Midweek Mini Reviews #10

The Key to Everything by Paula Stokes

I love novels that feature travel in them, however I can be rather picky when it comes to the ones I actually end up liking. Fortunately, I rather enjoyed Paula Stokes’ The Key to Everything. Since The Key to Everything is categorized as “New Adult” this made the characters even more relatable to me since they are closer to my age than the teens in YA novels are. I also loved the fact that Oakland and Morgan are Psychology graduates as that’s what I studied during my undergraduate as well. The whole joke about Oakland and Morgan analyzing the boys (because they’re studying psychology) has been said to me on numerous occasions as well when I went abroad as a student. And while it was a bit frustrating to see how Oakland behaved at times, I did appreciate the positive female friendships (there’s not much “drama” between the girls) and I was glad that Morgan was there to talk some sense in Oakland when she went too far. The Key to Everything is a great read that is sure to inspire some serious wanderlust, but more than that I love how it portrays the unexpected friendships and relationships that can form when you take the risk and put yourself out there. And while it’s not always the case, it’s was nice to see that the bonds the girls form during their trip end up lasting when they return to the “real world”. Slightly predictable yet also unique this was one book I loved throughout.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa De La Cruz’s Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe has made many changes to the classic novel. The Bennets’ are now brothers instead of sisters, Bingley is a gay actor, and Darcy is an independent, modern woman who had to make her own fortune after she was “disowned” by her parents. What I didn’t like about this retelling was how Darcy was made out to be a selfish, snobby and stuck up person by almost everyone. As readers we get to see the story from Darcy’s point of view, but even from her actions while she’s far from perfect she truly isn’t that horrible or even judgmental of a person compared to some of the other characters. Which is why I felt her “change” was a bit excessive since we didn’t get to see how she previously treated her assistant and it’s not as if she abused Millie. I was glad when her best friend, Bingley finally assured her that she wasn’t the awful person that everyone made her out to be just because she was the only one of them to leave and make it on her own. As for the character of “Luke Bennet” (this version’s “Elizabeth Bennet”), I wish we got to know him more because his character came off as kind of bland. Other than that Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe was a sweet spin on the Pride and Prejudice story and would make for a nice quick holiday read. And if you’d rather watch the movie, then you’re in luck as Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe is in the process of becoming a Hallmark movie!

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.



Book Review | The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz
Advance Reader Copy, 362 pages
Publication date:
April 1st 2014
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

While I’m not usually a fan of the fantasy genre in fiction, I do love historical fiction especially ones with strong female characters. In her latest book, The Ring & the Crown, Melissa de la Cruz has done an amazing job of mixing historical fiction with magical elements. The Ring & the Crown was such a captivating read from start to finish.

One of the things I loved about this book was that the story was that it was mostly told from the point of view of the female characters. This allowed me to feel sympathy for characters that I otherwise would hate such as Ronan, the social climbing American and Isabelle of Orleans who is willing to do anything to get back her lover who has become betrothed to Princess Marie-Victoria. As you can imagine there are a lot of characters in this book but surprisingly, it worked well for the story. Each of the characters’ voices were so distinct that there were never any confusion or mix up. I ended up loving all of the narrators, and couldn’t help but root for each and every one of them. Melissa de la Cruz does an excellent job of connecting each of her characters with one another; in particular, I truly enjoyed the relationship between Princess Marie-Victoria and Aelwyn Myrddyn who are the main players in this book as well as the friendship between Marie-Victoria and Wolfgang.

Although The Ring & the Crown is part fantasy, I felt it was especially accurate in how it portrayed the harsh realities and the fact that in real life there is no perfect happy ending for princes and princesses back then unlike the princes and princesses in fairy tales. This was the only thing I disliked about this book for the reason that I was starting to care so much for all the characters and I wanted them all to be happy. In the end it was extremely heartbreaking how almost all the characters just couldn’t seem to catch a break no matter what they did. I did however like the ending because it symbolized hope and optimism and signaled that there are more great things to come in the series. The Ring & the Crown is a novel filled with gorgeous prose and breath taking world building and descriptions. And while there was a lot of (mostly forbidden and tragic) romance in the book, I actually found it enjoyable since some of the pairings were actually sweet and there was more than enough magic, political intrigue and history in the plot to keep me hooked. The Ring & the Crown was my first book by Melissa de la Cruz and it won’t be my last. Overall I think this book has elements that would appeal to both fans of historical fiction and fantasy.

If you like this book, you’ll love: The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.