Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley – Book Review


Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads Description

The sisters’ wealthy father loses all his money when his merchant fleet is drowned in a storm, and the family moves to a village far away. Then the old merchant hears what proves to be a false report that one of his ships had made it safe to harbor at last, and on his sad, disappointed way home again he becomes lost deep in the forest and has a terrifying encounter with a fierce Beast, who walks like a man and lives in a castle. The merchant’s life is forfeit, says the Beast, for trespass and the theft of a rose—but he will spare the old man’s life if he sends one of his daughters: “Your daughter would take no harm from me, nor from anything that lives in my lands.” When Beauty hears this story—for her father had picked the rose to bring to her—her sense of honor demands that she take up the Beast’s offer, for “cannot a Beast be tamed?”

My Review

This book was first published in 1993.  It is a book that I recently discovered as a result of my Beauty and the Beast love affair resulting from the recent release of the Disney live action movie.  What I loved so much about this book was that it stayed true to the story and there was no retelling it in a way that changed the story or made me feel like it was now being turned into a young adult version of the story.  It is a fairy tale version for adults that retained its magic and romance and when I finished it I could see myself re-reading it again soon.  Robin McKinley takes a tale as old as time and retells it so that it stands the test of time.  Loved it!

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken – Book Review


Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads Description:

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.


My Review

Etta Spencer is a teenage violin prodigy living in New York City with her single mother.  In one evening her world is turned upside down when she finds herself time traveling with a stranger who has kidnapped her.  Family secrets that she has been protected from are revealed and suddenly Etta finds herself on the run and desperately attempting to get back to her mother and trying to make sense of a life and family  she thought she knew.

Nicholas Carter is a sailor from the 1700s and happy living a sea-faring life and staying clear of the powerful Ironwood family.  But when Etta Spencer enters his life she changes everything.  Nicholas is charged with making sure Etta finds a special object that the Ironwood family desperately wants.  Will he protect her or turn on her?  Can Etta trust him?  Both Nicholas and Etta have their own agendas.  Will this work against them or help them?

I enjoyed this book, even though it had some slow moments.  Etta is a strong female character who was easy to like and feel for.  Nicholas was a tough and gentle character that was a good match for Etta.  I liked when the intrigue and suspense was full on.  The revelations about certain characters were done in an interesting way.  It held my attention and I look forward to reading the 2nd book.