Posted in book tags/memes

Fairy Tales Fridays 26

Fairy Tale of the Week:

“The Spindle, the Shuttle, and the Needle” by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm


There once was a young girl who had been orphaned, but was taken in by her godmother who lived at the edge of their village. The godmother earned her living by spinning, sewing, and weaving, and she taught the young girl as well. When she grew old and was on the brink of death, she told the girl that she would inherit the house for shelter, and her spindle, shuttle, and needle so that she could make money with them. The girl had a decent life, and was able to provide for herself.

After some time, a prince came looking for a bride. He wanted to find someone who was both the richest and poorest at the same time. The villagers pointed him toward the richest girl first, and she curtsied to him, but he rode on to the poorest girl. He caught sight of her through a window as she was working, and when the girl looked up and noticed him, she blushed, but went back to her work. The prince rode away.

The girl watched from the window until the prince was out of sight, then returned to her work. She sang a rhyme about the spindle, which she’d heard her godmother say, and the spindle flew from her hand, out the door, and after the prince. It trailed golden thread with which to lead her suitor back to her. Then, she sang of the shuttle, which immediately began to weave a beautiful, intricate carpet to guide her suitor to her. Last, she sang the rhyme of the needle to make her house ready for her suitor and it set to work adorning tables, chairs, etc.

The needle had only just finished its work when she saw the prince returning. When he entered her home, he took in the girl’s poor attire, as well as her beauty, and declared her the richest and poorest. He took her away to be his bride, and after the wedding, the spindle, needle, and shuttle were kept in the royal treasury. The end.


Okay, this one was entertaining. I like the magical aspects, but I also thought it was a tiny bit silly (in a good way). No damsels in distress, no real conflicts or anything, just a magical story of two people finding twoo wuv in a very cute–if strange–way.

I generally prefer darker fairy tales, but apparently I’m in the mood for cuteness today, so…

4 out of 5 stars

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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Posted in book tags/memes

T5W: SFF Besties

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.


May 15th: SFF BFFs -BooktubeSFF Awards Crossover Topic-
— Discuss your favorite friends in Scifi and Fantasy, or characters you’d be BFFs with.


For some reason, this topic was so hard for me :/ It was one of those situations like when someone asks for a book recommendation, or your fave book, and suddenly you forget every book you’ve ever read, only in this case, it was me forgetting every friendship I’ve read about in SFF *sigh*

These might not all be my absolute favorites of all time, all the time, but they were all memorable and I enjoyed reading about their friendships. (And, at least for most of them, I wouldn’t mind being best friends with them.)

In no particular order, as usual…


Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Karou and Zuzana from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor– Zuze is probably my favorite character from this trilogy, and I think she’s an amazing friend. I loved the relationship between these two a lot ❤

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

The Gangsey from the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater– I love these losers, and I (mostly) love their friendships.

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)

Temeraire and Lawrence from His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik– These two, oh my gods ❤ They are too precious, and I love them. I can’t wait to read more of the series.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

Sissix and Ashby from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers– I’m not sure my closest friends and I could manage to live together on ship for so long (maybe?), but these two did their best.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Nina and Inej from the Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo– I loved these two so much, and while I’ve forgotten a lot of specifics about their relationship (time for a re-read!), I do remember loving it.


Tell me about some of your favorite SFF friendships (or characters you’d want to be BFFs with)!

Posted in book tags/memes

Top Ten Tuesday: The Movie Was Better

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.


This week, it’s a freebie for page to screen topics, and I considered a few options before settling on this one.

Let me just say that for about half of these, I liked (or loved) both the book and the movie. I just prefer the movie.

In no particular order…


It

It by Stephen King– I haven’t seen the new one, sorry, but I did (unfortunately) read the book, and I’ve seen the 1990 movie/miniseries/whatever more times than I can count.

The Witches of Eastwick (Eastwick #1)

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike– I didn’t even make it through the book oh my gods. I just could not. I love the movie, though.

Practical Magic

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman– I liked the book, I guess, but I absolutely adore the movie ❤ I think I gave the book 3 stars, and found it underwhelming (I just don’t seem to get along with Hoffman’s writing 😦 ), but it got me into magical realism.

