Craving Beauty – Jennifer Silverwood (Review)

Title: Craving Beauty (A Wylder Tale #1)
Author: Jennifer Silverwood
Publisher: SilverWoodSketches, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, Fairy Tales

**I received a copy of this book free from Book Enthusiast Promotions and the Author in exchange for an honest review**

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, and my Goodreads page

My Review:


Beautiful cover, is t it?

So I know I didn’t post a currently reading for this, so here’s the blurb:

VYNASHA HAS SPENT THE LAST FOUR YEARS TENDING HER MOTHER’S ROSES AND LOOKING AFTER HER NEPHEW. THE FIRE THAT KILLED THEIR FAMILY HAS LEFT HER SCARRED AND PUT WYLL ON THE BRINK OF DEATH. SOON THE FIRST FROST WILL COME DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAINS AND SHE KNOWS THIS WINTER WILL BE HIS LAST.

UNTIL A STRANGE BEGGAR APPEARS ON THE ROAD, TELLING HER OF THE MAJIKAL SOURCE THAT CAN HEAL HER WYLL. WITH NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE, VYNASHA BRAVES THE FORBIDDEN WYLDER MOUNTAINS TO SEEK OUT A CURE AND HER FATE.

A LOST KINGDOM IS UNCOVERED BY AN EQUALLY LOST GIRL, BUT THE CASTLE IS NOT ABANDONED AS SHE BELIEVES. SHADOWS CLOAKING UNSEEN EYES WATCH. TAPESTRIES WHISPER FROM THE HIDDEN CORNERS, WONDERING IF THE ONE TO BREAK THEIR CURSE HAS COME. AND A HUNGRY BEAST WAITS, READY TO DEVOUR HER SOUL.

So I thought, hey, that sounds good…and I love fairy tale retellings…
It was…hmmm….different.

I don’t even need to summarize, because the blurb explains it all. Vynasha cares for her nephew, Wyll, after they both were in a fire that killed her three sisters. The two of them badly burned, Will has taken the brunt and is very ill. Vynasha will do anything she can to help her nephew, and when a beggar tells her where to find the Source, a way to heal Wyll, she packs him up and heads to a forbidden area. Once she gets close, a mountain man warns her of the dangers to Wyll, and volunteers to watch him while Vynasha goes on searching. When she stumbles upon a castle, she becomes a prisoner of a princely beast who wants her hand in marriage. 

It wasn’t at ALL what I expected, and though that can be good, I was lost throughout the whole thing. We meet the staff of the castle, and there are wild beasts roaming that can kill Vynasha…she keeps putting herself in danger after repeated warnings…she befriends the staff and learns that their fate rests in her hands. These are things I understood. 

What I didn’t understand? Everything else. Silverwood has a talent for the pen, but she writes almost like an Old English prosewriter. The sentences are long and winding, and though it is written in active voice, it felt passive. It seemed like everything had happened already, and I kept falling asleep. It was a driving force inside me that kept me going, waiting to find out who the prince is, and what the curse is (something to do with a previous woman from a mirror world), and even after the end I have no idea what is going on. Yes, it ends on a major cliffhanger, and that means there is more to the story, but throw me a bone here. 

Here’s an example of a passage picked at random so you can see what I mean about the writing structure:

The room was vast, greater than her family’s cottage before flames desecrated it, and it was dark. No candles illuminated its corners. Moonlight from the balcony graced the obsidian pillared corners, the four-poster bed, the smashed, overturned mirrors and many wooden chests that rested against the walls. Her eyes were drawn to the moon’s cast and as she approached the balcony, she started. The balcony was separated from the room by a wall of glass. Braced by silver metal, the clear panes opened to a snow-drenched world beyond. 

Wind stirred and a single snowflake flew inside, gliding to the surface before her. One of the panes was open. As she approached the glass door, she took in the breadth of the balcony, stretching past the transparent wall. Mountains stood farther out and the howls that had haunted her dreams sang along with the winter storm.

Are you asleep yet?

That’s what the whole book sounds like. Tell me you don’t get lost reading something that sounds like that!

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes, but that doesn’t mean I would use it. Not enough going on…maybe because I am so used to YA, this was a hard read for me. I don’t know…maybe it’s me?

Age Range:

Nothing in this book is inappropriate for younger readers, but I feel they too would be lost in the story. The extent of the action involves the beast roaring, and Vynasha running off. The only thing I felt was inappropriate? They kept calling Vynasha “wench.” I don’t know about your dictionary, but mine says a wench is a prostitute. What about yours?

