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With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies. There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring t With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies. There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain. If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food. Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss. As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death? With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more. She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction. Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an epic tale of mystery, magic, and making the impossible choice between love and duty…


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With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies. There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring t With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies. There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain. If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food. Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss. As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death? With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more. She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction. Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an epic tale of mystery, magic, and making the impossible choice between love and duty…

30 review for A Curse of Roses

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diana Pinguicha

    I wrote it, so naturally, I think it is the best. Some things about A Curse of Roses (fka A Miracle of Roses): - F/F Portuguese Historical Fantasy - Follows Yzabel of Aragon (Isabel de Aragão), actual Saint and Cinnamon Bun - Enchanted Mouras - Lots of food - Lots of flowers - Half of the book is set in my hometown - An Alentejo Mastiff Content warnings are present in the book, but just in case: - internalized homophobia - religious-based self-harm - religious and magic-based disordered eating - the goddamn I wrote it, so naturally, I think it is the best. Some things about A Curse of Roses (fka A Miracle of Roses): - F/F Portuguese Historical Fantasy - Follows Yzabel of Aragon (Isabel de Aragão), actual Saint and Cinnamon Bun - Enchanted Mouras - Lots of food - Lots of flowers - Half of the book is set in my hometown - An Alentejo Mastiff Content warnings are present in the book, but just in case: - internalized homophobia - religious-based self-harm - religious and magic-based disordered eating - the goddamn patriarchy Meet the girls! Yzabel Fatyan

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    3.75 Stars. This was a good story. I didn’t love it like I was hoping to, but there were parts I really enjoyed and I liked the overall feel of the book. I don’t get to read much historical fantasy, especially not sapphic YA, so I was really excited to read this. The author mentions that this story really meant a lot to her personally and I think that showed in her writing. I really liked that this was a retelling of a Portuguese legend. I enjoyed the premise and how the story unfolded. I do wis 3.75 Stars. This was a good story. I didn’t love it like I was hoping to, but there were parts I really enjoyed and I liked the overall feel of the book. I don’t get to read much historical fantasy, especially not sapphic YA, so I was really excited to read this. The author mentions that this story really meant a lot to her personally and I think that showed in her writing. I really liked that this was a retelling of a Portuguese legend. I enjoyed the premise and how the story unfolded. I do wish that more history was given about this time in Portugal. It’s not something I’m knowledgeable about and I would have loved learning a bit more about the real history. I did find that the book was easy to get into and I was hooked after a few pages. I also found that I really enjoyed the ending. I was flying through the pages near the end and I felt like the book became very entertaining at that point. The first third and last third is really where the book really shined. Unfortunately, the middle third is where the book had most of its issues in my opinion. I felt like the pace really slowed down and not much was happening. I think that the legend this was based on was not very long so I have to wonder if Pinguicha felt she had to stretch things a bit. Luckily, the beginning and ending made up for the middle stumble. When it came to the characters I liked the ones I should like and hated the ones I should hate. I was actually surprised what a small cast of characters this had for a fantasy book but I felt like I got to know all the secondary characters well because of it. I was super surprised that I actually didn’t mind the King. Yeah, he was a bit of a jerk at times, but normally in sapphic fantasy books, kings are the worst of the worst. I liked that while the main character, Princess Yzabel, was not sexually attracted to him, that she was still able to mostly be friends with him. It was really nice to see a decent male character, in a power position, in a sapphic fantasy. When it came to the romance I thought it was sweet. There was a part of me that felt like it moved a little fast, but when I really think back now I think the speed was okay. A little quick but better than a lot of YA books I’ve read lately. I thought they had some chemistry together but I do wish I felt their feelings a bit more. I think they were a tad subdued. That was not just the romance either but subdued feelings in other parts too. Something huge happens and I feel like everyone just always wanted the main character to suck it up. I wanted to see more feelings out of her instead. She had plenty of thoughts and worries about not being pious enough, but I wanted those deep thoughts transferred over to other issues she dealt with. This book had some ups and downs for me but the overall story I did enjoy. I would recommend this to historical fantasy fans. I do want to say that this is the kind of book you have to suspend disbelief with, and I’m not talking about any magic. The Princess should have died from poor nutrition long before this story begins, but if you can go with the flow and just enjoy the story for what it is, I think this will be a better read for you. This is a debut book and it makes me excited to think where Pinguicha could take us in the future. An ARC was given to me for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    rep: mostly Portuguese cast & setting, lesbian mc, lesbian Muslim li, lesbian scs tw: religion-based self harm, homophobia, internalised homophobia, blood, murder, body horror 4.5 ☆ Review also on my blog. ARC provided by the publisher. My initial review for A Curse of Roses was simply “lesbians have won with this one!”, and that’s absolutely true and tells you a lot about what you should expect from this book. But let me expand on that a bit. First of all, the book might not be using modern sexualit rep: mostly Portuguese cast & setting, lesbian mc, lesbian Muslim li, lesbian scs tw: religion-based self harm, homophobia, internalised homophobia, blood, murder, body horror 4.5 ☆ Review also on my blog. ARC provided by the publisher. My initial review for A Curse of Roses was simply “lesbians have won with this one!”, and that’s absolutely true and tells you a lot about what you should expect from this book. But let me expand on that a bit. First of all, the book might not be using modern sexuality labels, on account of it taking place in 13th century, but it makes it very clear that Yzabel is a lesbian. And this is a major part of the novel, maybe even the most important part: Yzabel coming to terms with being a lesbian. Because, you see, she grew up with extremely strict christian beliefs; when we meet her she uses a cilice on a daily basis to mortify her flesh and “atone” for her “sins”. Her fasting is caused as much by her following the doctrine of her faith, as it is by her literal inability to keep food in her mouth due to the curse. Her whole life seems to be resolving about the laws put down in the Bible, to the point where no one around her can even understand why she puts herself through such trials. She was brought up a certain way, with the Bible and the talk of martyrdom of her saint aunt, and a magical curse running through her veins - all of which turned her into a pious girl who hated her own flesh and blood. Her upbringing also means that the thought of women loving other women never crossed her mind. And once it does, she views it through the lenses of her faith: as something sinful. A Curse of Roses does an absolutely brilliant job of talking about this, of showing Yzabel’s struggle to reconcile her desires and the teachings of Christ. It’s also interesting to note that Yzabel is quicker to forgive others their transgressions (or even admit whatever the society views as such is actually nothing more than a way of life & doesn’t have to be forgiven) than to forgive herself. It’s a great strength of her character, the way she chooses kindness time and time again; the way she doesn’t judge others but instead tries to understand their point of view. The greatest example of that being Yzabel’s treatment of Denis’ mistress. Not only does Yzabel not resent the girl, she’s actually making sure that the relationship is one based on consent and that the girl isn’t being raped by Denis. But that strength can also be a flaw, and yes, the narrative does acknowledge that, in two ways. One, Yzabel was called out a few times throughout the story on how treats herself in contrast to how she treats others, and those conversations helped her grow and accept herself. And two, those around Yzabel who wish her harm (or simply wish to exploit her position), use her piousness and her belief that she’s tainted (because of the curse and later because of her attraction to women) to manipulate her. All this to say that the pacing of the book and the way the plot is handled in general is very smart. It uses characters’ flaws to its advantage, it doesn’t spend unnecessary details on things that Yzabel - the only character from whose perspective we view the world - would not know about. And I do believe that is something that A Curse of Roses should be applauded for. It’s absolutely not bad writing for certain details to only be revealed as very much telling instead of showing, when you take into consideration the POV character had no way of knowing about them before. Yzabel is as much surprised as the reader, and that’s a good thing. I’ve seen people try to argue that the pacing is actually off, that the book is too slow, that it’s boring and nothing happens for whole chapters, but it seems that those people don’t take one thing into consideration: this is a character driven novel. There’s Yzabel’s curse, there’s magic in other forms, there are prelates stealing from the Portugese crown, there are women being accused of witchcraft, but at the end of the day this is a coming of age story of a catholic lesbian in the 13th century. And when viewed as such? The slow parts make perfect tense. The fact that A Curse of Roses is focused so much on the characters also means that the romance is great. In some regards, Yzabel and Fatyan are a juxtaposition of each other. Yzabel believing in every word of the Bible instead of her own mind & Fatyan having strong opinions on every subject. Of course, it’s not simply black and white like that, and both of them change, but once again, this is something that even the narrative mentions: the girls complementing each other. And it’s one of the reasons they’re so drawn to each other. Because the attraction is obvious from the first time they meet (not to Yzabel, but to Fatyan and surely to the reader) and it only grows stronger and stronger as they spend more time together, in close proximity. And yet, the romance actually blossoms very slowly. No, it’s not insta love just because two girls want to be close to one another immediately after meeting. It’s not insta love just because they see beauty in the other and don’t want to let go of that. In fact, it takes most of the book for Yzabel to even accept that she’s a lesbian and that it doesn’t go against God’s wishes. That romance is as much central to the story as Yzabel learning to control her gift, and it’s given all the attention it deserves. And what I love most is that once Yzabel does accept it, there’s no shame in it anymore, to the point of there actually being a sex scene in the later part of the book. Not saying that I want to read about teenagers having sex, but that it’s extremely refreshing to see sapphic girls allowed to have that. The writing itself is very beautiful, as well. It feels a little bit like poetry at times, it’s full of metaphors. The language is flowery, but not in a way of purple prose, where the meaning is lost for the sake of pretty sentences. More, given the subject at hand, the prose takes some liberties to build a magical atmosphere, heavy with the scent of roses. There are instances where a more natural word order is forgotten to create something poetic from a mundane description. It’s wonderful. Another argument people seem to be making against A Curse of Roses is that magic isn’t described well enough. Which… is just flat-out not true? In reality, magic is a vital part of the novel and as such is written about often. And not only when Yzabel turns food into flowers, but with other characters as well. There’s a whole discussion at some point about the differences between the magic of Yzabel or Fatyan and the magic of Brites, how the girls simply possess magic but Brites had to learn to perform it. It’s clear, from everything we know about Yzabel, why she feels resentful toward her gift at first; it’s clear why some characters are trying to use magic for evil purposes; it’s clear why a lot of them have to hide the magic at all cost. But the most outrageous offence I’ve seen against A Curse of Roses is that it’s anti-feminist (coupled later in the review, with a statement that Denis was actually a nice guy and that Yzabel was wrong to judge him the way she did, more on which in a second). And I just can’t understand how it’s possible to take that away from a book about a girl who makes sure the mistress of her fiancé actually loves him and is happy, who runs shelters for old and sick prostitutes because she believes they need protection, who is allowed to literally help run a kingdom. And Denis? Sure, he’s not a villain here, but he didn’t give Yzabel reasons to assume he would be okay with her magic. On the contrary, his views on witchcraft are pretty clear when he imprisons a woman without much evidence against her. And while he might otherwise be a very patient and even caring man, it’s important to remember that Yzabel mistrust is as much about him as it is about how she herself views her own gift. This is a very long-winded way of saying that A Curse of Roses is a beautiful tale of century long curses and people using any means available to them to ensure they experience some happiness in life. It’s a wonderful story of a lesbian learning to accept herself, enriched by magic and roses.

