Publisher: Walker Books

Book Review – Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. Gaughen

May 29, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 5 Comments

Book Review – Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. GaughenLady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #2
Published by Walker Childrens on February 11th 2014
Pages: 321
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: Scarlet, Lion Heart

two-half-stars

Scarlet's true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet's love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet's past even she isn't yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman-a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin's cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet's tale will have readers talking once again.

Scarlet series

Book Review – Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen {PurchaseReview}

Someday. Definitely not in this installment though. Good grief, this was DARK. And sick. And just relatively hard to stomach. And here I was hoping to like this one more than the first installment when I actually think I liked this one less.

*spoilers from Scarlet will follow*

Lady Thief opens with Robin Hood suffering through the effects of the torture he had to endure leading him to him developing PTSD. On numerous occasions, Scarlet would wake in the night to find Robin in the throws of an attack, unaware of what he’s doing, but hurting her nonetheless. I understand that Robin isn’t doing any of these things maliciously but maybe sleeping next to him at night isn’t the wisest of choices? And then there’s the fact that Robin isn’t as apologetic as one would hope him to be. There was also the feeling that “love can heal” but Robin was clearly dealing with some serious mental issues at this point that would go beyond “love”. I’m well aware that there weren’t exactly psychologists during this period of time but the whole love heals message and use of PTSD as a plot-point just didn’t sit well with me. When she begins to blame herself for it all is where this one just about lost me completely. Adding to all that, Scarlet then agrees to pretend to be with Gisbourne in an attempt to get an annulment so that she and Robin can finally be together! But of course, Gisbourne is abusive too (the difference is he’s fully aware of what he’s doing) but at this point, Scarlet is transforming in my mind to Sansa and for fucks sake how much shit is this girl going to have to go through?

And since I brought up Game of Thrones, the newly introduced character of Prince John is an exact, spoiled replica of Joffrey.

He’s a horrible, miserable human being but Scarlet is determined to suffer through it all just as long as she can get that annulment. Which, seriously? Thievery is cool. Murder? Sure, why not. But heaven forbid you allow yourself to kiss the love of your life because you just so happened to be forced into marrying a sadist.

Morals. Whatever. Moving on.

Lady Thief is the second in a trilogy and suffers from middle-book-syndrome. The plot doesn’t consist of any forward-moving progression, choosing instead to focus on stuff like pain, torture, pain, and some more pain. Seriously, I don’t understand why Gisbourne was even still alive at this point since they were able to swiftly deal with the sheriff in the last installment. Would have saved everyone a whole lotta torture (and pain) if he just ceased to exist. And alas, that ending failed to hint at any happily ever after in the near future. I enjoyed the continued expansion on Scarlet’s backstory but this poor girl just can’t catch a break. Lion Heart is the final installment and last hope for a HEA… we’ll see if it actually happens.

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Book Review – Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen

May 28, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 8 Comments

Book Review – Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. GaughenScarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
Published by Walker Childrens on June 7th 2012
Pages: 305
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Historical Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Lady Thief, Lion Heart

two-half-stars

Posing as one of Robin Hood's thieves to avoid the evil Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only Big John and Robin Hood know the truth-that the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. It's getting harder to hide as Gisbourne's camp seeks to find Scarlet and drive Robin Hood out of Nottinghamshire.

But Scarlet's instinct for self-preservation is at war with a strong sense of responsibility to the people who took her in when she was on the run, and she finds it's not so easy to turn her back on her band and townspeople. As Gisbourne draws closer to Scarlet and puts innocent lives at risk, she must decide how much the people of Nottinghamshire mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles and temper have the rare power to unsettle Scarlet. Full of exciting action, secrets, and romance, this imaginative retelling of the classic tale will have readers following every move of Robin Hood and band of thieves.

‘I do what I do because I will always believe that no matter how awful life gets for however many of these people, there is something I can do about it. There is something I will do about it.’

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’m a huge fan of Robin Hood tales. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is one of my all-time favorite movies and never fails to give me the swoons. I mean come on, just look at those two.

*cue Bryan Adams*

When I first heard about this twisted retelling, I was a bit hesitant. I expected a love story and (hopefully) an interesting backstory leading up to how Scarlet became a member of Robin and his band of thieves and why she’s posing as a boy in the first place. There was definite potential there but my initial hesitation was dead-on seeing as I did not love this as most have.

