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

YA Book Review: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

YA Book Review: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund HodgeBright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled, #1) by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 27th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Goodreads
five-stars

When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.
The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.
Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.
Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.
Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . . .

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire completely blew me away, especially since I was feeling a bit iffy regarding the whole idea of a Romeo and Juliet retelling. I was not expecting to love it as much as I did, but this novel really surprised me and exceeded my expectations. I have not read any of the author’s previous books (I know…SHAME!) but this deliciously bloody story has me even more convinced now that I need to amend this error asap.

Let me start by discussing the phenomenal world building in this novel. Hodge really does an amazing job setting up an intricate world. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire takes place in Viyara the last surviving city that sits behind an enchanted magical wall ( yes…kind of like The Wall in the North in Game of Thrones…only no Jon Snow).

the wall

The city is divided into two parts The Upper city (where the more “upstanding” citizens live) and the Lower city (some shady stuff happens here) . The citizens  of this city are the last remaining humans since the arrival of the mysterious fog called “the Ruining” that over took the world causing all humans to die. Once a person dies they become “revenants” if their body is not burned within a certain amount of time a.k.a the walking dead/white walkers.

white walkers

The city is protected from these threats by a wall that has been enchanted by The Sisters of the Thorn but this protection has a price, a blood magic. By blood magic, I don’t just mean the day to day penance of blood letting but actual human sacrifice. The “Great Offering” day is celebrated like any regular festival  day (it used to only need to happen every 7 years, but now it occurs every 6 months and soon less). During the Great Offering (while the entire city watches) a human sacrifice is presented to the High Priestess for the ritualistic blood letting at the grand court in the center of Viyara. The Great Offering sacrificial human is supplied in turns by one of the three main clans, the old Viyaran royal family “the Exalted”, the fair skinned and black haired “Mahyanai”, and mask wearing “Catresou”.

sot

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire is told through the point of views of Runajo, Juliet, Paris and Romeo.  I was expecting this to be a bit too “ooey-gooey” with the romance, but I was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t turn out to be oozing with amorous notions. There are a few flashbacks between Romeo and Juliet, but it was not the priority point in the novel.  One of my favorite characters is Runajo (of the Mahyanai clan). She is a novice in the order of the Sisters of the Thorn and helps weave the enchantments that keep the wall holding strong. She is loyal, devoted and completely obsessed with regaining the knowledge hidden in the scrolls of the Sunken library (which is crawling with revenants and even reapers…evil/killer creatures created by Death). Runajo wants to keep her city safe and she fears that soon they will all be dead if the wall keeps requiring more and more blood, more and more often.

My other favorite was Lady Juliet. She was not the typical lady, but has been chosen since birth to be the arms of justice(the Juliet) for her clan the Catresou. Basically she is their vicious assassin and will kill anyone who has spilled her clan’s blood (like a more sane River from Firefly). I love how devoted she is to her destiny, and that she doesn’t fall in love with Romeo because he sweet talks her. She chooses to love him, because he can see past her being the Juliet . Some of the scenes when Lady Juliet is in action as The Juliet were pretty cool. I also really enjoyed watching her friendship grow with Runajo (but I won’t say more, because SPOILERS).

juliet

Romeo and Paris were okay (even comedic at times), but it seemed like they got into more trouble than anything else. However, it was still nice to see their own friendship bloom from what started out as distrust and hate. I know I mentioned revenants (zombies) but just to clarify this isn’t a zombie book…for now at least. The revenants are being brought back by a mysterious Master Necromancer (Yes…I know…queue the voodoo music) who is someone within the walls of the city that wishes to cause the destruction of everything and everyone. It is this evil that Runajo, Juliet, Romeo and Paris are trying to discover and expose before it is too late.

There is A LOT of things happening in Bright Smoke, Cold Fire and some might find it a bit much, but if you take your time and let the story develop you won’t be disappointed. The start is a tiny bit slow, but once it gets going you are in for one hell of a twisted ride.  I love Hodge’s detailed descriptions that made the story come to life for me. I appreciate Hodge’s imaginative and unique take on this already tragic tale of woe, making it actually bloodier than the original. The ending of Bright Smoke, Cold Fire did seem a bit rushed (maybe it was just my ARC version that still needed to be edited and finessed) because when I finished  I was like…WHAT? I need more! Thankfully, there is a sequel in the works and I really can’t wait to see how it all turns out (hopefully, it will be a bloody spectacle of awesomeness).

i want more

I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of dark fantasy with hints of mystical creatures and twisted story lines. To any fan of Romeo and Juliet and of Hodge. To anyone who isn’t a typical fantasy lover, but who does enjoy tales that start to merge more towards horror or paranormal. Basically to anyone who loves a novel with fantastic world building, well developed characters and strong female leads.

Thank you to Balzer + Bray/HaperCollins and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced reading copy in return for an honest review.

five-stars

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterBlue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on October 21st 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 391
Goodreads
five-stars

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.
The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.
Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel.

If you haven’t read the first two books…STOP HERE. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The book begins right where we left off, or at least close enough. The boys (Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah) along with Blue Sargent are still on the hunt for the lost king Glendower. Blue’s mother is still missing. The Gray man’s ex-boss Greenmantle is now in Henrietta seeking his revenge on the Gray man and all he holds dear.

Like the first two books that came before, this one does not disappoint. If anything it leaves you with the WTF??? and looking for the rest of the pages because Maggie did not just stop writing and leave us with this crazy OMG,OMG, OMG  cliffhanger….but yes…yes she does. The magic and wonder are still there. The sweetness that is Noah is still there, ever more endearing, and so very sad. Please Maggie let something nice happen to Noah in the next book. Pretty please with sugar on top?

And let me just say you will laugh, and yell and cry…possibly all at once at some point while reading this book, and the previous two as well.

Simply put it was brilliant! As magical and whimsical as I expected it to be and more.  I don’t think I am yet able to put down in words how much I have fallen in love with this series. The fact that I am deeply devoted to every single character in the series says wonders. Maggie Stiefvater has developed them fully and they each have their own story and background. I just love that!

(tiny Spoiler ahead about a scene from the book)

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My newest obsession is Ronan and Adam…not sure where she is going with them, but how sweet was it that Ronan not only made Adam a mix tape but also left hand cream for Adam’s chapped hands on the seat of Adam’s car? It was freaking ADORABLE, yup…that is what it was.

Then of course there is the secret phone calls between Blue and Gansey, and god I hope that the prophecy about what will happen to Blue’s true love if she kisses him does not come to pass, because I will be so very heartbroken about it.

If you haven’t read this series yet….GO DO IT NOW! 🙂

I leave you with …

“Squash one, Squash two, Squash three….”

Do you plan on reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue? Have you finished it already? Share with us what you thought of it, or let’s just fangirl/boy together over The Raven Cycle series together.

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

five-stars