  4. 5 out of 5

    human

    Thank you to Netgalley and Entangled: Teen for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. (actual rating: 3.5/5) I really liked how certain topics were addressed in this book, but I still think certain things could have been done better. A Curse of Roses weaves an interesting OwnVoices retelling from a Portuguese legend, telling the tale of Princess Yzabel, betrothed to the King of Portugal, but more importantly, cursed to turn food into flowers, watching on as she and the common people Thank you to Netgalley and Entangled: Teen for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. (actual rating: 3.5/5) I really liked how certain topics were addressed in this book, but I still think certain things could have been done better. A Curse of Roses weaves an interesting OwnVoices retelling from a Portuguese legend, telling the tale of Princess Yzabel, betrothed to the King of Portugal, but more importantly, cursed to turn food into flowers, watching on as she and the common people around her starve. In a desperate bid to break the curse, she seals a deal with a kiss to an enchanted Moura, Fatyan. But what starts out as a mutually beneficial deal soon spirals into something much greater. Loathe as I am to admit it, I've got a bit of a complicated relationship with this book. For one, there's the matter of the pacing of this book. Things start off very quickly, but as we progress into the middle of the book, the plot, disappointingly enough, starts to slump. It starts to get a bit repetitive, which was sad because I had pretty high expectations for this book. However, things start to turn around for the better with the last quarter or so of the book. The action and plot start to pick up again, and the character development really hits home. Not to mention the romance. I really loved the way that the author was able to portray religion and homosexuality, and the conflict that occurs in people who are told to believe or act in a certain way. Yza's inner conflict between her innate desires and her devout respect and adherence to her religion was just so real, because even if it was part of the reason this book seems to lag in the middle, it was vital to the development of her character. Speaking of which, Yza's character development was simply *chef's kiss* perfection. It effectively showed how she was able to grow over the course of the story, from a meek and naive girl, willing to please everyone, to someone who was able to stand up for ideals, morals, and actions. The romance was adorable. That's all I can say. That being said, I think I need to address the writing itself. At times, it was incredibly beautiful. Perfectly descriptive without seeming pretentious, or overly so. I do think that I found a few exaggerated or ridiculous comparisons, but for the most part, it was perfectly fine. Although, I noticed that while all the rest of the characters spoke formally, King Denis himself spoke very anachronistically, at least for me. And while I get that this book wasn't focused on it that much, as it didn't pertain to the plot, the magic system and general world-building in this book seemed... weak. There were times when a certain place was mentioned in relation to something else, or an event, and I would find myself scrambling to remember, or even skipping back a few pages to do so. Something to keep in mind, however, is that this book is a debut, and an excellent one at that. As someone who usually doesn't enjoy character-driven books and would much rather engross herself in a thriller for a couple of hours, this book was a pleasant surprise. Overall, I would definitely recommend this to others who actually like character-driven plots, an almost slow-burn sapphic romance, or would just like to read something with a lot more representation than we (unfortunately) usually see.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lilly

