Month: March 2017

Roses In Amber Author C.E. Murphy | Beauty & the Beast Interview Series

Posted March 14, 2017 by Jana in Author Interview / 1 Comment

 

I hope you’re enjoying A Week of Beauty and Beast, a special blog event hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story and me! We thought this would be the perfect time to host an event devoted to one of our favorite fairy tales, seeing as how Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast is coming out in theaters on Friday! Woohoo! We’re excited to share our love of this tale as old as time with you, and hope you enjoy what we have planned! Make sure you enter to win a Beauty and the Beast themed book of your choice. And if you want to join in on the fun, link up your B&B themed posts so we can come see!


Today Bonnie and I are bringing you an interview with C.E. Murphy, author of Beauty and the Beast retelling Roses In Amber. We’ve split the interview up between our two blogs, so read the first part here and then hop over to Bonnie’s for the second part! Read more about C.E. and her book below.

Author Interview – C.E. Murphy

What inspired you to reinterpret Beauty and the Beast?

It’s always been my favourite fairy tale, and I recently read the oldest extant written version of it and found all kinds of delicious things–backstory about the Beast, especially–that hadn’t made it to our more modern version. I wanted to play with that information and see what it could lend to a new retelling of a tale as old as time! :)

If you could be a household object, what would you be?

…probably a book. :)

If you were taken by the Beast, what’s one comfort item from home that you’d want?

…my kid? :)

What song would you want to dance to with the Beast?

Out Of The Woods, Taylor Swift :)

If you looked in a magical mirror that would show you your heart’s desire, what would you see?

Right now, a good night’s sleep. Somebody’s house alarm went off for 4 hours last night… @.@

Read the rest of the interview here!

Roses In Amber by C.E. Murphy
February 6, 2017 from Miz Kit Productions
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There is a story of a beast, and a merchant’s daughter, and a curse that must be broken.
This is not—quite—that story.

Amber Gryce believes in magic the way anyone does: as a thing of the past, marked now only by the long reign of an ancient queen sworn to live until her stolen son is returned to her. Such stories are romantic but distant for Amber, surrounded by family and wealth.

But like magic, wealth can disappear. Left destitute, Amber’s family retreats to a forest holding far from their city home, where Amber’s love of roses leads her into the heart of enchantment, and draws her into a retelling of the tale as old as time….


About C.E. Murphy

C.E. Murphy is a writer of fantasy novels and short stories. She also writes “action-adventure romance” novels under the pseudonym Cate Dermody, which was her grandmother’s maiden name.

Author Website | Twitter


Top Ten Beauty and the Beast Retellings I Want to Read

Posted March 13, 2017 by Jana in Giveaway, Top Ten Tuesday / 17 Comments

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

In honor of A Week of Beauty and the Beast, hosted by Bonnie and me, I decided to alter this week’s topic a little. Instead of my Spring TBR (to be read) list, I’m presenting you with my Beauty and the Beast Retellings TBR list!

Beauty by Robin McKinley
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
Uprooted by Naomi Novak
The Rose and the Mask by Victoria Leybourne
When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
Beauty and the Beast by Jenni James
The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros
Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall
To Beguile the Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Are there any I need to get to sooner rather than later?
Give me some advice! Are there any I’m missing?

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Growing Up with Beauty and the Beast | Blogger Guest Post

Posted March 13, 2017 by Jana in Guest Post / 4 Comments

 

I’m so excited to have one of my co-bloggers from The Broke and the Bookish, Kimberly, here on the blog today to help us celebrate our love of Beauty and the Beast!


Growing Up with Beauty and the Beast
by Kimberly from The Broke and the Bookish

Hello everyone! I am so excited to do a guest post, especially when it has to do with one of my all-time favorite things… BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Story time! When I was a kid I never wanted to talk about who my favorite Disney princess was. Because any time someone found out it was Belle, they’d make fun of me. Looking back on this now I’m even more confused. Why did all of those kids hate her so much? She’s still my absolute favorite! Now I have many friends, online and off, that adore Beauty and the Beast. Getting to fangirl with others is pure joy.

Let’s talk a bit about Beauty and the Beast and a few of the adaptations, shall we? Let’s start with what my introduction to the story was (as I’m sure it was for many others).

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)

*sigh* Even the opening sequence of this movie gets me all teary eyed. The animation is gorgeous, the music is perfect. Within moments of meeting Belle we know she’s a bookworm. (This was the moment I bonded with her, even at an early age.) Pretty soon we’re deep in the story. Belle has exchanged her freedom to save her father. She is doomed to live out her life with a tyrant… Or is she? The character development is beautiful. The Beast changes, but so does Belle. They defeat Gaston, break the spell and the castle undergoes a spectacular transformation. (Still one of my favorite bits of animation.)

