Because You Love to Hate Me Blog Tour: Marissa Meyer and Zoë Herdt (Excerpt+Mini Review+Giveaway)

by Marissa Meyer
Published by Bloomsbury Genres: Adventure, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, Magic, Retelling, Young Adult

Welcome to the Because You Love to Hate Me blog tour! Today is my stop on the tour and I am super excited to share with you an excerpt of Marissa Meyer’s story The Sea Witch (story promoting by booktuber Zoë Herdt). Make sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post for your chance to win your  very own copy of Because You Love to Hate Me and also to view the other stops on the tour (each featuring a different story/author).

Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Edited by: Ameriie
Authors: Renee AhdiehSoman ChainaniSusan DennardSarah EnniMarissa MeyerCindy PonVictoria SchwabSamantha ShannonAdam SilveraAndrew SmithApril Genevieve TucholkeNicola YoonSasha AlsbergBenjamin AldersonWhitney AtkinsonTina BurkeCatriona FeeneyZoë HerdtSamantha LaneSophia LeeRaeleen LemayRegan PerusseChristine RiccioSteph SinclairJesse GeorgeKat O’Keeffe
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 320
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound
 

SYNOPSIS:

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

 

EXCERPT : The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer / Zoë Herdt:

The razor-sharp barnacles clawed at my fingertips as I strained to wrench them free of the rotting wood. I cursed them repeatedly as I worked, not having known the depths of my hatred for barnacles until this moment. Vicious, stubborn little parasites. Vile, thankless cadgers.

It wasn’t long before I was also cursing my own feeble muscles and long, ink-black hair that wouldn’t stop swimming in front of my face and obscuring my vision. Another barnacle sliced into my palm and I let out a scream of frustration. Grabbing the whale-bone knife from my sack, I lifted the blade over my shoulder with every intention of hacking the nasty creatures to pieces, but I resisted the temptation long enough for the fury to pass. My heart was still thumping, but reason began to return. I needed the barnacles intact or this wouldn’t work. I needed them whole.

I drew in a mouthful of salt water, swished it angrily around my cheeks, then forced it out through my teeth. My tail flicked against the side of the long-drowned ship, making a hollow drumming sound that matched my pulse. Eyeing the barnacles, I resolved that I would not be deterred. They were the last ingredient I needed, and I would have them, no matter if they left my fingertips shredded and scarred. After all, what was this temporary pain to a lifetime of bliss?

Shoving my drifting hair out of my face, I returned to my work, digging the point of the dagger around the barnacles’ edges. I leveraged it against the wood, prying and grunting. The wood began to crumble and I grasped the edge of a waterlogged plank and pulled hard, bracing my tail against the ship’s side. It creaked and groaned and finally released, just as a particularly cruel barnacle sliced through the pad of my thumb. I yanked my hand away with a snarl. Blood blossomed like pearls on my skin before dispersing in the dark water.

“That’s it,” I growled, stabbing at the traitorous barnacle. With a pop, it dislodged and sank down toward the ocean floor. It wasn’t as satisfying a death as I would have hoped, but no matter. I had what I’d come for.

Opening the sack that bobbed on my shoulder, I stashed the splintered plank of barnacle-infested wood inside. Twenty live barnacles, the spell demanded. I had twice that, but I wanted to be sure I had plenty, in case something went wrong and I had to start over. I’d never tried such a complicated spell before, nor had I ever so badly wanted one to work. Needed one to work.

That left only one more ingredient to gather: three silver scales taken from the tail of the merman I wished to fall in love with me.

I still wasn’t sure how I would get close enough to Prince Lorindel to cut three scales from his tail, but the royal concert was tonight and he was sure to be there. Surrounded by his horrid entourage, no doubt, but they couldn’t spend the entire evening at his side. And I only had to get close enough for a moment.

Three scales. Three insignificant little scales, and by this time tomorrow, Lorindel would be mine.

 

MINI-REVIEW for The Sea Witch:

The Sea Witch written by Marissa Meyer (prompted by booktuber Zoë Herdt) is perfection. I wanted it to be a whole book and not just a few short pages. From the first sentence you are completely drawn in by Marissa Meyer’s descriptive and lively writing. I love the Little Mermaid story, and it was fascinating to read the story through the “sea witch’s” eyes.