    No. No thank you. This was rushed, not at all detailed, and confusing. Super confusing. Not to mention anti-feminist, although I know that wasn’t intentional, it still wasn’t ever corrected. The plot had as many holes as a Swiss cheese block, and the characters didn’t have any flaws or personalities. The romance also wasn’t well developed and was rushed. The writing was horrendously inconsistent, at times formal and beautiful, and at others, it sounded a lot like a gangster from 2020. There were No. No thank you. This was rushed, not at all detailed, and confusing. Super confusing. Not to mention anti-feminist, although I know that wasn’t intentional, it still wasn’t ever corrected. The plot had as many holes as a Swiss cheese block, and the characters didn’t have any flaws or personalities. The romance also wasn’t well developed and was rushed. The writing was horrendously inconsistent, at times formal and beautiful, and at others, it sounded a lot like a gangster from 2020. There were parts I enjoyed, but those were few compared to the flaws. I definitely regret reading this. RTC. ------------- Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. It's time for some "Let's hear Lilly tear apart this #OwnVoices book by a debut author!" Uh- that sounded better in my head. *Ahem* anyway, first arc, first book that I've voluntarily annotated, which ended up actually helping me a lot as whenever I write my review I can't remember a single thing about the book. This book was... interesting to say the least. It had lots of issues, not so many good things about it, so I'm just going to break it down. Starting off with the issue of pacing, this was fine. The pacing was definitely one of the few things I enjoyed about this book, and that was only sometimes. So, the pacing was very slow in the beginning. Almost nothing happened, Yzabelle found Fatyan, she tried to control her magic, failed and failed and failed. Boring. When we got to the middle-ish, that's when I started enjoying it. It was exciting, but it also wasn't too rushed. That's when she controlled her power. So I was like, "Okay, maybe this is starting to get going!" Then we reached the second half. I think that Pinguicha got a little bit cocky here and just started writing it so it was as exciting as could be because it was the word "rushed" at its worst. If the book wasn't confusing before, it sure was then. Not to mention that there wasn't any detail, but we'll go into that later. Alright, there was another problem with the pacing because we can't just have one. Nuh-uh. So the problem was this book is super religious, and it got off track talking about religion quite a bit which caused it to be slow sometimes. Our main character, Yzabelle, has extreme beliefs, and she's very distraught about whether God approves of her, and whether He thinks that being gay is a sin. She can end up thinking about that for a whole ten pages. That's not even pacing. I do get that religion is a big element of this book and this story, I'm not saying it shouldn't be there, I just think that it could be simplified a little bit to make sure the plot keeps on moving. Moving on from pacing, we're going to go into the detail of this. Meaning the world building, the characters, the magic system and the detail in general. So, the world building was less than mediocre. You should always go into writing your books as if the reader knows nothing about the area and the world that you're sending them into. Part of the reason for that is because your reader is me and I know very few things. But I know nothing about Portugal, which is where this book set and I was having a obnoxiously hard time trying to figure out this place and what it was like, because it was never talked about in detail. If you could just hold your horses and give us a quick summary of the area, that would be great. Sadly that's not what happened and this ended up being very disappointing. This book screams "Character development? Excuse me? What's that?" Let's start with Fatyan. She's as lively and realistic as a brick wall, for starters. I can't even name a personality trait I would give her. So nevermind that's not going to work. Okay, Yzabelle. Everyone in the book described her as "Saintly". She literally wasn't described as anything else throughout the book. She didn't have any flaws from start to finish. Absolutely no development. Fatyan even said, and I quote "Sometimes talking to you is like talking to a wall." When your characters acknowlage the fact that your main character has no personality... I don't even know what to think about that. The magic system was horrible. That's pretty much what I have to say here. Number one, DESCRIBE the magic to us. DESCRIBE what powers someone might have. What's the flaw to the magic? What's a reason that someone might not want to use their magic? There is absolutely no reason that one of the people with magic couldn't have taken over the world. If you have magical powers, how is a wimpy king going to stop you? That made reading this kind of pointless. I have a big problem with the detail. Everything is described poorly, I didn't know what anything looked like, and I'm not sure if I could find an entire simply descriptive sentence in this book. I love my detail, and I love imagining my own little world, and this did not provide. So, I want to talk about the romance in this book. I thought the LGBTQ+ rep was really good, and the meaning of it, the fact that God loves and accepts members of the LGBTQ+ community, and the fact that you don't choose who you love, that's so important. I thought that was beautiful. However, I felt that the romance was rushed and I didn't see much chemistry between them, and I guess I just didn't understand why they liked each other immediately. Wow. I just realized how much insta love there was in this book that I didn't pick up on. Well. Time to talk about our good ol' Swiss cheese plot. Number one, there wasn't A plot in this book. There were two. The first one was Yzabelle was trying to learn how to use her magic. The second one was defeating Yusuf and feeding the kingdom. And if you know me very well, you know that two plots makes Lilly angry. Two plots makes Lilly smash. Wow I don't think I'd make a very good Hulk, but you get my point 😂. I want to read and journey towards the solution in one plot. Not two sepret plots that could literally be their own book. Okay, besides the two plots there were a giant plot hole that made me so mad. So, you know Yzabelle can turn food into flowers, and that she never told Denis, the king of Portugal, and her fiancee. So it turns out Denis is a really nice guy and Yzabelle was making him out to be the bad guy for no reason. At the very end, when she does tell Denis, he's like "Well why wouldn't you tell me from the beginning?" and she has horrible reasons. They were: a, she was afraid he might kill her for it, b, he imprisoned her ladies made because she used magic, and c, because when she was helping the poor and Denis imprisoned her. You want to know why those were horrible answers? A, why would you think that if it's never happened before, b, I was pretty sure that happened WAY after you came to Portugul, and c, same reason as the last, that happened way after she first came to Portugul. So there was no reason at all to believe that. Well thank you guys for sitting through my rant, I had a lot of bad things to say about this book 😂. Uh, I'm probably not supposed to say I don't recommend this book to anyone with an ARC, so if you do want to try it out I would recommend getting this at your library or as a cheap ebook, I don't think this is worth paying for. Well, cio!

  6. 4 out of 5

    ❀ Alex ❀ (The Scribe Owl)

    Come see this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl! Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! 2.5/5 stars I'm...not quite sure what my allover thoughts are about this read. Some parts of it were pretty good, and some I wasn't such a fan of. I've seen some of my friends write glowing reviews, and others inform others that it isn't worth a read. I'm somewhere in the middle, to be sure. A Curse of Roses follows Yzabel, the princess betrothed Come see this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl! Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! 2.5/5 stars I'm...not quite sure what my allover thoughts are about this read. Some parts of it were pretty good, and some I wasn't such a fan of. I've seen some of my friends write glowing reviews, and others inform others that it isn't worth a read. I'm somewhere in the middle, to be sure. A Curse of Roses follows Yzabel, the princess betrothed to the king of Portugal, who hides a curse--all food she tries to eat turns to flowers. Yza has to learn to be a good queen while grappling with hiding her curse from the rest of the world. The one thing I had no issue with that a bunch of my friends have complained about is the pacing. The pacing was fine! Sure, it had a slow start, but I don't mind that in a book. Normally I enjoy it because it sets the stage for a great rest of the book. It didn't really set anything up here, but I didn't mind it. I doubt anyone can deny that the characters were one-dimensional. By the first fourth of the book, I was tired of hearing Yza called perfect and saintly. By the end of the book where it had been said no less than five million times, I was past sick of it. Because she started out so perfect, there was no room for any character development. Fatyan, our love interest, was also one-dimensional. I don't even know how to describe her! She was touchy and always angry, that's for sure. Angry over every little thing. The romance was insta-love-y and practically nonexistent as well. I get that Diana Pinguicha wanted to have a sweet LGBT+ romance, but I just wasn't getting it. I like to concept of learning to love yourself despite what you may see as flaws and learning to make them your strengths, but the romance and I just weren't working out. The author's writing was inconsistent. Sometimes it would be beautiful and sophisticated, and other times it would just drop off completely. I wish we got more of the lovely stuff, because I really enjoyed it! That said, it's the author's debut novel, and sometimes it takes a while to learn your style. She also goes on rants that should have been trimmed down a LOT. I think one time Yza went on a deep religious mental rant trying to determine whether or not she could be gay. It was...a lot, to say in the least. So, what really confused me was the world building. Diana Pinguicha is Portuguese, so she wrote a book set in Portugal. Cool. Problem: I don't really know anything about Portugal. Normally, you just write it like no one knows anything about it and go from there to create an in-depth world. Pinguicha just went right to assuming that we knew what was going on, but I didn't. I don't know about you, but I don't really know that much about Portugal in the 1200s! The magic system was a cool concept, but it wasn't executed all the way. Pinguicha took a story from her hometown of a saint that she liked, and modified it into a book. Cool, I like that. She wanted to turn bread into water. Again, I like that. The concepts are good. The execution? A little flat. There was some good struggle in learning her powers, but once she did there were no downsides. What? Why wouldn't everyone with power just use it to take over the world or something, then if there is no costs to using it? Conceptually this was an amazing book. Execution wise? Not so great. But if you look at it like that, the execution is what is easiest to fix. If you don't have an imagination and you want to write fantasy you're kind of screwed. If you have all the concepts but you just can't quite pull them through, that's okay. With some revision and practice you can make it work. I'm glad I got an ARC of A Curse of Roses, because I wouldn't particularly recommend it to you to buy. If you can get it for free at your library, go ahead and take a crack at it! I''d still be interested in reading more books by this author because it is just an execution issue. Debut authors have that issue sometimes. Once they learn what their readers want, they're set!

