The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

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In attempt to escape the respective drama ensnaring their lives, Amy and her mother, Alexis, retreat to their ancestral home in Scotland. Once there, Amy learns that she is a book jumper — someone who can literally jump into the world of stories. As a book jumper, Amy has a responsibility to protect the book world and the characters who live within it. As amazed and elated as Amy is with her newly discovered powers, a thief is pillaging the book world, stealing ideas and causing stories to implode. Amy must somehow find the thief and fix the stories, even as dark secrets from her own past begin to emerge.

If you liked the Inkheart series, this is a solid bet for you. Interestingly, this book was also translated from German (just like Funke’s series). If you’ve ever read classic stories, you’ll love how the author gives them new life through her work, and even the modern-day characters are strong and entertaining. At times, the plot can move a little slowly, but the ending is a good one, so stick with it. Mostly, this book is so good because it gives readers a world in which the characters can do what all of us have probably wanted to do — live within our favorite stories.

Rating: 4/5

 

Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes

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Framed for the murder of her younger brother, Dinah, once the heir apparent in Wonderland, must flee for her life. As her insane, rage-fueled father combs the country searching for her, Dinah remains hidden, determined never to set foot in her kingdom again. But walking away from a crown is not so easy. Secrets about Dinah’s and Wonderland’s past begin to emerge, raising questions about the fate of Wonderland in Dinah’s absence. Though she was never trained for battle, Dinah must choose: live her life constantly hiding from her father, or fight for her right to rule.

Though this one wasn’t quite as good as the first (Queen of Hearts), it’s still a solid read. If I haven’t already, I also highly recommend the audiobook, as the reader is excellent — the perfect voice for Dinah. While this installment lacks the level of court intrigue and drama of the first book, there’s much more action, and some incredible plot twists; even I was surprised. I especially liked the non-traditional love story (no spoilers!) — it’s not your typical fairy tale. I’m super excited to see what happens next with the series! Don’t miss this is you loved the first book.

Rating: 4/5

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oaks

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In this twist on the classic Alice in Wonderland, Oaks examines the origins of Wonderland’s villain, the Queen of Hearts. Dinah, just a princess, is caught in the web of court life. Her father, the reigning King of Hearts, is volatile and often swayed by his wavering favor and the opinion of his venomous advisers. Her brother, considered mad and obsessed with hat making, is confined to his rooms. Though Dinah is expected to ascend to the throne and rule beside her father, the king treats her as though she is worthless. When the king brings in a long-lost, illegitimate daughter, Dinah knows she has a rival. As the situation continues to escalate, Dinah must figure out who she can trust in the court, as well as a way to keep her head.

I recently read and loved Heartless by Marissa Meyer. As great as that book is, Queen of Hearts is better. It’s a darker read, which is maybe why I like it more, and it takes a unique spin on the Wonderland characters. The mad hatter, for example is Dinah’s brother, a young boy with a mental illness (maybe autism) who loves to make hats. Cheshire, instead of being a disappearing cat, is a conniving adviser with a sly smile. Aside from these creative twists, the plot is also riveting, and I love that Dinah is not a beautiful young princess who needs to be rescued. I’m definitely reaching for the sequel! If you like fractured fairy tales or retellings, don’t miss this one!

Rating: 5/5 

 

Everland by Wendy Spinale

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After a bio-attack on London by an evil new German regime, most adults have perished from the deadly virus dropped on the population. The virus also seems to target girls, leaving nearly all of them missing from the city. Gwen and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey, are some of the last children living in the outskirts of what used to be London (now a ruined city called Everland). During a raid, Joanna is taken by the sinister Captain Hans (Hook), who uses the remaining children as experiments. When Gwen meets the charming but reckless Pete, leader of the “Lost Boys” and who claims he can help Gwen escape, can she trust him to help her get her sister back? And, can she find Joanna before the virus kills the remaining children in London?

If the cover doesn’t sell you on this book (because it’s awesome), think sci-fi Peter Pan with Steampunk. For the most part, this book is a super creative take on Peter Pan, and I loved reading how the author incorporated all the elements of the story into her piece. I also loved how Spinale takes time to humanize the “evil” Captain Hook, rather than just allowing him to be a flat baddie. If you’re into fractured fairy tales, love Peter Pan, or are just looking for a unique read, this is it!

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani

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Evil has finally won. Now, instead of separate schools for girls and boys, two schools for evil exist. One for new evil, and one for old. Now that evil finally has its chance, old villains are coming back to rewrite the past. Though their tales are long over, wicked witches, giants, and murderous pirates are set on executing the heroes who bested them. At the center of the this new regime, Sophie and her new prince, the young schoolmaster, plot to tip the scales in evil’s favor forever. In yet another story filled with adventures, romance, and plot twists, Agatha and Tedros must find a way to save the fate of good before the last ever after occurs.

If you liked the first two books in this series, you will probably like this one. It was a bit repetitive for me, though. I really enjoyed the twist of seeing the old villains come back to seek their revenge, but the Tedros-Agatha-Sophie love triangle was so. old. I will say, though, that the ending is great. Getting to the ending, however, can, at times, prove difficult.

Rating: 3/5 

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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In the land of Hearts, Cath dreams of opening up her own bakery. She does, after all, make the best baked goods in the kingdom. The only problem with Cath’s plan is her nobility. Though her parents dream of Cath’s rise in court (especially with the king’s eye on her), Cath wants only to assert her independence and make her own way in the world. If Cath’s world isn’t complicated enough, new arrivals in Hearts (a mysterious, alluring joker and a rabbit who makes hats) further tangle her ambitions. With the pressure of the king’s affection increasing every day,  Cath must figure out a way to control her own destiny — if she can.

I loved The Lunar Chronicles, so I was really looking forward to new work by Marissa Meyer. At first, this book is a bit slow, but hang in there, because it really picks up by the end. What I like best about this book, aside from the incredible world-building, is that we see a huge shift in the protagonist. Most of the time, “good guys” stay “good guys” and bad stays bad. In this book, that is not the case. However, seeing as the book takes place in Wonderland, I suppose it’s fitting for expectations to be turned on their heads. If you like Alice in Wonderland, fractured fairy tales, or are also a fan of Marissa Meyer, definitely give this one a try. After its ending, I definitely hope there is more to follow!

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

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After Sophie and Agatha wish for each other, they are transported back to their home in Gavaldon, where they will, presumably, live out their “ever afters”. However, a new wish takes the pair back to the School for Good and Evil — only it’s far from the school they remember. Now, the girls find themselves in a school for girls and boys, with each side vehemently hating the other. What’s more, the boys’ school wants Sophie dead, and the girls’ school is ruled by a sadistic, boy-hating dean. Somehow, Sophie and Agatha must find a way to reunite the schools and undo the wish, before it’s too late.

As much as I liked the first book, I was really excited to read this one. It was pretty great! There were a couple of aspects I did not enjoy. For example, once the girls are left on their own, all they want to do is eat/diet/play with makeup. Eye-roll. BUT, for the most part, this book was really good. I loved seeing the return of all my favorite characters, and there are some interesting backstories and plot twists revealed. I especially recommend listening to the audiobook this series, as the reader is excellent!

Rating: 4/5 

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.