Friday, June 8, 2018

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge (book review)

Expected publication: July 10th, 2018
Pages: 352

Filled with magic and fierce emotion, Lisa Jensen's multilayered novel will make you question all you think you know about beauty, beastliness, and happily ever after.

They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier's cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside. But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.


I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

No. No no no no no. I'm going to keep this review pretty short because I could not and did not finish the book and there was nothing I liked about what little I read. It is so problematic.

This book was an immediate DNF for me after a certain scene I'll talk about later, but if it hadn't been for that, I probably would have shelved it as a DNF anyway because of the writing alone. It was so bad. Everything is told, not shown, and Lucie read as a bad fan-fiction heroine. I found myself cringing a couple times from the very first chapter. That's not how you want to be introduced to a book.

As soon as the master of the castle, Jean-Loup, returns, Lucie is instantly infatuated with him. She becomes obsessed and everything she does as a servant is done in a way so she can look at him. Again, it read like a bad fan-fiction. It wasn't written in a way where I could believe Lucie was intrigued by him and maybe even attracted. Everything was done to an extreme so that I was turned off from the story.

But the part that made me go "nope" and close my ebook with as much vigor as I could (there's only so much you can do when you don't have an actual, physical copy to slam shut in anger) was an event that happens maybe 10% into the book, which is as far as I read. I don't really consider it a spoiler since it happens so close to the beginning of the book, so I'm just going to go ahead as say it: Jean-Loup rapes Lucie. It happens with hardly any warning and completely shook me. This whole book was clearly set up to be a romance between Jean-Loup and Lucie, and that is why I stopped reading where I did. There was no way I could read over 300 pages of bad writing about a sexual assault victim falling in love with her rapist. That's just disgusting.

I don't have anything else to say, so I'm going to leave it there. I was definitely disappointed, because when I'd read the description for the book, it sounded like an awesome and unique version of "Beauty and the Beast," but I couldn't get past the bad writing and the problematic material. Hopefully the next ARC I get is better.

I rate it:

Have you read Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge? What did you think? What are your favorite "Beauty and the Beast" retellings? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

May Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli


It's so hard to be critical of Becky Albertalli in general because she's got that indescribable writing quality that makes all of her stories deliciously addictive. Her books scream summertime and are a joy to go back to because her characters feel like my friends. She has a gift. That being said, I loved Leah, but it felt like a 4-star read for me instead of 5. I can't put my finger on why exactly, and I wish I could, but there was something missing that didn't allow me to rave about it as much as I did for Simon and Upside. Maybe because I didn't connect with Leah as much as I connected with Simon and Molly. Leah is definitely more abrasive and tends to overreact to more minor situations.

Final Draft by Riley Redgate


I loved the first half of the book, but after finishing it and the more I've let it sit with me, my conclusion is . . . meh? It was all right. I can't say I hated anything, but I didn't have strong feelings about much of anything, one way or the other. Things I liked included a heavy focus on writing, talking about the positives of being a part of a fandom, the diversity, and a plot twist in the middle of the book. Some of things I disliked were the romance that I just didn't buy, the dark turn the story takes that didn't seem to fit with the rest of the book, the unfortunate tropes the book promotes about introverts needing to "take risks" in order to live life to the fullest, and the dissatisfying ending.

Read my review HERE.

The Shining by Stephen King


It took a while to get into, but once I got past the setup, it was delightfully creepy. For a book that's centered around three or four characters in a single setting, it definitely kept my interest. I didn't think a book could scare me in the way a TV show or movie could, but it did. (Reading it in a strange house while babysitting the neighbors' kids and their dog was probably not my best idea . . . the dog barked at a noise outside around 10:30 at night and I totally jumped.) I did see the ending coming from a mile away because of some heavy-handed foreshadowing and there were entire chunks of text that could have gone and it wouldn't have affected the plot at all, but overall, I enjoyed it.

Movies I Watched

"Miss Congeniality"


Though the movie was very predictable in many ways and the identity of the villain was given away way too early in my opinion (most of the tension vanishes when you know who the enemy is way before the protagonist does), I really liked it. It was funny, quirky, and had some great characters. Gracie Hart is a wonderful heroine and I totally respect her intense love of doughnuts.

Quotes I Wrote

I was pretty amused with myself when I wrote this since not having enough guys in musicals is a running joke at just about every school's theatre program.

Obsessions I Acquired

No time to be obsessed with anything new since pretty much the entire month of May was dedicated to preparing for "Peter Pan Jr." performances.

Pictures of the Month

Teens from our homeschool group out on the town.
My brother and I auditioned for "Lion King Jr." and landed some pretty awesome parts! He's playing Zazu and I'm playing Banzai the hyena. I do enjoy playing villains . . .
Cue Scout pictures!
She was very happy to get a new toy.
Max filled in for Smee at a rehearsal since both of them were missing and one of our directors snapped this photo.
Cast photo!
And a silly cast photo!
The promotional posters turned out awesome.
Dress rehearsal photos!
The two on the right played Hook and Smee on my off nights, and on the left is my Smee.

With Tiger Lily and Mrs. Darling.
With the other Tiger Lily and a photo bomb from the other Hook.
Bill Jukes the pirate. "What tempo, Captain?"
Max got a picture with a bunch of pirates in the boys' dressing room and it looks like they're about to drop a killer album.
Starkey the pirate.
My off-night pirate costume.
The other cast's Peter Pan.
Wendy and Noodler jumped in for a picture.
The other cast's Wendy.
Max and I got pictures in our pirate gear.