In regards to Scarlet’s backstory, I really liked this aspect and somehow managed to not see the twist that was clearly coming from a mile away. But once all is revealed, there were some things that failed to add up for me. Primarily, her speech. She talks like Osha from Game of Thrones, it was ridiculous. It’s highly uneducated and once you realize who and what she actually is it begins to sound incredibly forced. I understand that speaking in such a way served only to put her in less of a spotlight and allows her to blend in with the village folk, however, if she was trying to stay out of the spotlight maybe she shouldn’t have constantly been taking so many highly unnecessary risks? She was constantly putting herself and the band in danger and after the first couple of times, I was ready to kick her out of the band myself. But the fighting was awesome and badass! Except… more things failed to add up. Like where Scarlet picked up those awesome fighting/knife skills. It couldn’t have all been self-preservation and learning on her own. There was zero mention of any of that and there should have been since her past would have never included any knowledge related to fighting/thievery.

And now for the love story. I’m sorry but… it irritated me.

While I’m fully aware that a love story happened in my previously mentioned favorite movie, this love story still managed to come off as completely ill-fitting. There just seemed to be entirely too much going between the Sheriff of Nottingham killing villagers and the new thief taker brought in from London for there to be a legit romance let alone a freaking love triangle. WITH JOHN LITTLE. I could have accepted the romance but the love triangle pushed me overboard. There was also the fact that I just didn’t swoon over these too as much as I would have liked. Then there were lines like this:

“You called me a whore, Rob. You said awful things.”
“Ah,” he said, and his hand took mine again, tight. “Hurting you is the best way I know how to punish myself.

Ha! Change of Robins. But seriously, I don’t even know where to begin with that line.

One last and final issue is the fact that this is a historical novel that failed to feel anything like a historical novel. I missed the detail and the feel of this medieval time period being brought to life. But this is definitely one of the smaller issues I had with this novel.

Scarlet was, unfortunately, a massive disappointment for me. I went into this one with high hopes and maybe that was the problem. It intrigued me enough to continue this series with the hope that it will improve.

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Book Review – The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

July 13, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy NelsonThe Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Published by Walker Books on June 7th 2010
Pages: 368
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to centre stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, with a nearly magical grin. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But the two can't collide without Lennie's world exploding...

“The first thing I notice is the sky, so full of blue and the kind of brilliant white clouds that make you ecstatic to have eyes. Nothing can go wrong under this sky…”

A big thank you to Maja and Lisa for hosting the contest which got me a copy of this book. (The good copy that is diary-esque, with all of Lennie’s handwritten notes that she left all over town, and even a blue band to keep all the pages together.)

Despite the fact that I’ve had this book on my TBR list for quite some time, I’m not sure I would have ever picked it up if it wasn’t staring me in the face on my bookshelf day after day. I’m not big on YA contemporary literature and even less big on books about death and dying. I love when my books make me happy, when they put a smile on my face, take me away from the monotonous day to day life we all live and ones that fill me with all sorts of book magic. Yes, this book is about loss, it’s about death, and it’s about grieving, but it’s also about overcoming everything and realizing that the experience has transformed you. This one definitely had the book magic.

“… if you’re someone who knows the worst thing can happen at any time, aren’t you also someone who knows the best thing can happen at any time too?”

This one makes your heart hurt but somehow manages to make it feel good at the same time. Lennie and her sister Bailey were inseparable until she dies unexpectedly from an arrhythmia. The Sky is Everywhere chronicles the process of her grief and rediscovering who she is without her sister. The process was not simple and it didn’t follow any sort of established pattern. Her grief was messy and chaotic and her actions failed to make any sort of logical sense to me at times but they never made logical sense to Lennie either. Losing her sister destroyed her completely but watching her piece herself back together was most inspiring.

‘I try to fend off the oceanic sadness, but I can’t. It’s such a colossal effort not to be haunted by what’s lost, but to be enchanted by what was.’

The one thing I have been unable to fully grasp is… this is a debut novel? Wow. Jandy Nelson’s writing snuck up on me and hit me with lines that astounded. The vividness of which she was able to portray grief was terribly accurate and has left a huge impression on me. She is definitely an author that I will love to read more from.

‘Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath.’

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