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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-20 18:50
Review: Cinderella, Necromancer by F.M. Boughan

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Ellison lost her mother at an early age. But since then, her father has found love again. He's happy and doesn't quite notice that Ellison does not get along with his new wife or her mean daughters. When Ellison discovers a necromantic tome while traveling the secret passages of her father's mansion, she wonders if it could be the key to her freedom. Until then, she must master her dark new power, even as her stepmother makes her a servant in her own home. And when her younger brother falls incurably ill, Ellison will do anything to ease his pain, including falling prey to her stepmother and stepsisters' every whim and fancy. Stumbling into a chance meeting of Prince William during a secret visit to her mother's grave feels like a trick of fate when her stepmother refuses to allow Ellison to attend a palace festival. But what if Ellison could see the kind and handsome prince once more? What if she could attend the festival? What if she could have everything she ever wanted and deserved by conjuring spirits to take revenge on her cruel stepmother? As Ellison's power grows, she loses control over the evil spirits meant to do her bidding. And as they begin to exert their own power over Ellison, she will have to decide whether it is she or her stepmother who is the true monster.

***Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***

 

What’s Good: How about the opening line for starters- “Blood. The blood of my enemies drips down my forearms, fleeing the confines of the spaces between my fingers, traveling toward freedom on the cold, stone floor.” Got your attention, yet?

 

This is a very imaginative twist on the fairytale. Everything old is new again in this one. There’s a few homages to the classic version of the tale, but ain’t no fairy godmothers floating around here. Nope- what comes to Ella’s aid is far more disturbing and best left undisturbed. Author F.M. Boughan cites researching historical texts and grimoires on necromancy, and it shows. Well done!

 

The necromancy comes into play as part of the struggle between Heaven and Hell, the forces of Good vs the armies of Evil. Ella’s struggles with what she’s doing and why are valid and believable. As her power grows, she thinks she’s come to terms with the price of it, but then she realizes that price is greater than she’s willing to pay. But will she be strong enough to do so anyway?

 

There’s several twists on the tale that’ll keep you involved; it’s like a full-on rendering of the original Brothers Grimm version- you know, with the sisters cutting off parts of their feet in order to fit the glass slipper and whatnot. Often gory and gruesome, this one ain’t for the faint of heart.

 

What’s Bad: Ella’s also a bit of a dunce. The author does a good job of putting you inside Ella’s head and making her feel like a vibrant, three-dimensional character, but too many times in the story she never bothered to question anything or stop to consider the consequences of her actions. She’s got a book of demonology/necromancy in her hands, but never bothers to read any further than what she needs to get what she wants yet always wonders about the dangers of abusing such power… maybe ya ought to flip a few pages ahead and find out???

 

She’s constantly skulking about the house trying to sneak around her new stepmother and siblings trying to learn things, only to bump, bang into or trip over something, leading to another Steve Erkel moment, “…oh, did *I* do that?!?” After a while you can pretty much see when they’re coming up.

 

There’s a few WTF moments in the plot that threaten to derail things. The night Ella’s father disappears he gives her something before he leaves- literally placing it in her hand. Does she look at it right away?- no. When does she look at it? Right after she sneaks out of the house in the dead of night, crawls under the locked main gate, runs all the way through the village to her mother’s grave, calls out to her mother’s spirit, meets a mysterious stranger who protects her from some Things That Go Bump In The Night, and sees her back to the village. Only after she’s safely home again after all that does she actually OPEN HER HAND to see what it was her father gave her. *facepalm*

 

The disappearance of Ella’s father made almost as much sense as all that did. For storytelling purposes he had to be out of the picture, sure, but… his reasons made no sense. It’s the usual “I had to leave to protect you” nonsense, except that he’s the one who created the problem in the first place by marrying Celia and knew full well what was going on, so clearly the best solution was to leave a bunch of people- including his own children- who’ve no idea about any of it at the tender mercies of some seriously malicious individuals and hope for the best. *double facepalm*

 

What’s Left: an entertaining, if flawed, work that you’ll enjoy reading. If all the Fairy Tale Re-imaginings are starting to get stale to you, this one’ll be a bit of fresh air.

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review 2017-09-14 07:27
Simple
The Cinderella Fantasy - Sara Jane Stone

Lucy plays a princess by day and is looking for her prince charming by night.  While having her brother and his best friend and business partner watch over her.  Too bad his partner pushes all her buttons, since he is not even in her league.

 

Jared stopped thinking of Lucy as a little sister when he got a good look at her legs.  She attracts him on several levels, but he does not want to mess up a good friendship with her brother by acting on that attraction.  Still, he cannot help the way he feels.

 

This is an amazingly sexy and fun story.  It puts so many elements together in a terrifically sweet package.  The characters banter, the ocean views, well... let's just say if it were a movie opening weekend would blow the critics away.  I loved the simple and strong characters and all that they are to one another.  I cannot wait to see more with this theme.  In my opinion, this is the author's best work to date.  I give this book a 5/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-09-12 16:30
Marrying His Cinderella Countess - Louise Allen

Ellie Lytton is content with her role as her stepbrother's housekeeper until one day the Earl of Hainford arrives to tell her that her stepbrother is dead by accident. She believes him responsible for her plight and insists that he should accompany her to her new home, little realising that the trip will change them both.

 

Ellie is a writer and throughout she is writing an adult romance and I found it so funny to read alongside the main story.  Louise Allen writes a fun story that kept me invested in both characters and liking them as people.

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review 2017-09-04 17:21
The Scandalous Flirt (Cinderella Sisterhood Series) - Olivia Drake

I had trouble getting into this one. It started out slow and didn't pick up until chapter 9 when she is caught in his bed chamber looking for the letters. Once they team up to find the letters and blackmailer, the story does get better. Their romance was slow to start and there were some surprise villains and twists to who stole the letters and with her half sister Celeste. The surprises kept it interesting and book ended well.  Lucas was a strong male lead and his dilemma about whether he should marry the woman he has loved for years even though she is poor, or marry an heiress in order to save his family added some suspense to the plot.  I can't say it was my favorite story I've read this year but it was enjoyable.

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review 2017-09-01 15:28
The Cinderella Fantasy (Playing the Princess) by Sara Jane Stone
The Cinderella Fantasy - Sara Jane Stone

 

Who doesn't love the fantasy?  The princess finding her prince in a world full of negativity and doubters. Whether pint - sized or adult shaped we all hang our dreams of happily ever after on a childish fairy tale. With The Cinderella Fantasy, Ms. Stone modernizes a legendary romance into a realistic and witty walk down memory lane.  Of course, no Sara Jane Stone tale would be complete without her special brand of seasoning to add spice to the canvas. Lucy and Jared are a reminder of why fantasies exists.  So we never lose the ability to hope.  As long as the heart is open, the mind will be also.  Dreaming gives the chance for the impossible to become a reality. 

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