: 

Lyra from Stain by A.G. Howard

Maia from Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Cecile from Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Circe from Circe by Madeline Miller

Olive from The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Trisha from Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev


NEW FAVORITE BOOK RELATIONSHIPS: 

Lyra and Vesper from Stain by A.G. Howard

Edan and Maia from Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Tristan and Cecile from Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Olive and Ethan from The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren


TV SHOWS I WATCHED THIS MONTH:



MOVIES I WATCHED THIS MONTH:


WHAT BOOKS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:



There's so many more but these are the main ones! 


NEW BLOG FINDS

NONE


SONGS ON REPEAT

I Warned Myself - Charlie Puth 

Kill My Mind - Louis Tomlinson 

Descendants 3 Soundtrack - Descendants 3 Cast

Princesses Don't Cry - Aviva

Mr. Sandman - SYML 

Speechless - Naomi Scott

Don't Call Me Angel - Ariana Grande, Lana del Rey and Miley Cyrus

Fingerprints - Kita Klane

Looking at Me - Sabrina Carpenter

Fake ID - Big & Rich 

Mother's Daughter - Miley Cyrus 

Angry Too - Lola Blanc 


 BOOKS I WANT TO READ NEXT MONTH




The graphics at the top belong to me. The background pictures for them, however do not.