Lady Gwen is Out!

Hey you guys!

I know this is just a little bit sudden and I probably should have done an update a while ago, but….

Lady Gwen is now available! 

Lady Gwen_300dpi

Ravenoth is destroying everything Gwen loves. She must be stopped. Finding Rose is the only answer, yet they have no idea where to start. After an attempt on Gwen’s life, events begin to spiral, causing Gwen more grief than she could ever imagine. She must fight harder than ever to hold onto Ignatius and her children and sabotage the evil faerie’s plans before it’s too late.

As you all know, this has been a very long process and I know so many of you have been waiting almost two years for this book. I am so excited for you to read it and I hope you enjoy it as much as book one!

At the moment, only a paperback is available, but the ebook is coming for those of you that prefer a Kindle. It’s currently in Amazon’s review process and should be available on Amazon withing 72 hours at most, probably less.

If you’re new here, Lady Gwen is the sequel to Captain Guineverewhich I released in November 2016. Writing the sequel has been a lot harder than I expected but I’ve definitely learned a lot.

Buy Lady Gwen: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1724033271/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539702633&sr=8-1&keywords=lady+gwen+clara+bennet

Buy Captain Guinevere: https://www.amazon.com/Captain-Guinevere-Gwendolyn-Trilogy-1/dp/1539710408/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1539702885&sr=1-1

Thank you all so much for your support and patience. I love you guys!

-Clara

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French Music + My Favorites

If you’ve been here long, you probably know I listen to French-language music. I love it. It’s been extremely beneficial to me, and I wanted to post a little about it.

I started learning French when I was twelve, and my mom told me for a few months that I should find some of the music and listen to it, but I didn’t until I accidentally discovered a musical called La Legende du Roi ArthurOne thing led to another- I found artists I loved and more musicals, and my French got so much better because of it. I’ve since been known to speak French in my sleep and dream in it (I had a French dream just a couple of days ago, actually, but I don’t remember too much of it).

No matter what language you may be learning, listening to music in that language will help you so much.

With that being said, I want to share my favorite music with you all. I’ll start with musicals and then the non-musical stuff. It’s in no particular order aside from that; I can’t pick absolute favorites!

La Legende du Roi Arthur

My first favorite, to the extent of paying $20 for the CD.

 

Mozart l’Opera Rock

Based on the life of Mozart. I’ve seen this one far too many times.

 

1789, Les Amants de la Bastille

For fans of A Tale of Two Cities. 

 

Les Trois Mousquetaires

I haven’t been able to watch this one yet as it’s not on YouTube but the music just makes me happy.

 

Onto artists, many of which I discovered because they were in the aforementioned musicals.

Charlie Boisseau

He played Lancelot in LLDRA and his voice is so uniquely beautiful.

Florent Mothe

Arthur in LLDRA and Antonio Salieri in Mozart. He has an interesting style that I just love.

Zaho

Morgane in LLDRA, and what a good villain she played. She’s on the R&B side of things and also has a cool voice.

Coeur de Pirate

She’s Canadian and sings in both French and English. I put her on when I’m in the mood for music that’s more chill; she just has one of those voices. Her first album is mostly acoustic, too, and I believe she plays her own piano in her songs.

Louane

I found out about Louane in a travel magazine and I completely love her music.

 

There you have it!

What music do you listen to?
-Clara

I know I haven’t blogged about books in a while but I haven’t been reading all that much…. I’m currently almost 200 pages into A Reaper at the Gates which I may or may not review depending on how emotional it makes me. 

I Played with Makeup for Almost 2 Hours, and This is What Happened

Every so often I spend an evening playing with makeup. I love doing it- it gives me a chance to do the crazier stuff.

I certainly went crazy this time.

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It’s definitely a Halloween look. Maybe for a mermaid or fairy costume. I was kinda sorta going for a fairy, but the blue made it a mermaid. Regardless, I’m quite pleased with it. I think some false lashes could make it better, but I don’t have any at the moment.

