The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) by Shannon Hale

After having her travelling companions turn on her and take her place, Princess Ani is stuck alone in a new country where she was supposed to marry the prince.

Fantasy, 383 pages, published in 2003

After having her travelling companions turn on her and take her place, Princess Ani is stuck alone in a new country where she was supposed to marry the prince.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is absolutely going to be a biased review because I have loved this book for years and read it a ton of times!

This book is based off of the fairytale, also called The Goose Girl, by Grimm Brothers, but I didn’t know anything about the original when I read this (I still don’t, if I’m being honest).

I think one of the reasons I love this book so much is because it feels very soft and whimsical. The magic is very soft and not a huge part of the story, but I think it helps to add to the atmosphere.

Ani starts this book as a privileged, if looked down upon, princess, but she goes through so much change throughout this book. She recognizes that she has had an easy life so far, even if it was mostly loveless, and learns how much inner strength she has. At certain points, she is completely alone, but that also allows her to realize how she is without anyone else telling her who she is.

Ani also has to create all new relationships with the people around her. Some are easily formed friendships, but others are reluctant tolerance. I like how varied all of these relationships are. When I was younger, I thought the romance in this book was the best thing ever, and I still enjoyed it a lot, but there actually wasn’t too much emphasis on it.

This book balances on the edge of middle grade and young adult, though it was probably young adult when it was published, but is now considered more middle grade because of how the young adult category has shifted. Either way, it is definitely aimed at younger readers, but also doesn’t shy away from tough topics. It deals with betrayal, death, grief, and minimal violence and fear without going into too much detail, which I appreciate.

This whole series is on Audible’s new Plus catalogue, where you can listen to as much as you want from the selection, so I will be definitely be listening to the rest of this series soon! I’ve only read those a maximum of twice, whereas I’ve read The Goose Girl probably close to 10 times at this point.

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Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns #1) by Bree Barton

Mia has devoted her entire life to hunting down her mother’s killer, an evil witch known as a Gwyrach. However, as she escapes from an arranged marriage she never wanted, she discovers truths about herself and her world that she never could have imagined.

Fantasy, 438 pages, published in 2018

Mia has devoted her entire life to hunting down her mother’s killer, an evil witch known as a Gwyrach. However, as she escapes from an arranged marriage she never wanted, she discovers truths about herself and her world that she never could have imagined.

Spoiler Free Review:

💜💜💜

I reread this book in order to read the sequel. I’m glad I did this for two reasons: I remembered almost nothing about the ending, and I realized I don’t want to move on to the sequel. I first read this book right around it’s release in 2018 and I enjoyed it, but I just didn’t this time.

Most of my issue with this book is the main character, Mia. I just didn’t like her at all throughout the book. She is so close-minded, and while I don’t blame her for that, it just got tiring after a while. Even after she discovers a lot about herself, I still found her really annoying.

My second big issue with this book is that I think it is just trying to do too much. Mia wants to find her mother’s killer, she wants to escape her arranged marriage, and she wants to protect her sister. This is all from the beginning of the book, so there are a ton of other elements to the story added later on. I feel like some of these got left on the back burner, especially her relationship with her sister. It is mentioned at the beginning and becomes relevant later on, but throughout it just isn’t interwoven into the story. This is just one example, though this happened with other things as well.

Another small thing that annoyed me is that Mia always speaks in very medical terms because she studied a lot about the human body. It got very annoying over time and sounded really pretentious.

I do think this story did a couple of things well. The world is very harsh on women, so there are definitely strong feminist messages as the women of this world are trying to survive. Only women can have magic in this world, so it was an interesting exploration of that.

There was also quite a diverse cast of characters. Pretty much any character whose sexuality is explicitly mentioned is not straight. There are also multiple people of color and people with disabilities. It is great to see books, especially fantasy, with diversity like this.

Overall, I just didn’t feel a strong connection to this story. There is kind of a lot that happens right at the end, but it just felt very rushed and didn’t really leave me with a sense that I want to find out more. I have looked into the sequel and what I’ve seen from reviews doesn’t really sound like something I am interested in, so unless someone can seriously convince me otherwise, I doubt I will read Tears of Frost.

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Books I Plan to Reread This Year!

One of my goals this year was to reread a lot, so I’ve come up with a lot of books I want to try to get to this year. I was originally going to make a schedule of when I wanted to reread everything, but that’s really not who I am.