  7. 4 out of 5

    katie

    This was one of my most anticipated releases for December, and I'm very excited to say that it did not disappoint! I went into this with low expectations, since it was a debut, but I couldn't help but love it by the end. There was so much gay in this and I was extremely happy with the f/f romance. "You’ve been forged in despair, Yza, and tempered in hardship. It’s made you considerate in ways many wouldn’t be. That is why we were given a power that could not just feed a nation, but temper it, too. This was one of my most anticipated releases for December, and I'm very excited to say that it did not disappoint! I went into this with low expectations, since it was a debut, but I couldn't help but love it by the end. There was so much gay in this and I was extremely happy with the f/f romance. "You’ve been forged in despair, Yza, and tempered in hardship. It’s made you considerate in ways many wouldn’t be. That is why we were given a power that could not just feed a nation, but temper it, too. Because you, of all people, will use it for good." A Curse of Roses follows Yzabel, the soon-to-be queen of Portugal, who also hides a curse–the ability to turn food into flowers. As a result, she has to figure out how to not crumble under the weight of all her duties while keeping her curse a secret. There are so many things to love about this book, but I loved Yzabel the most. She’s an incredible character who is so well-developed, who fiercely defends those she cares for, and is overflowing with empathy and compassion for her people. Even so, she punishes herself for everything, even the things that are out of her control. I loved reading her growth, as she grows into her responsibilities, figures out her identity, and loves who she wants to, all while staying true to herself. Her internal conflicts were depicted so realistically, and her struggle to accept herself as who she is was an eerie parallel to reality. "Every kiss shared with you is worth remembering." Yzabel and Fatyan’s connection really stood out to me, and I think it was the best part of the novel. The romance is so sweet and you want them to be together so much, and There are so many nuances in their relationship that exist in reality; they complemented one another perfectly. But even though the romance was a big part of the book, it doesn’t overpower Yzabel’s own development, which I appreciated. Pinguicha’s writing is absolutely beautiful–it flowed well with the pace of the story while keeping me gripped in its grasp. And since historical fantasy isn’t a common genre, I was amazed by how well this was written. The prose isn’t dense or flowery, but simplistic in a captivating way. The world-building was so well-done, and you can easily visualize the Yzabel’s perspective through her eyes. On another note, the magic system was explained thoroughly with little info-dumping, though I wanted more on Portuguese history. "Kindness isn’t something you are. It’s something you choose to be, every single moment of every single day." However, I think some readers might not enjoy the slower pacing of this book. The beginning starts off slowly, but eventually gains traction. For me, my investment in the characters combined with the readable writing made it go by smoothly. A Curse of Roses is a solid historical fantasy debut, filled to the brim with magic, secrets, and sapphic yearning. It’s a beautifully told, powerful story of how we shouldn’t be ashamed–of who we love, who we are, and who we will be. This is an #ownvoices story that captured every detail of QPOC experiences such as these. I was immensely satisfied with this one, and I can’t wait for others to fall in love with this too. :: rep :: mostly Portuguese cast, wlw main characters, lesbian SCs :: content warnings :: internalized homophobia, religious-based self-harm, disordered eating, murder ------- pinguicha took sapphic yearning to the next level with this one <33 be still, my heart RTC!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    The Bookavid

    i cried five times

  9. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    This arc was provided by Entangled Teen, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. TW: religious-based self-harm, religious and magic-based eating disorders, and religious-based internalized homophobia, sexism, and sexual harassment. "You've been forged in despair, Yza, and tempered in hardship. It's made you considerate in ways many wouldn't be. That is why we were given a power that could not just feed a nation but temper it, too. Because you, of all people, will use it for good." This This arc was provided by Entangled Teen, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. TW: religious-based self-harm, religious and magic-based eating disorders, and religious-based internalized homophobia, sexism, and sexual harassment. "You've been forged in despair, Yza, and tempered in hardship. It's made you considerate in ways many wouldn't be. That is why we were given a power that could not just feed a nation but temper it, too. Because you, of all people, will use it for good." This is by far the hardest review I've ever had to write. A Curse of Roses is the book I've been waiting for all my life and the book I wish I had as a little girl growing up in a conservative environment, with so much hatred for herself due to her differences. There are no words to explain what it means to me to see a Portuguese author write a sapphic Portuguese retelling with Santa Isabel as the main character. Yzabel is a highly beloved person in Portugal’s history due to her kindness, charity, and her work towards peace. Yzabel of Aragon, later Queen consort of Portugal, is mostly known through the legend of the miracle of roses. Yzabel was pious in her faith and devoted to helping others, against her husband’s wishes. She would sneak out at night to hand out bread to the poorest Portuguese citizens and, one night she was caught by her husband, King Dinis (or Denis). When he asked what she was carrying in her skirts, Yzabel said it was roses and the bread she had been hiding had suddenly turned into roses, proving her innocence. A Curse of Roses follows the young future Queen as she arrives in Terra da Moura to marry Denis, the King of Portugal. However she is plagued by a curse where the food she touches turns into flowers, and she isn't able to eat. She manages to hide the truth but her close friends fear for her life. Yzabel hears the legends surrounding the Enchanted Moura and with her friend, Brites' blessing she goes in search of a solution to her curse. And Yzabel meets Fatyan. Yzabel faces many issues: She is struggling with her curse, and keeping the truth away from her betrothed in fear of his reaction (women have been killed for less); Portugal has its own curse with the red plague, and many Portuguese are going hungry outside the castle's walls. Yzabel wants to help but she feels the restraints set by the King, who does not wish to give anything to his subjects. Lastly, she doesn't know how she feels towards Fatyan. Is it a different kind of friendship? Additionally, Yzabel must learn to accept herself as she is despite what is preached by the men of God and abandon her previous ill-based opinions. This is a character-driven story as Yzabel learns that her curse is, in fact, a great blessing. That she can be the Queen she wishes to be, and how valid her feelings are. Since Yzabel is deeply religious, it has a great impact on her development and the story. It's important to see her stumble and fall as she learns to accept herself as she would any other. I saw myself in Yzabel as she quickly forgave and was kind to everyone but herself. The romance was just perfect. It didn't feel rushed or instant to me. Yzabel and Faty's is a relationship of trust and friendship, with mutual respect. Faty supports and helps her unconditionally as Yzabel also works to help release Fatyan. I loved reading their scenes and how sweet they were to each other, it was heartwarming to see. "Of all the people who found me, you were the only one I wanted to leave with, the only one I could see myself staying with. And I will, for as long as you want me." I loved the dedication: to those who have been erased, a nod to the erasure of queerness from history. Queer people have always existed but so much information has been lost to time and intentionally erased since it didn't suit society's heteronormativity. Considering how conservative Portugal is, I am beyond thankful this book exists. I want teens, especially those who share a similar situation to Yzabel, to see that they are valid and they are special. A Curse of Roses is going to change so many lives. It certainly changed mine.