The Hobbit or There and Back Again

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien– Hold your fire! I love the book, okay, but I prefer the movies (slightly) because of Radagast 😛 And, because all the dwarves got their own personalities and were fleshed out more than in the book.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum– I think I saw the movie first, but I have read most of the books, and I still love the movie more. This was my first fandom, I guess, and it will always have very special place in my heart ❤

The Crow

The Crow by James O’Barr– I liked the graphic novel, but this is one of my all-time favorite movies oh my gosh. I love it, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve rewatched it.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote– This movie has some serious issues, too, but I still think it’s a little better than the book. The book didn’t really stick in my brain, and I’m not sure if that’s because it was so bad I wanted to forget it, or if the movie is just permanently etched into my brain, driving out any memories of the book :/

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice– I barely made it through this book, but I really enjoyed the next three Vampire Chronicles books. I just couldn’t stand Louis’s POV. Love the movie, though, despite not loving Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt.

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (and David Lloyd, illustrator)– I enjoyed the graphic novel, but I felt like it dragged on and was kinda boring :/ I’ve probably seen the movie 15+ times, though.

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride by William Goldman– I’m sorry, but I hated this book. It took several attempts for me to finish it, and I was sooo bored the whole time. I read this like 10 years ago and still can’t believe they made such a good movie out of it (which I point out every time I watch it with someone because I’m that person :/ ).


Are there any adaptations you liked better than the book?

Posted in book review

Caraval: Reviewed

Caraval (Caraval, #1)

Caraval (Caraval, book 1) by Stephanie Garber

Genres/Descriptors: fantasy; YA

Publication: 2017

Pages: 407 (hardcover)

Trigger/Content Warnings: child abuse, physical and psychological abuse, attempted/threatened sexual assault/rape, sexual harassment, kidnapping, blood, murder, suicide

Check it out on Goodreads


What’s it about?

Scarlett and her younger sister Tella live on the island of Trisda with their abusive father. They grew up hearing stories of the magical Caraval, but now that Scarlett is engaged to be married to a man she’s never met, she thinks she’ll never be able to experience Caraval. But, at least she’ll be able to get herself and her sister away from their father.

Days before her wedding, an invitation to Caraval arrives, finally. Tella gets some help from a mysterious sailor to take her and Scarlett away, to Caraval. Once they arrive, Tella is taken by the creator of Caraval–Legend–and whoever finds her, will win the game, and one wish.

It’s only a game, but Scarlett can’t help feeling that it’s not. Something about this year’s game feels too personal, too dangerous. With five nights to find her sister, time is short and Scarlett can’t help but get swept up in the game, unsure of what’s real and what’s just a performance.


Review:

Okay… *takes a deep, calming breath* This is going to get long. I mean really, really long.

I went into this knowing that it was not going to be like The Night Circus. I remember it being marketed as something for fans of TNC, but I knew from reviews that it was nothing like that book. Still, I gave myself another couple of years to let the hype die down a bit, as well as time to let reviews fade from my memory a bit so they wouldn’t influence my opinion of it as I read it. I wish I’d listened to the negative reviews and passed on this one :/

I’ll try to keep this spoiler free until the end, where there will be a spoiler warning.

First of all, the characters. Oh my gods, Scarlett was definitely too stupid to live. She never learned, and I didn’t care about her at all. All of the characters felt a bit flat to me, and I think I only kind of liked one character (who was only in like 2-3 scenes I think, and I’m blanking on her name). We’re supposed to believe that Scarlett loves Tella more than anything in the world, but I never got that impression. We were told (over and over again) that all Scarlett wanted was to find her sister, to save her sister, but her actions didn’t really support that most of the time. And she was so freaking boring.

And oh my gods, Tella. *takes a calming breath* I have never hated a character that quickly before (less than 50 pages in), and I hated her throughout the entire book. Tella was a horrible person, and an even worse sister. She was manipulative and selfish and I hated everything about her. Not that we really got to know her, but what little we saw of her was not good.

The entire story is supposed to be about Scarlett and Tella and their sisterly bond, but neither of them honestly seemed to care about the other their wants/needs. Instead, each tried to force their own desires onto the other. And where is the trust? They each seem much happier taking the word of strangers. More on all of this in the spoilery bits at the end, ugh.

The other characters were no better. Their father was literally just child-abuse personified, that’s it. I’m not saying you can’t hate a character for being an abuser, but that was all there was to him and his personality. He was an abuser, full-stop. There was no depth at all to him, despite the attempts to shove some in by the memories of how he hadn’t always been that way. (I also really didn’t like the way it was implied that it was Scarlett and Tella’s mother’s fault for his behavior, because she left them.) Oh, and let’s not forget that he gave his daughter to a man and basically told the man to go ahead and have his way with her. Against her will. Yeah.

