Mirror Mirror on the Wall (Devoured – A Book Review)

Devoured
Author: Amanda Marrone
Published: 2009

On Goodreads

Devoured

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

There’s always one bad apple.

Since the car accident years ago, Megan has been trying to move on with her life. It hasn’t gone well. Her mother is obsessed with dog dancing competitions. Her dad has been in a coma since the accident. And Remy, Megan’s twin sister, has been haunting from beyond the grave.

Now, she’s gotten a job at an amusement park. Of course, she didn’t get the job to keep tabs on her boyfriend and his best friend (who admitted her undying love to him). And the cute boy, Luke, who works there too (and whom her friend likes) doesn’t matter either. Nope. She just wants a normal summer job experience before she goes off to college.

When Remy starts saying weird things and causes things to break, Megan has to figure out what’s going on. People are missing and with Remy’s violent outbursts, Megan just knows somebody is going to be next, but who? She knows she should avoid Luke, but he may be the only that can help her.

 

Megan isn’t the typical teenage girl. Or at least I don’t think talking to ghosts is typical. Neither is a magic mirror. Yep, that’s right. A magic mirror. If you’re thinking about Snow White then you’d be in the right area. This book stems from the fairy tale. In this book, Snow White is a true story and that pesky mirror is actually a prison for the djinn inside of it.

 

I thought the idea of the mirror being villainous was incredible since its viewed as nothing more than a pawn that is under the Evil Queen’s control. Instead, the mirror is the one in control, causing paranoia and fear with its visions of the future. The other connections to the fairy tale with Megan being as fair as Snow White and the family related to the woodsman was a great tie-in since the book wasn’t a retelling.Devoured - fandoms

The writing really had me on the fence. There were times when the writing kind of dozed off. Some bits came off as pointless in regard to the story and I didn’t understand them. Megan’s love triangle with her boyfriend and his best friend, for example. It was just awkward. This issue that Megan had with them didn’t feel like it was any part of the main plot. It came and went and I didn’t get any strong feeling that Megan truly cared, especially since this relationship was so new. There was just no real attachment, I felt.

The style, however, was witty and funny at times, lightening the story up some when at other times it got scarily dark. Remy is one terrifying little girl, and I’m talking on a Supernatural level. The psychic energy was strong in this book, which was cool. I haven’t read many books that include the psychic ability. That last one I read was back in high school and it was Dark Visions by L. J. Smith. So, getting to read another novel that included this was great.

Unbreakable

Megan was at times a curious character, but overall, I wasn’t a fan of her. While I understood her heartache after everything she’d been through, she was quite bratty at times. I loved her best friend, Nicki, and the cute boy, Luke. Luke was swoon worthy and Nicki was outright hilarious. There were a few times when she’d say something I’d say. So, there was a fair share of those I liked and didn’t.

Overall

This wasn’t some Disney movie. Nope. It was pretty twisted and quite surprising at times. I liked this book and yet, I didn’t. The villain was pretty awesome. For the first time in a long while, I really dug him and thought he was cool. The djinn was such a trickster. I liked him more than the other characters. And as a side note, the cover was a little confusing. As you can see, it’s Megan between two boys while holding an apple. So…there’s no apple involved in the book. Also, only one boy got seriously involved in the mysterious ghost-psychic mystery and overcoming of tragedy. All in all, the cover makes no sense, though the color scheme is vibrant and beautifully dark. This book had me feeling all kinds of mixed up.

 

Quotables:

“…Anyone with more than twenty lawn gnomes in their yard was most definitely a psycho, not a psychic.” (Nicki, p. 30)

“Land of Enchantment isn’t just about stereotypically helpless women in need of rescue—there’s Hansel and Gretel’s Haunted Forest, which is more of a celebration of child abuse and cannibalism, and the petting zoo in Mother Goose’s Family Fun Farm, which is all E. coli, all the time!” (Ari, p. 37)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Good Girl by Carrie Underwood.

 

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Mermaid in a Tiger Cage (The Mermaid – A Book Review)

The Mermaid
Author: Christina Henry
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

The Mermaid

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Once there was a mermaid called Amelia who could never be content in the sea, a mermaid who longed to know all the world and all its wonders, and so she came to live on land.

A fairytale, a beautiful, magical mermaid gets caught in the net of a fisherman and he lets her go, never expecting to see her again. But then, he does. They fall in love. Then suddenly, the ocean takes him away.

Amelia, the mermaid, decides, after years in self-appointed exile on the seaside, to be a part of P.T. Barnum’s museum. She will play the mermaid—though it’s not a trick—only on her terms. She quickly discovers that Barnum never gives up a moneymaking scheme. He doesn’t intend to let her go.