If you’d like to know how I did this, I can do my best to post a tutorial (I’m not sure I remember exactly what I did)- just let me know in the comments!

-Clara

The Makeup Book Tag

Hey guys!

Sorry it’s been so long; I’ve been lacking inspiration for the past few weeks. I decided to do a book tag I’ve wanted to do for a while- the Makeup Book Tag.

As well as answering with a book, I thought I’d share the current products I’m using.

Primer: A Book that Left a Lasting Impression

infidel

This is one that hasn’t left me since I read it. It’s one everyone should read and addresses an issue we all need to be aware of. If you haven’t read this, please do it as soon as possible. It’s disturbing, and difficult to read for that reason, but it’s worth it.

The primer I’m currently using is the e.l.f Cosmetics Illuminating Face Primer. I really like this. It’s not expensive and my makeup definitely looks dewier and lasts longer.

elf illuminating face primer

 

Foundation: Favorite First Book in a Series

This is really difficult…. Usually, first books aren’t my favorite in the series. I’m going to go with Falling Kingdoms. I like the later books (although, I haven’t finished the series yet; Crystal Storm just isn’t capturing my attention for some reason?) but this one just really struck me more than the others.

falling kingdoms

I’ve been using the Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation for the past couple of months, and I honestly have very mixed feelings about it. I’m not sure if I’ll buy it again, not immediately at least. I really, really love the finish- it’s dewy but doesn’t make me look oily- and it feels amazing. However, I have to apply at least two layers and use powder and setting spray to make it last all day. I don’t like full coverage every single day and that’s the only way I can get this to work for me. Also, I have the lightest shade and it’s a bit too dark for me.

flower_li_foundation_l1_porcelain

Concealer: A Character You Wish You Could Get Rid Of

Honestly I don’t know… I hate a lot of characters (Umbridge, Queen Levana, and I have an immense dislike for Ron Weasley) but I just can’t imagine these books without them. I don’t wish to get rid of any character, I guess.

Concealer is a weird spot for me right now. I’ve been alternating the Nyx HD Photogenic Concealer, the Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer, and the e.l.f Highlighter/Concealer Duo.

The e.l.f one is my favorite for my undereyes; it rarely creases. Makeup Revolution I like for highlighting the center of my face on those days I go a little crazy, and the Nyx one I prefer for natural, no-foundation days.

Powder: Favorite Last Book in a Series

winter cover

I can’t even begin to express my love for this book.

It has so much epicness and cuteness and everything wonderful in it along with my book husband, Carswell Thorne.

It’s one of my favorite books of all time, basically.

I bought the Makeup Revolution Luxury Baking Powder a while ago, and that’s what I use to set my entire face. I don’t bake anymore; I used to, but then it just started feeling really cakey when I did it. This powder mattifies my face, but not too much, and makes that Flower Beauty Foundation last longer. Also, it’s about $9, I’ve been using it since at least January, and it’s not even halfway empty.

ghost powder

Eyebrows: A Book You Think Everyone Should Read

I am an eyebrow snob.

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This is such a classic, and it’s full of life lessons. If I had to pick a single favorite book, this would be it.

For my brows, I usually use an e.l.f eyebrow pencil and this brow gel/clear mascara duo (also e.l.f). I like both of them and have repurchased them more than once.

Sometimes, though, I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade. It’s super dark if I’m not careful but I do love it.

abh_dipbrow_pomade_medium-brown.jpg

Eyeshadow: Your Favorite Colors on the Cover

cruel-beauty

Black and red. This book was really good, too- not my favorite but I did enjoy it.

I’m still using the Morphe Jaclyn Hill Palette almost every day. I love it so much; it’s so versatile and has almost all the colors I ever need.

jaclyn hill palette

Eyeliner: A Dark and Mysterious Book

and then there were non

I’m pretty sure I actually lost sleep over this one. I don’t do scary very well and this one is definitely scary.