Then there was Julian, who was just awful. His behavior toward Scarlett was gross, especially early on, and honestly made me think of Edward Cullen in a better light when I mentally compared the two. The only thing I know about Julian, besides his name and role in Caraval, is that he’s apparently hot and muscular? So hot that an engaged character falls in love with him in less than a week, despite knowing nothing about him. That’s it.

The plot: Where is it? This story is so convoluted, and nothing is real (but some things are!), and it just keeps switching from “This is the truth!” to “No, actually, THIS is the truth!” and back and forth throughout the entire book. I just don’t care. I wanted to care, but I just couldn’t. I think an effort was made to keep the reader guessing, but it failed.

The writing was not the worst, but I feel like there was an attempt made to make it beautiful, and it just turned out to be kind of a mess. You can’t fake beautiful writing, and I might have actually enjoyed this (slightly) more if not for the forced flowery-ness. It was just way over the top, and seemed pretty pointless. I kept thinking that it felt more like middle grade trying to be YA. Not that middle grade is bad, because it’s not. But this just felt like it was written for a younger audience, either middle grade or maaaybe the bottom end of YA. Does that make sense?

But how about the world? I feel like this is a world that could have been so interesting, but we actually don’t get to experience much of it. While we are wandering through Caraval, we’re stuck in Scarlett’s head, which didn’t help. We see almost nothing that really gets across how magical Caraval is supposed to be. Sure, I wasn’t expecting The Night Circus, but damn it, I was expecting something. I wanted to see some magic, see the game, see some kind of performance or something. But no. The only time we actually got a glimpse into anything like that was when Scarlett went into a fortune teller’s tent, and that was probably the absolute best part of the entire book. I wanted more like that.

We never even got an idea of how the magic worked, or what was actually magic instead of a clever illusion or reality. There’s something about blood, and wishes, and time, but no actual explanation. Lack of explanation for magic systems is one of my biggest pet peeves. I wanted to know more about it, and instead we get crumbs that are almost nothing.

Even though I went into this knowing there was a good chance I wouldn’t love it, and I had my expectations really low, it still disappointed me. It’s been a long time since I’ve finished a book and immediately said, “Yep, I’m unhauling you ASAP,” but that’s what happened with this one. I want back the hours I spent reading this book, please.

I gave it 2 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, but I think it’s more like 1.5 for me, and I might lower it to 1 star.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

This is probably just going to be word-vomit because my brain is a jumbled mess right now.

Scarlett was infuriatingly stupid, as I said. I still don’t understand how someone could have survived her abusive father that way, and remained so naive and idiotic. She had no common sense at all, and oh my gods the insta love! Okay, let me get this straight: your sister conspires with this guy to drug and kidnap you, you wake up on a boat a couple days later with the guy who kidnapped you, and you’re already like, “Ooh he’s hot! I like him!” WHAT?! This isn’t even Stockholm syndrome. She literally wakes up, talks to this super-hottie (WHO KIDNAPPED HER!) for like five seconds, and she’s already starting to fall for him.

And Tella, her sister, was the mastermind behind the kidnapping, yet Scarlett doesn’t even really seem annoyed by that. I don’t know about you, but if my younger sibling did that, I would be so pissed off. Yeah, I would definitely want to find them, but not just because of some protective instinct. I would be gearing up to rip them a new one because that is so freaking wrong in every way. I don’t care that Tella had good intentions, and ulterior motives, and had arranged all of this with Legend (which we don’t officially discover until the end, but I suspected it early on). Tella was a selfish asshole, and I never saw any real evidence to support the idea that these two sisters were so devoted to each other.

This has to be one of the absolute worst depictions of sisters I’ve ever seen. Scarlett is supposedly willing to do anything to save Tella, and it’s her deepest desire, but let Julian and his golden abs walk by, and suddenly all Scarlett wants to do is chase after him. And Tella! Oh my gods I wanted to throw her off the balcony myself at the end, when she was basically gaslighting Scarlett and taking the word of a guy she’s known for less than a week over that of her sister. I mean, yeah, she was kind of telling the truth, but yikes. And then she throws herself off the balcony thing,killing herself in front of her sister, to break their father’s hold on them? But wait, there’s more! Surprise! She’s not totally dead because ~magic~ and all that! Scarlett ~wished~ her back to life, hurrah!

