Monday, May 2, 2016

Queen of Hearts Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway!

QUEEN OF HEARTS
Queen of Hearts #1
Colleen Oakes
Young Adult/Fantasy
320 pages
Harper Teen
Available May 3rd
Source: eARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


QUEEN OF HEARTS
Queen of Hearts is a retelling that takes a little time to build, our time with Dinah in the opening chapters staying very much on the surface as she navigates the unexpected arrival of a new half sister and the deterioration of her already poor relationship with her father. The writing too seems very straightforward and simplistic in the beginning, telling us how Dinah feels about all that's happening without truly sucking us into her tale, but before too long this story starts to shift, shadows creeping in from all directions until they swallow us whole and force us far, far below the surface we'd previously been tiptoeing along.

At first glance, Dinah appears to be a young woman with a single layer to her character, that of a girl desperate for approval that's never going to come from an uncaring father, becoming increasingly bitter the more he shuns her in favor of her half sister. With time however, Dinah becomes far more intriguing than that first glance suggests, her volatile relationship with her father escalating to the point that we can't wait for the moment she might unleash her vengeance upon him and all those in her court who have mercilessly mocked her despite her royal status. While her father becomes increasingly cruel, Dinah manages to keep her cool, biding her time and working behind the scenes to uncover the dark secrets of Wonderland, and once she sets forth with this new purpose, her tale becomes impossible to put down.

One of the most interesting aspects of a retelling (for me personally) is seeing in what ways the author stays true to the original story and in what ways he or she deviates, and Queen of Hearts is no different. It's hard not to root for Dinah in this first installment given all the derision she faces from those who should love and respect her, but in the back of our minds we can't help but wonder if Dinah is already becoming the villain of the original and we just can't see it yet since we only have her perspective of various events. Either way though, she's a young woman with whom we desperately want more time once we close the back cover, and the wait for the second installment is sure to be long and painful in the best possible way.

Rating: 4/5


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COLLEEN OAKES


Colleen Oakes is the author of books for both teens and adults, including The Elly in Bloom Series, The Queen of Hearts Saga (Harper Collins 2016) and The Wendy Darling Saga. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son and surrounds herself with the most lovely family and friends imaginable. When not writing or plotting new books, Colleen can be found swimming, traveling and totally immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She currently at work on another YA fantasy series and a stand-alone YA novel.


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GIVEAWAY

Three lucky winners will each recieve a finished copy of Queen of Hearts! WOO HOO! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


33 comments:

  1. I like the idea and the cover and titles are really intriguing there!

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    1. I hope you give it a try Melliane!

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  2. That premise sounded like a book I just read, with the knight and all

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    1. Maybe this will work for you then:)

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  3. I'm all for retellings that are done well these days, seeing as I've only read a handful that I've absolutely loved. Dinah sounds like a complex character that I'd love to get to know! Thanks for putting this book on my radar Jenny! :)

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    1. You're welcome Jasprit! I'll be curious to see what you think if you pick it up:)

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  4. OOoh nice! This one sounds rather good! I love retellings or origin stories! Glad to hear it was enjoyable! Great review!

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    1. It was good! I thoroughly enjoyed it:)

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  5. Ha! We're review twins ... again, lol. Great minds think alike and all that, right? I really enjoyed the creative twists to this as well. I'm so curious about Dinah - and how she is going to handle so many of those interesting plot threads.

    Lovely review, Jenny! : )

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    1. We're basically the same blog at this point Kim:) Love it!

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  6. I love that you and Kim both reviewed this today and that you both like it!

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    1. Kim and I have been doing some kind of weird mind meld for a couple weeks now, we have all the same posts:)

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  7. I'm really not too fond of retellings so I wasn't going to read this, but you and Kim made me rethink my decision today. I love that there are layers to discover here and that the story sort of sneaks up on you.

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    1. I enjoyed this one Maja! It was a really quick read too, so it might be worth a try for you:)

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  8. That's my favorite part of a re-telling too, Jenny! I love seeing how the deviations add to the story and make it something new while still retains elements of the original. I'm glad this is a re-telling you enjoyed! I haven't heard of this one before so I'll have to check it out for sure! Wonderful review, dear!

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    1. YES! And I liked questioning whether Dinah was heroine or villain all the way through. It's so hard to tell when the only perspective on things is hers. I was still rooting for her though:)

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  9. I have been super excited to read this book for the longest time! I am such a huge fan of retellings!

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  10. Oh you have said exactly why I like retellings. I love to see where they deviate and where they stay true. I will have to check this one out. It sounds like a retelling I would enjoy as well!

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  11. I'm loving the fact that we're getting so many retellings these days. I've got this one in my TBR pile and look forward to reading it. Dinah sounds like she's going to be an interesting character.

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  12. I like how there's a build up with her character, that's really cool.

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  13. I love retellings and can't wait to read this book.

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  14. I love the cover and yes Jenny I get caught up in the way the author puts their own twist on the tale.

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  15. I love retellings and am really excited about this one!

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  16. I'm so glad to see your review because we got this in the bookstore and I really hadn't heard anything about it so I wasn't sure if it was any good. Now I have a better idea and can recommend it to the right people!

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  17. I love retellings and the darkest villains always have a great story to tell! I'm looking forward to reading this one! Thank you!

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  18. I love retellings and this sounds intriguing. I love when the author use original story as an inspiration and put their own twist on it. Thanks for putting this book on my radar.

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  19. I wasn't sure about this book, Jenny, and I haven't seen many reviews for it besides yours and Kim's, but I'm intrigued now. I do like that she's a character that grows. But hmm... maybe because it's part of a series I'll wait a bit more to see how the other books fare.
    Wonderful review, Jenny!

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  20. This is art, I def want this!
    Samantha D

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  21. This book has intrigued me for months. I really cannot wait to read it. I always gobble up retellings!

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  22. I love fractured retellings and Alice's world is one of my favs to revisit! Thanks for the giveaway!

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