Re-imagining such a famous and popular fairy tale while making it completely new must have been quite a challenge, but Marissa Meyer does this beautifully. While reading it, I could see/imagine where some of her inspiration came from be it folklore, myth, or even Disney. Yet, the tale remained entirely her own. As did the very distinctive voice of the “Sea Witch” herself.  

I highly recommend picking up this wonderful anthology of  re-imagined fairy tales through  the eyes of the “villains”. Expect the unexpected, and beware of potentially “falling” for the villains/changing your loyalties. 

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win a copy of Because You Love to Hate Me! The novel will be sent by the publisher. Best of Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FOLLOW THE TOUR:

Thank you to Bloomsbury Books for providing me with an advance peek at this fantastic anthology.  As well as for sending me a gorgeous finished copy in return for my participation in the tour/review.

#VILLAINISBAE

Book Blog Tour and Review: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

Published by Georgia McBride Media Group, Month9Books Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
four-stars

TOWS Banner

Welcome to the There Once Were Stars Book tour hosted by Hannah from The Irish Banana Review.

ABOUT THERE ONCE WERE STARS:

There Once Were Stars Cover

Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of her dome. Now Nat wants answers. What else might her government be hiding from the good and loyal people of Dome 1618?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

 

 

MY REVIEW:

There Once Were Stars is set during a time where people live in domes because the outside world had to be bombed in order to destroy a virus that threatened all of humanity. The heroine of our story Natalia Greyes is about to turn eighteen and lives in Dome 1618 with her grandparents. Her parents, who were scientists studying the environment and trying to discover if it was safe to live outside the domes died of radiation while on a mission outside of the domes, or so she has been told. One day while in the Outer Forest sitting in an old hollowed out tree Nat falls asleep and when she awakens she sees two strangers outside of the dome and after one of them gets taken in by the Order (their government/police) everything starts to change.

I haven’t read a dystopian book in quite a while, and felt a little burnt out on the whole genre, but this book definitely changed that feeling for me. The world building was strong and I could “see” everything that was described. It was interesting to read about all the various rules and how everything worked in this society. It’s clear that the government is up to something fishy and I couldn’t wait to find out what. The pacing of the story was fast, and it kept me turning the pages and the author did a good job with building up the mystery of what’s happening outside and inside of the dome.

All the characters were pretty likable, but Nat was my favorite. I love that she questions things and doesn’t just accept what people tell her. I like that she wasn’t afraid to break the rules in the pursuit of the truth. I was a bit put off by the love triangle going on throughout the book, but I tried to not think too much about it because there were other more pressing things to focus on such as what really happened to Nat’s parents, and what secrets the government is keeping from everyone. Not to mention the possibility that the “INFECTED” (people who were infected by the virus and turned into “zombie” like creatures that attack anything that moves) might have somehow survived all the heavy bombing after the domes were built, and managed to survive the radiation that followed too. 

Overall I think the author did a fantastic job creating a believable dystopian world, building intrigue and captivating the reader with her story. I haven’t been this into a dystopian book since the Hunger Games and that is saying something. I am already eagerly awaiting the next book in the trilogy and would highly recommend this one to anyone who loves YA dystopian books. Fans of The 100, Under the Dome, Divergent, Wayward Pines, or The Giver should be quite interested in picking up this book and giving it a try.

Thank you to Hannah from The Irish Banana Review (@Irish_Banana) and Month9Books for providing me with an e-copy of the book in return for an honest review.

 

ABOUT MELANIE MCFARLANE:

Melanie McFarlane

Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie McFarlane jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie focuses her powers on writing young adult stories to keep the rest of the world up reading all night.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

GIVEAWAY (5 E-Book Copies US ONLY)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to visit the other stops on the tour for Mood Boards, Reviews, Q&A, etc. See the links below…

FOLLOW THE TOUR

WEEK 1:

6/9: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Review

6/11: The Plot Bunny – Review

WEEK 2:

6/13: Arctic Books – Top 10

6/14: Quite the Novel Idea – Review 

6/15: The Cover Contessa – Guest Post

6/16: Cosying Up With Books – Review

6/18: Wandering Bark Books – Review

four-stars

Book Review: Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

Book Review: Tangled Webs by Lee BrossTangled Webs (Tangled Webs, #1) by Lee Bross
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 23rd 2015
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Goodreads
one-star

London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.
Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.
But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.
Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?