  10. 5 out of 5

    ;3

    love is real and it exists solely between fatyan and yzabel <3333

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Actual Rating: 4.5 stars (rounding up) A Curse of Roses is a stunning #ownvoices debut novel that retells a Portuguese myth, but with a sapphic relationship. Portuguese author Pinguicha crafts a story that is both romantic and heart-wrenching as the main character grapples with a religious practice that is violently oppressive. Check content warnings on this one if you need them, but if you can deal with the topics I do recommend it. It's a story about love, kindness, acceptance, and being true t Actual Rating: 4.5 stars (rounding up) A Curse of Roses is a stunning #ownvoices debut novel that retells a Portuguese myth, but with a sapphic relationship. Portuguese author Pinguicha crafts a story that is both romantic and heart-wrenching as the main character grapples with a religious practice that is violently oppressive. Check content warnings on this one if you need them, but if you can deal with the topics I do recommend it. It's a story about love, kindness, acceptance, and being true to yourself, though you go through a LOT to get there. Princess Yzabel is cursed. Any food she touches turns into flowers and she is nearly starving. Meanwhile the poor of her country are also starving and she is heartbroken at the idea of wasting any food. In desperation, she seeks out and frees a beautiful Enchanted Moura named Fatyan in hopes that she can rid her of the curse or help her turn flowers into food for her people. At the heart of the story is a slow burn romance between these two women, but Yzabel is a devout Catholic who practices forms of self-harm as a way to pay for her sins. (this includes fasting, whipping herself, and wearing a spiked sort of garter on her leg- all on page) She has been taught a faith that is oppressive and misogynist, and despite her kind heart it's a long journey for her to accept the possibility of a loving God and the idea that he made her as she is. It's a difficult yet compelling story and includes some very well-written steamy scenes between the two women as well (any fans of the only one bed trope?), as Yzabel comes to realize her sexuality isn't what she thought it was. The story is intense but it's an impressive debut and one that I think will speak to queer people who have been raised in conservative, religious families and perhaps came to recognize their queerness later in life. I received an advance copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own. Content warnings include self-harm, murder, violence, misogyny, religious abuse, gore, infidelity, homophobia.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Again

    I have to admit, I was not sure things would end well, but Pinguicha really pulled through and gave us that happy ending. Yzabel and Fatyah are so soft!!! I love them!!! I'm absolutely stunned by the sheer amount of growth Pinguicha managed to fit in this novel. It never felt like certain parts of her growth was rushed, and Yzabel has plenty (plenty) of steps backwards, for all the steps she takes forward. The magic of A CURSE OF ROSES is not quite as lovely as it might seem (flower magic should I have to admit, I was not sure things would end well, but Pinguicha really pulled through and gave us that happy ending. Yzabel and Fatyah are so soft!!! I love them!!! I'm absolutely stunned by the sheer amount of growth Pinguicha managed to fit in this novel. It never felt like certain parts of her growth was rushed, and Yzabel has plenty (plenty) of steps backwards, for all the steps she takes forward. The magic of A CURSE OF ROSES is not quite as lovely as it might seem (flower magic should be fun...right?) as the food Yzabel touches or tries to eat all turns to flowers. At the start of the novel, she has so much going against her--she's can barely eat, her fiancé isn't letting her feed the people of Portugal, and she's got a lot of internalized religious baggage that isn't helping her either. But over time, we see this change, and we end up falling in love with Yzabel, Fatyah, giant, lumbering wolf-dogs, and a whole cohort of nuns. The story is certainly loaded at times, as we can't shy away from the darker sides of Yzabel's magic, but I love how Pinguicha wraps it up. It absolutely brightened my day when I finished reading. Pinguicha also does a fantastic job of creating a layered and complex heroine who is kind and good and nice--closer to saint than villain. I know villains are super fun to explore, but A CURSE OF ROSES still crafts complex and intricate motivations and fears and desires into Yzabel's character and I would highly recommend to anyone looking for this type of character. A CURSE OF ROSES weaves a story of yearning, magic, and growth that fantasy fans won't want to miss. Content Warnings: (view spoiler)[religious-based self harm, religious-based eating disorders, internalized homophobia (hide spoiler)]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    4.5/5 Thank you to Pride book tours, the author and Entangled teen for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Princess Yzabel wants to help the people of her future husband, Denis of Portugal. She has been cursed to turn food into flowers, usually roses, and she fears the curse will soon cost her her life like it did her grandmother before her. Her last hope is an Enchanted Moura named Fatyan. To free her, Yzabel must give her a kiss but this would be committ 4.5/5 Thank you to Pride book tours, the author and Entangled teen for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Princess Yzabel wants to help the people of her future husband, Denis of Portugal. She has been cursed to turn food into flowers, usually roses, and she fears the curse will soon cost her her life like it did her grandmother before her. Her last hope is an Enchanted Moura named Fatyan. To free her, Yzabel must give her a kiss but this would be committing treason. Desperate to save herself and the Portuguese citizens who are also starving, Yzabel does it, but is only left with more wanting. This is a historical fantasy retelling of a Portuguese legend set in the 1200s. I don't know too much about Portugal or it's history, so this was such a fun story just for the history. But really I came for the sapphics. In the beginning, and throughout part of this story Yzabel subscribes to the harmful ideology pushed by the Church that marriage is only between a man and woman, among other homophobic and misogynistic views. My heart hurt so much for Yzabel, seeing the way men have interpreted her faith to cause her pain. Besides the relationship between Fatyan and Yzabel that develops through this novel, my favorite part was seeing Faty show Yza that her faith was not misplaced. The problem did not lie with either of them or God, it was how the Church chose to interpret it. That's always the main problem I have with organized religion, especially when it targets specific groups of people and deems them "unnatural" or "inferior". But A Curse of Roses was all about Yza finding love and acceptance, for herself, her magic and with Faty. I absolutely recommend this book and I cannot wait to read more from this author.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Danielle's

    A curse of roses enticed me right from the title. The blurb had me sold on the idea and the story didn’t disappoint. This was so up my street I was hooked on every single word. A princess and a famine. She has all the food in the world but she can’t do anything but turn it into flowers. This is a story of forbidden wants, It’s about control and it’s beautifully done. I love this publisher. I love this kind of story. I’m so glad it didn’t disappoint. 5 out of 5. I received an ARC in exchange for an A curse of roses enticed me right from the title. The blurb had me sold on the idea and the story didn’t disappoint. This was so up my street I was hooked on every single word. A princess and a famine. She has all the food in the world but she can’t do anything but turn it into flowers. This is a story of forbidden wants, It’s about control and it’s beautifully done. I love this publisher. I love this kind of story. I’m so glad it didn’t disappoint. 5 out of 5. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    this book: iT wAs oNLy a kiSS me: omg it was only a kiss I NEED THIS BOOK

