Review: Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty
By Elizabeth Fama 
Release date: September 4th 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Paranormal/Supernatural
GoodReads | The Book Depository

GoodReads synopsis – Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

The Little Mermaid was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up, and I’ve always loved the idea of such a cute story like that transformed into a YA novel. Unfortunately, mermaid books can be quite a hit or miss. And I’ve never found that “one” book that can capture the exact feel of that movie and not make it quite ridiculous and insta-lovey. It’s like I’m Prince Eric himself.

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Well now I did. There were quite a few of unfavorable reviews up for Monstrous Beauty, but I saw this pretty paperback version and I just HAD to have it. Those things happen, you will all understand I’m sure. Maybe my low expectations due to those negative reviews helped a bit, but without a doubt I did really really enjoy Monstrous Beauty.

Even though I just mentioned my search for a YA Little Mermaid, this is not it. Which is actually a good thing because it is so much more. There are creepy parts, gorgeous prose and good foreshadowing. Monstrous Beauty tells the story of a teenage girl (Hester) in this age and a naturalist (Ezra) from the 1800’s who falls in love with a mermaid (Syrenka). These two stories are clearly different from each other and it feels very different as well. Ezra and Syrenka’s story is pretty dark and haunting, while Hester’s story reads more like an engaging mystery. The best thing is that everything is connected somehow and everything you read from the Ezra’s story falls into place.

Another thing that sets this book apart from The Little Mermaid is that there are no ‘cute’ mermaids. Which works for this story. What these mermaids have to do to be able to live on land is gruesome but much more believable. Plus, there is this kind of leader of the mermaids and she gives me the creeps. It’s like the following gif, but creepier and it’s awesome.

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What I love about Monstrous Beauty, besides the engaging mystery and Ezra and Syrenka’s haunting tale, are the wonderful cast of characters. Hester is a great main character, she is flawed but interesting and determined. Other great characters include Hester’s best friend Peter, a little girl called Linnie and pastor McKee. Especially the pastor, because he is Scottish. I may or may not have spoken his dialogue out loud in a Scottish accent.

I do wish the romance in Monstrous Beauty was handled a little bit differently. Hester has this thing for someone but it bordered on insta-love. Everything about this romance was kind of weird, because I never knew if it was real or part of the mystery surrounding Hester and her ancestors. I’m assuming it’s not the latter (I read it like that anyway) and it tempered my enjoyment of this novel. There’s this great guy in the book who CLEARLY loves her, and I just wanted them to KISS ALREADY. 

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verdict4 STARSFinally, an excellent mermaid book. I’m definitely planning to read Fama’s future books. While Monstrous Beauty has far surpassed my expectations and I encourage anyone to read it, it doesn’t come close to my love for Ariel. (Which might be all nostalgic love because I haven’t watched it in YEARS, but still)

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Have you read Monstrous Beauty? Do you agree with me or with the people who didn’t like it? And have you ever liked a book that you thought everyone else didn’t like? Let me know!

 

 

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Book haul October

book haul october

Book haul is the monthly post in which I will show you what books I’ve added to my shelves in the past month. This is inspired by In My Mailbox from the Story Siren. I’m quite aware that we are already a week into November, but I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to show my October book haul.

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The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa: this is the second book of her Iron Fey spinoff series, and I bought it even though I haven’t read the first book yet. I love the original Iron Fey series and Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series so I figure I’m quite safe with buying this one. I’m probably going to end up liking this. And if not, at least I’ll have this pretty on my shelves. Is it weird that I’m attracted by that face? Probably?

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama: I love the spine for this one! It looks so whimsical and fairy tale like. I have already read this one and I really like it. If you feel let down by YA mermaid books, try this one because it’s the best I’ve read. It’s so different, but in a good way.

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano: I love Lauren DeStefano’s writing style and I love her Chemical Garden books (although I’ve yet to read the last soon, must fix that soon!) so I HAD to have this new book by her. I read it and I love it, but not as much as her other series. But this hardcover copy, guys, IT IS GORGEOUS. Seriously, so so pretty. I don’t think pictures can do it justice.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: After seeing so many positive reviews and book pushing by some of my favorite bloggers, I bought Shadow and Bone. I’m so glad I did, it’s amazing! I IMMEDIATELY bought Siege and Storm after finishing and now I’m going to read it soon.