I don’t wear eyeliner all the time, but I do for shows. I use the e.l.f Liquid Eyeliner. Brush liners just work so much better for me. And this one is only $2.

elf liner

Mascara: A Long Book

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I always use this for long book questions, but my copy is 1462 pages, so I have a good reason for it.

I don’t care how long it is, it’s honestly amazing and I should really read it again.

I’m currently using the Essence Volume Stylist mascara, and while I do like it, the L’Oreal Lash Paradise is still my absolute favorite.

 

Blush: A Cringe-Worthy Romance

twilight

I have just gotten into these and I’ve only read the first two books, but I have seen all the movies.

Let me be totally honest: by Breaking Dawn, I really don’t mind Edward and Bella as a couple. But in Twilight and New Moon, they kinda drive me crazy. Especially Bella. It’s not entirely cringe-worthy, but I still had a lot of issues with them.

However, Bella’s Lullaby has got to be one of the prettiest piano pieces ever.

And Jacob, by the way, is definitely my new book boyfriend. Say what you will, but I love him dearly.

I’ve been using the Benefit Gold Rush Blush lately and it’s beautiful! I’m not a huge blush person but this one is so so pretty.

gold rush

Highlighter: A Book that Brightened Your Day

two summers

I loved this! It was such a cute, fun summer read with two adorable romances.

The highlighter I’ve been using is actually a lipstick: the MAC Frost Lipstick in Tanarama. It’s not a blinding highlight (I’m not a huge fan of those); it makes my skin look wet and dewy and it’s beautiful.

mac tanarama

Lipstick: Your Favorite Book Kiss

THIS. IS. REALLY. HARD. Honestly there are so many book kisses I love so here’s a list…

  • Cress/Thorne, Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • Wolf/Scarlet, Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • Magnus/Cleo, Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
  • Rhett/Scarlett, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Shazi/Khalid, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

I could honestly keep going for a really long time, and then I could start on movie kisses (Will/Elizabeth in Dead Men Tell No Tales is everything) but I’ll just go ahead and quit.

Lipsticks are my favorite thing. I did an entire post on them here. At the moment, my favorite is the Nyx Liquid Suede in Cherry Skies.

I tag…

Thanks for reading!

-Clara

My Favorite Writing Resources

I’ve been writing since I was about 5 or 6 years old. Naturally, as I’m gotten more serious about it, I’ve found a lot of resources that I absolutely LOVE. Today I wanted to share a few of them with you all.

1. Writing Excuses

I’ve talked about this podcast before, and I honestly can’t get enough of it. The advice is amazing and it’s just so marvelously entertaining.

2. Pinterest

If you ever need a reference picture for anything, go to Pinterest. For real. You can also find a lot of prompts and advice.

3. NaNoWriMo

For those of us who sometimes struggle with making ourselves actually write. I love the accountability of this program, plus it’s a crazy adrenaline rush at times.

4. Springhole.net Random Generators

This website has saved my life so many times. It’s probably a bit more useful for sci-fi/fantasy writers, but there are plenty of generators for other genres.

5. Every baby-naming website ever

Because characters need names. I’m prone to spending hours naming minor characters, so everything I can do to make things easier for myself I do.

I know this was a quick post, but I just wanted to take a few minutes to share these resources with any writers out there.

Also, there are full-length videos of Brandon Sanderson’s college lectures on YouTube. For free. I’m watching them and taking so many notes.

What’s your favorite writing resource?

-Clara

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

mistborn

The Mists rule the night.
The Lord Ruler owns the world.

Once, a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangled the land.

He failed.

For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor known as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and even the Lord Ruler himself. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one built around the ultimate caper, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine, a street urchin who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a Mistborn.

(Goodreads)

Again I’m questioning why I didn’t pick up a certain book sooner, which seems to be a trend lately. This time, the book is The Final Empire, book one of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy.

I am so glad I finally got around to reading this and will most certainly be reading more Sanderson in the near future.