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

    I want to thank NetGalley & Entangled: Teen for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review I found many surprises in this book that I adore, I confess that this time there was little I knew about the plot, I'd only heard it was based on some Portuguese myths and I loved that, so that was what led me to pick up the book and I really loved it! Not only I think the basis of this story is super solid and very well executed, but I also really enjoyed how fresh and unique the I want to thank NetGalley & Entangled: Teen for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review I found many surprises in this book that I adore, I confess that this time there was little I knew about the plot, I'd only heard it was based on some Portuguese myths and I loved that, so that was what led me to pick up the book and I really loved it! Not only I think the basis of this story is super solid and very well executed, but I also really enjoyed how fresh and unique the story felt as a whole. Undoubtedly, a historical fantasy that I needed in my life before the end of the year, super easy to read and although presumptuous at times, easy to enjoy. 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ You can find more reviews & fun content on my blog A Book. A Thought. In this book, we follow Princess Yzabel, who finds herself in the grip of a terrible curse that causes all the food she tries to eat to be turned into flowers. This has brought her to the brink of starvation, which deeply unites her to the pain that the people of Portugal feel since they're also starving. Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, seems to be the only one capable of reversing her spell, but she'll only do it if Yzabel releases herself of her own spell with a kiss, and even though Yzabel is engaged to the king of Portugal, she decides to accept for her people, but that kiss awakens another kind of hunger inside her. She had sought out Fatyan to help her and save her people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel's destruction. This book managed to be as magical as it sounds, with the development of a myth with such beautiful colors behind it, is really difficult for something to fail, and although I think it was really beautiful and that the author decided to execute this myth on a very successful way, I feel that I'd have liked further development in other areas. I think the focus is on the myth and the development of the main characters, which I liked a lot, but I'd have liked to know a little more about Portugal from a social and cultural point of view, basically about its history itself, even so, this is the approach that the author decided to give to her story and I respect that. On the other hand, I feel that I have a somewhat unpopular opinion about the pace of the book, for me, it was very rushed at times, I'd have liked to explore more things, more places, and more lives of some secondary characters and those things, I think a slower pace would have been perfect, especially when it comes to developing romance. I think the first part of the book is super solid and even more the last chapters which are where the story really comes to life, but there are some weak scenes especially in the middle , scenes that perhaps could have been developed more deeply and others that I felt were there as to lengthen the book a little more, I felt I want more information, which is something good because it means that I'm interested in what I'm reading. Apart from this, I really enjoyed this book and its story, and the things that could have been better, in my opinion, are only details, I don't think there's any major flaw, I think it's a clean, fresh and innovative book in many ways. I really liked the characters, especially Yzabel, I think I'm demanding with my main characters, especially in new releases I hope to see something new, and this character gave me what I expected, she's SO brave and caring, and I love how she empathizes with the poorest people all the time putting herself in their place and wanting to fight for them. Despite the horrible curse that obviously has her extremely weak, I think she's a very strong girl in personality, who goes directly for those she wants, and I admire that, I liked her position for most of the book and I also think she had a super marked growth towards the end of the book. And I also liked the other characters, but I think Yzabel is the best created. Finding myself with a king who's not the typical evil king, but is a softer personality, I liked, I think that having an evil one who's not so evil, gives him an original touch since it shows that not all people have only one bad side and a good side, but we're a combination of both, and that's fine, it's more real for me. I liked the romance, I think it's very sweet, and it's very well thought out, again, I think it was kind of rash, and I'd have liked a better transition and slower development, but still, I managed to enjoy it a lot, the relationship felt very real, and the way in which the author described everything made me feel deeply invested in what was happening between them. I want to remind you that the book follows a sapphic romance so that's great! I think many people will like this romantic side of the story, it was very beautiful. The author's style, although a bit rush-y at times, is very solid, I love how she has chosen to elaborate this story from a more sentimental side because I think the emotional charge is there, there were scenes where I felt like I could cry, so I can say It will make you feel many emotions, and that's obviously due to the author's writing style, which is really beautiful. I wouldn't say her style is very colorful, but rather that type of simpler writing in the best way, it takes you through the scenarios in a very good way and although, as I said, it's rush at times, it still handles other aspects that generate good thrill in the reader I would undoubtedly recommend this book, I think it has a solid base that's very interesting to explore, the myth on which the author has been based is incredibly beautiful and magical, that's still my favorite aspect of the book, and although it's rush in its narration and it lacks development in some aspects, it's very enjoyable and although many say it's a slow pace, I don't think so, I read it quite fast, in fact, on the contrary, I think that a slow pace would have been even better to develop more some areas in depth, but in general, the story itself is very good and is very well thought out. The romance is charming, the characters are quite solid, especially the main character who stands out above other characters that I've read due to her feisty and empathetic personality & also is quite atmospheric, which is great. But if you like myths and want to explore this Porugues myth, don't hesitate to give it a chance, it's worth it. First Thoughts 12/18/20 What a wonderful fantasy!! I really enjoyed this book very much, the plot is super original, I'd never heard about Portuguese mythology before and I really fell in love with the myth on which this story is based. I think it's very easy to read and I found myself kind of moved by the story at times, which I didn't expect. On the other hand, I feel like some scenes are rushed and lack the necessary construction to make the story feel more atmospheric, but it's still super enjoyable and refreshing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This was such a nice surprise and a good discovery. When I first started listening to this book, I had no knowledge whatsoever about the Portuguese legend that this story is based on. I'm glad to say that I wasn't disappointed one bit by what I read. It had magic, powers, and a f/f romance I loved. What more could I ask for? Well, not much but this wasn't the perfect read for me even though I really enjoyed parts of this book. A Curse of Roses follows Ysabel, a Princess of a land plagued by Fami This was such a nice surprise and a good discovery. When I first started listening to this book, I had no knowledge whatsoever about the Portuguese legend that this story is based on. I'm glad to say that I wasn't disappointed one bit by what I read. It had magic, powers, and a f/f romance I loved. What more could I ask for? Well, not much but this wasn't the perfect read for me even though I really enjoyed parts of this book. A Curse of Roses follows Ysabel, a Princess of a land plagued by Famine. And Ysabel isn't able to eat because of her magic/curse. At one touch, the food transforms into flowers. Fatyan is the only one who could help her. She's an enchanted Moura, trapped in a stone. To free her, Ysabel will have to kiss her and then Fatyan will be able to teach her to control her powers. Overall, this was a really good book but I would have loved to learn more about the real history, perhaps in a note of some sort. I also wished the main character Ysabel would have figured out that loving another woman is the opposite of wrong but she took a while to get there and she hurt Fatyan in the process. The ending was really nice though so I forgave her.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ❤︎ ☾ Jeanette ☾❤︎

