My Rating: 5 Stars
I can’t get enough of the Land of Stories and the adventures of Alex and Connor Bailey!
After the battle, the Masked Man is on the loose. Driven by her need to find and discover the identity and plans of the villain, Alex ends up being thrown off the Fairy Council since no one believes they’re in danger. Together, Connor and Alex discover that the Masked Man is in possession of a potion turns books into portals and that he’s recruiting an army of villains to conquer the Land of Stories. In a race beyond the kingdoms and between worlds, can the twins catch up to the Masked Man and stop him before his plans complete?
In the fourth instalment of The Land of Stories series, emotions run high. The plot is very compelling and engaging, turning and twisting which is great. It’s also very easy to follow and, together with the amazing writing style, I fell in love with new characters and their respective worlds. On the contrary of the other novels, this one starts off with a really bad beginning. Everything goes wrong: Alex is kicked out of the Fairy Council and even her own twin doesn’t believe there is a reason to fear; and the Masked Man reaches out to other classic villains like the Wicked Witch, Captain Hook and the Queen of Hearts. But even so, they manage to hold on to hope and, with a little help of Mother Goose, their motivation.
The characters keep growing in this book and it’s amazing to see, especially with Alex. She goes from child to teenager trying to deal with her growing powers and her unstable emotions while trying to protect the people she cares about. Everyone has moments where they think the world is against them and Alex struggles to both fit into the magical world and still be herself. I was pleasantly surprised to see her chemistry with Arthur; He was able to show Alex that she isn’t the only one that feels the way she does and actually offers advice that comes from the heart and from experience itself. In the end, it was his help that gave Alex the push she needed. Connor is still funny but I have more problems observing his growth as a character. Mother Goose also grew in as a character; she admitted her mistakes and finally has the courage to follow her heart and not the rules of the fairies.
Another great novel by Chris Colfer!
My Rating: 5 Stars
In the sequel to Alice, the Red Queen proves to be a worthy finale for the dark story of Alice and Hatcher.
After escaping the Old City, Alice and Hatcher face the first disappointment: the awaited green fields and the smell of grass and trees are nothing but a desert of ash and dust. On a quest to find Jenny, Hatcher’s daughter, the duo faces a journey filled with obstacles and old curses. From an enchanted forest to unseen creatures, Alice will have to gather all her courage and strength to battle an old evil and save the man she loves from the hands of the Red Queen.
The Red Queen isn’t as dark as the first instalment but it still contains a bit of horror somehow. While in the first novel, the reader is confronted with rape, murder, women trafficking and a lot of dead-body scenes, this one is more of a psychological terror of losing someone that keeps the main character sane. When Alice finds herself having to make her decisions and face cruel environments without Hatcher to protect her, she is forced to grow mentally, accepting herself and her magic. She is genuine and hopeful making her a very likeable character. The Red Queen is a worthy foe even if I have a mixed opinion of her. She is both terrified by the curses she places but also a coward. Even though she has power, she avoids leaving the walls of her castle unless it’s extremely necessary. For me, a terrifying character is the Black King. He’s like a ghost that can see and feel what his victims’ fears and hopes and just play with their minds.
The writing style is very engaging and it’s able to grab the interest and the full attention of readers together with the story-line. I thought at some point that Alice’s journey to actually enter the Red Queen’s palace was a bit too long, but the author managed to create challenges that made a difference, there weren’t just there to fill the pages. The shocking twist at the end made my heart stop, I truly wasn’t expecting that and it was brilliantly thought. I would have like to read more about the what Alice and Hatcher would do next since it ends without much to go on with.
I’m sad that it is only a duology but I’m glad I got to read Alice’s journey.
I highly recommend this collection to all the lovers of the dark Wonderland universe.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Another page-turner! This collection keeps getting better and better, exciting and a bit sad.
After being separated and living in two different worlds, Connor and Alex try to adapt and learn as best as they can without each other. Connor, living in the real world, dedicates himself in writing fairytales and wins the chance to see the Brothers Grimm graves in Berlin. He ends discovering a mysterious clue left behind in one of their unpublished works: a warning about an enemy trapped in time and worlds. Together with his classmate Bree and Mother Goose, Connor will travel far to return to the Land of Stories and stop this new threat. Meanwhile, Alex is a fairy-in-training with few magical attempts turning out right. Can she deal with the pressure of being the next Fairy Godmother and lead the Fairy Council?
The setting is perfect as always and I really enjoyed reading the beautiful descriptions of Berlin, a city I had the pleasure of visiting before. What is really great is that there is always a new part of the Land of Stories that the reader will get acquainted with and secondary characters that we’ve read about in the first novel make a reappearance.