Kindle books:

These are the books I got on my Kindle. They were all very good deals I couldn’t resist.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I’ve heard great things about Rainbow Rowell’s books and I’ve been meaning too try one of them.
The Geek Girl and The Scandalous Girl by Gina Lamm: This looked like such a cute romance novel, and for just 1.99 I couldn’t pass it up. Definitely going to read it when I need a pick me up this winter.
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Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis: I bought another romance book this month, which is not something I usually a genre I buy or read a lot. But this book has been recommended by one of my favorite book bloggers, so I also had to buy this one. I have read it since then, and I thought it was okay, but not great. I don’t think romance really is my genre.

That was all the new books I got last month. Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get My Hands On

Top ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is (2014) sequels we can’t wait for. While making up this list I found out that I’m not actually in the middle of a lot of series, despite that it feels that way for me. This could be because I have quit on quite a lot of series or that I have read older series when all the books were already published. Either way, this means no more complaining about waiting on sequels anymore.

untitled by sarah j maas

Throne of Glass series: I NEED MORE CHAOL <3. While this third book in the Throne of Glass series has no cover or blurb yet, I don’t care because it’s my most anticipated 2014 release. This whole series is EPIC and I’m a true Sarah J. Maas fangirl.

cress by marissa meyer

The Lunar Chronicles: I loved Cinder, but I loved Scarlet even more. I’m not sure how I could possibly love Cress more, but I’m hoping it’s a trend for me in this series.

into the still blue by veronica rossi

Under the Never Sky series: Under the Never Sky is one of my all time favorite books. Seriously, I love it to pieces. I was a little bit disappointed with Through the Ever Night, but that may be because my expectations were too high. Still, I love this series and I’m a little bit sad it’s going to end next year.

Evertrue by brodi ashton

Everneath series: This series has one of the best love triangles ever. And that’s coming from someone who usually loathes them. First I was Team Jack, but after book 2 I’m definitely Team Cole ❤ Also, Brodi Ashton writes killer endings. Seriously, she’s the Queen of Cliffhangers. BUT YOU BETTER NOT END THIS SERIES ON A CLIFFHANGER!

burning kingdoms by lauren destefano

The Internment Chronicles: I love, love, love Lauren DeStefano’s writing style. I love the Chemical Garden Trilogy (although I haven’t read the last book yet!), and this new series is no exception. I really need the next one like RIGHT NOW because after I read the last page I was SO SURE there were more chapters coming. I NEED to know what happens next.

split second by kasie west

Pivot Point series: Is this series just a duology? I thought it was a trilogy! *freaking out right now because that means Split Second is the last one*

ruin and rising by leigh bardugo

The Grisha series: Have I read Siege and Storm yet? Nope. But Shadow and Bone was so amazing that I just have a feeling that I’ll love this whole series.

dreams of gods and monsters by laini taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone series: Yet again a series where I haven’t read the second book yet but I’m already craving for the third (and last). There’s no denying that Laini Taylor is one of the best writers ever, and those titles for this series are gorgeous and truly fitting.

the forever song by julie kagawa

Blood of Eden series: This TTT topic has made me realize how many second books I STILL haven’t read yet, because I also haven’t read the second book in this series. But the first book was awesome! And I have the second one! I need more badass vampires. And Kanin, pretty please.

untitled by julie kagawa

The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten: I can anticipate the last book in a series when I haven’t even started that series, right? That’s totally normal, right? I have the first two in the series, and I love Julie Kagawa so obviously I can’t wait on this sequel.

So basically this TTT is me feeling like a failure at reading series. Please tell me I’m not the only one who starts series only to ‘forget’ reading the next one?

Oh help it’s NaNoWriMo time!

As I’m sure many people know, (at least avid readers who visit book blogs) November is the time for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The official goal is to write 50.000 words this month, but for me I’m just challenging myself to write, write, write. The idea of just writing anything scares the crap out off me, because I always think what I’m writing is awful so I quit writing a few years ago. But, I miss it, And I still have stories in my head. So, NaNoWriMo seems like the perfect solution to just start writing again. Hopefully by committing myself to doing this by writing it on my blog I will stick to it. This post is where I will keep track of my word count, which I will edit as the month goes by.

Week 1
November 1
November 2
November 3
November 4
November 5
November 6
November 7