    I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All quotes/sayings were taken from the ARC and may change. Many Thanks to Netgalley and Entangled teen for allowing me to read an ARC of A curse of roses!!! Spoiler free review A curse of roses immediately drew me in with the gorgeous cover and the description. It did NOT disappoint. I’d like to start this off by saying I love the author’s note that was in this book! The writing was absolutely gorge I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All quotes/sayings were taken from the ARC and may change. Many Thanks to Netgalley and Entangled teen for allowing me to read an ARC of A curse of roses!!! Spoiler free review A curse of roses immediately drew me in with the gorgeous cover and the description. It did NOT disappoint. I’d like to start this off by saying I love the author’s note that was in this book! The writing was absolutely gorgeous and flowed perfectly through the pages as I read. The plot was well crafted and based off a Portuguese tale and I was very interested to know more about it after reading the story. I loved the f/f romance with the main character! Though this book is a fantasy A curse of roses thoroughly enjoyed this book! -PLOT- A curse of roses centers around Yzabel. This book is a retelling of a Portuguese legend. Yzabel’s main concern is her people. People of Portugal are suffering common people are starving meanwhile richer people are having feasts and there is a plague amoung her people. Cursed or a blessing? Yzabel can turn food and really anything into flowers. She harms and starves herself because of it. She needs help to get rid of her curse... Fatyan can help Yzabel with one kiss. Yzabel is betrothed to Denis the king of Portugal. He doesn’t want her giving food to the people etc. There is much Internal conflict with Yzabel she doesn’t know if she should choose love or her duty. You can find out what happens from there. I definitely enjoyed the plot and I know many others will too. PLOT: 5/5 “I’ll try to be the princess the country needs, too” -SETTING- A curse of roses is based of a portuguese tale as I stated. So of course, the story’s world building takes place in early years of Portugal. The places were described quite well and It did paint that picture in my mind. It was very cultural. SETTING: 4.5/5 “I’ll not give this curse anything.” To do so would be to welcome the Devil in, to give in to the horrible relief that followed the curse’s insidious, flowery magic.” -WRITING- Diana wrote gorgeous work. The writing was outstanding. I really loved the way the author described moments. Words were well used together and I loved the word choice. Though this book is set in later date than now it goes through homophobia that the main character struggles with hearing. It was all handled/written very well. The slow burn wlw romance was probably my favorite part. Definitely Loved the writing style. WRITING: 5/5 “Women shouldn’t want other women to touch them like this, shouldn’t come apart under another woman’s touch, shouldn’t be curious as to what awaited her at the end of whatever it was that Faty was doing to her.” -CHARACTERS- I adore Yzabel and Fatyan with my heart. I love how Yzabel’s character is so devoted. She makes mistakes but she learns from them. Ultimately my favorite character was the moura, Fatyan. Fatyan is really a role model I think she really shines. Yzabel is really questioning herself and struggling between her newfound attraction to Fatyan and her struggling to mange her ability. I loved seeing them both connect and their feelings towards each other grow. Most of the characters were greatly developed. CHARACTERS: 5/5 “Every kiss shared with you is worth remembering.” -CONCLUSION- Do I think you should read A curse of roses? yes of course you should! I would really recommend this story to those who like wlw romance, Fantasy, Retellings, Royalty and much more! REVIEWED: 10/6/2020

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fanna

    June 25, 2020: A f/f YA fantasy romance? I shouldn't be needing anything else to anticipate this one's release but the fact that it involves a curse around food & flowers, well, that's even more exciting! June 25, 2020: A f/f YA fantasy romance? I shouldn't be needing anything else to anticipate this one's release but the fact that it involves a curse around food & flowers, well, that's even more exciting!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tânia

    Giving this one 5* before the release to fight the hate generated over the author's opinion of another book. I'll eventually change it after reading the book. For now, I stand with freedom of speech Giving this one 5* before the release to fight the hate generated over the author's opinion of another book. I'll eventually change it after reading the book. For now, I stand with freedom of speech

  21. 5 out of 5

    j.chestnut

    portuguese leads? a f/f romance?? magic??? yes please, thanks!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Darce

    4 gorgeous stars! This novel was one that I know I’ll remember for years. Written by an author who has faced prejudice against both Portuguese women and LGBTQ+ women, this #OwnVoices book manages to combine factors of Portuguese mythology, YA fantasy and sapphic romance into a beautiful novel about discovering love and learning to embrace every part of yourself. A Curse of Roses follows a princess engaged to a decent king, but one whom she doesn’t romantically love. However, this princess has much 4 gorgeous stars! This novel was one that I know I’ll remember for years. Written by an author who has faced prejudice against both Portuguese women and LGBTQ+ women, this #OwnVoices book manages to combine factors of Portuguese mythology, YA fantasy and sapphic romance into a beautiful novel about discovering love and learning to embrace every part of yourself. A Curse of Roses follows a princess engaged to a decent king, but one whom she doesn’t romantically love. However, this princess has much more to worry about than her friendly-but-loveless marriage – Yza cannot eat or touch food without turning it into flowers. This means that Yza has been wasting away for years, unable to swallow more than a bite of food without having thorns tear her throat up, only able to drink broth to sustain herself. Finally, in an act of desperation, Yza goes searching for the mythical Enchanted Moura, who’s said to be able to grant any wish to the person to find her. Upon discovery of the Moura, Yza is finally able to learn about her curse, however she now has another problem to face – her growing attraction for the Moura she found. “Yzabel didn’t know death could be so beautiful, or that betrayal could cut so deep.” A Curse of Roses was gorgeously written, very easy to follow and very easy to read. It was not an especially complex story – which worked in the author’s favour – and the characters were very realistic and easy to relate to – a definite plus for this novel. I found myself growing quite attached to many of the side characters, and even laughing during particular stages of the book, and I found the Portuguese tale absolutely fascinating to read about. The sapphic romance may have been improvised and may not have been in the original tale, but I believe it definitely added to the story and added to the entertainment value. Fatyan and Yza had a sweet and believable romance, and I enjoyed reading about the way their relationship developed and progressed, despite bumps in the road. I also loved the feminist aspects of the story! You know I’m a killer for a book with feminism 😉 “Leave it to men to believe themselves the reason for a woman’s actions.” I did find some aspects of the story – for example, the speed in which Yza accepted the solution to her curse (I’m trying not to spoil here) – to be a little fast-paced, but I didn’t mind too much, and overall I really liked this book! It had wonderful rep and a unique and fascinating storyline, and I believe the author wrote a wonderful depiction of the trials of loving oneself. Thank you so much to the author and YA Bound Book Tours for the ARC copy!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexia Moon

    I was given a free e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review is fully my opinion. As soon as I saw an f/f retelling of a Portuguese myth/legend I knew I had to read it! I was fortunate to get access to it through NetGalley and I thank the publisher for that! I love to support Portuguese authors! At first, it was very weird to see Portuguese names mixed with English and with the English language and it took me a while to get used to it but by mid-book, I was totally use I was given a free e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review is fully my opinion. As soon as I saw an f/f retelling of a Portuguese myth/legend I knew I had to read it! I was fortunate to get access to it through NetGalley and I thank the publisher for that! I love to support Portuguese authors! At first, it was very weird to see Portuguese names mixed with English and with the English language and it took me a while to get used to it but by mid-book, I was totally used to it. I enjoy the characters and their development but I admit that at Yzabel was just... unbearable. Her religious fervour and obsession were... unbearable. I can understand her religious personality especially due to the time that the book is set at, but still. Somethings are a bit too much. I also found it odd that the entire book was going around the idea that (view spoiler)[Denis would not approve of anything and in the end he's like "so what?". That was a real blow-down from what I was expecting (hide spoiler)] . Overall the book is pretty interesting, I liked seeing a retelling of a Portuguese myth especially with an f/f twist that was AMAZING and that I shipped a lot! I also enjoyed the (view spoiler)[fact that lots of mouras and people with powers were hidden in the covenant. I really enjoyed that! (hide spoiler)] . I also liked the author's writing and will be on the lookout for more books! :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Althea

    This didn't quite live up to my expectations and fell a wee bit flat for me, despite how powerful its overall message was - full RTC! This didn't quite live up to my expectations and fell a wee bit flat for me, despite how powerful its overall message was - full RTC!