Beauty and the Beast (Broadway)

I was in the ensemble for this in High School! SO MUCH FUN. The story is the same, but with little extra bits here and there. The relationship between Belle and her father is expanded. They have a lovely little song together, “No Matter What”, where they acknowledge that they are both odd, but there is no one else they’d rather spend time with. The enchanted objects have their own song “Human Again” (which was later added back to the original animated classic). The story behind the curse also gets greater detail. They weren’t just changed into household objects. They are slowly becoming less and less sentient. Losing mobility bit by bit.

One of the most priceless bits of dialogue is when they are discussing some of the other objects. They become objects that resemble their personality. Michelle became the wardrobe, and then Jean Claude…
Lumiere: “And poor Jean Claude. You remember him, not too bright, dumb as a…”
Cogsworth: “Brick?”
Lumiere: “The whole wall.”

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Published April 1, 2014 from Strange Chemistry
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For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for…

This was such a fun read! It starts off as a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast and then goes off in its own amazing direction! There are a few references throughout the book that ties it back to the original, which is delightful. Great characters and excellent world building. Tristan is swoon worthy and Cecile is the type of heroine I can get behind! Plus the ensemble characters are wonderful. I definitely recommend it!

And…

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I don’t have much to say on this yet, other that I am SO FREAKING EXCITED. I have loved all of Disney’s live action remakes and I really think this one will be wonderful. I get embarrassingly teary eyed every time I watch the trailer. (I’m pregnant, that’s a good enough excuse…right?) I am counting down the days until I see this.

What are some of your favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptations?


Beastly by Alex Flinn | Mini Book Review + Movie Thoughts

Posted March 13, 2017 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 22 Comments

Beastly by Alex Flinn | Mini Book Review + Movie ThoughtsBeastly by Alex Flinn
Published by HarperTEEN on October 2, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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4 Stars

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright--a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever--ruined--unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

I was really worried about reading a modern take on “Beauty and the Beast.” I love that story so much already that I was worried Flinn was going to ruin it. I absolutely loved it! I love the transformation Kyle makes from being a complete jerk to being Prince Charming. I mean, he was so mean and self-centered… and he really hurt people and didn’t care! He makes a complete 180, and the difference is amazing. I can see many people falling for this guy!

He meets Lindy because of her father. He got into some major trouble, and the only way to get himself out of it was to essentially give his daughter to the Kyle. Their relationship goes from absolute loathing, to tolerance, to curiosity, to a blooming romance. I love the amount of concern Kyle shows for Lindy and her well-being.

I really liked Will (Kyle’s blind tutor) and Magda (Kyle’s housekeeper) too. They were entertaining i nthe same way that Lumiere and Cogsworth are from the Disney movie.

All in all, it was a great story. Kyle’s thoughtfulness and generosity were highlights for me. If you love Beauty and the Beast, this book will not disappoint you at all. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy modern retellings of timeless fairy tales.

My thoughts on the movie version:

I was really excited to see what Hollywood was going to do to Beastly. I loved the magic of the story, and the characters were wonderful. When I saw who was playing Lindy, though, I was majorly disappointed. I’ve never been a fan of Vanessa Hudgens, and I did not think she did a very good job playing this role. And then when I found out that Mary-Kate Olsen was cast as Kendra (the witch), I almost boycotted watching it. But then it came out on DVD, and so many of my friends loved it… so I decided to try it. I thought it was just ok.

Alex Pettyfer was totally not who I pictured as Kyle. I was looking for the tall, dark and handsome type… more like Paul Wesley (Stefan from The Vampire Diaries). This guy just did not seem like he had enough going for him to be able to cause such pain in the lives of his classmates. His “beastly” look was also not what I pictured, but I liked it. It worked. Like I said, Vanessa and Mary-Kate were not the right people to cast, in my opinion… but Mary-Kate did do a great job at looking witchy. I loved Neil Patrick Harris as Will. That was a wonderful choice.

Overall, I am SO glad I read the book before the movie came out. It would have ruined the book for me if I had seen the movie first. The acting and special effects were “meh” for me, and I will most likely not watch this again. The book is so much better, so you should definitely read it, especially if you enjoyed the movie.

 

4 Stars

Beauty & the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont | Book Review

Posted March 12, 2017 by Jana in Book Review / 2 Comments

Beauty & the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont | Book ReviewBeauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
Genres: Classic Novel, Fairy Tale
Pages: 34
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Beauty and the Beast is a traditional fairy tale. Its first published version was written by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in the middle 18th century. It was a novel-length story intended for adult readers and addressing the issues of the marriage system of the day in which women had no right to choose their husband or to refuse to marry.

