Book Review: Savage Beauty by Casey L. Bond

Savage Beauty by Casey L. Bond

A YA Fairy Tale Retelling Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (02/02/18)

Summary:

“Luna was unapologetically who she was; darkness illuminated in pale light, kindness cloaked in snark, cold at times, but with a warmth bubbling beneath the frosted surface.”

Aura and Luna are bound by dark magic. They are half fae twins. Luna is princess of the night, gaining power by the moon, and has power over air and fire. Aura is princess of the day, and has power over the elements of water and earth. It is a curse that comes with great power.

Luna doesn’t want to hurt others, but Aura seems to go out of her way to kill everyone that gets too close to Luna, including Prince William. Luna will have her revenge and is convinced that she must break their bond and kill her sister. Her plan is to wait until she is awake with power, create a spell to sever the bond, and rid the kingdom of the evil Aura. Luna will do anything for that spell, until William’s younger brother, the Prince Phillip wanders onto her land.

Keywords:

Witches, Fae, Sorcery, Fairy Tale Retelling, Destruction, Roses, Poison, Evil, Sisters, Moon, Guilt, Prince, Hunt, Spells, Broom, Familiar, Cat, Curse, Murder, Power, Love

My Review:

This book was slow to start but well worth reading to the end.

After reading both Savage Beauty and Riches to Rags, I know I will enjoy the other fairy tale retellings by Casey Bond.

Savage Beauty is a unique fairy tale which is very loosely based on Sleeping Beauty. This book was highly creative and imaginative, but also logical due to the background and world building. Unlike the overly imaginative Alice in Wonderland, Savage Beauty is highly creative within the set of rules that Bond has crafted in this world.

I loved having both Aura and Luna’s perspectives. After falling in love with Luna, much like William and Philip, I found it interesting to see Aura’s perspective. It was quite satisfying and confusing. How could a murderer downplay her acts? How could Aura excuse her behavior? And yet, she felt genuine when we were inside her head.

Even Philip felt like more than just the love interest. There was some depth to his character, though not as much as Luna. Luna is the fantasy character I’ve always wanted to read about. She is tormented and stubborn and hell bent on revenge. She is also sweet and caring and regretful of any actions she takes that cause hurt upon others.

Though I almost set this book down from the first chapter, I’m glad I kept reading and absolutely loved the ending.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 02/02/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Casey Bond’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Riches to Rags by Casey L. Bond

Riches to Rags by Casey L. Bond

A YA Fairy Tale Retelling Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (10/31/17)

Summary:

“You are brave when you should be terrified, kind when you should be bitter, humble when you could be prideful, and your spirit, instead of being crushed beneath circumstance, somehow managed to rise above it all and remain joyful.”

Ella Carina’s favorite pastime is sitting in her window seat and gazing at the people outside as they go about their daily lives. She despairs that she’ll be stuck in the castle until her father forces her to marry an older man from Galder for political reasons. At 14, she expects to wait until after her older sister is married, but her father decides to marry both Carina and Ivy on the same day in a few weeks. With her future set, Carina is about to lose what little freedom she does have. The very next day the next kingdom over attacks the castle and she is swept away, her life as she knows it is over. But perhaps living in hiding as a farmer will give her the simpler life she has always dreamed about.

Keywords:

Fairy Tale, Retelling, Cinderella, Love, Innocent, Envy, Prince, King, Kingdom, Power, Escape, Hiding, Poor, Dreams, Castle, Tyrant, Family, Friendship, Fighting

My Review:

I love a good fairy tale retelling. Riches to Rags was an excellent fairy tale adaptation. I absolutely love Bond’s writing style and the flow of her stories.

I thought Carina grew so much from the beginning of the novel to the end. Bond does an amazing job of showing Carina’s growth and change as a character. Bond also creates so much conflict, terror, and circumstances outside of Carina’s control, that I wondered how she would survive. Carina’s true character, her grit, and her good nature shows true as she lives and works with the farmers. She is grateful to be alive to be placed with such a loving family. Carina is a much more active character than she has reason to be. Bond gives Carina the perseverance to create a good and happy life for herself, despite the circumstances that brutally took her away from her life in the castle as a princess.

As soon as you fall in love with Carina and her new romance with the blacksmith’s son and wonder how she will overcome the animosity from her new sister, a new conflict arises. This book had so much packed into it and I very much enjoyed reading it. I look forward to reading Casey Bond’s other fairy tale adaptations.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 10/31/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Casey Bond’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Reclaim (The Harvest Saga Book 3) by Casey L. Bond

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Reclaim (The Harvest Saga Book 3) by Casey L. Bond

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (06/01/15)

Summary:

This ending to the Harvest Saga will take Abby through the greatest difficulties she’s ever faced. Can she overcome once and for all and help her fellow Lessers into freedom?

