Disney Beauty and the Beast Volume 2 [Mallory Reaves]

In Disney’s live-action film “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince inside.

This manga explores the Beast’s struggle as he tries to move on from his past and learn what it is to love.

My thoughts on the book: Contrary to the first volume which was very difficult to read due to the odd disposition of the pages in the PDF version, I must admit that this volume 2 was far easier and more pleasant to read because it was displayed one page at a time. It made the reading experience less frustrating.

Overall, the illustrations are as good as the first book — very elaborate and neat. However, I didn’t find the Beast very convincing. I think the face looks too human. Anyway, that’s quite minor flaw in the bigger picture of this manga. Speaking of which, I’m not really a manga reader (not at all actually), but given the theme, I was really looking forward to discovering this version of the classic tale.

Based on the Beast’s perspective, this second volume offers a different, interesting angle. The drawings and sketches are expressive and vibrant. I do prefer the first volume because it’s more girly, but this one is worth having a look as well even though it’s more masculine and rough around the edges since you have direct access to the tortured soul and stream of thought of the Beast.

My Score: ♥ ♥ ♥ (= I liked it a lot)

 

Disney Beauty and the Beast Volume 1 [Mallory Reaves]

In Disney’s live-action film “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince inside. This manga explores Belle’s innermost thoughts as she learns that true beauty comes from within.

My thoughts on the book: In this manga art concept, you’ll discover a beautifully rendered version of the story of Beauty and the Beast. It closely follows the script from the live-action film. If you have already seen it, you won’t have any trouble recognising all the fabulous scenes. The illustrations are very nice and sleek. It really matches the magic of the film.

The only downside of reading a manga in a PDF version is the fact that it’s a real hassle to read from bottom to top (yeah, manga must be read the opposite way). It was really a nuisance to read in that format. But as it is a free copy from NetGalley, it was a necessary evil. I can only recommend you to get the paper-based manga. It really does justice to the film.

My score: ♥ ♥ ♥ (= I liked it a lot)

Candlelight at Christmas [Katie Fforde]

Fenella and Rupert are organising the perfect Christmas, surrounded by their friends in their beautiful Somerby house.
Until Fenella gets a phone call from her ghastly parents-in-law asking if they can join them for the holiday. Fenella couldn’t possibly refuse and besides, it could be worse.
But when they arrive and the house is suddenly plunged in darkness thanks to a power cut, Fenella knows she has her work cut out to keep everyone happy and pull off the perfect Christmas feast.

My thoughts on the novel:
Published by Cornerstone and written by Katie Fforde, Candlelight at Christmas is a lovely, family-oriented Christmas tale that should be read while being comfortably tucked in by a fireplace, holding a warm cocoa. The major gathering at Fenella and Rupert’s is hectic and sometimes made me think of the early scenes from Home Alone when the whole family is gathered under the McCallisters’ roof.
With many kids around and even an unexpected French guest for an exotic touch, the Christmas dinner doesn’t unfold without a few hiccups along the way. A power outage leads the hosting couple to invite their neighbours over because their cottage relies solely on electricity. It wouldn’t be in the Christmas spirit to let a family go cold and without a proper Christmas dinner, that’s for sure. To wrap this all up, Fenella may have a wonderful piece of news to break to everyone, and nanny Meggie isn’t immune to Etienne’s charm, the French guest with a family who lives in a castle across the sea, no less!
With a turkey cooked on a barbeque and a possible Cupid’s arrow moment, the book is fun and festive, a bit predictable but still enjoyable.
Score: ♥ ♥

The Cosy Christmas Teashop [Caroline Roberts]

From sleigh bells to wedding bells . . .

After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down teashop regained its old sparkle.

Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairytale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The teashop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?

Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve.

Will Christmas at the Cosy Teashop be a showstopper to remember?


My thoughts on the novel: Special thanks to HarperImpulse and Netgalley for letting me discover the sweet  world of Ellie’s Castle Teashop! I must admit that I had not read the first installment before delving into this Christmas sequel. But fear not, it’s not a prerequisite to actually understand the characters. Luckily, the author carefully introduced some background info here and there, so you do get to learn about past events occurring in the first book.

I thought the overall story was entertaining and heartwarming. It was great fun to read about the first full-blown royal-like wedding Ellie has to organise for a true unicorn-loving Bridezilla. Things turn emotional with the story of Lucy and Daniel, a young couple due to marry in the summer, but because of a dramatic unforseen event, they are forced to postpone their joyful ceremony.

I liked how the author describes the daily activities taking place in Ellie’s castle and teashop. The secondary characters have strong personalities and contribute to enriching the plot and subplots. Joe and Ellie’s baby struggle is also well written. You really get to see how it’s taking its toll on their relationship.

Overall, I enjoyed this festive, romantic read. The twists and turns are well thought out. And when it comes to food, baking and recipes, everything included in the novel will make your mouth water. I only wish the Christmas part started earlier. Indeed, it all begins in the summer and the plot slowly unfolds months after months until, finally, all the Christmassy actions start taking place, which is halfway through the book.
Score: ♥ ♥ ♥