A Stolen Kiss by Kelsey Keating

a stolen kiss

Author: Kelsey Keating

Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: In her debut novel, Ms Keating takes us on an adventure journey filled with magical surprises.

A stolen kiss. An unstable curse. One big mess in the making.

Derric Harver never expected to amount to anything more than the palace stableboy, but when Princess Maria’s curse keeps her from accepting a prince’s proposal, she turns to him for help, and he doesn’t dare refuse.

With the help of a lady’s maid and a prince, Derric and Maria embark on a dangerous adventure to find the sorceress who cast the curse. Along the way they battle deadly creatures and make new friends–all the while struggling with the undeniable chemistry between them. Reaching their destination won’t be easy, but the true danger peril in the truths they’ve fought for years to keep hidden.

A Stolen Kiss is the first in the Stolen Royals Series–an adventure with magical creatures, dangerous lies, and being true to the power within.

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A Stolen Kiss is available on NetGalley. This is my honest review.

I had high expectations for this book, and the synopsis sounded amazing. I avoided reading reviews for this book. What I expected from A Stolen Kiss was an epic adventure filled with romance and action. What I got, was something else.

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A Stolen Kiss immediately starts off with instalove…there is no buildup to the relationship. Maria, the swan princess, is immediately attracted to Derric, the stableboy who happens to be the son of the “evil” sorcerous that cursed Maria several years ago. Maria has no idea that Derric is related to Gilda, the sorcerous. Maria is drawn to Derric, and Derric feels the same about her, but knows he can’t fall in love with her because of his mother’s actions. When Derric was child, he kissed Maria thinking that her curse was going to be broken. Derric doesn’t see results, and believes he has failed. What Derric doesn’t know is that because of his kiss, his stolen kiss that is, Maria’s curse became dormant. Maria has no idea that Derric kissed her since she was sleeping when the kiss happened. At eighteen years old, Maria is forced into an arranged marriage in order to break her curse. When Prince Humphrey proposes and kisses Maria, the curse activates and Maria changes into a swan. Deteremined to break the curse, Derric, Maria, Humprehy, and Sarah take an epic journey to break the spell.

Now, this book is labeled as young adult, but honestly this felt more like a middle grade than anything else. The characters are supposed to be eighteen years old, but honestly, they felt much more younger than that. The writing was very childish. Another problem I had with the book was how unprepared the characters were for the journey. Maria and Sarah were not fighters, they couldn’t really defend themselves against creatures. Maria and Sarah were damsels in distress while Derric and Humphrey had to constantly protect the group.

The most developed characters in this book were the males, while the female characters felt flat. I couldn’t really differentiate between Maria and Sarah. I wasn’t a big fan of Maria’s point of view. She focused too much on Derric. She wanted him to belong to her, and her alone. Throughout the book, she wanted to remove her curse as soon as possible in order to claim Derric as her own.

Maria in a nutshell:

She professed her love  and pined for him. For weeks she’d planned on getting the curse removed so she can claim him as her betrothed and marry him instead.

If you’re wondering if there is a love triangle, there is none. Also, there is no undeniable chemistry between Derric and Maria. Derric’s pov was much more interesting since he had to fight the darkness within him and had conflicting feelings towards Maria. The book would have been stronger if Maria was better developed. Humphrey also had a much better storyline than Maria and Sarah. He is the youngest prince forced to marry even though he is in love with someone else. Humphrey was willing to sacrifice his happiness for the good of the people.  My favorite character was Ellis, the shapeshifter since he was the most reasonable character in the story. Ellis is not good nor evil, and I loved how Ellis kept randomly showing up to annoy the others.

I wasn’t expecting so many creatures in this story. I was a bit overwhelmed when reading. There were too many fight scenes…I would have liked a much slower paced journey because it did feel rushed at times. My favorite part of this whole book was when the protagonists became allies with the centaurs. I was delighted that the female centaurs were the warriors and breadwinners, while the male centaurs were caregivers. The female centaurs were all about girl power.

Example One:

I do not understand humans. Why must you wait for a man? End your own troubles, Princess. You are the future ruler of your people – if you can’t make decisions for yourself, what makes you thinks you have the right to make decisions for them?

Example Two:

Humans. Your females are capable of so much, and yet they try to convince you that you are nothing. Without you, the human race couldn’t exist. It is about time you start realizing your own amazing talents…because no one else can give you self worth.

The book did get more exciting near the end. There were several revelations near the second half of the book. After finishing the book, I felt I read more about Derric and his destiny about being The Great One…rather than the curse. Overall, this is a light hearted retelling of The Goose Girl. There is a lot of action, but most scenes could have been shortened down. It is the first book in a series, and I don’t know how much more the author can expand on this story. I’m hoping she doesn’t milk the cow with this series because this book is better as a stand alone. There is no cliff hanger in the end of the book. 

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

The Moth & The Flame | The Crown & The Arrow by Renée Ahdieh

the moth and the flameAuthor: Renée Ahdieh

Genre: Fantasy, Short Story Young Adult

Links: Goodreads | Amazon 

Goodreads Synopsis: It started as playful, if barbed, banter before rising to a fateful wager with a most notorious rake—the Captain of the Guard, Jalal al-Khoury—who may have finally met his match in a lovely, if haughty, handmaiden, Despina. But she, too, seems to have met her match in the handsome Jalal. What begins as a tempestuous battle of will and wit in short order becomes a passionate affair spurred on by tragedy of the worst kind.

the crown and the arrow

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Genre: Fantasy, Short Story Young Adult

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: Seventy-one days and seventy-one nights had come and gone since Khalid began killing his brides. This dawn, Khalid would mark the loss of the seventy-second girl, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. Khalid didn’t know how many more of these dawns he could take. And there was something about this latest girl that piqued his interest. Not only had she volunteered to marry him, but at their wedding ceremony, she had seemed not the least bit afraid. In fact, what he had seen in her eyes was nothing short of pure hatred. She was about to lose her life. Why wasn’t she afraid? Why did she hate him so? He had never before gone to his wife’s chambers before her death at dawn. Tonight would be different.

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I am beyond excited for The Rose and The Dagger which is coming out this month!! Renée Ahdieh has blessed us, the readers, with two short stories.

I’ll start off with The Moth and The Flame.  I really liked Despina in The Wrath and The Dawn, and I was pleased with this novella. The story starts off with Despina’s pov and she has recently been promoted to a handmaiden. Jalal tries to hit on Despina, but she brushes him off. I loved it! When I read the The Wrath and The Dawn, I wanted to know Despina’s history with Jalal. Despina and Jalal are my second favorite pairing. One of my favorite moments is the garden scene.

And for a single moment, they forgot who they both were. The Captain of the Royal Guard. And the queen’s handmaiden. It was she who kissed him first. Without thought. Without warning. Her lips found his.

I can’t wait to read more about Despina and Jalal. Those two forbidden lovers need their happiness. I am crossing my fingers that their love can surpass all odds. Here’s another cute moment between those two:

The Captain of the Royal Guard wants to impress a lowly handmaiden?

A clumsy young man wants to impress a beautiful young woman. The question is, did it work?

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If I had to pick from which two of the short stories to read, I suggest The Moth and The Flame just because the other one is less than ten pages. That’s right, The Crown and The Arrow is less than ten pages. The Crown and The Arrow is told in Khalid’s perspective and it does not satisfy my needs! It didn’t add much to the story overall and it’s so short.

“Do not fear what the setting sun may bring. Where there is a setting sun, there is also a rising one.”

I would have liked more of a backstory for Khalid.  *Sighs*

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️