Keywords:

Strength, Dystopia, Orchard, Apples, Apple Picking, Castes, Poverty, Female protagonist, the Special One, Infertility, Trains, City, Technological Advances, Weapons, Fighting, Resiliency, Harvest, Oppression

My Review:

There are now more powers than just Olympus hovering over the Lessers and Orchard. What seemed an ally is just a power standing by and waiting for their opportunity to strike. Or were they waiting by? This book’s plot is much more complex than it at first seemed and it was so satisfying to plunge into its depths.

This was a fantastic ending to the Harvest Saga and worth the read. I finished the entire trilogy in less than a week. Thanks Casey L. Bond for a thrilling ride. I will definitely be reading more of your books.

Dystopian literature has saturated the market, especially books with strong female leads, but the Harvest Saga is so well written and fantastically engaging that it draws you right in and you don’t even notice that you’re reading another dystopian female-protagonist book, you’re too busy turning pages.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on June 1st, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Casey Bond’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Resist (The Harvest Saga Book 2) by Casey L. Bond

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Resist (The Harvest Saga Book 2) by Casey L. Bond

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (07/31/14)

Summary:

“Trust was earned, and they’d broken too many promises, told too many lies.” (Kindle Locations 7574-7575).

Abby is headed to the Greater city of Olympus with Crew. His lies and betrayal cause strain between them as Abby sees what is really going on with the “Harvest” and all the Lesser women that were taken from Orchard and the surrounding Lesser cities. When Abby gets out of Olympus, things aren’t much better in Orchard as anyone who speaks out is taken away for resistance. Resistance is coming, but in the meantime Abby must lay low.

Keywords:

Strength, Dystopia, Orchard, Apples, Apple Picking, Castes, Poverty, Female protagonist, the Special One, Infertility, Trains, City, Technological Advances, Weapons, Fighting, Resiliency, Harvest, Oppression

My Review:

This middle book in the trilogy flew by! I learned so much more about Crew and what the Greater cities were like. The oppression of Lessers isn’t restricted to Lesser cities, for of course Lessers are needed within Olympus as well. Just as oppression builds, so must resistance! This book is full of the mindsets that will lead to this resistance, even though it does look mighty bleak. What can unarmed lower-class citizens do against well armed and technologically advanced Greaters? Read to find out…

The characters, especially those surrounding Abby are given more depth in this book. I still can’t decide if I like Crew or not, if he’s truly a good person or not. I fear he will have to make a choice eventually and this will show for good whether he’s a good person, but I’ll have to wait to see. I was much less interested in Kyan than Crew in this book, but both are playing an integral role in Abby’s life and the greater plot and dilemma between Orchard and the Lessers and the world that they live in.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on July 31st, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Casey Bond’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Reap (The Harvest Saga Book 1) by Casey L. Bond

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Reap (The Harvest Saga Book 1) by Casey L. Bond

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (03/15/14)

Summary:

In a society where people are divided into castes, Lessers and Greaters, Abby lives as a Lesser in a Lesser village: Orchard. Her life is simple: harvest from the orchard and work every day for the Greaters’ Good. She is content. She has her best friend Kyan and Lulu, the aunt that raised her. But the next harvest is too much for Orchard alone and more Lessers from surrounding villages are called in to help. Abby starts to fall for Crew from Cotton, but he isn’t all that he seems. Something is going on in Abby’s world and she’ll have to work out her feelings as well as work out what’s going on in Orchard.

Keywords:

Strength, Dystopia, Orchard, Apples, Apple Picking, Castes, Poverty, Female protagonist, the Special One, Infertility, Trains, City, Technological Advances, Weapons, Fighting, Resiliency, Harvest, Oppression

My Review:

Like any other caste separated society in dystopian literature, Reap is the story of the special strong female chosen one, but the storytelling and writing style are excellent and very compelling. They pulled me right in and I purchased the entire trilogy before I’d even finished this first book.

I loved all the details about the harvest and the apple orchards that really brought the town of Orchard to life. I wish there had been a bit more creativity and imagination in some of the naming, hence the town of “Orchard” but I was too mesmerized by the brewing trouble in town, the burgeoning romance between Abby and Crew, the complication that Kyan posed, and the greater mystery tied up in the Lesser towns.

I loved how Abby was strong, resilient, and stubborn to the point of stupidity. Her pride is so strong it overwhelms others. She is special for a reason, being both Greater and Lesser and not just in the right place at the right time, though that does help.

As with most YA books, I wish that females were not relegated into antiquated roles of society – the housewife and child bearer. Though the main character is the ‘strong female’ archetype, society at large is still somewhat sexist.

The ending felt rushed, but I didn’t much care because I was able to pick the story right back up with book two…

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on Marc 15th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Casey Bond’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter