Tag «Author: Jay»

Single Sundays: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Princess of Thorns (from Goodreads):
Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?


Author: Stacey Jay
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve enjoyed Stacey Jay’s novels in the past for their original retellings of classic stories, like Romeo & Juliet and Beauty and the Beast. So when I saw the Princess of Thorns novel as an upcoming novel from her, I immediately went to see what it was about. Three things immediately sold me on this book:

  1. “Game of Thrones” meets (I love watching Game of Thrones, I have yet to tackle the books)
  2. “Grimm’s fairy tales” (I love fairy tale retelling stories)
  3. Sleeping Beauty (my favourite Disney princess is Aurora)

This book just seemed to have been made for me and I wasn’t going to do it the disservice of not reading it.

The Concept / The World:

Considering I was reading this book solely for the concept, I was expecting great things and I really did like the setting of Princess of Thorns. It was gritty and intricate which made reading about Aurora’s and Niklaas’ adventure very interesting.

I don’t recommend starting this book when you are tired like I did or else you might be a little lost at the start. It took me a lot longer to understand what was going on because I wasn’t in the right mindset and that dampened my reading experience. But once I understood the elements of the curses I really liked them.

The Plot:

I would say this book is more of an adventure/quest novel than a strict fairy tale retelling. Yes, the fairy tale element is a huge part of the plot but I never felt like I was reading a regurgitation of Sleeping Beauty. When you read it, you clearly understand why they say it is like “Game of Thrones meets Grimm’s fairy tales” because that is the best way to describe it. However, don’t be expecting the politics of Game of Thrones when you read. Rather, expect Aurora to be more like Daenerys Targaryen in the second season (second book) where she struggles to find an army to get back her throne: which means it can be a little boring at times.

I did feel like the book was slow to start and I felt my mind wandering as I was reading. Again, I wasn’t in the right mindset when I was reading it (I had to read it ASAP to return it to the library on time) so I kept waiting for it to get really exciting and it never really did. I found the last half was a lot more interesting to read but it didn’t wow me in any way. I also think Stacey Jay’s writing isn’t totally for me. This is the fourth book by her that I have read and I find her writing style confusing. I’m often rereading lines to make sure I have things clear and I’ve found that to be the case with all her books so far.

The Characters:

I really liked Aurora. She reminded me a lot of Katsa from Graceling in the sense that she could kick some serious ass when needed but was a more reserved heroine (ie not in your face). I liked that she was strong and independent and had some passion for her cause. While she may not be my favourite heroine ever, I did like her and never got annoyed with her.

Niklaas on the other hand took me a while to like. It’s weird because I normally like the suave, charming male heroes but I didn’t instantly love Niklaas like I was expecting. And I think a part of that is the romance…

The Romance:

*sigh* I really have mixed feelings on this romance: the critic in me is battling with the reader in me.

The critical me can appreciate the “friends to lovers” approach this book takes. It’s a classic Shakespeare scenario where the girl disguised as a boy falls in love with the boy she is helping. It even reminds me of the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty where Aurora and Philip meet for the first time and find that connection that saves them later on. I can appreciate the approach, it just doesn’t mean that I liked it.

I wish the romance had a little more of a spark to it. Because once it was there, it was great. I loved the relationship between these two, I just wish it was elaborated on earlier in the book.

My Rating: 3.5/5


I really, really wanted to love this book but it fell flat. To me, it was Princess Aurora’s shot to prove that she isn’t the perfect case of Damsel in Distress and for the most part I truly think she did. I just wish the other elements were up to snuff and the book was 50 pages shorter.

Read if You Like: quest based stories, fairy tale retellings
Avoid if You: want more passionate romance, dislike slower starts



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Series Review: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Series: Juliet Immortal
Author: Stacey Jay
# of Books: 2 (Juliet Immortal, Romeo Redeemed)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Supernatural, Shakespeare, Immortals
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person


I’m a sucker for anything Shakespeare so when I see books that are retellings of Shakespeare or involve his stories in some way, I am so there. So it’s no surprise I would pick this book up as soon as it was released.

I enjoyed Juliet Immortal but not as much as I hoped. It was good and had a cool spin on the whole story but I found the spin was a little confusing at time. I didn’t totally understand the immortal part of the books so I found that a little frustrating. I’m not sure if I just read it too fast causing me to not understand it or if it was the way it was written. Either way, I felt a little in the dark at times. I also didn’t totally love Juliet as a character. She had her moments where I really liked her and then moments where I didn’t. I also found it hard to reconcile the fact that Romeo and Juliet were “enemies” and not love-struck fools.

I actually enjoyed Romeo Redeemed a lot more. Again, it was a cool spin and I found it easier to follow along with it. I also like the message of the story a lot more and the characters. The romance was better in this story I thought which made me like it more.


An interesting and refreshing spin on the classic tale that Shakespeare and supernatural fans will enjoy.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Synopsis for Juliet Immortal (from Goodreads):
The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn’t take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn’t anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she’s fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she’s forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

“These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume.”
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Single Sundays: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.


I initially read the synopsis for this story based on the striking cover. The title also gave a hint that this was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast so that also grabbed by attention. It wasn’t until I noticed that author’s name that I realized I had read her series Juliet Immortal and had enjoyed the retelling she did there. So with so many things seeming to align, I decided to put my name on the hold list.

Truth be told, I almost stopped reading this book. The first 20 pages or so were really tough to get through. I think most of it had to do with the setting and the descriptions of the characters. I had a hard time visualizing the world that was being described and that always turns me off a book. I always like to have a firm grasp of what the world and characters look like when I am reading and I wasn’t getting that here. So I decided to act on my 50 page rule–if I didn’t like what I was reading or didn’t care about what was happening after 50 pages, I was dropping this book.

I couldn’t even tell you what page I was at when I realized I was starting to like this book. It just snuck up on me and before I knew it I was 100 pages in and excited to see what was happening next.

I think what happened was that the focus of the book shifted from appearances and instead focused on character and plot development. I think it is important not to go into this book expecting an exact retelling of Beauty and the Beast because that isn’t what this book is. Sure there are elements of the story present here but it isn’t what is driving this story. This story focuses on finding yourself in a world of restrictions and learning to love others–which you will argue is the point of Beauty and the Beast, especially the Disney version but that is where the similarities between the two end. I find the Disney version focuses more on the romance between Belle and the Beast while this book focuses more on independent growth and breaking the curse.

Also, the story can get very depressing at times and is set in a world of desperation and no hope. It’s very dystopian in its approach and often sad but I think it really works here.

Irsa and Gem really mature as the book progresses so while they aren’t my favourite literary heroes of all time, I can respect their characters.

What I really liked about this book was the mystery Irsa uncovers about the curse. The curse development really helps push this book and gives it something more than character development. Learning more about what the curse is, how it was created and how you can break it was really interesting to me and I think that is what kept me reading.


This book starts off a little slow but once the characters get invested in saving their respective people the story starts to pick up. Those who don’t mind a bit of fantasy mixed with dystopian settings will really enjoy this. Not for everyone but if you like trying something new or like different takes on fairy-tales, you will like this!

Rating: 4/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Fairy-Tale Retelling
Recommended for: 17+

Similar Reads:

  • Beastly by Alex Flinn (Kendra Chronicles #1)
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky Trilogy #1)
  • Devoured by Amanda Marrone

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