I love books set in time periods I wish I could have lived in, especially just to wear the pretty dresses. I heard that this book had masked balls, a badass spy and blackmail. It sounded fun and exciting and I decided to give it a chance. Unfortunately, I did not love this story.

From reading the synopsis, I was expecting a really strong, determined and brave heroine in Lady A/Arista, but she wasn’t really any of those things. Her job was to blackmail the nobility, but she didn’t want any part of it. Lady A/Arista is suppose to be an accomplished and hardened spy, who is witty, clever and a skillful blackmailer, but throughout the book she is overwhelmed by her feelings. Who ever heard of a good spy/blackmailer crying all the time? Or swooning over her crush? (Also…really? Arista? As in Aristocrat? Did anyone else who read this think this name was ridiculous?).

Arista keeps getting close to the people she is suppose to be spying/blackmailing. She keeps revealing her weaknesses and falling into the same traps over and over again. If I were her boss I would have fired her a long time ago (Not that her boss deserves any sympathy…he’s a nasty piece of work). What I mean is that this girl just has no “street smarts” or common sense, yet she was apparently “brought up” on the streets. It’s amazing she has survived up to the ripe old age of 17, because whoever was training her in the school of hard knocks clearly didn’t do a very good job.

Then there is the whole falling into “instant love” plotline. On her first mission she barely can control herself from swooning at Grae’s feet. I mean “COME ON!” what are you trying to teach all the young girls out there with these constant instant love type of storylines authors? The minute this dark, and handsome stranger Grae appears Arista is all in heads over heels in love with him. She even forgets all about her previous crush on her fellow orphan and thief Nic. Nic who she has known all her life, and has helped and protected her. He just gets thrown to the sides because in comes Grae with his mysterious aura and dazzling smile.

There are so many moments in this story that instead of actually doing her job, or more importantly fighting for her life, she is more focused on her attraction for a guy. Even when she is almost discovered to be the spy she is focused on her attraction to a guy. Aside from her constant “boy-craziness” she is also constantly sobbing, blushing, falling into tears, and that is not what I wanted from this character. I wanted her to be strong, to be her own person, to actually have some common sense. I wanted to cheer for her, but instead I found myself wanting her to just be discovered already because I couldn’t take her lack of common sense, or her stupidity any longer.

I was not impressed by Tangled Webs. It could have been a really great outlet to promote some healthy girl power…but no. Instead we are left with a confused, boy obsessed, weak heroine. Also the other characters in the book like Nic, Grae, Becky and Wild also just seem to have “walk on” rolls and only come around when dialogue is needed. All the characters don’t have much depth to them, or any real development of actual personalities.

I don’t mind reading something cheesy or even fluffy, but this mainly just angered me. I finished it because I was hoping that maybe Arista would grow as a character and have the guts to actually escape her life of crime and maybe live a normal life. There is at least 2 other books coming in this series, I hope they get better. However, I won’t be returning to this story, or this character again.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

one-star

Book Review: Valiant by Sarah McGuire

Book Review: Valiant by Sarah McGuireValiant by Sarah McGuire
Published by Egmont USA on April 28th 2015
Genres: Adventure, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Goodreads
five-stars

Saville despises the bolts of velvet and silk that her father loves- he's always prized them more than he's ever loved her. Yet when he's struck ill, she'll do anything to survive, even donning boys' clothes and begging a commission to sew for the king.
Piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants led by a man who cannot be defeated. And they're marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. But Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.
Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. She tricks them into leaving, but tales of the daring tailor's triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And mere stories won't deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.
Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.

I first heard about Valiant through a tweet I saw on Twitter. I loved the drawing they had on the cover, and I decided to do a little digging to find out more about it. I learned that it was a fairy tale retelling with a gender bending twist, about a girl named Saville who is the daughter of a tailor. I love fairy tales, I love reading well written retellings of fairy tales, and I also enjoy books that allow me to “escape” into a whole other world. I decided I just had to have this book in my life.  I was lucky enough to be provided with an E-ARC by NetGalley in return for an honest (slightly late…sorry!) review of it.

