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Mermaid Lore in YA!

The neat thing about mermaid lore in Young Adult fiction is that even though the mermaids look similar, their origin stories vary. We’ve got mermaids that were kidnapped as humans and then turned into mermaids, mermaids that were born mermaids, and more!

I’ve been reading Deep Blue over the past week, and it has this really awesome Greek vibe to it, where as some of these other novels have more of a contemporary feel to them.

The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks



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Jennifer Donnelly is an award-winning author of both adult and young adult books, including Deep Blue, the first book in the Waterfire Saga. For adults she has written a trilogy of best-selling books that includes The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose. Her first young adult novel, A Northern Light, received many accolades, among them the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Carnegie Medal in the UK, and a Michael L. Printz Honor. Her second young adult novel, Revolution, was named a Best Book of 2010 by Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal, and the audiobook received a 2011 American Library Association Odyssey Honor. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.


The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

I received this book from Small Girls PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

18296016 198x300 The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la CruzThe Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
AmazonBook DepositoryPublished by Disney Hyperion on April 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Small Girls PR
four half stars The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve? 

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. 

But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard. 

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.

If you’re looking for something that is like Downton Abbey in its amount of characters, and still maintains a great story… This book is for you. OH Also, this book is probably a few years or so away from DA and involves magic. So there’s that.

I’m going to let you know straight up with a trigger warning that this book does have a couple of unhealthy relationships involving sexual abuse. I think it’s an important conversation to have, especially in YA where it’s not every day that we talk about sexual abuse being in a novel that isn’t 100% focused on the victims of the abuse. Not to say that their stories are lessened, but it takes the story from all sides (including the brother of a villain). But I’m also mindful of triggers, so I don’t want to push this book at you if you find these elements to be triggering. As I said, it’s not EVERY part of the book, but it influences most of the characters we follow in the novel.

I feel like I should point out that in no way is the author advocating that abuse is okay. It’s definitely a “this is a thing that has happened in the past and still happens today, and it’s DEFINITELY not okay” message.

You know what’s really awesome? Reading a mixed-genre book that also talks about relationships and whatnot without feeling like it’s all over the place. Melissa de la Cruz hits that nail right on the head. You’ve got the queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was an actual real person, but in this book is somewhat immortal (she was born in the 1100s, but this book is set in the 20th century). On top of that little bit of magic, her right-hand-man-of-sorts has magical powers.

There’s a fun bit of twisted history as seen in this line:
“…The Redcoats and Her Majesty’s magicians had laid waste to the attempted sedition with their superior spell-casting.”

To get back to the whole “relationships” thing, let’s get one thing straight. It’s not all romance and lovey-dove crap. Sure, it’s set during the “season” which is basically when all these 18 year olds propose to one another and get married, and this year includes the princess, Marie. De la cruz shows us relationships that are healthy, but also the ones that are just the opposite. The ones that are sexually and mentally abusive. We actually get to read about two girls who go through similar situations. It would seem repetitive, but it’s actually vital to the plot with Leopold about to marry Marie take the crown.

olan storm 300x139 The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

There are some really great people. There are great guys like Louis and Wolf, and great women who are looking to heal and make their lives better. Oh, and there’s Percy and whats-his-face, the gay couple, and they’re the comedy in the book. Not in a poking-at-their-sexuality way, but just their commentary on everyone else in this book.

We do have Ronan, the American girl, who is kind of the opposite of ALL of these women. I don’t remember exactly if she runs up agains any sort of abuse, but it’s worth mentioning that she freaking starts her own business by the end of the book. LIKE WHAT.

