Review: Beth and Amy

Title: Beth and Amy
Author: Virginia Kantra
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Retelling
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Four sisters face new beginnings in this heartfelt modern take on Little Women by New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra. 

Amy March is more like her older sister Jo than she’d like to admit. An up-and-coming designer in New York’s competitive fashion industry, ambitious Amy is determined to get out of her sisters’ shadow and keep her distance from their North Carolina hometown. But when Jo’s wedding forces her home, she must face what she really wants…and confront the One Big Mistake that could upend her life and forever change her relationship with Jo.

Gentle, unassuming Beth grew up as the good girl of the family. A talented singer-songwriter, she’s overcome her painful anxiety to tour with country superstar Colt Henderson. But life on the road has taken its toll on her health and their relationship. Maybe a break to attend her sister’s wedding will get her out of her funk. But Beth realizes that what she’s looking for and what she needs are two very different things….

With the March women reunited, this time with growing careers and families, they must once again learn to lean on one another as they juggle the changes coming their way.

Review:

In this sequel to Meg and Jo, Beth and Amy March are called back to their hometown in North Carolina for their sister Jo’s wedding. They appear to be leading exciting lives, but there is a lot hidden beneath the surface. Beth is on tour with her country singer boyfriend, but she’s suffering in secret with her health. Amy has designed a successful line of purses, but she really wants to find love with the one man who doesn’t love her back. All of the March women are reunited again as they find their places in the world and their family.

I haven’t read Little Men, the sequel to Little Men, so I was surprised at what happened in this novel. I won’t give any spoilers, but Amy’s love interest was quite surprising to me. I didn’t like that relationship at the beginning, but by the end of the book I was rooting for them to be together. These characters were so well developed that I changed my mind about them and I loved them at the end.

I like the way this retelling has been adapted to a modern setting. For example, Beth’s illness of scarlet fever in Little Women was turned into an eating disorder in this story. Beth having an eating disorder and anxiety makes it more relatable to a modern audience, rather than having scarlet fever like she had in the original book. The personalities of the characters were the same as in the original book and they fulfilled the same character roles, but in a modern setting.

Beth and Amy is a great retelling of Little Women.

Thank you Berkley Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Other books in the series:

Have you read Beth and Amy? What did you think of it?

Review: Meg and Jo

Title: Meg and Jo
Author: Virginia Kantra
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Retelling
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The timeless classic Little Women inspired this heartwarming modern tale of four sisters from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.

The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.

Review:

Meg and Jo are the eldest March sisters. Jo moved to New York City to follow her dream of being a writer, but she’s working as a prep chef and writing an anonymous food blog on the side. Meg is the reliable sister who stayed in their hometown and has a family of her own. All of the March sisters are summoned home at the holidays by their mother’s sudden illness. They need to come to terms with the decisions they’ve made and rebuild their family bond.

This story reimagines Little Women. All of the sisters are young adults who have chosen their own paths. Despite living in different cities, they’re all brought back home by their close bond. Even though the characters are older than the girls in the original Little Women, they had to face the same dilemmas. Jo was conflicted about following her dreams, and had an affair with an older man. Meg took her place as the oldest sister by looking after everyone, but she ended up with too much on her plate. They were the same characters, but older and in a contemporary world.

The bond of sisterhood was important in this story. There were other famous sisters mentioned throughout the story which reinforced this sisterhood bond. Meg and Jo referred to themselves as Elizabeth and Jane from Pride and Prejudice many times. The sisters liked to watch White Christmas which also has a famous pair of sisters. The relationship between Betty and Judy in White Christmas was more of a mother/daughter relationship, which represents the bonds between Meg and Amy, and Jo and Beth. Both of the sisters mothered one of the younger girls. Despite all of the problems the March girls faced, they supported each other.

This was a great retelling of Little Women. The sequel, Beth and Amy, comes out in a couple of weeks, and I’m excited to read it!

