December 2015

Kayla’s Pick

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Review by Kayla Ferguson



Strong-spirited Nyx Triskelion has been dreading her seventeenth birthday her entire life. That’s because on the day she turns seventeen, she will be forced to marry the cruel demon lord who has ruled over her country for nine hundred years. No one who has ever entered the Gentle Lord’s castle has ever emerged again, but Nyx’s father and the other elders of her village believe that the four magical keys that will break the demon’s curse on the country are hidden within the castle. It is Nyx’s mission to stay alive long enough to find the keys and break the curse. But Nyx finds that her fate is drastically different than she expects, as she tries to solve the puzzle of the castle, a constantly changing labyrinth that hides both wonders and terrors, and simultaneously finds herself falling in love with the very person she has been taught all her life to hate.


This exciting and beautiful retelling of the classic story of Beauty and the Beast is a great read for young adults. Flavored strongly with Greek mythology, this book tells a tale that is both unique and familiar, adding surprises and twists to the old fairy tale. Nyx is a complex and believable character, torn between her sense of duty to free her country, her fury at her father who bargained her away, her jealousy at her pampered and spoiled sister, and her hatred and fear of Ignifex, the demon lord who turns out not to be the horrific monster she expected, but a beguilingly handsome young man who is full of secrets. Author Rosamund Hodge does a great job of slowly revealing the mystery of the castle and Ignifex, keeping the reader in suspense about what will happen to Nyx. Those who enjoy romance won’t be disappointed either; Nyx and Ignifex’s relationship begins with distrust, distaste, and lots of sass but slowly transforms into a sweet and beautiful romance. There’s also an interesting and surprising love triangle twisted into the story, but no spoilers there! Unlike the original fairy tale, this story is about not judging others by what other people say about them, and it also has themes about family, duty, true love, and inner strength.


If you enjoy paranormal romances like the Twilight series, the Otherworld series, and the Mortal Instruments books, or if you love fantasies like Harry Potter, Graceling, and the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, try Cruel Beauty!


Aimee’s Pick

Author – Jennifer L. Armentrout


JLA is one of my FAVORITE authors!  She is a #1 New York Times and International Best Selling Young Adult author – she also writes New Adult and Adult Romance under the pen name J. Lynn.

If you’re looking for fantasy or paranormal, I HIGHLY recommend The Covenant Series and The Lux Series.  If you want a good mystery/thriller, check out the standalone, Don’t Look Back.  Click here to browse JLA books at EMPL, and for a complete listing, visit