Valiant is a story about a young girl named Saville, who has to disguise herself as a boy in order to take on commissions from the king when her father gets sick. Saville’s father is just an awful specimen of a human (I really hated his character). No matter how hard Saville tried to win his love, she just has no luck. Even so, she keeps on trying and she still cares for him very much. Saville kind, brave, determined and clever. (Some really wonderful traits to demonstrate, especially for younger readers…it really gives them a hero worth looking up to).

When invading giants (and the mad Duke) threaten to take over the country Saville finds herself standing up to them and saving the whole kingdom. She did have help from  her love interest Galen (the king’s cousin), but don’t expect this to be the typical fall “head over heels” type of romance plot. This is a slow burn type of romance, it’s lovely because they both compliment each other and support each other. It’s beautiful to watch them fall in love slowly.

There were a few times that it all seemed a bit light and “young”, but there are some very intense moments and some real depth to the story too. Don’t be fooled into thinking that only Middle Graders would enjoy this fantastic story. The author does a wonderful job in keeping you “hooked” and on the edge of your seat (even if the beginning is a bit slow…keep reading…it get’s exciting pretty fast). It swept me away once I really focused on reading it, and  I simply could not put it down. I really loved this story, and it’s definitely everything one could hope for in a fairy tale and a really brilliant retelling.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

five-stars

Book Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Book Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys DaytonSeeker (Seeker, #1) by Arwen Elys Dayton
Published by Delacorte Press on February 10th 2015
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Goodreads
two-stars

The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.
As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.
And she’ll be with the boy she loves–who’s also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.
Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it’s too late to walk away.

I received this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I was really excited when I was approved to be one of the first people to read Seeker, but to be honest it took me a very long time to finish it. I felt like it read extremely slow for about at least 70% of the book. Once I got past all that, it did start to go more smoothly, but the story just did not do it for me. I really wish  I could have liked it more, especially because I really wanted a good new epic/fantasy type of series to start reading.

Lots of people keep referring to this book as Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games, but it’s really like them not it at all. It’s different and has its own unique signature, but unfortunately, the story dragged, the characters were not developed well and some of the stuff going on in the storyline just made absolutely no sense. I understand it’s fantasy, but even fantasy needs to have explanations.

Let’s get to the story itself. There are three primary characters (trainees): Quin, Shinobu, and John (seriously…John? Everyone else gets a cool name and this one just get’s stuck with John). They are all in training to become “Seekers” (which BTW…you don’t get a clear explanation of what a “Seeker” really is for way too long). Technically a “Seeker” is a position of honor. You are meant to defend the weak. Of course, these three characters are sort of in a love triangle (just seems over done and too expected). Quin and John are in sort of a secret relationship and Shinobu (a distant cousin of Quin’s) has feelings for Quin.

As the chapters slowly go by Shinobu and Quin discover the “truth” about what being a “Seeker” means (though the reader does not really get to know what that horrible “truth” is…WTF???) Where is this vital piece of information? Why is it missing?

The whole story between John and Quin is just odd. At one point he is trying to find her so that she can show him how to use the athame (a weapon only Seekers have the ability to wield). He even has other people trying to find her and actually attacking her in order to restrain her. It all seems very strange and I was confused. Pretty much anytime Quin and John were together felt awkward and creepy to me. Quin wants nothing to do with her “ power” to wield the athame. She loses her memory for a time, and eventually she starts to stand up and fight/use her abilities, but the reader at this point is still not quite sure what she is fighting for or against. It’s how the whole book felt like. You had no idea what was really going on, or why. There was no sense of where, what, when or why. You would have people training with swords, but later one there would be guns involved in the fighting…what was the point of the sword training ? It seems like the story is set in the past, but then currently technology would appear. The story goes from places like Scotland and Hong Kong but you have no real idea of how you got there and time spans were just completely lost.

The book definitely had its moments and as I mentioned before it had a certain uniqueness about it. I hope that the sequel is a little better planned out and hopefully it will answer all the questions that were left unanswered.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

two-stars