 

This book was on my summer list the day it came out. I love mermaids. They’re magical and sleek and dangerous and just beautiful. This story started out just like a fairytale with its Once upon a time…

Mermaid

Sadly, this book fell a bit shorter than my expectations. It was longing and sweet and filled with splendid heartache that could only be healed with renewal. The tug-of-war between Amelia and P.T. Barnum didn’t rise to very much in all honesty. I loved seeing Amelia in charge. A woman/mermaid should be in charge of her life and Barnum was known for being dreadful to his acts, pushing them beyond their lengths. Buuuut…nothing really came of it. Not for me.

The characters were poignant in their own independent ways. From loss, yearning, and even desperation. I found Amelia’s friendship with Charity, Barnum’s wife to be the most intriguing. They weren’t friend right off the bat. It was trying, and that’s what I loved about it. Their friendship was something special to be worked toward rather than be immediately had. In the end, it was truly fearless and deeply caring and strong. It made me think of my best friend. I know I can tell her anything and she’s always there for me. This was what captivated me.

That, and I really love when a story is told from the POV of a magical creature. It’s fascinating. They see the world so much differently. It’s all new or exciting or frightening or right on the nose. The way everything was confusing and new for Amelia was realistic. There are so many things, even today, that is useless, but without it you aren’t a part of the great big wheel AKA society. I loved that she questioned it fearlessly. In such a great big world, one should always ask questions.

The storytelling itself was my favorite out of this whole story. It was enchanting. It had those lines that just made me sigh. This is really what kept me attached. From those wispy, dreamy moments to those dark, breath-catching ones, I hung on every word, just swept away. I just wish the story itself had also been as interesting.

 

While this wasn’t a rip-roaring book, it was in the deep end with emotions. I just wish there’d been more excitement to it. The longing for the sea really made my heart ache as did Amelia’s heartbreak, but her time with Barnum didn’t really sway much in me. The writing however was superb!

 

Quotables:

“This was the secret she kept beneath her tongue, the wish she never spoke, for to speak it would make its magic disappear.” (p. 66)

“They wanted the moon, but they realize it cost the earth.” (P. 139)

“Humans often value what they should not, she reflected, and most often they did not value what was right before their eyes.” (p. 208)

“A bird in a cage still know it’s in a cage, even if the bars are made of gold.” (Amelia, p. 276)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

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P.S. Song today? Enchanted by Taylor Swift

 

Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

Fairytale in the Big City (Valiant – Book Review)

Valiant
Author: Holly Black
Published: 2005

Valiant - Goodreads

Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Valerie, betrayed by her mother and cheated on by her boyfriend, runs away to the city that never sleeps. New York City. Slumming in an abandoned subway with a group of squatters, she tries a new drug. One that nobody knows about and is referred to as Never.

“There are three rules: Never more than once a day, never more than a pinch at a time, and never more than two days in a row.”

Its seductive pull is addictive and magical, making almost anything possible with a little glamour. When going out to find some more of the Never, one of Val’s new friends is put in danger by a monstrous creature she only knew to exist in books. In exchange for her services, he lets her friend live.

Soon enough Val discovers there is a thin veil between the realm of faerie and the realm of ordinary humans. The more she grows closer to her monstrous employer, who turns out to be more different than she imagines the more she becomes submerged in all of the magic around her and the more she begins to forget about her previous life.

This is a tale I come back to from time to time. It’s a beautiful twist on the fairy tale creatures that we’ve come to know as children. Trolls in the subway system. Fairies in Grand Central Park. This book brings us back as young adults to such fantastical magic, and for yet another lesson that only fairy tales can bring. Only this time it’s not about a moral code. It’s about the complications we begin to face when we begin to come out of childhood, heartache and acceptance.

Buffy - Once More with Extreme Prejudice

This tale was just what I needed when I was in high school and there are times when I need it these days. I was such a sucker for magic and to this day I still am. Bold, strong and determined, Val became the unsung heroine of the iron city. While she’s no Buffy, she could certainly compete.

nothing-compared

(And I’ve realized that I’ve gotten carried away with the Buffy gifs. I couldn’t help myself.)

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves fairy tales, magic and even true love. I believe that this is the magic we all need in our lives to help us find ourselves as we continue to grow because even though we grow up, fairy tales still have a lot to teach us. Holly Black did a beautiful job in creating one where the monster is capable of love and the ordinary is capable of being a hero.

 

Excerpt Favorites:

“You know,” Lolli said, “the thing about drugs is that they make things kind of shift, go leftwars and sideways and upside down, but with Never, you can take everyone else upside down with you. What else can do that?” (p. 96)

 

“Were they sweet tooths? Human thralls willing to do anything for a taste of Never, not even knowing what it was to stick it in your arm or burn it up you nose.tick it in you arm.””(p.226)

 

More to come soon…

K.

P.S. Today’s song? Real Life Fairytale by Plumb.