The best-known version of the tale appeared sixteen years later. Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont simplified and shortened the Villeneuve’s work and published it in a magazine for young ladies. The new abridged version became more successful, and Madame de Beaumont is regarded now as the author of the classic story.

What better way to kick off A Week of Beauty and the Beast in honor of the upcoming release of Disney’s live action version of the story than to start at the very beginning with the 18th Century original tale? I’ve lived my life loving the animated Disney movie, so I was excited to read the story that inspired it all. My copy of this story is illustrated by Walter Crane, and it looks like an illuminated manuscript. Each page of text is framed by roses and leaves, and the periodic full-page illustrations are very detailed.

 

This version, while different from the Disney movie we all love, is still quite magical. Beauty’s father has lost everything he has to pirates. One day he learns that one of his ships has been recovered and journeys to town to claim what’s rightfully his. Before he leaves he asks each of his daughters what they would like him to bring back for them. All Beauty wants is a rose. So, father sets out on his journey only to find that his partners have divvied up all his possessions because they thought he was dead. He heads back home, depressed, defeated, and even more broke than he was before he left. He presses on through the cold, winter night and falls ill. He ends up in the beast’s castle, where he is nursed back to health. As he leaves the castle for home, he picks a single rose for Beauty. This makes the beast very mad and he tells the old man that unless one of his daughters volunteers to live in the castle forever, the beast will kill him. When father returns home, of course Beauty volunteers because it was her silly request of a rose that got her father into trouble in the first place. Beauty lives with the beast and dreams of a handsome prince each night, who tells her to look past outside appearances and save him from his plight. Each day the beast proclaims his love for her and proposes marriage. For some reason, Beauty cannot make the connection and is convinced that a handsome prince is imprisoned somewhere in the castle. Oh, he is… He just might not be where she expects to find him.

Looking past outward appearances is a very common theme throughout this book, and I find it to be a timely message given today’s expectations of what a person must look like in order to be worthwhile or successful or loved. However, it does bother me that there’s a double standard. Beauty is noted as being beautiful–the most beautiful person in her family. The beast falls in love with her, but we are led to believe it’s because she’s beautiful. We’re basically being told here that women should look past outward appearances and love unattractive men, but men can still require the highest of standards. Of course, this story was written in the 1750s. We’ve come a long way since then, but there is still this “women must look like this” stipulation today that I hope dies out with other things from the 1750’s. Like Smallpox. And dying of pneumonia.

The writing is very antiquated and simplistic, but I loved reading the original story and comparing it to all the versions I’ve read and seen since then! I highly suggest you snag the free ebook and give this a read if you’re a fan of today’s Beauty and the Beast.


A Week of Beauty and the Beast | Introduction and Event Schedule

Posted March 12, 2017 by Jana in Blog Event / 4 Comments

Hello! Welcome to A Week of Beauty and Beast, a special blog event hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story and me! We thought this would be the perfect time to host an event devoted to one of our favorite fairy tales, seeing as how Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast is coming out in theaters on Friday! Woohoo! We’re excited to share our love of this tale as old as time with you, and hope you enjoy what we have planned! Below you will find the schedule of posts on my blog this week (I’ll be updating it each day), and I’ve linked Bonnie’s schedule above! Make sure you enter to win a Beauty and the Beast themed book of your choice.


Event Schedule

Ongoing
– Giveaway | You can win ANY title we feature during A Week of Beauty and the Beast as long as Book Depository ships to your country!

Sunday, 3/12/17
– A Week of Beauty and the Beast Introduction and Event Schedule
– Book Review | Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (the original tale)

Monday, 3/13/17
– Book Review + Movie Thoughts | Beastly by Alex Flinn
– Blogger Guest Post | Growing Up With Beauty and the Beast

Tuesday, 3/14/17
Top Ten Beauty and the Beast Retellings I Want to Read
– Beauty & the Beast Interview Series | Roses In Amber Author C.E. Murphy

Wednesday, 3/15/17
– Children’s Book Review | Beauty and the Beast by Marianna Mayer, illustrated by Mercer Mayer
– Beauty & the Beast Interview Series | Withering Rose Author Kaitlyn Davis
– Book Review | Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Thursday, 3/16/17
– Children’s Book Review | The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep
– Bookish Finds | Beauty and the Beast Merchandise

Friday, 3/17/17
– Beauty & the Beast Interview Series | Barefoot On the Wind Author Zoë Marriott
– Book Review | Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

Saturday, 3/18/17
– Book Review | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Sunday, 3/19/17
– Author Guest Post | Gabrielle Prendergast on “X” Meets “Y” Retellings
– TV Show Obsession | The CW’s Beauty and the Beast (2012)

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