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review 2017-11-20 20:05
A fun and light read recommended to lovers of fairy tales and Scottish-themed adventures
Enchanted by the Highlander (A Highland Fairytale) - Lecia Cornwall

Thanks to NetGalley and to St. Martin’s Press/Swerve, for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

I love fairy tales. Although probably Beauty and the Beast is my favourite, I have a soft spot for most classics. I also love the Scottish Highlands (I’ve visited two or three times but I hope I will visit again in the future). When I saw this book, which combined a retelling of Cinderella with a setting in the Highlands, I could not resist (I also liked the cover).

This is book 4 in A Highland Fairytale series, but it can be read as a standalone (I haven’t read any of the other books in the series). The story is told in the third person from different characters points of view, but there is no head-hopping and the changes in perspective are clearly marked. The novel is set in the XVII century and tells the story of is Gillian, a young girl daughter of Donal, the laird of the MacLeod’s clan, quiet and shy, whose father and sisters think will never get married (although she is very pretty but too quiet to make herself noticed). Quiet waters and all that, because Gillian has dreams and wants to marry for love. While visiting one of the sisters, she meets an Englishman who is Captain of her brother-in-law’s men, John Erly, and although he has no fortune to his name and a terrible reputation, she discovers there is more to him than people think and falls in love with him. At a masquerade ball, they kiss (he is not wearing much of a disguise but he does not know who she is) and she loses her mask. Despite the effect she has on him, nothing happens and she goes back home. A few months later she is engaged to get married to an old nobleman (older than her father) as her family is convinced she wants a quiet life and an old husband is just the ticket for her. Somehow, John ends up escorting her to Edinburgh with a full complement of Highlanders… And the rest, well, you’ll need to read the book to know.

I don’t want to rehash the plot or reveal any spoilers. As this is a romance and a fairy tale, you can imagine how things end up from the beginning, but the beauty is in the details. Gilliam is far from the wilting violet everybody mistakes her for, and John isn’t the rogue others think either. They go through many adventures, including being assaulted by outlaws, a wedding that is ruined, numerous suitors, fights and perils, a competition to obtain Gillian’s hand in marriage, secrets, confessions, and plenty of Highland traditions, expressions, songs, whisky, and a fair amount of fun (and romance). Of course, it is a fairy tale, so it does require a deal of suspension of disbelief, but both main characters are likeable, and most of the secondary characters are great too (even if we don’t get to know them as well, they provide light relief and liven up the action).

The retelling of Cinderella is limited to the mask and the ball, as the circumstances of the character are quite different (she is beloved by her family even if they don’t understand her true feelings) and what happens later bears no resemblance to the story, but is an enjoyable romp. There is plenty of action and humour, there is violence, there are also scary moments, and a couple of erotic scenes (they are quite mild but I would have enjoyed the book more without them as I’m not a big fan. Especially the first one felt particularly unrealistic, and I know I’m talking about a sex scene in a fairy tale, but for me, it did stretch credibility more than the rest of the book). The writing is in keeping with the story, easy and fairly dynamic, at times reminding me of the serials of old, like the Perils of Pauline, where there is a never-ending amount of trouble waiting for the heroine (who luckily is pretty resourceful).

A fun and light read recommended to lovers of fairy tales and Scottish-themed stories, who enjoy adventures galore and don’t mind some violence and a bit of sex.

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review 2017-11-07 07:47
The Gingerbread Man by Rana Giglio
Harcourt School Publishers Signatures: Rdr: The Gingerbman K the Gingerbread Man - Harcourt Brace

Title:  The Gingerbread Man

Author:  Rana Giglio

Artist: Henrik Drescher

Genre:  Fantasy / Humor / Retelling / Fairy Tale

Year Published: 1997

Year Read: 2017

Publisher:   Harcourt Brace & Company

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 4+  (Some Mischievous Behavior and Scary Imagery)

 

Gingerbread

I have this weird confession to make: I once had a dream about a book that was illustrated by Henrik Drescher that was obscured and in my dream, I ended up buying the book since I am a huge fan of Henrik Drescher’s works. Well, I have to say that that dream actually came TRUE since I just recently bought this rare and obscure book called “The Gingerbread Man” which was retold by Rana Giglio along with artwork by Henrik Drescher and I have to admit that this book was a blast to read!