What to read next:

Beth and Amy by Virginia Kantra

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Have you read Meg and Jo? What did you think of it?

Review: Evil Thing (Villains #7)

Title: Evil Thing (Villains #7)
Author: Serena Valentino
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Cruella De Vil is the perfect villain: stylish, witty, relentless…and possibly cursed. 

From her lonely childhood, to her iconic fashion choices, to that fateful car crash (you know the one), Cruella tells all in this marvelous memoir of a woman doomed. Even the cruelest villains have best friends, true loves, and daring dreams. Now it’s Cruella’s turn to share hers.

This latest novel by the author of the wildly popular and darkly fascinating Villains series brings readers a tale told by the Evil Thing herself-a tale of the complicated bonds of female friendship, of mothers and daughters, and of burning, destructive desire.

After all, nothing is as simple as black and white.

Review:

Cruella De Vil was a spoiled little girl. Her father loved her and spent time with her, but her mother only bought her gifts to show her love. When Cruella’s father died, she was abandoned by her mother, who decided to travel the word after sending Cruella away to school. The only way that Cruella knows how to give and receive love is through money and gifts. The ultimate gift to her is fur, and it would be an even more special gift if it was a unique fur coat made from black and white puppies.

This is the first book I’ve read in this Disney villains series and I loved it! Cruella De Vil is one of the meanest Disney villains. She wanted to make a fur coat out of Dalmatian fur. This story didn’t try to justify what Cruella wanted to do, which is so horrible it can’t be explained. What the story does though is show how Cruella became a woman who wanted a coat made out of puppies.

Cruella narrates this story herself. She tells the story of her upbringing and her confusing relationships with other people. Cruella was from a high class family, who lived in a large house with servants. She would describe the people who she was close to, but weren’t quite at her high level in society, as in-betweens. This included her best friend Anita, who lived with an upper class family but was not given the same privileges as them. Anita later becomes the owner of the Dalmatians which Cruella wants to have for their fur. The relationship between Cruella and Anita was much more complex than in the movie 101 Dalmatians. This story explained why Cruella behaved the way she did.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Disney Book Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Fairest of All by Serena Valentino

Poor Unfortunate Soul by Serena Valentino

Other books in the series:

  • Fairest of All
  • The Beast Within
  • Poor Unfortunate Soul
  • Mistress of Evil
  • Mother Knows Best
  • The Odd Sisters

Have you read Evil Thing? What did you think of it?

Review: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1)

Title: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1)
Author: Sonali Dev
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Retelling
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

·       Never trust an outsider

·       Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations

·       And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

A family trying to build home in a new land.

A man who has never felt at home anywhere.

And a choice to be made between the two.

Review:

Trisha is an acclaimed neurosurgeon, so DJ Caine brings his sick sister to be treated her. Trisha can treat her, but at a high cost. Meanwhile, DJ is a chef who gets some important jobs with Trisha’s well-known family. Trisha and him get off on the wrong foot when they first meet, with Trisha coming off as prejudiced. A series of secrets mixes them up with each other and threatens their relationships with their families.

This is an amazing adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Even though the same general events happen as in the original book, things are slightly twisted so it isn’t an exact copy of Pride and Prejudice. DJ, the Darcy character, is an orphan who struggles to look after his sick sister. Trisha, the Elizabeth character, is from a wealthy, royal Indian family. In this story, “Darcy” is the poorer character, while “Elizabeth” is wealthy.

The storyline is flipped from the original Pride and Prejudice, so the story was still a surprise. Since some of the characteristics were given to the opposite characters, it wasn’t obvious what would happen. Some of the events were similar, but treated in a slightly different way. For example, in Pride and Prejudice, Darcy’s sister is chronically ill. In this story, DJ’s sister has a brain tumor. Darcy’s sister is vulnerable and ill in both versions, just in different ways.

I really got to know all of the characters, so I’m excited to read the next book, which comes out in a few weeks!

What to read next:

Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2) by Sonali Dev

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Have you read Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors? What did you think of it?