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February’s mini review round-up!

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Pub. Date: February 7, 2017
Source: e-ARC via publisher (Thank you, Thomas Dunne!)
Summary: All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling

When I first heard about this Labyrinth/Persephone retelling I immediately began pestering the publicist for a copy. Eventually she relented and I was SO ecstatic. Wintersong was one of my most anticipated books of 2017…and it ended up being a massive disappointment.

Although I’m a big fan of the setting – 18th century Bavaria – there was so little character development, that I never got a feel for who these characters were. Leisl is plain and ugly. Her sister is gorgeous and charming. The Goblin King has pointy teeth and is tall. …that’s about all I can tell you. Initially Wintersong was a typical fantasy-esque quest (Käthe has been taken by the goblins and Leisl must go save her) and I was totally on board. Halfway through, however, it became more about Leisl’s own journey to find herself and, naturally, she does that by falling in love.

I wanted so much more from this book than what I got, but I’m admittedly in the minority. The ending left me incredibly frustrated and while there’s supposed to be a ‘companion’ book coming out, I’m not quite sure if I’m interested enough to read it.

There’s Something About Cornwall by Daisy James
Pub. Date: March 8, 2017
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, HQDigital!
Summary: Life is far from picture perfect for food photographer, Emilie Roberts. Not only has her slimy ex cheated on her, he’s also stolen her dream assignment to beautiful Venice! Instead, Emilie is heading to the wind-swept Cornish coast…

Emilie doesn’t think it can get any worse – until disaster strikes on the very first day! And there’s only one man to rescue this damsel in distress: extremely hunky surfing instructor, Matt Ashby.

Racing from shoot to shoot in a bright orange vintage camper van, Matt isn’t the conventional knight in shining armour – but can he make all of Emilie’s fairy tale dreams come true?
Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Emilie is a food photographer about to land her dream assignment – Venice – only to have her cheating ex pull rank and steal it from her. Now she’s stuck travelling in a bright orange camper van up along the Cornish coast with an uber diva chef. As if that isn’t bad enough, disaster strikes, leaving Emilie to deal with Lucinda on her own…until a ridiculously good-looking surfing instructor comes along.

In January I started a new job and getting into the routine has definitely taken its toll. Because of that, I wanted a read that was lighthearted and fluffy, something fun that would entertain me without being heavy. Enter There’s Something About Cornwall. Seriously, one look at that gorgeous cover and I was intrigued – and I’m thrilled to say its insides were even better!

I really don’t have much to say about this one and that’s not a bad thing! It was exactly the kind of book I was looking for with lots of fun moments, a rom-com plot, and a sweet romance. The book even scored bonus points for using the term Poirotesque – y’all know I love me some Agatha Christie! When it comes down to it, There’s Something About Cornwall was one of those ‘right book at the right time’ kind of reads and I enjoyed it to the point where I would love to read more of Daisy James’ work!

The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt
Pub. Date: February 7, 2017
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Berkley Books!)
Summary: What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…
Genre: Mystery

Until Dahlia was 12 she didn’t go to school. Her mother always waved it aside, something about missing paperwork, so it wasn’t until she got older that she began to question why they moved around so much, why she never had a birth certificate or social security card. Unable to go to college or even get a job, Dahlia has spent the past 15 years working odd jobs, cleaning houses and hotels – earning cash under the table with as few questions as possible. Now she’s determined to find out exactly what was going on in her childhood and heads home, only to discover the answers won’t come as easily as she had hoped.

I’ll be honest, this one has received more than its fair share of bad reviews, but it certainly sounded like a book I would enjoy and I happily went into it. For the first few chapters I was completely caught up in the story – alternating between decades and told through the eyes of four women. That abruptly came to an end, however, and two weeks after finishing the book I actually forgot all about it. It wasn’t until I saw it laying under a pile of papers that I realized oops, I still haven’t reviewed it…that should go to show how little of an impression this one made.

In the beginning of the novel Dahlia is out for a run when she comes across a body. I was EXTREMELY excited by this (I love a good mystery) and was shocked when it didn’t go anywhere. This storyline felt tacked on and fizzled out to a shoddy throwaway explanation. After discovering the body Dahlia begins to have visions and seizures. I half expected some sort of supernatural element to be introduced a la The Gates of Evangeline and, again, that just wasn’t the case.

The story builds and builds to what is supposed to be a shocking reveal. Unfortunately I knew from the start what the ‘big twist’ was going to be and was horribly letdown to discover that’s it? I will say though that certain scenes had a feel that brought to mind both Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt and Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy – two novels that are infinitely better.

A word of caution to potential readers: there’s a brutal killing of a puppy and a woman is graphically raped by multiple men and it’s replaying MANY times throughout the novel.

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