The plot was amazing, very imaginative. The idea of setting the French army from the Napoleon times as a villain and how exactly they end up in the Land of Stories is very well thought and very well executed. An outside enemy from the Otherworld is also a great way to unite the habitants of the magical world and to start a new path, a new era.
The characters continue to grow and it’s very enjoyable to see their transformation throughout the books. Red is still one of my favourite characters, she makes me laugh so much with her comments but I also felt for her when things took an unexpected turn. She is truly a queen at heart and by the end of the book, she grew a bit more. The additions to the story just added more spark and thrill. Bree is very much like Connor: the love for adventure, they both share the ability to see through the lies. Emmerich is sweet and innocent but has the heart of a warrior. He trusts Connor and Bree right from the beginning and jumped into an adventure that he didn’t fully understand. They make a grand team! Alex will always be a heroine for me; the way she takes on her defeats and how she takes control of things when everything gets out of hand is inspiring especially considering her young age.
A very good book just like all the others before it!
My Rating: 5 Stars
This collection is definitely one of my favourites so I finally decided to sit down and write the reviews for the books I’ve so far. The sequel to The Wishing Spell is just as good as the first.
A year after their first adventure in the Land of Stories, the life of Alex and Connor Bailey is as normal as it can possibly get. But peace or boredom isn’t meant to last forever and their world takes a turn for the worse when their mother is kidnapped. Knowing the twins well enough, their grandmother sets a tight security around them to protect them and to avoid their interference. Of course, that doesn’t stop Alex and Connor from finding a way into the Land of Stories and from starting a journey to put an end to the reign of terror of the evil Enchantress.
The style of writing is amazing and very engaging. I could read a certain maturity, it’s like the author grows with the twins. I appreciate the evolution and how the conversations between characters are more mature but at the same time, there is no loss of humour and wittiness.
The setting of the novel is just as colourful and captivating as before and I was glad to explore it in more detail together with the heroes and villains. I took my time to appreciate the villains, their personalities and background stories since they are an essential part of this world and how the plot develops. I’m not sure I should call them villains though because one of the lesson’s Colfer teaches the reader in this sequel is that everyone is both good and evil and no one is evil without a reason. Like in our world, good and evil are part of life and one can’t be without the other much like without fear there would be no courage. Furthermore, I admire the way the author mixes all the fairytales and ends up with the perfect cocktail of magic and storyline.
The storyline follows the same line as the first novel but, for me, it wasn’t predictable what would happen next. I think that in this instalment, the journey is more about relationships and growth than the collection of magical artefacts. Don’t get me wrong, they are important, but I think Colfer wanted to show that in the end, just magic doesn’t cut it, it’s about friendship and trust.
There is a greater character development in this novel. Colfer reimagines the characters that all fairytale lovers know and gave them a unique voice and personality. I particularly like Goldilocks, a complete badass and Red, for her hilarious personality and responses to Goldilocks. Who knew that Little Red Ride Hood could hold such a grudge? Nevertheless, it’s impossible not to like all the characters and really feel for the Enchantress.
A great sequel to a great collection that I can’t recommend highly enough for children and adults alike!
My Rating: 5 Stars
I’ve read this book a while back and finally got around to write its review. Chris Colfer, also known for his character Kurt Hummel in the TV series Glee, revealed himself to be a great writer, not only in his style of writing but also with his imagination.
Alex and Connor Bailey have a very ordinary life: they live with their mother, they go to school and have their own friends. As their birthday approaches, the twins receive a collection of fairy tales stories called “The Land of Stories” given by their grandmother. But not everything is what it seems: when Alex and Connor accidentally fall inside the book, they will come face to face with all the magical characters and kingdoms they grow up to know and love. Stuck in the Land of Stories, the twins have to gather the ingredients for the “The Wishing Spell” to be able to return home, but they aren’t the only ones looking. A famous villain escaped prison and she’s ready to take her revenge. Alex and Connor start a journey through the fairy-tale land, racing against time to return home, making new friends, enemies and discovering secrets that will change their lives forever.
Being a fan of fairy tales as I think many readers are as well, I completely fell in love with this world. This universe of the Land of Stories is full of colour and it’s exactly like I imagined it when I was younger. But like the original stories, it’s not all good. I really enjoyed the structure and the construction of this world, and the detail of the map in the beginning of the book is just perfect to help create a mental image of this magical place. The novel takes place after the “happily ever after” and it’s incredible how Colfer managed to introduce the “after”. What happened to the princes and princesses? What were the consequences of the sleeping curse from the tale of Sleeping Beauty? Absolutely brilliant! It made me wish that I was right there with Alex and Connor; I never wanted the book to end.