This book is basically a short version of the original fairy tale “The Gingerbread Man” and it pretty much retells the story about how an old couple bakes a gingerbread man and the gingerbread man ends up coming to life and running away from the couple, while yelling out:

“Run, run,
As fast as you can.
You can’t catch me.
I’m the gingerbread man!”


Will the gingerbread man escape the couple, the horse, the cow and the fox?

Read this book to find out!
 


Wow…just wow...this had to be the weirdest yet most creative version of “The Gingerbread Man” I had ever read! I have to warn you though that this little children’s book is only EIGHT PAGES LONG! Not the usual 63 pages you get from most children’s books…EIGHT!!! So, I was quite surprised at how much of the original “Gingerbread Man” story they were able to get in such a short book, but it eventually worked out alright as this book serves to be an outline of sorts about how the “Gingerbread Man” story is told. Rana Giglio did a great job at retelling this classic fairy tale as the narrative is short and simple enough to read through and it really conveys the true story of the Gingerbread Man through just a few words on each page. But, the true highlight of this book is none other than Henrik Drescher’s colorful and bizarre illustrations as they bring this book to life and we are treated to a livelier version of the “Gingerbread Man” than ever before! I was intrigued with the artwork of the gingerbread man itself as it is drawn much more differently than the average look for the character as the gingerbread man is much more human like in appearance and it has wobbly limbs instead of short and thick limbs like it usually does in most adaptations.

I will admit that I was a bit disappointed that this book was a bit too short since I wanted to see more of Henrik Drescher’s artwork through a much more extended version of the story. I also will admit that I was a bit freaked out by the gingerbread man itself as while it is quite a unique design for the character, the fact that it has such wobbly limbs and oddly shaped eyes just put me on edge. I mean, just look at this thing!

Gingerbread

Overall, “The Gingerbread Man” is an instant treat for anyone who wants to read a more obscure version of the classic fairy tale! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since the images of the gingerbread man might scare some small children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-11-07 07:39
The Frog Prince by Mike Klaassen
The Frog Prince: The Brothers Grimm Story Told as a Novella (Klaassen's Classic Folktales) - Mike Klaassen

Title:  The Frog Prince

Author:  Mike Klaassen

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling / Historical Romance

Year Published: 2016

Number of Pages:  114 pages

 

Date Read: 9/24/2017

 

Publisher:  Bookbaby

Source:  eARC (Book Unleashed)

Content Rating:  Ages 8+ (Some Intense Moments and Rude Behavior)

 

I would like to thank Book Unleashed and Bookbaby for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Now, I have been reading the Brothers Grimm fairy tale classics for many years and I have seen many retellings of their fairy tales such as “Rumpelstiltskin,” “The Bremen Town Musicians” and “Snow White.” But, I had never read a retelling of the “Frog Prince” before and when Book Unleashed gave me a free copy of Mike Klaassen’s retelling of “The Frog Prince,” I just had to check this book out and man was I blown away by this interesting retelling of the classic story!

Young Prince Gerit was out playing around the bog near his father’s kingdom when suddenly, he falls into the bog and could not get out of the water. Then, an old woman named Wibke came along and noticed that Gerit was in trouble. Gerit desperately asks the old woman to help him out of the water and Wibke promised that she will help the prince if the prince promises her that he will take care of her for the rest of his life. Of course, Gerit does not want to take care of the woman, but he agreed to the bargain anyway and Wibke helped Gerit out of the water. Then Gerit tried to break his promise to Wibke by running off to the castle, until Wibke transformed Gerit into a frog and she states that the only way that Gerit will turn back into a prince again is if a princess comes along and kisses him three times. So, Gerit goes on a long journey to find a princess who is willing to kiss him three times and Gerit stumbles upon a kingdom that is ruled by his father, King Egon’s enemy, King Torsten and he finds out that King Torsten has a daughter named Anneliese. Now, Gerit tries to make an effort to get Princess Anneliese to kiss him three times or else, he will remain a frog forever!

