Music Monday 1.17: Red leaves on…

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song you really like and share it on, you guessed it, Monday.

So…I have a tendency to listen to things on repeat until I get it out of my system. There’s a vulnerability here to Lee Brice’s “Memory I Don’t Mess With” that I love, which is why this is my most recent song on repeat. And, yeah, I have memories of my own that I also don’t like to mess with. (Hahaha…)

It’s good running into you like this / But, girl, I’m close as I can get /
To a memory I don’t mess with / The girl I was the best with

Yours to Keep (2020) was the book I immediately thought of. This was one of my first books by Layne, and I completely adored it because I liked Olive Dunn and her down-to-earth character. Pro baseball player Carter Ramsey returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, lured to return because of a pact made long ago to his high school sweetheart. What he doesn’t foresee is a different high school classmate, his former science partner Olive, putting a dent in his plans. The more time he and Olive spend together, the more he begins forget the reasons he is home in the first place. I loved Olive because of her confidence in herself. She makes no apologies for who she is, even if other people (used to) think she was a bit peculiar.

Music Monday 1.16: You and me…

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song you really like and share it on, you guessed it, Monday.

Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ) was founded in 2011 by Scott Bradlee. PMJ reworks modern music into vintage style covers. I was first introduced to PMJ through their rearrangements of covers that feature Kenton Chen. This is one of their most recent, and I thought the arrangement was brilliant!

A retelling I loved of a book I also loved
I love the original from No Doubt and also adore this cover.

Jane Austen’s Persuasion is a classic that I’ve read multiple times, and Staci Hart does a wonderful job of retelling it in A Thousand Letters. I much prefer Captain Wentworth from Persuasion whereas his counterpart in A Thousand Letters was more of an ass. Where the romance and regret is the highlight in Persuasion, the retelling captures the anguish of losing a loved–I cried buckets.

Malice (2021)

by Heather Walter
ASN/ISBN: 9781984818652
Publication: April 13, 2021

**I received a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**

Malice is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Princess Aurora is still Princess Aurora but she is more than just a girl destined to be pricked by a needle. Aurora wants to be become Queen and has ambitious plans for her future reign. Until then, she is forced to keep searching for true love’s kiss to break the curse. The resident villain, on the other hand, isn’t so much a villain. Alyce is forced to work as a Grace. In Briar, Grace are blessed by fae with abilities such as wisdom or making people beautiful but she is different. Known as the Dark Grace, people fear Alyce yet they use her services for elixirs and hexes to put worts onto a face or ensure a competitor fails. All Alcye has ever wanted is to be accepted, but no one seems able to do that.

The book centers on Alyce’s development and her growth. Prominent in the story is her inability to trust, which is a double-edged sword. She wants to trust people, but she also second guesses the motives of everyone around her, even those she could trust. Of course, her suspicions are warranted because she’s always been forced to exist on the outskirts of society, which also contributes to low self-esteem and self-loathing.

While the story excels with characterization, the plot is on the slow side. Nothing much happens for pages except Alyce trying to figure out who she is and the fighting among the Grace. Every so often, I wondered when something might actually happen to push the story forward. Despite this, I was undeterred from finishing the book because I enjoyed Walter’s writing.

Walter takes the fairy tale and gives depth to the world and the characters inhabiting it. The story is rich in detail, especially in its world building. The bulk of information from the history of Briar to the magical system is largely concentrated at the beginning of the novel, feeling very much at times like an information dump, but it’s so fascinating that I didn’t mind. I’m looking forward to learning more about the lands and the inhabitants, both past and present, in the next book.

Overall, the book is maleficent magnificent. I found myself sympathizing with Alyce, although I was also often frustrated with her decisions. Fans of fairy tale retellings, especially those that enjoy origin stories, will enjoy reading Malice, but it may not be for those who like a faster paced novel. If readers can overcome the pacing, the ending will certainly be rewarding–it was so good.