  25. 4 out of 5

    bia

    a portuguese f/f retelling?? MY FUCKING RIGHTS

  26. 4 out of 5

    Permanently_Booked

    There is nothing more exciting than when your favorite genres come together to spin a tale you have not heard of before. Steeped in Portuguese history and tied to the legend of the Miracle of Roses that floats around Saint Queen Isabel and her King, Dinis. Pinguicha took this historical tale and merged it with magic and lore to bring to life Princess Yzabel and the Enchanted Moura, Fatyan. I loved the writing style and the growth of the characters in such a short period of time. Yzabel is slowly There is nothing more exciting than when your favorite genres come together to spin a tale you have not heard of before. Steeped in Portuguese history and tied to the legend of the Miracle of Roses that floats around Saint Queen Isabel and her King, Dinis. Pinguicha took this historical tale and merged it with magic and lore to bring to life Princess Yzabel and the Enchanted Moura, Fatyan. I loved the writing style and the growth of the characters in such a short period of time. Yzabel is slowly dying as her curse runs rampant inside of her. Turning everything she tries to eat into thorned roses and other flowers. Her last hope is to free Fatyan and put an end to her suffering so she can save her people. This is a deep look into faith and acceptance while embracing the LGBTQ theme in a way that I have not seen done before. During a time when magic was 'cured' with trepanning and anything not of the Bible was a sin. Pinguicha brings to the surface the struggle between faith and sexual acceptance with these beautifully fleshed out characters. I could feel the essence of the author's own life experiences and fears flowing from the prose as the story took form. This novel is a slow paced read that I devoured in two days. The historical aspects wove brilliantly with the magical elements and even though there is more character discovery instead of action I could not put this one down. I would have enjoyed more action and mysticism in the beginning but after closing I realized this is one to savor and discover the messages in the text. Reader note. This is a young adult read but there are heavy topics such as mortification of the flesh, minor sexual scenes and biblical aspects due to the era. I highly recommend this read to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a magical twist and LGBTQ aspects. Special thank you to the author and to Entangled Teen for a gifted finished copy in exchange for an honest review. True rating 4.5/5, rounded for Goodreads.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maëlys

    "With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more." It is always all about the yearning. Youtube ☆ Twitter "With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more." It is always all about the yearning. Youtube ☆ Twitter

  28. 5 out of 5

    Arin

    eARC provided via the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Content warning: discussions of religious-based self harm, religious-based eating disorders, and religious-based internalized homophobia, body horror This book blew me away. I expected to love it and I ended up loving it even more than expected. Yzabel and Fatyan were so soft and I loved every aspect of their relationship so much. The discussions of religion and religious based homophobia almost made me cry multiple eARC provided via the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Content warning: discussions of religious-based self harm, religious-based eating disorders, and religious-based internalized homophobia, body horror This book blew me away. I expected to love it and I ended up loving it even more than expected. Yzabel and Fatyan were so soft and I loved every aspect of their relationship so much. The discussions of religion and religious based homophobia almost made me cry multiple times, as Yzabel learned to love and accept herself it reminded me of my constant struggle with the same religious based trauma but it was so comforting to see someone else go through that and come out loving themselves. I don't have the words to truly describe this book and how much I love it, but it is an instant favorite and I highly recommend you consider picking it up.

  29. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: homophobia (also internalized), self-harm, " magic-based disordered eating", sexism A Curse of Roses is a story about self-acceptance and questioning the beliefs we assume to be true. In a society where queer identity and magical powers are considered evil and demonic, A Curse of Roses portrays the difficult journey of questioning the authority figures in our lives. Whether it be (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: homophobia (also internalized), self-harm, " magic-based disordered eating", sexism A Curse of Roses is a story about self-acceptance and questioning the beliefs we assume to be true. In a society where queer identity and magical powers are considered evil and demonic, A Curse of Roses portrays the difficult journey of questioning the authority figures in our lives. Whether it be religion or the government, Yzabel's journey is about finding the strength within ourselves to accept who we really are apart from what we might have been told. Her journey has to be my favorite element of A Curse of Roses, this sapphic fantasy about power and the truth. The lines between curses and gifts is often tenuous at best. You know those lines about great power? It's like that. With power comes the potential to misuse it and also use it to change the world. In A Curse of Roses, readers see both. The ways gifts can be turned into curses, fear into hatred, and love into possession. Fast paced, A Curse of Roses discusses the beliefs we've grown up with and the ideology that is imparted to us. While love has the ability to bloom, it also has the ability to wither. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kahlia

    3.5 stars. 2020 has blessed us with several queer retellings of myths and fairytales, and I was admittedly concerned that A Curse of Roses would feel too similar to other books I’ve read this year to give it an objective review. Luckily, I needn’t have worried. Elements of Portuguese history and culture are both deeply interwoven into Yzabel’s story, which gave this book a unique perspective – exactly the purpose of an #ownvoices retelling. Like most retellings, the plot is fairly basic, and Yzabe 3.5 stars. 2020 has blessed us with several queer retellings of myths and fairytales, and I was admittedly concerned that A Curse of Roses would feel too similar to other books I’ve read this year to give it an objective review. Luckily, I needn’t have worried. Elements of Portuguese history and culture are both deeply interwoven into Yzabel’s story, which gave this book a unique perspective – exactly the purpose of an #ownvoices retelling. Like most retellings, the plot is fairly basic, and Yzabel and Fatyan’s relationship follows a fairly standard cursed-mentee/wise mentor template, though both characters are interesting enough in their own right to make up for the straightforward narrative. Also, Yzabel is thirsty for Fatyan, and I loved it. However, this book is much more a historical novel than I anticipated; Yzabel and her fiancé, Denis, are based on real Portuguese royals, and there are several references to the Reconquista. This leads to the most interesting part of the novel, for me: Yzabel struggles deeply with internalised homophobia and reconciling her desire for Fatyan with her Christian faith. I thought this book did an excellent job of pointing out the role that religion played in controlling women’s lives in the Middle Ages and the hypocrisy of various religious leaders, while also respecting Yzabel’s beliefs and the way she embodied what she saw as Christian values of charity and kindness. Pinguicha also does an excellent job at balancing the period-typical homophobia with an acknowledgment of the fact that queer women existed everywhere in history, and were often able to use gender stereotypes to their advantage in carving-out safe spaces for themselves without men getting suspicious. If I had any issues with this book, it’s that I would have liked a slightly broader scope. This is a very tight-knit book with a small cast of characters, and almost all of the action takes place within the castle and the immediately surrounding streeting (save for one steamy scene in the local baths… ). I also think this book could have benefited from expanding a little more on Portuguese history for those of us who are relatively unfamiliar; without going into spoiler territory, some of the final conflict in this book is based on the divide between Christians and Muslims, which feels a little abrupt without a good understanding of the historical context. (I did quite a bit of Googling afterwards). I’m not sure it’s really necessary for me to extoll the importance of ownvoices narratives to anyone who’s gotten this far into my review, but A Curse of Roses was definitely another example of how much diverse perspectives can bring to the fantasy genre. Note: I received an ARC from Entangled Teen. A Curse of Roses is available from 1 December. This review is also available @ firstbreathsreviews.

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