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review 2018-02-22 02:48
Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes
Burning Girls - Veronica Schanoes

*Enters room filled with cobwebs and dust* 

 

Uh... hello? Is anyone still here? *Coughs from ball of dust* 

 

Phew! It's been a while since I've been able to sit down and read anything. Life has not been kind to me. The beginning of 2018 was so peaceful and productive... for about two weeks. Then Hell came and slapped me in the face and I've been trying to get back on my feet ever since. And let me tell you, it has not been easy. However, I am back and I am ready to tackle my TBR head-on! With that said, I was able to read a short story which I enjoyed quite a bit.

 

Now, seeing as how it's been a while since I've read anything, I decided starting off with a short story to ease me back into reading was a good move to make. And I was right. I read Burning Girls from Tor.com and it was such a harrowing read. It follows a Jewish girl's life living in Poland where she faces discrimination from the Cossacks and how magic can be a double-edge sword for the young witch. This short story covers so many topics. From Jewish tradition to history to even mythology. I was intrigued by the story from the very start.

 

Schanoes's writing style is very crisp. Since her main character is rather blunt and cold-hearted, her writing showed that very same bluntness without ever becoming bland. She has an incredibly flowing writing style and I really am interested in reading more of her works in the future.

 

As for her characters, I felt that a lot of them didn't have enough time to develop into fully fledged beings. I suppose that's what happens sometimes with short stories. Her main character, Deborah, was the only one that actually showed any type of growth. Although she is someone I consider to be highly unlikeable, she does learn to empathize a little with those around her and learns not to judge as harshly as she did at the beginning of the story. Shayna, Deborah's sister, throughout most of the story acted like a petulant child, which annoyed me greatly. I did, however, enjoyed her transformation towards the end of it. Still, I wish I got to know these characters a bit more before reading the end of the story.

 

Speaking of the ending, wow. That was well done and fit well with the rest of the story. I liked how it grabs you and reminds you of the harshness of reality. Life is rough and you don't always get what you hoped for no matter how hard you try... and that sucks. Man, this story made me feel so many emotions!

 

In short, read this story. It's really good. I did have my problems with some of the characters but I did enjoy the magical and fairy tale elements. If you love learning about Jewish culture, fairy tales, and a bit of history, read this story. It's quite the harrowing, dark read, but a good one nonetheless. 

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review 2018-02-20 21:48
A stubborn modern-day heroine who learns a lesson or two along the way.
The Royal Deal (Chasing the Romantics, a Series of Original Fairy Tales Book 1) - Rosalind Driver

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, check here if you want to get your book reviewed) and thank her and the author for the ARC copy of the book, which I freely chose to review.

I love fairy tales. I know some of the classic ones are cruel, harsh, and less than politically correct, but I do love them. And I am always intrigued by new versions of old fairy tales, or completely new fairy tales.

This short fairy tale has elements of the classics: a King and father, insisting that his daughter must marry the man of his choice (for political reasons); a Princess and daughter, Faith, who wants to follow her heart (she hardly knows Jaeger, the young prince she is due to marry. She always assumed she would marry the older, more mature, Mikhail, who is known for his caring attitude towards his people, although she does not know him well either); a challenge/mission… This time, the princess is not just passively waiting for a prince to come and rescue her (although she hopes Mikhail, who has been missing for a long time, will come back before her 19th birthday when she is supposed to get married). She decides to go to her father and make a deal with him. She wants to prove that she is not a useless thing that needs looking after. Her father agrees that if she can survive for three months in the forest, without any outside help, she will be free to marry whomever, whenever.

Faith is headstrong, rushed, and impulsive. She knows that she lives a life where she is totally dependent on others, (princesses don’t even get dressed by themselves), and has been trying to learn how to do things for herself, but she soon realises she has not thought things through. She should have negotiated the conditions of her deal to her advantage (she does not even have appropriate shoes to wear, does not know how to light a fire, and has no weapons to defend herself from wild animals or any other dangers she might encounter).

Faith learns a lot in the three months she spends in the forest. She meets a hermit who helps her (despite her insistence that she does not want to cheat); she realises that she must think before she acts and that we need to learn to walk before we can run. Her beliefs are put to the test, as are her prejudices, and although she knows she has a specific role to play due to her position in life and she is not free to do as she likes, she cannot help but end up feeling quite close to the hermit.