I picked this up specifically for writing purposes. Brandon is on my favorite podcast (Writing Excuses), and after hearing him talk about the way he writes I knew I needed to actually read some of his writing.

I also know Brandon is a serious outliner, which I am not, but I could feel how thoroughly the book was plotted anyway. That sounds like it would be a little frustrating, but I actually liked seeing the tightness of it.

Writing aside, the book is amazing.

It’s an engrossing plot, made better by the wonderful characters. Vin, Kelsier, and Elend were my favorites, but I loved how each and every character was distinctive.

Vin’s character development is probably the best thing about this book. I absolutely adored seeing her gain confidence in herself over the course of the story. Kelsier was great- he sorta reminded me of Carswell Thorne for some reason? And Elend was really interesting, and I am all for characters who go against the status quo.

The magic system is unique: ingesting metals for magical powers. I liked it more than I expected to, honestly. I tend to prefer very traditional magic systems, if that makes sense, but I really did love this one.

The world-building was done well, too. I will say that I didn’t imagine everything as vividly (except for the balls, but um, fancy parties are like my favorite thing) as I usually do, but that didn’t bug me one bit.

And the court intrigue was just plain AMAZING. I’ve really been craving all the court politics and whatnot and this book gave it to me.

My one issue was the romance. I love the couple and I think they’re going to be an amazing power couple in books 2&3, but I feel like I needed a little more development. The relationship was developed, but not exactly the romantic side of things. Also, I was really hoping for a better first kiss. It’s a really small thing in the grand scheme of things, but first kisses are so important to me in a book and it bugs me when authors just say “they kissed” or something along those lines and don’t tell me what it felt like.

Despite that, I really loved Mistborn and have already started the sequel, The Well of Ascension. You should definitely pick this up if you’re a fan of fantasy, court intrigue, and/or unique magic systems.

Have you read Mistborn or any other Brandon Sanderson novels?

-Clara

Underappreciated Book Boyfriends

I saw this on another blog a very long time ago, and now I can’t find what blog it is? For some reason it’s not coming up anywhere…I think it was Windowsill Book Blog. If it was your post, please let me know!

I’ve had this post in my head for a while and am finally getting around to doing it.

I feel like the book blogging community (myself included) tends to talk about a lot of the same fictional guys and forget about the others. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of those guys, but there others that deserve more love than they get. I wanted to share just a few.

1. Amar and Vikram, The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

These are two of my favorite books and I love both of these men for different reasons. Amar is very loyal and reserved, and I really respect that. He’s so good to Maya and is very patient with her.

Vikram is hilarious and his banter with Gauri is everything. He’s brave, adventurous and, like Amar, loyal. But mainly absolutely hysterical.

2. Mr. Bradford, Entwined by Heather Dixon

entwined cover

To be completely honest, Keeper was my immediate love in this book, but umm…. Read the book.

Mr. Bradford is a complete Prince Charming. He’s just so sweet and kind and I love him for it. Seeing his relationship with Azalea grow is such a joy to read.

And this is still one of my favorite books, by the way. It’s wonderful on so many levels.

3. Rook, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

eor

Rook is just generally an amazing love interest. I love that he’s fae and that he’s conflicted and mysterious. Honestly though I love the whole book but Rook was a large part of that. If you haven’t read this please go do it now.

4. Ignifex, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

cruel-beauty

If you like dark, brooding, villainous men in your books, go read this. Ignifex is so charming and smooth and funny in the best way. He’s also a super interesting character in general.

5. Alexei, Black Widow: Forever Red

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Alexei is my sweet little child and I love him so much and wish I could keep him somewhere where he would never get hurt. He is so sweet and innocent and kind and loving and I just can’t.

SPOILER

Also, he died and I cried for like an hour at midnight. It was not a good night.

END SPOILER

And by the way, Margaret Stohl, where is the third book? I’m not bitter at all.

 

There are a lot more, because I love my fictional guys to death and could talk about them forever, but these are some of the most underrated ones in my own opinion.