The style of writing is engaging, witty and sometimes comical, which works perfectly for me. The storyline is solid and very entertaining; not a single boring moment! The reader is introduced to characters that we all know very well, and they are all very well developed; they have their own personality and their own voice and together they create this amazing and unique world where magic rules. A detail that I particularly enjoyed is that the princesses aren’t at all damsels in distress: they are feminine, compassionate, but they also have a unique strength of character that makes them not just symbols of beauty but also of leadership.
The unique style of Chris Colfer also showed in the way he presented valuable lessons in the story. The messages are presented in crucial moments of the story; they are simple to understand and essential for children to learn and for adults to remember. For example: always be yourself, don’t let anyone change you into something you are not; no one is born evil, circumstances of life changed them and their vision of the world; never judge someone based on their appearance, you don’t know the trials they went through. These are just a few, there are plenty more.
A magical experience and a novel that brings back memories and emotions from childhood! I can’t recommend this book enough!
My Rating: 5 Stars
T. Rae Mitchell did it again! After the first novel ended in such a shocking way, I was glad to see the continuation of a great debut!
After barely escaping the book of fables, Fate is back in her world. Desperately wanting to return and help Finn, who is still trapped within the book, Fate will do anything to find her way back. When she is offered the position of guardian of the Keep, Fate takes on the responsibility of protecting the space station, located across the universe, that contains very powerful and dangerous mythical creatures and magical artefacts. Travelling to a new world, Fate must face her destiny, her new unbreakable oath with the Keep and discover the strength to save the people she loves. A new enemy awakens nothing will ever be the same.
The plot is nicely developed and it grabs the reader right from the beginning. There is a lot of action, mystery and drama going on, enough to keep me glued to the pages and to make my breathing stop at times. I was surprised with the sci-fi approach in this instalment, it took the adventure a bit further than I was expecting. Between the space station, spaceships, aliens, advanced-technology and guns I felt like I lost a bit of the connection with the story. I had this cosy feeling with the book of fables and with outer space I didn’t feel it at all. Still, it was an enjoyable twist to the first novel.
Mitchell did a great job creating this new magical world. The setting is amazing and definitely brings things to another level, I felt the thrill while reading. It’s easy to see her deep knowledge and passion of myths and legends and the style of writing is still as beautiful and captivating as in the first novel. The dialogues are brilliant, witty and funny, a joy to read.
The introduction of new characters was exciting and it's nice to see how they all have their roles in the story, there are no loose ends, everyone fits into the plot perfectly. I really enjoyed how the real and the fantastic both come together when the characters from both realities meet. I did miss Finn though and his interactions with Fate, I really enjoy them as a couple.
Another ending that left me hungry for more! Can’t wait to read the sequel Fate’s War and see what other adventures await Fate and her friends.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Original Mix Media Inc, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
I’m fully aware that I’m reading this collection backwards, but I honestly say that it doesn’t make a difference to me. These tiny books are a treasure and it’s a true pleasure to read them no matter in which order I receive them. Beauty Within is just as good as Poor Unfortunately Souls and I would give it more stars if I could.
You think you know the story of the selfish, arrogant and proud prince that got cursed to live as a beast until he found true love and has loved in return? Think again. In this novel, you will have a glimpse at the past of a prince that is the fruit of privilege, richness but also loneliness and superficiality.
I fell completely in love with this perspective of the story of the Beast. The story-line is very well-developed and the style of writing is as beautiful as always. I really felt like I got to know Beast a bit better and to understand him in a level that the Disney version didn’t allow me to. It’s different, powerful and a bit scary. I couldn’t imagine that Miss Valentino could come up with such a version of the punishment that Prince Adam goes through before the curse is complete. I will not give any spoilers, but I can tell you the punishment is slow, painful and has a psychological side to it that is both perfect and a bit cruel. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s very efficient.
Like I wrote on my previous review of “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, villains aren’t born evil; there are circumstances outside their control, the environment they spend their childhoods in that shape who they become in the future. In the real world, we do bad choices and chose wrong paths but in the end we learn from our mistakes and just like the Beast, the thing we fear the most is unjust and cruel judgement.
A great book that I highly recommend to all the fairytale-fans out there!
My Rating: 5 Stars
Engaging, addictive and amazingly written, Reckless had me glued to its pages! I’ve read Inkheart a few times and I can’t help but simply fall in love all over again with the writings of Cornelia Funke.