You guys, I beat my head on my desk so many times while reading this book. I could rant about this book for days, but I’m going to try to wrap it up soon, I promise. (If you’re still reading, wow, thank you. Or, I’m sorry? I’m not sure which is more appropriate 😛 )

Julian was such a terrible love interest. He started stripping in front of Scarlett even though he knows it makes her very uncomfortable, he won’t allow her the privacy to change, he kidnapped her, he lies to her, and I was really uncomfortable all around with their relationship. It reminded me a lot of older YAs that had the bad boy love interest who was all possessive and creepy. But apparently all that (and more) is fine with her, because it was all a game! So she just forgives him, and I guess they’re going to be a couple now? Oh, did I forget to mention that he doesn’t really age, so he’s probably actually around the same age as Scarlett’s grandmother? That’s fine, too, because he still looks like he’s around her age! Ugh.

What even was the deal with Scarlett’s color thing? I kept waiting and hoping for that to become an actually important part of the story, but it was apparently just shoved in there to make her seem more interesting and to add more flowery stuff to the writing?

Where was the magic? Where were the performers? Oh, right, they were everywhere, playing the game. Which we see almost nothing of. I thought the carousel was interesting, kind of, but the only thing I actually really loved about this book was the tattooed guy who told Scarlett bits of her future. That part was great, and I wanted more stuff like that.

But the magic? Tell me more! How does it work? What can it do? What are the limitations? Apparently raising the dead is part of it, because any performers who die will come back at the end, but HOW? They mention time and blood powering magic, and how wishes are magic, but not how or why. It was so frustrating. And Tella, who killed herself, came back because of a wish? Because Scarlett loved her so much? Sorry, but please actually show me that Scarlett and Tella had that close of a bond, because I never saw it. And where is the explanation for how the performers (or at least Legend and Julian) stay young? That was just casually thrown in, without any explanation at all. I want to know at least a little about how the magic works, what it’s limitations are, what the cost is, etc., but we get nothing.

**End of Spoilers**


Okay. I think I’m done. I’m exhausted, and just want to scrub this out of my brain, but oh no. I’m apparently a masochist, because I plan to at least attempt to read Legendary because I got the Kindle edition on sale a while back. Save me.

Posted in book tags/memes

Fairy Tales Fridays 25

Fairy Tale of the Week:

“The Wolf and the Fox” by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm


There once was a wolf who had a fox for a servant, of sorts. Whatever the wolf wished, the fox had to do because he was weaker, but he really wanted to be rid of the wolf. One day, the wolf told the fox to get him something to eat, or the wolf would eat the fox. So, the fox told the wolf that he knew of a farm where there were two lamps, and he got one of them for the wolf and then went off on his own for a while. But, the wolf was not content with the one lamb, so he went to steal the other. The wolf was not as stealthy as the fox, though, and he was caught by the farmer and beaten.

The wolf was angry with the fox, and accused him of misleading the wolf. The fox only said to the wolf, “Why art thou such a glutton?”

The next day, the wolf once again commanded the fox to get him something to eat. The fox said he knew of a house where pancakes were being made, and he stole some of those for the wolf. Again, the wolf was not content with what the fox had given him, and went himself to get more. He made so much noise that the woman raised the alarm and people came along and once more beat the wolf terribly.

Again, the wolf blamed the fox, and the fox once more asked the wolf why he was such a glutton.

On the third day, the wolf was limping along and again asked the fox to get him food. The fox said he knew of a place where meat was being stored in the cellar. This time, the wolf wanted to go with the fox, so the fox could help him if they were caught. When they reached the cellar, the wolf started gorging himself on the meat. While he ate, the fox kept darting around, and making sure he was still able to slip through the hole they’d come in through. When the wolf asked the fox what he was doing, the fox said he was making sure no one was coming, and he cautioned the wolf to not eat too much. The wolf, however, did not want to leave until the barrel of meat was empty.

The farmer had heard the fox jumping around, and came into the cellar. When the fox saw him, he darted through the hole, but the wolf–who wanted to follow–had stuffed himself too much and could no longer fit through the hole. The farmer struck him dead, but the fox made his way to the forest, finally free of the wolf.


All day, I’ve had the feeling there was something I was forgetting. It finally occurred to me that I’d forgotten to do this week’s FTF :/

Anyway…

Meh? I didn’t really love or hate this one. I don’t think this one is well-known enough to have been adapted, but I could be wrong about that. I don’t think I’ve seen it, at least. For some reason, this makes me think of Rosalee and Monroe from Grimm, probably just because she’s a fox and he’s a wolf, because their relationship was not at all like this one. (Now I want to re-watch Grimm.)

I don’t think this one will leave a lasting impression :/

3 out of 5 stars?

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