Monday, 11 February 2013

Mini Review & Giveaway: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners
Publication date: September 4th 2012
My rating: 4 stars

 Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

Monstrous Beauty was disturbing, tragic and yet beautiful and hopeful. 

Hester comes from a tragic line of women.  Each mother in her family who’s given birth has dies within days of delivery.  Hester’s mother, her grandmother, her great-grandmother, and so on.  Hester believes this is some sort of genetic anomaly and the only way to avoid death is to avoid love, marriage and pregnancy.  Little does she know that this affliction is anything but genetic but stems from something far more sinister.  The past and present collide with alternating chapters as the mystery is slowly revealed. Let me tell you, it’s a brutal and violent history, and one that’s filled with a desperate all-consuming love.  Did I mention the scary amoral sea creatures?  I seriously could have nightmares.  This is one eerily creepy story!!  There was a romance that I was rooting for, and I wished it was developed a little further, but I still enjoyed this story even so. 

I won this audio CD off a blog I frequent and I’m so glad I did because it’s not a book I would’ve picked up on my own.  The writing was masterful and the prose was beautiful. The narrator was brilliant!  I felt my heart pound in scenes with nervousness, longing, horror, disappointment, and envy as she brought each character to life. She brought the story alive with her versatile and passionate delivery.  Each accent and voice were flawless, IMO.  Just the right emotion was conveyed for each scene.   I highly recommend it! 

I enjoyed listening to this story so much, I decided to share the love and give away my audio CD copy to one lucky follower.  The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  The only requirement is that you follow the blog.  Just fill out the rafflecopter below.  Thanks for stopping by and good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I listened to the excerpt awhile ago and it was excellent! Thanks for the opportunity!

  2. You know that you basically just have to write the words 'beautiful prose' and I'm in. I'm like that, there's nothing I appreciate more than gorgeous writing.
    This sounds wonderful and I've been listening to a lot of audio lately anyway.
    Great revew, Rachel, and thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I'm not entering the giveaway becuase I'm not fan of audiobooks but good luck people!

    I just wanted to say that I love your new design!! :) It's really pretty and girly. Amazing job girls ;)

  4. The new blog design is so pretty! And the colors are amazing. Great job to whoever made it.

    I'm glad you liked it,Rachel. This serves as a reminder because Monstrous Beauty has been sitting on my shelf for months.

  5. I still need to read this! I kept going back and forth, but I've heard such great things about it and now I love your review.

    LoveloveloveloveLOVE the new blog design! So stinking pretty!

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

  6. I've seen this around quite a few places lately, and I've only just realised the cover is a girl with a fish tale. God, I'm so unobservant sometimes! haha.

    It sounds like a really gritty book and I like the idea of flitting back and forth between present and past.

    Glad you managed to enjoy the audio so much, Rachel! :)

  7. This isn't one I've been eager to pick up either Rachel. The reviews I've read have been quite mixed so I'm glad you're one of the positive ones. I've yet to listen to an audio book and with such a good narrator, this would probably be a good first. Thanks for the giveaway :)

  8. I agree Rachel, this was definitely a very creepy read. And disturbing is also a really great word. I think that's part of the issue I had with it, I was not expecting to be disturbed with this one so when a certain scene happened toward the beginning it caught me completely off guard and I never really righted myself again. Still, it was definitely beautifully tragic and very well written! Glad the audio is so successful!

  9. I LOVE the new design <3 The header is so pretty! It looks great. Violent histroy and slowly unraveling mystery, yes please! What a gorgeous review.


  10. I'm so, so glad you liked the book, Rachel! Not everyone did, but it was one of my favorite books from last year. You've intrigued me with this description of the audiobook, though, it sounds like the narrator did a great job. I might look into that for a reread sometime. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  11. I love the mix of tragic yet hopeful. Glad you enjoyed. Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  12. This does sound good! I think I'll be reading rather than listening though as audio books seriously put me to sleep!
    Glad you enjoyed this :)

  13. The new blog deign is SO pretty! I love it <3
    I think I need to try some audio books since you liked this one much!

    Great review <3

  14. I was originally really interested in this book, but after reading Brides of Rollrock Island, I've been told I won't enjoy it because of the inevitable comparisons. I think you'd love Rollrock Island if you enjoyed this one and it has a similar style of prose, especially since it's a unique take on selkies. I love that mermaids/paranormal sea creatures are re-emerging since there's so much to do with them! Wonderful review, Rachel! :D

    1. I saw the new header on my phone, but wanted to come online to fully see the new blog design. GORGEOUS! :D I love it SO MUCH! :) Congrats, ladies!<3

  15. I have got this languishing in my TBr. I love a good creepy story and I am glad it impressed you, Rachel. I just need to get to it. I am loving the look of the blog, so pretty!

  16. Seems like the interpretation of the narrator really brought the characters to life! I'm going to check out the sample on now. Thanks for sharing, Rachel!

  17. Monstrous Beauty seems gorgeous. I love the "curse" aspect, and getting to the real reason for the deaths. Finding a good narrator is tricky, so I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I hope to read MB at some point. Lovely review, Rachel!

  18. I have yet to read a SINGLE negative review for this! *shudder* It sounds super creepy...but have I mentioned how much I LOVE creepy books? Well, I do. And one that's written as beautifully as you say it is? EVEN BETTER! Hopefully an Aussie publisher will pick this up (if one hasn't already!) so I can read it ASAP<3

  19. I can't remember if I said this or not, but: I FREAKING LOVE YOUR NEW BLOG DESIGN<33333 IT'S SOOOOO PRETTYYYYYYY! :DDD

  20. I actually had this for review but I couldn't get around to it. I am hoping to get an audio book to review because I really regret not reviewing it initially. It does sound creepy and I am glad the narrator was awesome.

    you are a darling for this giveaway, and like Shirley said, your new blog design is VERY pretty!!!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  21. I got this one for review a while ago but hadn't really heard too much about it. From reading your review I'm pretty sure I'm going to love it so I'll have to get to it soon!


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