And as a side note, I’m reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson right now and it’s fantastic. I don’t have any crushes yet but I can see one happening at some point.

Anyway. Who are some of your fictional crushes who don’t get enough love? 

-Clara

The Liebster Award

Ann nominated me for the Liebster Award! Thank you!

liebsteraward

Here’s the rules:

  1. Link to Global Aussie’s Award blog post. Comment with a link to your Award post. And put the official Liebster Award stamp on your blog.
  2. Acknowledge and link to the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.
  4. Nominate 11 more bloggers and spread the ‘new blogger’ love.
  5. Ask them 11 fun questions of your own.
  6. Let them know on their blogs that you have nominated them.

Ann’s questions:

What has been the hardest struggle to overcome to keep on blogging?

Sometimes I just get burnt out, I guess? And I’m also insanely busy all the time, which makes it difficult to find time for blogging. It’s tech week for another show right now so I’m honestly surprised I’m managing this.

What’s your favorite music to listen to while writing or reading or whatever other activity you do?

I am borderline obsessed with film scores. Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hunger Games are my favorite, but I’ve lately fallen in love with Ramin Djawadi’s score for Game of Thrones (I don’t watch the show, but honestly, the music is spectacular.) I listen to these for writing, reading, and just generally everything.

When I run, I really enjoy podcasts or audiobooks- they help take my mind off the running. Writing Excuses is my favorite podcast and I recommend it to every writer.

Do you plan your blogs in advance and schedule their release or just blog by the seat of your pants? Or a combo?

Sometimes I schedule posts, but it’s a rarity. Usually I just blog when I have a moment and an idea, or when I’ve finished a book and desperately need to review it.

Having a familiar gives you magical powers, but the only one available is a spider. This is your only chance! Do you accept your familiar and the magic it gives you or light a match and run away? (No, you can’t transform it into another animal. It must remain a spider. Nice try though!)

Ummm…. I am terrified of spiders, but magical powers…? I have no idea what I’d do. I’d have to be in the actual situation to give an answer.

What food could you eat all day, every day and never get sick?

I’m not sure there is one. I’m a fan of variety in my food. I do love ice cream (and I’m not eating dairy at the moment, which has forced me to try the dairy-free ice creams, and let me tell you, they’re amazing) and lots of different foreign foods.

What TV show could you binge watch over and over?

BBC’s Merlin. I absolutely love everything about it, especially Arthur. If you haven’t watched it, go do it. You won’t regret it.

What’s the one blog post you are most proud of?

Female Villains vs. Male Villains: A Discussion

I know this is a short one, but it was really interesting and there were a lot of good comments.

Have you ever played a song on repeat so many times you got sick of it? If so, what song?

No, I don’t think so. Sometimes I’ll need a break from a song, but I’ve never gotten so sick of a song that I hate it from that point on.

If your home was on fire and you could only save one book, which would it be?

The copy of Captain Guinevere I used as a guestbook when I had my release party.

What’s your favorite water sport? To play and/or watch.

I don’t play sports at all (so I sorta run CC but only because my friend does and we talk the whole time), but I do enjoy watching Olympic swimming every four years.

What book do you wish you never read?

Robinson Crusoe is still my least favorite book in the entire world. I just generally hate survival books and I just can’t deal with this one. Unfortunately, I’ve had to read it more than once for different school courses.

I’m nominating:

Bernadette

Flavia

Bekah

Angelica

Alan

Veronica

Kat

Norees

Meilin

Annabeth

And you!

My questions:

  1. Your favorite book of the year?
  2. Reylo: yes or no?
  3. Plot or character?
  4. Favorite place to shop?
  5. If you could go on an all-expenses paid vacation, where would it be and what would you do?
  6. Favorite musical?
  7. Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
  8. Ice cream or donuts?
  9. Favorite superhero?
  10. French or Spanish?
  11. Literature or science?

Please don’t feel like you have to do the award if you don’t want to, but if you do, please link back to me so I can see your answers!

