Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Review: The Artisans by Julie Reece + Giveaway

The Artisans

Julie Reece

YA Fairy Tale Retelling
May 12, 2015

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | kobo | TBD

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

The Artisans is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in South Carolina. The entire story has a very dark, gothic feel to it that created a rich environment. Very similar to the legend, it begins with heroine Raven indenturing herself to Gideon in order to save her stepfather, the only family she has. While the story was an intriguing twist on the classic, it never captured my heart as I hoped.

Plot and ambiance are king here. Vivid descriptions paint a rich tapestry so real I could practically feel the humidity in the air. I really think the author nailed the setting-- it was perfect for this story, and I loved the pervasive darkness. The actual plot itself, aside from being a retelling, was quite interesting. I really enjoyed the strange denizens wandering the halls and grounds of the manor.

The main characters, on the other hand, fell a bit flat for me. I never really felt much at all for Gideon, and the Beast has always been one of my favorite tortured male leads. Raven was a sweet girl, spunky, curious-- I liked her but didn't really... oh, I don't know... feel much for her. Now some of the secondary characters-- well, they seemed to have more life than the main characters. Every once in a while, one of the main characters would say or do something that seemed off which drew me right out of the story.

In addition, the pacing felt a tad uneven. The last third of the book was great, so good in fact that I didn't want to put it down. The beginning and especially the middle dragged at times. But, as I said earlier, the plot is intriguing-- I really liked the paranormal aspect. It was different from other things I've read recently and that's quite refreshing. Plus-- gotta love those 'happily ever after' endings.

If you like an interesting gothic tale with romance and the paranormal-- especially of you like fairy tale retellings-- then I think you'll enjoy The Artisans.

About the Author

Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.
Then I thought I’d write one down…

Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. 

Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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  1. I am someone who can't get enough of all the retellings that have been hovering around, and this one seems no different to me! I would love to read this book and I have recently rewatched the Beauty and the Beast movie, so I feel all the more prepared for it. Glad you could enjoy this one!

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