L-L-L-Little Reviews #33: Two Past Due YA

Posted August 14, 2021 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 7 Comments

So I was going to give each of these books their own post, but with school starting up, and I can’t really do any blogging at my new library like I did at my old library, I’m limited in time so this will get me staying as caught up as I can!

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly:

I received this book for free from the publisher, the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #33:  Two Past Due YAStepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Scholastic Press on May 14, 2019
Genres: YA Retelling, YA Paranormal Romance
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher, the library
Format: ARC
My Rating: five-stars
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Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe ... which is now filling with blood.
When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.
Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.
Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

My Review:

So I loved the other books I read by this author, including the other retelling, Poisoned, and this one also did not disappoint in any way. I love the way this author tells a story and creates the characters in a way that they are more than just the plain flat characters we know from the original tellings of these fairy tales. I liked the different look at the stepsisters, because I always like to see all sides of a story, and often those who are the villains in one story are of course the hero in their own story. I hope this author will do another retelling in the future. I know she was part of a group of authors who did a story/book about King Henry VIII and his six wives, and that is on my list to read as well. I am not positive, but I think I got this one at the AASL convention in November of 2019 before the world went all crazy! It was one of my Beat my TBR Challenge reads for the year.

Berserker by Emmy Laybourne:

L-L-L-Little Reviews #33:  Two Past Due YABerserker by Emmy Laybourne
Series: Berserker #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on October 10, 2017
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA Paranormal
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: four-stars
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Are Hanne's powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?
Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It's not Stieg's fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn't commit.
No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous "gift"--she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.
Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.
Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.

My Review:

I have been a fan of Emmy Laybourne since her Monument 14 series. I have enjoyed her other books. I was really excited for this one and I requested it on Netgalley back when I think I didn’t realize how they counted your reviewing percentage on there, as well as I wasn’t yet doing well with my blogging keeping track of ARCs like I do now. So I never got to it. Then, about a year ago I think? I found a copy of it at the Dollar Tree, and I went ahead and purchased it. I set it as one of my Tackle My TBR books because by reading it, I can also get it reviewed over on Netgalley! So yay! It took me a bit to get into this one, but overall I enjoyed the Norse mythology aspect of it for sure. I didn’t realize it was going to have a sequel, but the way it ended definitely left it open and I am glad, because I’d love to see what happens next. But I’ll have to get ahold of that book, and who knows when or if I will have time to read it!

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7 responses to “L-L-L-Little Reviews #33: Two Past Due YA

  1. John Smith

    I’ve always found the whole ugly stepsister and shoe-forcing theme in Grimm to be pretty appalling. Perhaps this new take by Jennifer Donnelly will help to redeem some of the trauma from when I was a toddler many years ago!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Oh she totally brings up the shoe forcing like Grimm did, with the cutting off of the toes and the heel! lol

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