Beautiful Curse by Jen McConnel Review and Blog Tour

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Today I’m taking part in the BEAUTIFUL CURSE blog tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. I’ve gotten the chance to read and review Jen McConnel’s great take on one of my favorite myths – Cupid and Psyche.

The Review

Beautiful CurseTitle: Beautiful Curse

Author: Jen McConnel

Publisher: Swoon Romance

Publication Date: December 2014

Genre: YA Fantasy

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Sixteen-year-old Mya Jones is cursed.

She is, hands down, the most beautiful creature on earth. But beauty can wound, and Mya finds herself reviled and shunned by her peers. If there is even a chance that she could start over, Mya longs to take it, no matter the risks.

So when the strange Mr. Merk offers her a new life away from home, Mya is hesitant but hopeful. Only she didn’t count on the mysterious Ross, or her feelings for him.

BEAUTIFUL CURSE is a contemporary retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid.

Review

If you’re a retelling fan, this is a great book for you to read! I love the Eros and Psyche myth (also related to my love of East of the Sun and West of the Moon) so this was a no brainer when I saw the chance to sign up for the blog tour and review.

The book focuses on Mya, who wakes up her first day of her junior year of high school and is suddenly freakishly gorgeous. You’d think that would make high school fantastic, but it doesn’t. The boys all want to…well, you know… and the girls hate her. Even the teachers seem to despise her, with a few exceptions (and I love the way McConnel sorts out the teachers so a few are immune to her “charms.”

She is dealing with a lot of family drama as well, and believes her beauty may be the cause of it. Just when she thinks things can’t get worse, she finds out she’s been chosen for a special school, and that’s where things get into the retelling more seriously. The palace and its occupants are quite well done and very intriguing. If anything, my complaint is that we don’t see enough of it and Mya’s time with her teachers and servants.

Ross, despite not seeing him at all, is an interesting and warm character, though he does sometimes act far older than a man you’d expect Mya to be interested in. While the romance here is sweet, it is also my only complaint with the book. Mya and Ross suffer from insta-love (IMO) and I really wanted to see their interactions and see how they could have fallen in love with words and tones of voice and such. Instead, she’s got a crush on him after meeting him only twice.

Once Mya breaks her promise not to look on him, she seeks out help and must perform some impossible feats. I love where the author has Mya meet Aphrodite, and I enjoyed their interplay. In some ways, I found the tasks too easy to perform, but they made sense with the story and the character.

Mya is a well-drawn character, as are all the supporting cast. The author has done a great job of creating a believable world for these characters to inhabit, as well as a great underlying and subtle message, and I actually liked the bittersweet undertone to the ending. If you like retellings, definitely pick this one up!

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20706772-beautiful-curse?ac=1

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Curse-Jen-McConnel-ebook/dp/B00O2JKYGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417376141&sr=8-1&keywords=Beautiful+Curse

Book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

About the Author

jen mcconnelJen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWINCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga.

Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Author Links:

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Waiting on Wednesday: Beautiful Curse by Jen McConnel

20706772

Title: Beautiful Curse
Author: Jen McConnel
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: December 2014
Genre: YA Retelling

Sixteen-year-old Mya Jones is cursed.

She is, hands down, the most beautiful creature on earth. But beauty can wound, and Mya finds herself reviled and shunned by her peers. If there is even a chance that she could start over, Mya longs to take it, no matter the risks.

So when the strange Mr. Merk offers her a new life away from home, Mya is hesitant but hopeful. Only she didn’t count on the mysterious Ross, or her feelings for him.

BEAUTIFUL CURSE is a contemporary retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid.

 


 

This is a Waiting on Wednesday which I first saw at Breaking the Spine. The goal is to post a yet-to-be-published book that we are waiting to read. If you’d like to see more, go to http://breakingthespine.blogspot.com/to see the whole list. We’ll be posting one each week from now on, so if you have a book you think we should check out, feel free to contact us and let us know!

The Funeral Singer by Linda Budzinski

18276977Title: The Funeral Singer

Author: Linda Budzinski

Publisher: Swoon Romance

Publication Date: Sept 2013

Pages: 188

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Being a funeral singer was a dead-end job until it led her to him … Seventeen-year-old Melanie Martin has witnessed her share of lame eulogies and uninspired epitaphs while singing part-time at her dad’s funeral home. She’s determined to be more than a funeral singer, more than just someone’s “beloved wife” or “loving mother.” When Mel’s impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace” at a local rock star’s graveside service goes viral on YouTube, she becomes an Internet sensation, gains thousands of fans and followers, and snags a hot rock star boyfriend–Zed Logan, bass player for The Grime. But instant fame isn’t easy—and neither is love. Especially when Mel realizes she’s falling for another guy—one who may just want her heart more than her voice …

Review

I had looked at the description for this book several times, but hadn’t decided on buying it because I am not usually a contemporary young adult genre reader. When Mrs. Budzinski contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the novel, I took it as a sign and jumped in.

The premise itself is really intriguing. A teenage girl who sings at her father’s funeral parlor getting discovered? That has the potential to be a wild combination. And it was. I enjoyed Melanie’s character (though, I must admit, I kind of wanted her to be smacked by the time the ending came around) and the way that she changes over the course of the novel. She isn’t perfect. She’s a typical teenager who lets fame and notoriety go to her head. I work with teenagers, and I can totally see them acting like this.

She forgets who she is, and in the end she has to deal with what she has allowed herself to become. In the process she finally sees that it isn’t all about her all the time. Which I was thrilled about. By the time the end of the book rolled around, you want her to get that comeuppance. I like that the author puts the reader in a position that is much like what you would imagine her friends, Lana and especially Peter, are in. She’s their friend, but she damages her relationship with them and then has to fix it. I do wish there had been a little more of that in the end, with Peter in particular. That relationship needed fixed, and I didn’t feel like it was dealt with at the end of the book.

The romance portion of the novel is important and tied into Melanie’s behavior and eventual downfall. You see where it is headed from the halfway point on. It’s just a matter of waiting to see when Melanie is going to realize what happened. Without giving too much away, I enjoyed the twist that it took, though it was a little bit out of left field for me. That is probably a personal preference. Highlight between the astericks for a spoiler – skip if you don’t want to know!

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Her attraction to Bruno is another case of the snarky, jerky boy getting the girl in the end and he suddenly becomes “softer.” In this case, I can overlook that characteristic which usually irritates me because his behavior makes sense after the loss of his band mate and friend.

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Anyway – the book is a great read for anyone who enjoys contemporary YA romance and wants to read something fun. Definitely check it out! Looking forward to whatever Budzinski puts out next!

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18276977-the-funeral-singer?ac=1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Funeral-Singer-Linda-Budzinski-ebook/dp/B00FDWYBRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398274694&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Funeral+Singer

Book was provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.