Dandelion the Brave Girl.
Savannah played Wendy in my cast, but here we're both in our off-night costumes.
This was taken on opening night after a very successful performance!
Captain Hook!
Our stage manager snuck a photo during dress rehearsal when Max and I were both dancing during "Hook's Tango."
This was my promotional photo on Instagram . . .
. . . and this was TJ's (very comforting) response. He didn't, however, drop me during performances, thank goodness.

You can definitely expect way more "Peter Pan Jr." pictures, but since most of them were taken during the beginning of June, they'll be posted with June's wrap-up. ;)

How was your May?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Characters Most Likely to [Fill in the Blank]

A while ago, Cait did the "#MostLikelyTo Character Book Tag" over on her blog and it looked super fun, so I stole it (mwahaha . . .). Some of these are going to be so hard to do, but I think I can find a fit for every prompt. *cracks knuckles*

Characters most likely to . . .

. . . be overprotective

I'm gonna go with Wolf from The Lunar Chronicles. Anyone who's read the books knows that if Scarlet were to so much as sneeze, Wolf would leap into action with tissues, cough drops, blankets, and an intense glare directed at the person who dared to get her sick. He's a great big teddy bear (or mama bear).

. . . be good with kids

Peeta from The Hunger Games! He'd spend all day playing with them and telling elaborate stories and baking all kinds of delicious treats. He's a character who consistently comes to mind as being this soft and precious cinnamon roll who can do no harm.

 . . . pick flowers for you

Probably Luna from Harry Potter. She strikes me as the kind of person who'd frolic through a meadow and make daisy chains for all of her friends, humming a song by the Weird Sisters as she goes.

. . . lend you their clothes

Abby from the Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda/Leah on the Offbeat! She'd definitely let me raid her closet sometime. Or she'd be the one to lend me a jacket to wrap around my waist if I sat in something weird. Abby's the kind of superhero friend every person needs.

. . .talk with you for hours

Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. We could talk about anything and everything for an entire afternoon. He'd be perfectly content to just hang out in silence and read or go on and on about philosophical questions.

. . . take time looking at your eyes

Hmm, Levi from Fangirl, maybe? This one was a little trickier. But I feel like Levi would fit this pretty well. He's a pretty observant, stay-in-the-moment kind of person.

. . . say you're beautiful

Monty from The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, because he is a shameless flirt. He'd compliment inanimate objects if it wouldn't make people look at him weirdly. I swear, Monty's like an overly energetic puppy - he chases anything that moves.

. . . take over the world

AIDAN from the Illuminae Files. A psychotic computer with way too much time and power on its hands? Yeah, AIDAN could totally take over the world if it (he?) wanted to. Would not be surprised in the slightest.

. . . survive the zombie apocalypse

Honestly, most of the characters I read about are thrown into apocalyptic situations anyway, so it made it really difficult to choose one person who would be the most likely to survive. I'll choose Diana from Wonder Woman: Warbringer, because she is a for real superhero with excellent combat training, so she's got pretty good odds.

. . . break a world record

Jesper from Six of Crows, because he's a stubborn show-off who would try his hardest to break world record simply to win a bet and prove somebody wrong. The stunt would probably be dangerous and ridiculous, too, and definitely flashy.

. . . stay with their OTP after the book is over

*laughs nervously because several OTPs are dead*

Sooooo . . . let's just throw out Cress/Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles, because I ship them so hard, they'd survive in a rowboat across the Atlantic. They're just too darn adorable, protective, and committed to each other.

. . . leave their OTP after the book is over

Clary/Jace from The Mortal Instruments. I was always a little "meh" about their relationship, and they've had their fair share of rocky moments, so I don't see it working out too well in the future. They might last a while, but they're not solid enough to really survive.

. . . be a drama queen

Hi there, may I introduce you to Maya from Far From the Tree, aka resident fast-talking drama queen? This girl is made of fire and snark, so yeah, I'd say she fits the drama queen bill.

. . . always be happy

*laughs nervously again because several characters are tragically unhappy*

I plead the fifth. Everyone's a mess. xD 

. . . get into a fight

Nimona from Nimona. She's a little unhinged, full of spunk, and ready to kick some ass.

. . . go to war to save you

Alanna from The Song of the Lioness series. It may be a little on the nose, seeing as she's training to be a knight, but if she really cared about you, she'd totally fight off entire armies for you.

. . . laugh at a bad time

Poor, awkward Eliza from Eliza and Her Monsters. She's got a lot of social anxiety when it comes to in-person talking, so nervous laughter at the exact wrong moment wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility with her.

. . . travel the world
Is it cheating if I say Anna from Anna and the French Kiss since she's already been to France? She did enjoy exploring Paris while she was at school, so I wouldn't be surprised if she caught the traveling bug and wanted to see more of the world later on in her life.

. . . dress to kill
Addy from One of Us Is Lying, which may be a little obvious considering the back of the book describes her as "the beauty" and "the picture-perfect homecoming princess." It still fits, though.

. . . become super rich

Probably Dimple from When Dimple Met Rishi as she's a budding web developer and could rake in the cash with some awesome program she designs.

. . . get arrested
Solara from Starflight. She's already an outlaw and spends pretty much the entire book running from danger only to find more of it, so yeah, it's a wonder she hasn't been arrested already.

. . . share their food with you

This one was easy. Molly from The Upside of Unrequited! She makes so many delicious desserts and Pinterest-y food and she's more than happy to share it with her friends. What I wouldn't give for some of her cookie dough right now . . .

Tag, you're it! "Steal" these questions for your own blog and/or answer some of them in the comments!