Friends with ARCs | The Blood Spell + The Beast's Heart

pub 2/12/19 by Balzer + Bray
Young Adult - Fantasy Retelling
Received e-ARC from pub
I’ll admit, Cinderella is another one of those fairytales I never quite loved (my favorite part from the animated film was  Gus) but C.J. Redwine continues to impress me with her Ravenspire series and how she manages to turn these well-known stories on their heads. They’re always the perfect balance of paying homage to the source material while making them her own. Needless to say, I loved her take on Cinderella! In The Blood Spell, the heroine is Blue de la Cour who’s been hiding the magic in her blood while simultaneously trying to find ways to use her abilities to help others in need. When her father is murdered, she’s shocked to learn that a powerful (and evil) woman claims to now have custody of both Blue and her home. The only person who can help her uncover the truth about her plus all the mysterious disappearances in the kingdom is Prince Kellan — future king of Balavata, the boy she’s grown up with despite their differences in status and they hate each other. Also known as my romance kryptonite! He’s supposed to be thinking about his future betrothal and what’s happening in the kingdom but as he spends more time with Blue, she becomes the person he’s most himself with. I just loved how the story unfolded. I loved Blue and Kellan (individually and together) but also their families. Every nod to Cinderella was cleverly weaved into the story. The plot was well-written and well-paced. I for one hope she continues this series but I’d love to see which fairytale she tackles next.

What is your favorite adaptation of Cinderella?: Ever After! A conversation with Alexa reminded me of how much I used to love that movie so now I think I’m due for a rewatch.

pub 2/12/19 by Berkley
Adult - Fantasy Retelling
Received e-ARC from pub
The Beast’s Heart is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast through the Beast’s eyes and while it’s largely loyal to the original, the author does add her own spin to it. The Beast was once a man until a curse changed him and after years of solitude, a man stumbles upon his grounds and eventually tries to take a rose from the gardens. The Beast offers him a deal, his safety in exchange for his daughter Isabeau. Sounds familiar, right? And should you read the book, it will continue to sound familiar in a lot of ways. It was easy to get into the story but I will say the back and forth between Isabeau and the Beast did get repetitive. Even though the author did a good job of setting up their relationship for a slow burn, it did feel a bit tiresome at times because they were so confined to the estate and its “magical inhabitants” were not of the Disney variety. Instead what I liked best was actually the author’s decision to give more insight into Isabeau’s backstory, specifically her father and two sisters. It was seeing how their lives went on after Isabeau’s sacrifice, not to mention the sisterly bonds between them all, that intrigued me the most. It also helped to break up the monotony I mentioned earlier. But in the end, the romance failed to tug at my heartstrings and I couldn’t help feeling underwhelmed overall.

What fairytale would you want to read from the guy’s point of view?: My gut instinct response was the Little Mermaid but I also wouldn’t mind Prince Philip from the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty.


Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.

1 comment

  1. I was so surprised by how much I loved The Blood Spell (especially since I didn't particularly love the previous book in this companion novel series). I think CJ did an excellent job putting her own spin on the Cinderella fairytale!


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