Once upon a time, a young boy named Jacob discovers this alternative world where he may escape his troubled past. For years he jumps back and forth between worlds becoming a master in finding lost enchanted objects until that faithful day, the day his little brother Will follows him into this magic world. But appearances are deceiving: this world is a very dark and dangerous place where happy endings aren’t waiting in the end of the story. When Will is viciously attacked, Jacob races to save his brother life before he becomes a blood-thirsty monster with skin made of stone.
I can’t get enough of the dark-fairytale world, Mirrorworld. It’s scary, creepy and it is really the worse that can happen in the stories that are supposed to end with “and they lived happily ever after”. It reveals the true meaning of the stories that we all know so well, in my opinion. There are new characters, new monsters but at the same time there are also those beloved characters from Grimm Fairytales, so it creates some familiarity.
The style of writing is amazing. I would have read it in German if I knew the language better, but with the English translation I still got to understand and really feel the story.
About the characters, Jacob is definitely the type of character that I enjoy reading about. He demonstrates his love and worry through actions and not words and although sometimes it seems like he doesn’t care at all, his actions show the bravery one needs to have while facing adversity. He is a great anti-hero with all the qualities and flaws that come with the title. However, Will is the opposite of his brother, and I think the intention was to have on one side the boy that suffered through hard times and tries not to grow attached to people, whereas on the other side, the young, innocent, untainted boy that just wants his brother’s attention. They complete each other perfectly and together they have this amazing brotherly bond that I couldn’t get enough of.
An amazing book that I will definitely re-read soon and that I recommend to all the fans of a dark world of tales!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Breathing Books, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
It seems I started in the middle with this series, but I regret nothing. Little Mermaid is one of all-time favourite Disney film and Ursula definitely one of the best villains, so of course this book is a must-have! The best part? It wasn’t disappointing, quite the opposite: unpredictable, heartfelt and very addictive!
This novel tells the story of Ursula, the most feared sea witch of all time and her journey to becoming the villain so known and terrifying in the sea world. Haunted by her past, fuelled by hatred you’ll take a ride to the depths of the witch's' heart and beware, it’s a wild ride.
I loved this novel! It was amazing to see her story from the beginning and how it intertwines with the story of Ariel and scenes from the film; To read “Poor Unfortunate Souls” while reading Ursula’s line of thought gave me goosebumps! This story gives depth to the villain and proves that no one is born evil. Being left in a state of fear, loneliness and rejection, turned Ursula to the path of hatred; so strong that she has no chance at redemption.
I couldn’t help but feel for her and understand why she is the way she is. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but she has one or two good reasons to be the way she is and to seek revenge, even if I know that it isn’t the answer to the problem. I also could help but wish that the story ended differently and that her fate wasn’t the one we’re all familiar with.
My first read by Ms Serena Valentino and it’s my pleasure to highly recommend this book to any Disney villain fans out there! Can’t wait for the next volumes to arrive!
My Rating: 5 Stars
This book was awesome. No other way to put it. I don’t even know how I only heard about these series now and I will definitely get my hands on a paperback version of both instalments.
The story starts with the main character Evelyn and her search for gifted people who are struggling with their powers or simply hiding them out of fear. At the same time, she needs to make sure that she gets to them before the Society of Aberrations does. It’s not a group one should trust… right? With her parents back, Evelyn has to protect herself in two fronts, from the Society and her parent’s intent to marry her off.
I fell in love with this book even though I didn’t have the fortune of reading the first volume These Vicious Masks. It is fast-paced, pack with action, not a dull moment in sight. Intrigue at every corner, I was sitting at the edge of my seat in anticipation. I really couldn’t guess who to trust or to be suspensions of, even though most of the characters are simply amazing. Twists and unexpected events would make anyone hold their breaths.
The time-period is simply perfect and definitely one of my all-time favourites. The colours, the dash of steampunk, the language and the manners are so beautifully described I got goosebumps. The style of writing is perfect, words feel like silk when I read them in my mind, it’s breathtaking and hypnotic. Oh, and did I mention highly-addictive?
Evelyn is an amazing character and she definitely became one of my all-time favourites. She is one badass lady, with a strong character, spirit and smart mind. She is the picture of independence, the complete opposite of what society requires of a woman in that period. She is the proof that we can break free of society’s rules and how we can break them in style and with grace. Despite everything though, she still feels the need to make her parents proud, and does her best to please them even if she doesn’t agree with their traditional views and beliefs. That’s another thing this character is great: even coming from a family with high social status, Evelyn is kind and treats everybody equally and she truly wants to make a difference in the world, no matter the cost. Her powers are incredible, so, another reason I like her, of course.
Utterly brilliant is the only way to describe this amazing novel. I will be ordering the first volume and the second one for good measure because this is definitely a series worth following and having in the bookshelf!
I want to thank Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this book tours in exchange for an honest review.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.