Book Review: Cloaked

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Cloaked Cloaked by
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 341

I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.
Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.

My Review:

I adore Alex Flinn. Case in point: When I returned from vacation nearly a month ago, I’d racked up something like 10 reviews to write so I put myself on a book reading ban – read slowly, if at all, reread so there’s no review to write, and read multiple at once so you don’t finish any of them. I picked up Cloaked and that all flew out the window. I raced through the book in a day, unable to stop myself or slow down.

One of the things I love about Flinn’s books is her accessible, informal tone. Her stories read like The Princess Diaries or  Anna and the French Kiss but they have magic. They tell the ancient, wonderful stories we first heard as kids, reworking them and making us believe in them.

I especially enjoyed Cloaked because it draws on some of the much lesser known fairy tales. As a fairy tale junkie myself I recognized most of them, but she pulled out a few even I didn’t know! As some of my favorites are these lesser known tales (my only mainstream favorite is Beauty and the Beast) I was really excited for this one. I was not disappointed in the least. The tales worked themselves out with true poetic justice and the fairy tale flavor just lightly colors the real world love story.

With all 3 of her fairy tale books on my favorites list, Flinn has officially made it on to my “Favorite Authors” list. I will read anything she puts out as soon as I can get my hands on it. She’s THAT good people!

Book Review: Beastly

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Beastly Beastly by
Series: Kendra Chronicles #1
Published by in 2007
Genres: , ,
Pages: 304

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

My Review:

This is my second novel by Alex Flinn, and I have to say, the first one (A Kiss in Time) wasn’t exactly my favorite. I thought it was clever, and a really good novel, just not quite my thing. But I’ve been told by many people that Beastly was their favorite, so I thought I’d try it. I’m so glad I did.

I should probably mention that I’m a bit prejudiced, because I absolutely love the story of Beauty and the Beast. It was my favorite Disney film, mostly because I saw myself in Belle and I wanted the Beast’s library so bad! I was excited to read a modernization of this novel, since I’ve read many different versions, but haven’t read one that would really count as “today” modern – the most modern one was during World War I.

The very beginning had me a bit skeptical. The set-up was necessary, but I got a little bored. Now that I’ve finished it, though I’d like to go back and re-read it, just to see if the same is true. At the time, I really wanted to just get past the set-up and get to the good stuff. I was more curious about how she did the “invisible servants” and the Father giving up his daughter (cause in our society that is just not ok).

The wait was so worth it. I got to the “good stuff” and I just could not put the book down. I think I read straight from 7 pm to 11 last night just to finish it. I loved the way Flinn got around the “magic” in modern day, though of course it couldn’t be avoided completely. I loved the characters, once Kyle got past his hoity-toity attitude. Will was especially one of my favorites. I had a very vivid picture of him in my mind, better than any of the other characters, even Adrian.

Interestingly, the imagery was much more vivid for the house and garden. I wanted to be Lindy, discovering the huge library, walking through the gorgeous greenhouse full of roses and playing in the snow at the house in the mountains. Maybe I’m being a little superficial, but the imagery was so vivid that I wanted to be there. I enjoyed the bits I was supposed to enjoy, and I was on the edge of my seat when I was supposed to be. The suspense was held right up to the end, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

My only complaint was that between each section, Flinn broke it up with “transcriptions” of IM conversations between various modern fairytale characters. I would guess that a majority of them are from her other novels, though I haven’t read any other of the characters that were included. I can see why she did it – it’s an easy way to advertise for her other novels, and it keeps the setting firmly in the present. But it bothered me, and by the end I mostly just skipped those couple of pages. I didn’t feel they were necessary to the plot, and I just wanted to keep reading the actual story.

Honestly though, that wasn’t too much of a detriment. I plan on buying a copy of this as soon as I can, and I’m so excited to re-read it someday!

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