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Cuddlebuggery Book Blog > Fantasy

Poisoned Apples

Christine Heppermann handles female issues in such a unique and interesting way in Poisoned Apples. Her poetic style is quirky, witty and deeply real, highlighting numerous problems with gender inequality girls face throughout their pubescent stage into adulthood. Keep in mind, however, that she also somehow manages to infuse these with classic fairy tales we grow up on. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and other themes like Prince Charming are merged with issues such as sex, eating disorders, body image, social pressures, sexism, abuse and more. And as an added bonus we’re treated to mesmerizing photographs like this:

For the most part, I really felt like I could identify with many of the poems in one way or another, especially the ones on body image and the society’s outrageous beauty standards for women through use of mainstream media. I love how she questions what beauty is and what it means to be a woman. 

Afterworlds

“Everyone was talking about their own work as well, and about the superpowers of their agents, the bloody-mindedness of copy editors, and the perfidies of marketing departments. Darcy was swimming in a sea of publication, and all she wanted to do was drown.”

I’ve long felt that writing is – and always has been – my strength. It’s something that I have always enjoyed doing, and the feedback that it has received over the years has me believing that it’s a skill that I’m at least somewhat competent at. Yet I’ve never had much of an urge to try my hand at storytelling. Essays and reviews are all very well and good, but the thought of attempting a novel’s worth of fiction has never much appealed to me. Perhaps I simply don’t have the patience or work ethic. Perhaps I’m afraid of inadvertently telling a really, really crummy story. Whatever the reason, the concept of writing a book just hasn’t been an interest of mine.

Messenger of Fear

“He is not indifferent, that’s the thing. His too-near voice that seems always to be whispering in my ear is held to a standard of cool detachment, but his eyes and his mouth and his forehead and the way he swallows all speak of reflected pain.”


The opening installment to Michael Grant’s new series seems largely a routine affair. As the introductory piece to a larger work, Messenger of Fear is rather simplistic in both its construction and its establishing of an overarching mythos and cast of characters. It’s all mostly predictable (particularly the big “twist” near the end, which one will likely figure out very early on), following as it does the well-worn formula that so many YA authors have taken to since the meteoric rise of the paranormal romance genre.

This particular incarnation centers on Mara, who awakens in a sort of limbo with no clear memory of who she is or how she came to be in this new dimension.

Heir of Fire

Want to get a taste of an upcoming title without a full review or spoilers? We’re here to do that for you! It’s not a real review, and there are definitely no spoilers – just a bunch of reasons to read or not read or pass on this title.


Reasons to read:

1. Awesome new characters:

So. Many. New. Characters. While that might be overwhelming at times, I really liked what all of them had to offer. My love might be exclusive to a particular new character but we won’t talk about this now. *evil laugh*

2. Dorian

You know the thing with Dorian? The thing we found out in Crown of Midnight? Well, that thing makes him extra awesome and unpredictable in this novel. I love how much his character has developed and how his story keeps taking unexpected turns. If you’re indifferent about Dorian, I know what you’re thinking as you read this: what about Chaol?

The Winner's Curse audiobook

A year ago when I first heard about The Winner’s Curse, it was during the Fierce Reads tour where I had an opportunity to interview a few MacKids authors, including Marie Rutkoski. It was a lot of fun and remains one of my favorite interviews I’d ever conducted. I really enjoyed The Shadow Society, Marie’s YA debut novel, and loved her writing style, so I knew I’d be more than eager to check out any of her future works. I asked what she and the other authors where working on and she mentioned The Winner’s Curse, which I mistakenly called in my mind “The Winter’s Curse.” When she explained the premise, I was instantly intrigued. Later, when Kat and I were offered the opportunity to be early readers, we were both honored and delighted but, admittedly, hesitant. A novel exploring a relationship between slave and master can only go one of two ways: really awful or amazingly well.

Don't You Forget About Me

Since I’ve started my little project of Reading Whatever I Wanna — AKA This Ain’t Your Job — I’ve noticed I’m reading more and, more importantly, enjoying it. Sometimes I still want to talk about these books, though, so that’s when To All the Books I Forgot to Review was born. This works out perfectly for a few reasons: (1) Sometimes I don’t have an entire post worth of words to talk about just one book. (2) Since we have so many reviewers now, we might end up reading the same books, but I don’t always review them. (3) It also let’s me read more and talk more, just in a more condensed format. Of course, the best part for my readers is that this post will always feature a giveaway of some of the books mentioned, open internationally to our readers.

Hover over the books for the synopsis and links!

The Ring and the Crown

The Ring and the Crown. Huh. Huh.

This is…a tough book to review. Did I like it? Yes. A lot? No. But maybe? I’m not sure. So let’s dive into these unsure feelings, shall we? I found the book very put-down-able. I enjoyed reading while I was reading, but I didn’t think about the book throughout my day, nor was I ever itching to get back to it. But while reading, I’d think something like, “Oh, this is very pleasant. Why do I keep putting this down? Magic and gowns!

So let’s talk about what this book DOES have going for it. First: sexy times. While not explicit in any way, these characters don’t shy away from talking about or referencing their desire for sex. I found this refreshing for characters living in a society such as the one presented in TRATC.

There’s another plus for this book: the setting.

Stormdancer US

For those of you following on twitter, I finally got my first tattoo this week and it was a pretty awesome experience. It was, of course, inspired by a bookish theme. But I’m already planning my next one and I almost certainly think it should be a YA inspired one. I’ve thought of a few series you could easily tattoo from. Let’s all share and care to help inspire each other!

Things to consider/I’ve learned from my tattoo experience:

1) Size of your ink

Since lines blur and fade over time, you want something that’s not going to become a hot mess in a few years. If you’re getting a small tattoo, keep it simple and not too detailed.

Also, if it’s your first tattoo, maybe do what I did and go with something small and quick to get.

2) Consider future ink

This was some great advice I got online.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor 
Goodreads | Purchase
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

***There may or may not be spoilers here. It all depends upon whether or not you’ve read the last two books, and if you want absolutely nothing about the end revealed or not. I keep things vague, and do not give away any details, but mentioning the conclusion at all could potentially ruin things for you.*** 

Once upon a time, there was a girl. She lived in a city of wonder, behind an inauspicious door, in a refuge for beasts. She ached from something missing, but cherished her strange life just the same.

This girl eventually found love in a killer, who left her adrift yet also helped her find herself. She was given joy and had it stolen. She abandoned comforts to raise an army, to atone for her sins. She sacrificed what she could and wished for the impossible. Her heart ached and her mind hated. She dreamt of worlds as she destroyed them.

Half Bad

When I first picked this book up from BEA, I wasn’t very interested because I saw the word “witches” and thought, “NOPE, NOPE, NOPE.” Even in my review policy it states that I don’t review books about witches. Why? Well, because of Harry Potter. I didn’t want to sit and compare the two and I had a feeling that I would. What made matters worse was the fact that ended up being toted as The Next Big Thing from The Hunger Games to, you guessed it, Harry Potter. So it’s a good thing this book was nothing like Harry Potter.

Upon finishing Half Bad my first thought was, “HOLY SHIT!”, so I went to Goodreads to see what everyone else thought. It’s interesting to see how split most people are on this book, and it’s not hard to understand why. The enjoyment of Half Bad is going to largely depend on your ability to adapt to the writing style.

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