-Clara

It’s National Lipstick Day! My Favorite Lipsticks

Lip color has been a part of my life since I was about 8 or 9. I wore it all the time, before I was allowed to wear any other makeup, and it’s still one of my favorite things. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you all today. They’re mostly reds (that’s pretty much all I wear anymore), but the formula is amazing and they do come in other colors.

Nyx Pin-Up Pout Lipstick in Red Haute

I wore this for a show set in the 40s and very quickly fell in love. It’s my absolute favorite- the formula is creamy, long-lasting, and comfortable, and the color is gorgeous.

Limelight by Alcone Liquid Lip in Macaroon

A deep pinky nude that I don’t wear too often, but nonetheless, I love it.

Too Faced Peach Kiss Lipstick in He’s With Me

IT SMELLS LIKE PEACHES AND CREAM. Honestly, it’s worth it for the delicious smell. But aside from that, I love the formula and the color. It’s also not too matte, which I prefer.

Nyx Liquid Suede Liquid Lip

I have the shade Kitten Heels, which is pretty, but it’s just a little too bright. I do wear it because it’s crazy comfortable. Also, if you’re looking for a dupe for Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lip, this formula feels almost exactly the same.

Clinique Lipstick in Matte Beauty

My first favorite. I wore almost only Clinique for the longest time and I still love their lipsticks.

I just got one of Kat Von D’s (in the shade Outlaw) yesterday, and for the short time I wore it last night, I loved it.

What’s your favorite lipstick?

-Clara

(Images via Google)

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

cruel-beauty

Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom’s mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can’t resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who’s gotten in her way by stealing her heart.

(via Goodreads)

I don’t remember exactly where I heard about Cruel Beauty, but I’ve wanted to read it for a long time and finally got around to it.

I love retellings, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales. This book combined both the beloved fairytale and Greek mythology, which I’ve loved since I was eight years old.

This book was really, really good, but I had a couple of issues with it. I’ll get the negative out of the way and then talk about what I loved.

The world-building is a little difficult to follow- the world is really complex, and combined with the large amount of mythology, it’s a little bit too complicated. If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, it’s not too bad, but if you’re not I can see it getting really confusing at times.

My other issue was the ending. I liked the way it ended; I thought it was sweet, but it all felt very rushed and fast-paced compared to the rest of the book. The book isn’t fast-paced at all (but in the best way) until you get to the ending. It was a little annoying but didn’t ruin the overall book for me.

Onto the things I loved!

Nyx is honestly amazing. She’s not a sweet little thing at all, and I kinda love that. It was a breath of fresh air. She was really well developed and Rosamund did a great job of telling us about how she became so bitter and angry at the world. And the way she changes over the course of the novel is really well done. She grows in a lot of ways and we get to see that clearly.

Ignifex is quite charming, in a bit of an odd way, I guess? I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but I loved him. He was quite hilarious at times and also just a generally interesting person to read about.

Shade was one I didn’t like, but I don’t think I’m supposed to, if you know what I mean.

And I completely LOVED the relationship between Nyx and Ignifex. Their romance is amazing and there’s a little bit of banter. Banter is one of my favorite things ever. (Side note, if you like a lot of banter, you absolutely need to read A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. Just do yourself a favor and read it.) The romance is one of the main parts of Cruel Beauty. It works well and is such a fun relationship to read.

I like the plot. It’s Beauty and the Beast, of course, but I also feel like it was a bit of a Cupid and Psyche retelling as well, especially with Astraia (Nyx’s sister) and all the mythology references. A part of me does feel like the plot could have worked better as a novella or novelette, but regardless, it was a good one.

As a whole, I rated this book 4 stars, because while I very much enjoyed most of it, I had a couple issues.

I would definitely recommend this to people who love retellings, mythology, and antiheroes.

Have you read Cruel Beauty? What did you think?

-Clara

P.S. Lady Gwen is in formatting at the moment and I’m proofing an ebook this week. We’re getting close to releasing it!