End Result:

  ★★★☆☆. According to my rating system on my home page, three stars means: “Readable book. Might forget it at some point, but I was able to read to the end, and it kept my interest. (Most books receive this as the lowest rating).” It DID keep my interest, but only because I WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. 

So you see? I’ve broken my five star streak. It was inevitable. Would I pick up the next book? If it was free. Because I hate not knowing what’s going on in a book. It frustrates me.

Thanks again to Debra Presley for her 30 Day Indie Reading Challenge, and I am a big fan of Book Enthusiast Promotions.


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33 thoughts on “Craving Beauty – Jennifer Silverwood (Review)

  1. I really felt sleepy reading that passage. It reminds me of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge but Cruel Beauty is so much better (bias opinion). Have you read it? I’m also obsessed with retellings. Nice review!

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    1. I have it checked out but I read Crimson Bound and liked that. This was just so slow and passive. I don’t know if it’s because it’s supposed to be adult or what: I just couldn’t get into it. It was like reading an epic poem. Like the Iliad!

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  2. The cover looked so good that I was *really* hoping you gave this, like, five stars lol. But alas, twas not meant to be. I feel like the passage above could be atmospheric, but not if the *whole* book is like that. I mean, *boring*. But at least you finished!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was painful, but yes, I finished. I rarely DNF unless I don’t care about the ending…I WANTED to know what was going on…and I still don’t know.
      And yes, the whole book was like that. It was like reading Shakespeare while you’re drunk.
      It had such promise, too. I don’t know if I’ll read the next one, as I am curious to how it ends…but I have enough books to read that I actually am EAGER to read…so on the back burner to be forgotten it goes.
      Such a shame for such a pretty cover…alas, ’twas not meant to be. Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I try not to DNF even if I really don’t like the book, because I feel like I’ve started and that means I should finish. And leaving reviews about books I don’t like almost seems more important than for the ones that I do like – though maybe that’s just me. O.o I will say that I hate it when books have all this promise and then just fail. It’s really unfortunate and I LOVE fairytale retellings. (You should try Sister’s Red if you haven’t checked it out yet. It’s my fave.)

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’ve passed it in the library: the Jackson Pearce book, right? It looked interesting…
      I’ll have to check it out!
      Andy you and I both are total anti-DNFers, which is good because we want to give books a chance! 👍