Good dudes: Louis and Wolf -I really wish these boys — gentlemen — were real. Although we don’t get much detail about Louis, we know how much he cares for the women in his life. And Wolf.. Oh Wolf. It’s not that this dude can’t catch a break, but his brother is an asshole (just calling it like it is) and Wolf is such a loving brother. It’s not that he doesn’t know what’s going on, but there’s a great bit at the end when he talks about how he wish he would’ve done something about it. I feel like a lot of people can connect with him on that. Like, that you know someone(s) who have gone through some tough stuff and you just didn’t know how to help them either during or after, and you blame yourself. A lot. I get it. Also, I feel like there’s enough left unknown about Wolf that there could really be a prequel based on his times in America.

Bad dudes: Leopold, Hugh, Lanselin – Oh the binary characters. The good characters are very, very good and the evil characters are very, very evil. There are some characters that you know are doing some harsh things for the good of the many, but then there are people like Leopold that just… He’s bad. And his brother Wolf? Very, very good.

Marcus’s proposal had me rolling. I just… He was so nonchalant about it and the way Ronan reacted like, “Wait… What’s happening right now?!” Oh my goodness. It was just a great moment.

Also, you can’t have a novel involving balls without talking about FASHIOOOON. Seriously, these dresses. I know the exact year is never given, but we are told that the dresses are getting a little looser. There’s a few mentions of corsets (from Isabelle, who’s from France), but other than that it seems like they’re somewhere around the 1910’s, possibly? Definitely pre-World War I.

And last but not least, there were a few quotes before some of the chapters in the book that were so well placed. Included were some by Beyonce “Queen Bey” and of course Lorde, because you can’t talk about royals without mentioning Royals. Well done.

TL;DR – Amazing book that touches on some juicier themes, gives us great stories and characters— although rather binary, and the cover is absolutely fitting for the book.

Ooh check out this pretty…

RC5 300x300 The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la CruzRC2 300x300 The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

four half stars The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz


What does BookTube mean to you?

For me, BookTube is more than a hobby or a part time thing. It’s something that I’m passionate about, as you can see with BookTube News. I love this community and the people in it. There have been quite a few articles, blog posts, and even a panel at London Book Festival on the topic of BookTube, so I wanted to get the people of BookTube to tell me how they view the BookTube community.

So, how do you describe BookTube? When you’re telling your friends what it is, what do you say? How do you feel about the BookTube community?

Book Bloggers International Fall down the rabbit hole of BookTube.

RinceyReads How I Became a BookTuber.

Book Riot’s Beginner’s Guide to BookTube.

Page To Premiere’s 5 reasons why you should be watching BookTube.


April Book Haul!

Books for review (most from publishers):
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins [ Goodreads Group ] [ Live Show May 3 at 7pm EST ]
The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
A Bird on Water Street by Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle by Bob Pflugfelder (Science Bob) and Steve Hockensmith
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Books for funsies (bought/obtained otherwise):
Vitro by Jessica Khoury
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore


Panic by Lauren Oliver Book Review

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

panic 199x300 Panic by Lauren Oliver Book ReviewPanic by Lauren Oliver
AmazonBook DepositoryPublished by HarperTeen on March 4, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 408
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
five stars Panic by Lauren Oliver Book Review
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

This is the kind of book that I picked up with very little expectation. I had read Delirium by Lauren Oliver, with mixed feelings, so I was hoping that Panic would step it up a notch. It definitely lived up to all the hype, including but not limited to the fact that this book was optioned to Universal to be turned into a movie. I can definitely dig it.

Something I really enjoyed about this book was that I felt totally okay in that I didn’t related fully to any particular character. I didn’t feel like they were trying to gain my love, either. Sure, I really do like how these characters were written, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t feel bad or disconnected from the story itself.

As the title would convey, this story is an edge-of-your-seat kind of book. There are moments in between, so it’s not just the challenges. Those moments are so crucial and show how much of a tangled web relationships and life can become.

I have even more to say in my video discussion:


And there will be a live show on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 7pm EST on Polandbananasbooks‘s channel featuring her as well as Katytastic, JesseTheReader, ArielBissett, and I. Catch it!

five stars Panic by Lauren Oliver Book Review