Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
At first, I was like yeah this is alright but then things went cray. Like, wow I was actually not expecting that to happen type of cray. I am usually a very observant reader, so observant that I typically know what’s going to happen pages (and I mean pages) before the main character even begins to become suspicious. I blame this on my mother and the fact that she can barely sit through movies without already knowing what’s going to happen.
But then, [insert major plot twist]. and for once, the plot twist wasn't that unsettling.
Now, let’s talk about how cool Nyx’s character is. She has flaws (poison tongue), her family has flaws (dafuq with her father), she makes many terrible mistakes, and she ultimately betrays the only people who ever cared for her. But what's cool about Nyx is that she recognizes her flaws, berates herself for her negative emotions towards her sister, and actually tries to make amends to her wrongs. I find this refreshing since so many mcs in ya tend to have flaws but are either ignorant of those flaws are refuse to admit to having them.
my qualms with this book:
1) So I understand that the setting of this story takes place in pre 21st century Greco-Roman land (this is pretty obvious considering all the allusions to ancient Greco-Roman history and mythology and the fact Hodge outright uses "Romana-Graecia" a few times throughout the story and uses an actual Greek place for the setting), but I have yet to grasp the story's time period. The time period could easily range from Judaism-Christianity-Islam takeover to the early 20th century. The only reason I suspect the 20th century is because Nyx uses words like saboteur, whose origins date back as early as the 20th century.
2) Also, Nyx chooses the weirdest time to talk shit about Ignifex and plan his demise. Like in one scene, Ignifex is lying on her lap and Nyx is like "hey, dude, can you you go get me that one knife which's only purpose in this world is to kill Ignifex? thanks."
3) Lastly, this may just be me (and feel free to disagree), but I don't understand how having sex proves your full trust/devotion/love for someone. Like, couldn't Nyx show her trust/devotion/love by doing something else? Maybe a trust exercise? Like I jump, you catch?
No? Okay. V_V
I f-n love retellings, and the fact that Hodge was able to turn such a well-known story and add a bit of a plot twist without boring me to tears or jacking the original story up, I am totally sold. If you love retellings, especially of the Beauty and the Beast sort, I definitely recommend Cruel Beauty.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.
To break the spell, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks—all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic…and the growing romantic tension between them
After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.
Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.
In my opinion, both books were great, but it was the first book in this duology that I enjoyed the most. Ananna takes crap from no one, not even from the very assassin who was sent to kill her. True to her pirate upbringing she longs for the open seas, takes risks that might as well get her killed, and has as much class as the Queen of England. I’m totally joking.
I especially liked that this was not an instant romance, and even when Ananna realizes she has a crush, it's at the very end of the first book, and she immediately thinks to herself, “Oh, crap.”
The humor is good, and the character development is definitely not lacking. The only problem I had with these two books is that her accent sounds more southern drawl than what I am assuming is supposed to be a pirate accent. It’s not a huge problem, but considering the two books are told in Ananna’s point of view, the accent can be a little bit distracting.
In conclusion: these two books are overall good reads | 4/5 stars
and duology is apparently not a word. huh.
Hoping to raise money for a post graduation trip to London, Asha Jamison and her best friend Carey decide to sell T-shirts promoting the Latte Rebellion, a club that raises awareness of mixed-race students.
But seemingly overnight, their “cause” goes viral and the T-shirts become a nationwide social movement. As new chapters spring up from coast to coast, Asha realizes that her simple marketing plan has taken on a life of its own—and it’s starting to ruin hers. Asha’s once-stellar grades begin to slip, threatening her Ivy league dreams, while her friendship with Carey hangs by a thread. And when the peaceful underground movement spins out of control, Asha’s school launches a disciplinary hearing. Facing expulsion, Asha must decide how much she’s willing to risk for something she truly believes in.
I am very impressed with The Latte Rebellion. Not only does it touch base with deep issues of today, but it does it in a way that is by no means preachy. On the surface, it just another young adult contemporary, but underneath Stevenson has crafted a story that delves deep into a topic still relevant to today: race.
While growing up, I rarely came across young adult books that included a multiracial main character. It seemed to always be one race, and though there is nothing wrong with one-race characters, considering that 9 million Americans identify as multiracial, is it not odd that there are so few young adult books that even mention a multi-racial character?
As a person who has always struggled to understand my racial identity, reading The Latte Rebellion was like coming home after a long semester at college. And I think for other multiracial and/or multicultural readers may find this book just as relatable as I did.
Now moving on to the specifics:
Ehhhh… (aka my qualms with this book)
There were only two passages that cut me out of the story. The first was
My mom should have been the one to be OCD about grades. (135)
I don’t make it a secret that I suffer from both Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and as a person who has struggled with OCD for many years, I don’t appreciate statements like ”I’m OCD when it comes to ___” or “I’m OCD about ___.” You know the comments.
These statements carry the implication that OCD is nothing more than a joke to be said around the lunch room, a passing phrase to open the semester as you greet your new students, a comment to help break the ice as you meet new friends.
Frankly, I'm tired of it. So, for god sakes, STOP.
And the second was
Roy tried to freak-dance with me, called me a bitch when I wouldn’t, and then proceeded to swap spit all evening with the school’s most notorious slut. (177)
I should hopefully not have to tell you what is wrong with this passage.
Hint: for a book that is all about dismantling stereotypes...
Yay! (aka the cool things about this book)
Beside those two points above, everything is awesome. [insert lego movie gif] The Latte Rebellion is a worthwhile read. There is humor, there is a romance that doesn’t make you cringe, the f-n main character struggles with her last year of high school, and though not everything is the way she expected at the end, the main character makes it through; she perseveres.
In conclusion: 4.8/5 stars
The Latte Rebellion website (yes, the author actually made a website like the one in the book. Check out the cool gear!)