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review 2017-10-12 20:30
A Cinderella story of sorts
Spell Weaver - Megan Derr

For those of you that know Megan Derr's fairy tales this is another story in a similar vein. This one is slightly higher on the heat scale with not one but two sexytimes scenes. The story is familiar, as fairy tales should be, but told with style and sweetness.

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review 2017-10-07 06:31
Shadows of Sherwood
Shadows of Sherwood (Robyn Hoodlum) - Kekla Magoon

 

The sing on the fence said BEWARE OF DOGS.

- first sentence

 

Robyn was the sort of girl who knew not only how many teeth a bulldog had, but also exactly what to do to get a bulldog on her good side.

Chapter 2

 

Robyn had always been the sort of girl who enjoyed breaking the rules. She was almost never where she was supposed to be.

- Chapter 4

 

When Robyn's parents are taken, she is thrust into a world she didn't even know existed. People are suffering and the government is corrupt. Robyn tries to find ways to help people and to thwart the government when she can. She is a strong girl and yet terrified of what happened to her parents. She finds friends, learns how to trust people, and tries to make a difference.

 

This a reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Robyn lives in Nott City in her home, Loxley Manor. The counties that surround her home are Sherwood, Nottingham, Excelsior, and Block Six. Robyn and her friends form a band that steals medicine and food from the government and distributes it to the poor.

 

The story is fun, imaginative, and full of adventure. Even though Robyn is strong-willed and independent, she also has doubts about herself and the wisdom of what she is doing.  This a great book for middle readers. I am definitely going to read the sequels. :)

 

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

28117964

 

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 2017-08-28 03:46
A Tale Dark & Grimm - Review
A Tale Dark & Grimm - Adam Gidwitz

Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.

- Opening Sentence

 

 

I read this book because the author, Adam Gidwitz, is coming to visit our school in September and I wanted to be familiar with his works. I'm reading Star Wars: So You Want to be a Jedi also written by Gidwitz. 

 

I enjoyed this book. Be warned, he talks to the reader, often. So, if meta-fiction isn't your thing, then I would skip this one. He talks about how the next part is scary, and you should make young children leave the room, or about how the reader (supposedly children) might be scared and might want to stop reading. Are you sure you want to keep reading? Ok, don't say I didn't warn you...

 

It's cute actually, and I think the intended audience (children) will enjoy it. Also, it's a great opening to introducing the concept of meta-fiction and "breaking the fourth wall" to students.

 

The book doesn't shy away from the scarier parts of fairy tales. Gidwitz actually points out that he was inspired to write these books (this is the first in a trilogy) by a group of second graders. He says that the stories are awesome and "children can handle it." 

 

This book is based on Hansel and Gretel and includes different aspects of many Grimm fairy tales, including Gretel cutting off her finger (from The Seven Ravens) and Hansel going to Hell and tricking the Devil. I'm not sure which fairy tale that came from. It's a fast-paced story and a fairly quick read. I found myself worrying about Hansel and Gretel, even though I was pretty sure they would end up ok. I like Gidwitz's style and highly recommend this book, with a caveat to consider the specific reader and what they can handle.

 

I found myself wondering how this would play in a room full of second graders (or even third graders). I guess I will find out since our librarian will be promoting the books to our students.

 

Bottom Line:

If you are a fan of Grimm fairy tales or enjoy retellings, give this one a chance. :)

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review 2017-06-24 21:20
Classic retold
Royal Beast: A Dark Fairy Tale Romance -... Royal Beast: A Dark Fairy Tale Romance - Nikki Chase

This is not the fairy tale your momma used to tell you! This dark and steamy version of a classic fairy tale is well-written with great characters - some you'll love and some you'll love to hate. James fits the beast character perfectly with his overbearing, dominant nature and heart of gold underneath it all. Rosemary is everything he could want in a submissive and more. I loved the dialogue between these two as James often finds himself on the less than dominant side of the conversation. With this one, Chase delivers yet another fun read and I can't wait to see what she does next.

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