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! That is the one. It is most excellent, especially if you like Little Red Riding Hood (which happens to be my favorite).
        And all books deserve a chance. At least, in the beginning. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love fairy tale retellings, and I love any that are based on Beauty and the Beast because that’s one of my favourite fairy tales, but I don’t know whether I’d be able to get through this one. Just the passage you quoted in your review was a struggle for me to get through and if the whole book is like that like you said it will take me ages to read and I likely won’t enjoy it as much as I should you know.
    Still great review. You get through books really fast so I can’t wait to see what review you post next! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Almost done with one called There Once Were Stars, a dystopian novel given for review. I like to get those out of the way before their due dates so I can focus on other books. Yeah, I try to read as much as I can.
      I included that random snippet (I just picked a page) so you guys could see what I was dealing with. I was disappointed it wasn’t better and I didn’t like it more. There goes the theory that I like everything! I also hate giving out three stars (it really is my lowest score to date), because I know the author worked hard on it. I hate getting a book for review and I don’t like it. I almost feel like I should give it a good review because they entrusted me to like it, and I didn’t.
      It such a conflicting feeling. But I know you’ve been there.
      There are some books I reviewed that probably deserve less than the three I give them, but I can’t bear to do it unless they’re absolute garbage. I read a copy of a book for an author personally, and I wanted to give the book like, two stars, but I felt too guilty and others gave it five, so I ended up with three. She wasn’t too happy about that, and I don’t think she’s my GR friend anymore, But her book was weird with a sudden ending that came out of left field, and it was riddled with errors. So you see, I’m a softy. Mainly because of that experience (she wanted me to read it again after I had to start over twice because she had new versions every two minutes…I just couldn’t read it again!!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a few ARCs I need to read and review, I like to get them out of the way as well before I post them, just so I have the draft ready to go, plus that way I find the deadline doesn’t really creep up on me like it would otherwise.
        Honestly if the whole book was like that I don’t know how you did it. I wouldn’t have been able to at all. I guess you can’t like every book, there’s always bound to be a few that have low star ratings from you but there are books I don’t like as well. It’s always disappointing but I can’t change my opinion on it. I think if you’re constructive and not abusive that could be seen as helpful more than anything else, and yeah it must be hard but for every not so good review there’s got to be a few good ones right?
        See that’s something that must have been hard, especially if she was someone you were in contact with as well, but if you don’t like something then you don’t like it, re-reading it probably won’t help no matter how many revisions there are. Besides it seemed like she had a lot of five-star reviews so hopefully she would have been a little happy with that! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, the only way I try to reassure myself is knowing that I could really give it less than three stars and be really honest with how I felt about it, but I am not like those people that rip apart the author and the writing and tell everyone the book sucks and give it one star. I couldn’t do it. My philosophy is that if I can bear reading it until the end, it deserves at least a 3. If I can’t, which rarely happens, then I could comfortably give it less. I have a friend on Goodreads (well, a couple, actually) that tear apart the book and sound offended that the book was ever published, and give the book one star. Just because you don’t “like” something doesn’t mean it deserves that low a rating! Other people might like it! So I go based on what I think the book warrants based on any reader, and some of the problems that I had that people might agree with. I won’t rate a book one star like I’ve seen because there’s an annoying protagonist. Sometimes protagonists are annoying. That doesn’t make the book bad!
      I know, I’m probably too nice, but I think of all the people that might base their decision to read a book based on my review, and I try to rare accordingly. So to me, three stars is pretty low. It’s like reading a book for school because it’s required and you don’t like the subject or the style. But others might.
      Sorry about the rant. Again.
      But yeah, it was difficult to get through with how passive the writing was. It was llike someone telling you a story that happened to them two years ago, so you don’t feel like it’s happening right now. It all feels like it’s already happened.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well obviously you’re not, but you can’t expect to like every book that crosses your to-read list, and the authors have to think about it from that perspective a little as well, they can’t expect every person out there to love their books. I’ve never given a book a one star rating but there has been one I gave two stars to. Even so I like to think my reviews are constructive rather than abusive. I try really hard if I haven’t enjoyed a book to not offend anyone.
        I sometimes think I’m too nice in reviews but I agree with you on your point, people use reviews as a guideline for what book to pick up next and someone may end up really enjoying a book I didn’t at all.
        No that’s all right. Feel free to rant anytime you need to, I’ll always listen (or read given these are comments!) 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I try and reply and comment once a day at least, it’s why I joined WordPress in the first place, to talk to people about books!
        I think we’re good people, I always try to be at least! 🙂
        And thanks, I’ll remember that if I ever need to rant in the future! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Me, too! We ARE good people. I try to comment as much as I can, I just worry about school getting in the way soon. I hope people will know that I’m always going to reply or look at their responses and posts, even if I can’t immediately. I worry I’ll lose friends if I stay away too long. I am never on FB, and I have no idea who’s on there anymore with me because they probably got tired of me never liking their posts, even though it’s because I never go on there.
      ::shrugs::
      I guess we just are awesome. That’s the only explanation I can think of. 👍

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I manage it OK with work at the moment, granted I can only comment and reply in the evenings but it’s still once a day so there’s always that. Sometimes I’ll try and comment back during my lunch break but more often than that it doesn’t happen. I think it’s just time management but I think everyone understands there are sometimes things in real life that can get in the way, everyone has them so everyone will understand if that’s what you’re going through! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. She just kept saying things that she knew would piss the prince off, and then when he got mad, she would just run blindly away and get hurt all the time.
      The weirdest part was that everyone called her Beauty though she had a real name, and others referred to her as a wench. A “wench” is a derogatory term, meaning prostitute. Or a loose woman. I wouldn’t like being called s wench, would you? It was just an all-around strange read for me, I had high hopes because of the retelling aspect. I was let down. It was horrible, but it wasn’t something I would want to go through again to understand what happened better.
      I wonder if others felt the same way: there were two reviews on Amazon, and the Goodreads rating was averaging in the three star range, so I think most people felt the same.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And that passage was selected completely at random! Didn’t mean to knock you out!! Lol.
      (I feel bad bc the author liked my review on Goodreads…which means she read it. I felt horrible. I hate that part of RaRs…)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Annie

    So sad you didn’t enjoy this as much as you thought you would! I haven’t read any retellings yet but I’m being sent one arc about a russian tale 😱 Let’s see if I like it!

    Liked by 1 person

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