Wow…just wow…I never would have thought that I would read a retelling of “The Frog Prince” with so much energy and emotion! Mike Klaassen has done a fantastic job at retelling this classic fairy tale as he gives a more contemporary and in-depth spin to the story. I loved the fact that the story is told from the point of view of the Frog Prince himself and this made Gerit into an extremely interesting character as we get to see how he was like before he turned into a frog and we also get to see his struggles in becoming a frog and trying to find a way to change himself back into a prince. I also loved the character development that both Prince Gerit and Anneliese go through as they both started off as royal brats who only thought about themselves and believe that they will get anything they want because they are of royalty. However, the events of the story caused the characters to grow and understand the harsh situations that they are thrown into, such as the fact that their kingdoms are being involved in a war and how both Gerit and Anneliese may have to sacrifice their happiness in order to save their kingdoms. I loved the way that Mike Klaassen developed Gerit and Anneliese’s relationship with each other as I enjoyed the interactions that the two had with each other, such as playing ball together and talking about their favorite books. I also felt that Gerit and Anneliese’s growing relationship with each other was developed in a natural way and it felt more real than in the original fairy tale as the two did not love each other at first, but started developing feelings for each other over the course of the story, which I found to be pretty refreshing!

The only problem I had with this book was that the ending felt a bit rushed. It felt like they wanted to quickly skip to the ending of the original fairy tale and did not developed the resolution of the story a bit further to see how the actions of the characters would affect the overall scheme of the story. 

Overall, “The Frog Prince” is a brilliant retelling of the original fairy tale and anyone who is a huge fan of the “Frog Prince” will easily enjoy this book!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-11-03 03:17
So what's a unicorn to do when...
By Fairy Means or Foul - Meghan Maslow,Greg Boudreaux

he loses his horn...well, he goes to a private detective of course and not just any private detective but one who's the offspring of a dragon and a fairy and when he can't pay the P.I.'s fee of course you offer up your sex slave who just happens to be a wizard who well...can't wizard because he can't seem to find a familiar...it's a long story and if you want to make this even more fun you listen to it on audio.

 

So right about now you're probably wondering 'Seriously Karen are you for real?' and in answer to that question...Yes I am, is this book...no, it's total fantasy and humor from start to finish and of all the things in existence humor is probably the most subjective thing going and honestly what's funny for one person this week may not be funny to that same person next week but for me this week, this one was funny. Some parts were obviously funnier than others and the parts that I found funny may not be what amuses someone else...although there was a pretty epic magic carpet ride that happened.

 

'By Fairy Means or Foul' is an amusing, tongue in cheek adventure set in the world of the fae and other mystical creatures. It's tongue in cheek humor that's over the top and I have to admit I'm not sure I would have found it as entertaining if I hadn't been listening to the audio book. Greg Boudreaux (also known as Greg Tremblay) was the narrator for this story and as always he did an excellent job with this one offering up a variety of very entertaining voices.

 

'By Fairy Means or Foul' is a story that's pure fun and entertainment and seriously when you have a story that starts with a unicorn who's lost his horn and has a non-wizard wizard sex slave going to a dragon/fairy PI to hire him to retrieve said horn and leaves his aforementioned sex-slave as payment, not to mention that said unicorn is just not a nice dude add in an epic magic carpet ride, knitting trolls, cross-stitching dwarves and other creatures of dubious origins who our PI also known as Twig and the non-wizard wizard known as Quinn encounter in their efforts to retrieve the missing unicorn horn and well really there's no serious moments here but you can be prepared for some fun and maybe even some sexy times.

 

This may not be everyone's cup of tea but it worked for me and I have to admit this story on audio was purely delightful and I was laughing out loud on more than one occasion.

 

An audio copy of this book was gifted to me by my awesome friend Jewel who won a copy generously provided by the author at GRL this year. Thank you to both of these lovely people for providing me with hours of listening fun.

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review 2017-11-03 00:00
Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy
Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy - Serena Valentino What a different take on Maleficent's side of the story! You can never go wrong with a revamped fairy tale :)
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