Books, YA Fiction

Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge


Rating: 4 Stars

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

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.

I don’t think a 100 gifs could explain what emotions I went through while reading Cruel Beauty. It had me like this:

Like this:

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And a million more emotions in between.

If I were to describe Cruel Beauty in one word, it would be: engrossing. The enjoyability rate is high, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat. The writing is no joke, it flows perfectly and is some of the most beautiful writing I’ve seen all year. The entire novel has a dark, nightmarish tone to it, which I enjoyed. The world-building was very intricate and interesting, but also the reason I docked off a star from my rating. The book is set in an ancient Greco-Roman type world, with magic, mythology, and such. Although it was all very well-developed, it often perplexed and confused me. There were a lot of stories, terms, and other specific things that were hard to keep up with. The story was extremely illustrious and captivating, but also so, so complicated.

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Books, YA Fiction

The Distance Between Us, by Kasie West


Rating: 4.25 stars

“Feelings can be the most costly thing in the universe.”

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

The Distance Between Us may sound like a normal contemporary romance, but let me just tell you that it is not. I believe this book is miles more enjoyable than any regular YA contemporary due to a few things that can make a huge difference.

This story centers around our main character, Caymen, and her mother. Caymen has grown up around the fact that wealthy people are no good and untrustworthy, something that her mother has possibly drilled into her head after being abandoned by her rich ex-boyfriend, who left Caymen’s mother to fend for her newborn daughter by herself. The book picks up immediately by introducing Xander Spence on the first page, a charming 17-year old, who has been surrounded by money his entire life. Caymen knows inside that Xander won’t be around her for a long time, but as she begins to spend more time with him she starts to realize Xander isn’t exactly who she thought he was.

Although the plot and storyline are a little hard to see, there is a plot and there is a storyline. The story is paced a little slowly, taking time to know each character and develop the romance, but at the same time, it isn’t boring at all. The writing is simple, funny, and ultimately heart-warming and relatable.

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