Friday Face Off : “thus with a kiss I die”

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Romantic – “thus with a kiss I die”

A lot of the new themes are open to interpretation which might make choosing the covers and seeing other’s choices very interesting.  I can’t stress enough that this is all about your own interpretation and hopefully this new open feel to the meme will bring a larger selection of books and covers.  It’s not supposed to be hard work, there are no rules, just enjoy yourself.

Well, I thought this was going to be easy – but it wasn’t.  Drat.  Anyway, I’ve gone for an old love story and a fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  This week my book is

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross and here are the covers – looking at these now I was hopeful that one of the roses would be heart shaped, alas, they are not – but red roses for Valentine’s Day – it works doesn’t it? Again, as I’m using a fairly recent read there aren’t lots of covers again this week:

My favourite

Beast1

Which is your favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know 😀

Next week – Meringue – the puffy dress?

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

2019

21st February – meringue – the puffy dress? – Lots of covers with ‘big’ dresses

28th February – Leap Year – One Ring to rule them all – A cover with a ring

6th March – Skeleton – them bones, them bones, them dry bones…

13th March – Exotic – ‘That which yields, is not always weak”– anything that represents something from distant lands.

20th March – Brown – a cover or covers that are brown

27th March – Freebie – choose one of your favourite covers

3rd April Fools – a trick of the eye – a cover that is more than meets the eye.

10th April – Moody – a cover that is atmospheric,

17th April – out of focus – double vision or all a blur

24th April – Armour – ‘“Pretty armour doesn’t make a warrior.”

1st May – Canine – “And then there were cats, thought Dog.:

8th May – graphic novel cover – “Love belongs to Desire, and Desire is always cruel”

15th May – pink – as pink as cotton candy – any cover that is pink

22nd May – Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

29th May – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

5th June – Flight – any type of flight – to flee, to fly

12th June – The bodice ripper – exactly as it seems

19th June – Time – time waits for no one

26th June – Windows – windows to the soul?

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

Beast1After a rather crazy month of May I’m pretty much dedicating the month of June to catching up with all my errant reviews.

The Beast’s Heart is a retelling of my favourite fairytale – Beauty and the Beast.  It’s a rather beautifully written love story told from the perspective of the Beast.

I can say immediately that I enjoyed this book very much.  The style of writing is a perfect mix of beautiful description and bewitching storytelling and it’s a tale that I already know and love.  I have a couple of little issues that kept this from going from a good read to a great one but overall this was a lovely story that I devoured in a couple of sittings.

I won’t go into the plot too much.  I’m fairly sure that most people know the storyline for Beauty and the Beast and for the most part The Beast’s Heart is a faithful rendition that takes the opportunity to give us the Beast’s perspective.

We start off with the Beast living wild in the forest, terrorising the other animals until he remembers his humanity and the curse that brought him so low.  After he recalls his past he returns to his home, a fantastic and crumbling chateau that is also cursed. The whole place is bewitched, it has it’s own seasons, the gardens can change at will and the house has it’s own personality being able to change from a place of warmth and comfort to one that is hostile and unwelcoming depending on it’s own feelings as events unfold.  Eventually, following the natural course of the fairytale Isabeau comes to stay with the Beast after an agreement is reached that she will stay for the duration of one year.

Gradually the two form a sort of friendship and fall into a daily pattern however their friendship is hampered by the secrets that they both withhold from each other and a general lack of openness.

What I particularly liked about this was the style of writing.  This story lends itself so well to the gothic and the author has a lovely way with words that evokes the classics.  The descriptions and attention to detail are really well executed and I also particularly enjoyed the way the story splits between the time spent at the Chateau and the glimpses of Isabeau’s family and the lives they are now living, which we are able to witness alongside the Beast using his magical mirror. Isabeau’s sister’s both have their own storylines going on that help to break things up nicely whilst at the same time increasing the tension. I particularly liked that the nature of the two sisters was slightly different here.  Yes, they relied heavily on Isabeau but to an extent the fact that she looked after them so thoroughly left them without the will to try things for themselves.  When Isabeau left they had to cope and in doing so their characters flourished.  Much as Isabeau needed more from her life so did the two sisters need more from theirs.

This is undoubtedly a love story, which I was expecting going in to the read. It focuses strongly on emotions with the Beast’s loneliness and desperation seeping onto every page.  He despairs of his current form, he can’t imagine how Isabeau can ever love him and yet every day he persists in asking her to marry him – even though he can see how unhappy it makes her.

The issues I had with this book related to two different things.  Firstly, the nature of the Beast’s curse – which was changed slightly but I’m not quite sure why – and in fact it made the whole cursing seem a little unfair to me.  The other thing I felt was a lack of ‘beastliness’ from the Beast.  To be honest, he was just too damned nice, always charming.  Always trying too hard.  I realise that he doesn’t want to scare Isabeau away but I almost felt like shaking him at one point.  There was one part of the book where the altercations between the two became a bit tedious because of the lack of somebody having a bit more bite or backbone about them.  Of course, don’t get me wrong,  I can see the motivations for the Beast’s good behaviour but I think I expected every now and again for his animal nature to get the better of him and perhaps we’d witness a teeny outburst.

Fortunately there was nothing that really spoiled the read for me, just a short spell that could have become a little stilted but for the alternate chapters spent with Isabeau’s family.

On the whole I enjoyed reading from the Beast’s pov.  The writing was quite captivating and rich with a delicious gothic vibe and I would certainly read more from this author.  But – if love stories aren’t your thing – be aware that that is the major gist of the story here.

I received a copy from the publisher courtesy of Netgalley.  My thanks for the copy and apologies for the tardiness of this review.  The above is my own opinion.

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross.  Oh my giddy aunt.  I’m an absolute sucker for any retellings of Beauty and the Beast but I think this is the first time I’ve seen a book from the Beast’s point of view.  Get in my life this minute.  *drools unbecomingly*.

thebeastsA sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast’s side of the story at long last.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.

Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.

Publication date: May 3rd 2018