One of my goals this year was to reread a lot, so I’ve come up with some books I want to try to get to this year. I was originally going to make a schedule of when I wanted to reread everything, but that’s really not who I am. These are in no particular order!

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES

I had lukewarm feelings about the first and third book of this series, and with the next book coming out soon-ish, I want to give these a reread. ACOMAF was an all-time favorite of mine, so I want to see if my opinion has changed on that.

THE BOOKS OF BAYERN

I’ve read The Goose Girl probably close to 10 times, but I’ve only read the other books in this series once, maybe twice. I finally bought them all when they came out with these gorgeous new editions! They are gonna be super quick reads.

SIX OF CROWS

I really loved this series when I was reading it, though I do remember being confused by Crooked Kingdom. I would like to savor these a little bit more this time around because I was definitely rushing the first time.

MISTBORN

As I am writing this, I just started reading The Eleventh Metal, a short story to go with this series, and it gave me a HUGE rush of nostalgia for these books! The atmosphere, the characters, the magic, I loved it all! I can’t decide if I want to reread the second era as well. I think I would enjoy them more the second time around because I know what to expect.

THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO

I seriously adored this book the first time around! I want to feel that way again. This book is unlike anything else I’ve read before.

STRANGE THE DREAMER

Laini’s writing is absolutely stunning and I want to experience it again! Also, these books just speak to my soul, okay I need to reread them.

AKEMI DAWN BOWMAN BOOKS

I related to Starfish when I read it more than any other book I had read before. Both of her books are beautifully written and are so powerful. I can’t wait for her next book!

THE LUNAR CHRONICLES

I read this series right when I started getting back into reading and I loved it! I know I got a little burnt out on them by the last book, so I may try and space them out a little more this time.

THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS

This book is absolutely gorgeous! I don’t normally love books of short stories, but the artwork combined with the creative and memorable stories makes this one of my favorites.

Do you have any goals to reread this year?

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Reread Review: Thunderhead (The Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman

After becoming a scythe, Citra tries to stop the growing corruption of the scythdom from within, while Rowan has become the infamous Scythe Lucifer after being denied his scythe ring. He has been finding corrupt scythes and killing them – truly killing them – and the Thunderhead has done nothing to stop him.

Sci-fi, 504 pages, published in 2018

After becoming a scythe, Citra tries to stop the growing corruption of the scythdom from within, while Rowan has become the infamous Scythe Lucifer after being denied his scythe ring. He has been finding corrupt scythes and killing them – truly killing them – and the Thunderhead has done nothing to stop him.

Spoiler Free Review:

💜💜💜💜💜

As with Scythe, I enjoyed it the first time, but I loved it the second! I was initially hesitant to pick it up because it is kind of a chunky book, but once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.

This book introduces a new character: Greyson. At first I didn’t really like him, but he grew on me. He gets marked as “unsavory” for saving scythe lives with information from the Thunderhead, so he must meet with someone each week in order to get rid of his unsavory status. However, the man he meets with wants him to go undercover and figure out who is trying to have scythes killed. This was such a cool bit of the story! In the first book, we don’t really get to see much outside of the scythedom, but this gives a look into the outsiders of this world, and just how controlled even the bad things are.

There are also new regions introduced, like Texas, that have different rules than the rest of the world. In Texas, pretty much anything goes and the Thunderhead monitors less than normal there. There is also Endura, which is the heart of the scythedom and is completely free of the Thunderhead. I thought Endura was really cool because you get to see how these post-mortal humans deal with things when the Thunderhead isn’t there to help.

One thing that drives me a little crazy about this series is that there is no limit on how many kids people can have, which is why the population keeps growing and scythes are necessary in the first place. There are some people who are genuinely good to their kids and want them, but then there are others like Greyson’s parents. His father is on his 5th family, while his mother is on her 3rd and he gets completely ignored by both of them. If there are people having kids just to have kids and then forget about them, why can’t there be something limiting those people? Obviously, this wouldn’t stop population growth, but it would slow it down.

There are so many twists in this book, but they all seem so realistic. The ending is one wild ride, but it all makes sense, while still being shocking. This book is also very plot-driven. I like the characters, but it’s the plot that stands out to me.

I am currently reading The Toll and loving it! I do think this will end up being one of my favorite series. I just love the moral questions is poses and I am continually shocked by the things that happen.

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