The story, written in the third person, is made up of vivid vignettes illustrating both, Faith’s life in the castle at first, and then her attempts at survival in the forest (mostly unsuccessful and lucky escapes, including a lovely interlude with a bear cub). This is not a story about a girl who suddenly discovers she is good at everything and has a natural talent to survive in the wild. She makes mistakes, is sorely unprepared, and keeps getting into trouble. She is about to give up but the hermit helps her and convinces her to keep going. The story dedicates much more time to the first couple of days when we meet Faith and she goes into the forest, than it does to the rest of the three months. Although there are some stirrings of a possible romance, and Faith has to admit to having developed feelings for the hermit, she is more passionate about tasting some chocolate after not having tried it for a few months than she is about any of the men in her life.

As some other reviewers have noted, this is no magical fairy tale, this is the tale of a determined (obstinate?) girl who learns the value of being prepared, of working hard for what you want, and of being truly independent.

The big reveal will not be a surprise to most readers, although it does tie things up nicely, and the actual ending, which some readers feel is a bit rushed, I thought made perfect sense and proved that Faith had learned from her experience and grown up.

The actual fairy tale is shorter than the e-book length suggests, as it contains a sample of the next fairy tale in the series (that looks quite good too).

An original fairy tale, which could facilitate interesting discussions about female role models (beware of the mention of her purity, which might be difficult to explain to very young kids), and the first of what looks like a very interesting series.

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review 2018-02-12 19:33
Down The Rabbit Hole – Untamed by A G Howard @aghowardwrites
Untamed - A.G. Howard

 

Untamed (Splintered, #3.5)

Amazon Goodreads

 

MY ONE SENTENCE REVIEW

 

I won a first edition hardcover of Untamed by A G Howard some time ago and all I can say is…WOW…why did I wait so long to read this Alice in Wonderland remake that is so creatively, wondrously written, with a fantasy world anyone would want to get lost in and meet the  fabulous characters, both human and fantasy, that will make this impossible to put down.
 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 Stars

 

GOODREADS BLURB

 

A post-Ensnared collection of three stories—available in both print and e-versions.

 

Alyssa Gardner went down the rabbit hole and took control of her destiny. She survived the battle for Wonderland and the battle for her heart. In this collection of three novellas, join Alyssa and her family as they look back at their memories of Wonderland.

In Six Impossible Things, Alyssa recalls the most precious moments of her life after Ensnared, and the role magic plays in preserving the happiness of those she loves. Alyssa’s mother reminisces about her own time in Wonderland and rescuing the man who would become her husband in The Boy in the Web. And Morpheus delves into Jeb’s memories of the events of Splintered in The Moth in the Mirror, available in print for the first time.

 

This collection expands upon Ensnared‘s epilogue, and includes some deleted scenes to provide a “director’s cut” glimpse into the past and futures of our favorite Splintered characters.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/rabbit-hole-untamed-g-howard-aghowardwrites
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review 2018-02-03 14:13
Review of "A Fairy Tale" (Fairy Tale #1) by Shanna Swendson
A Fairy Tale - Shanna Swendson

This reader's personal opinion, ©2018, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by goodreads, Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers* 


I wasn't completely sure what to expect going into this.  The covers looked very young, big  and little sisters -- and author's other series, Enchanted Inc. was definitely light, chick lit style adult books.  This was not a children's or YA book; I'd say "magical realism" or "fantasy" genre.

 

I loved this although it was a slow start for me just because the sisters were a little too good to be true until story fleshed them out more.  Here were no Disney or Grimm type of fairies, rather the fae and their realm in somewhat traditional lore.  Where uninformed humans should beware.  Where good deeds along the quest payoff, characters actually have feelings, the villains are cruel, the "magics" have a system, neither good nor bad characters live in a vacuum, immortals don't act like teenagers ...

 

Pretty much fired on all cylinders with elements I loved.  Not quite a five-star read because lacked a certain intensity where I saw where story was headed and Sophie really had it too easy saving the day.


*©2018.  All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher (except Penumbra Publishing) to reprint/quote in whole or in part. I may also have cross-posted on The Reading Room, Libib, LibraryThing, and other sites including retailers like kobo and Barnes and Noble. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties or indicate release of copyright.  

 

Next up in series:  To Catch a Queen - Shanna Swendson  

 

To Catch a Queen - Shanna Swendson 

Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:

★★★★★ = All Time Favorite 
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average.   Okay. 
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept reading in hopes would improve.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking.  (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews.  Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)

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text 2018-01-30 23:06
Reading progress: 89%.
A Fairy Tale - Shanna Swendson

"But maybe you could learn something about not using nukes in a flyswafter situation."

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