Month: September 2017

Beneath a Sapphire Sea by Jessica Bryan | Mini Book Review

Posted September 29, 2017 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

Beneath a Sapphire Sea by Jessica Bryan | Mini Book ReviewBeneath a Sapphire Sea by Jessica Bryan
Series: Merfolk Trilogy #3
Published by Fanfare on August 1, 1993
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 437
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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5 Stars

Beneath the shimmering, sunlit surface of the ocean there lives a race of rare and wondrous men and women. They have walked upon the land, but their true heritage is as beings of the sea. Now their people face a grave peril. And one woman holds the key to their survival...

She was a sultry siren with an undiscovered heritage.

A scholar of sea lore, Meredith had come to the Greek island to follow her academic pursuits. But in one magical meeting she gazed into the mesmerizing blue eyes of a proud, determined warrior of the sea...and was eternally linked with a world far more elusive and mysteriously seductive than her own. For she alone possessed a scroll that held the secrets of his people. She alone was their only hope. And she alone would surrender to the powers of a love destined by the tides.

He was an azure-eyed warrior of a long-forgotten race.

With eyes that told the stories of eternity, Galen lured this exquisite woman to join him in a battle for power beneath the sea. For now Galen's clan faces two enemies: Anastas, who wars against his own people, and a deadly unseen foe. He will cross into Meredith's world to choose her as a bold warrior for his people—and as his only love. He will share with her the secrets of a realm beyond time and imagining, and together they will emerge victorious as the keepers of its fate...or see its fragile beauty destroyed forever.

(Even though this is book 3 in a trilogy, each novel is a stand-alone)

I read a raving review for this book on a romance column and was so interested by the unique storyline that I had to buy it! I went on Amazon to order it and found that it was out of print. I kind of panicked because most good books that are out of print are extremely expensive. I found one for a penny, though! So exciting!

Meredith, a landwoman and historian, goes to the Greek islands to study ancient legends about the sea. While there, she comes across Galen, a mysterious and very sexy man with rippling muscles and long dark hair. He claims to also be a scholar and offers to show her around. Meredith soon learns that Galen is different. He can read an ancient language even the most learned scholars can’t identify, he has no problems at all with being wet, and he has heightened senses. She soon learns he is a merman.

Galen’s people and friends are dying of a mysterious illness that apparently only Meredith can remedy. Galen knows this, but Meredith has no idea who she is or the knowledge she possesses. As Galen sets out to gain this knowledge, he falls in love with her and she with him. A lasting bond is formed between the two of them as they begin their journey together to save Galen’s people and learn the truth about Meredith.

I must say that it was SO worth the effort I put in to getting a copy of this book in my possession. I loved it! The descriptions Jessica Bryan writes are beautifully written. I felt like I was the one swimming through the water, gazing at all the scenery, and feeling all the feelings the characters felt. I got so wrapped up in the story and the characters that I became unaware of my own surroundings. LOVED this amazingly beautiful and magical romance.

This review was originally posted on April 24, 2012 and was re-posted for some extra love.

5 Stars

Forbidden Love, Mythological Monsters, & a Girl with a Golden Slipper by Laura Holt | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

Posted September 28, 2017 by Jana in Giveaway, Guest Post / 0 Comments

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.


Today I’m welcoming author Laura Holt to the blog to talk about the inspirations behind her Star Crossed series! Laura posted an excerpt of the first book in the series, Fathoms Below, at Bonnie’s blog a couple weeks ago, so check that out if her post piques your interest!

Forbidden Love, Mythological Monsters, and a Girl with a Golden Slipper: The 11 Tragic Love Stories, Fairy Tales, and Greek Myths that Inspired the Star Crossed Series

Thisbe and Pyramus

Why tragic love stories? Because what is more heart-rending, nail-biting, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat than the possibility of not having a happy ending? Take Thisbe and Pyramus, for example. Theirs is the story of a pair of lovers who grew up next door to one another, yet, because of a feud between their families, were unable to be together. When they ran away to elope, Zeus, king of the gods, sent a lion to trick Pyramus into thinking that Thisbe was dead so that he would kill himself and then she, upon finding him dead, would do the same. Tragic? Yes, so much so that some scholars speculate that Shakespeare based the premise of his Romeo and Juliet on this story. Speaking of Shakespeare…

Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra

As soon as I realized I was writing a book about tragic love stories, I knew that I had to turn to the master for inspiration. Enter Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra, two more tales in which love doesn’t turn out so sweet for our heroes and heroines. For Romeo and Juliet, it ended with a dagger and poison. For Antony and Cleopatra, a snake bite and a sword to the gut. But wait, it gets better (or worse, depending on your point of view).

Echo and Narcissus

This tale encompasses every quiet person’s unspoken fear: that the person they fall in love with will never notice them. In Echo’s case, Narcissus was too self-involved to notice her attention, and because she could only echo the things that other people said, she was unable to tell him how she felt. Instead, she got to watch him pine after himself until he wasted away. Definite devotion there, but also a little creepy, seeing as how he never knew she was watching him.

Hero and Leander

One of my favorite tales of tragic love because the lovers in it keep fighting to be together until the bitter end. The basic plot? Hero and Leander meet, fall in love, but their families don’t want them to be together, so they lock Hero in a tower on the other side of a large strait. Does Leander let that stop him? No way! He buys himself a boat and crosses the strait every night to visit his love, until he drowns, and unwilling to live without him, Hero throws herself out of the tower window onto the rocks below. Take that, fate.

Guinevere and Lancelot

Anyone who knows anything about Arthurian lore (or anyone who is a huge fan of the TV show Merlin, like me) is familiar with how Guinevere, though married to King Arthur, fell in love with Lancelot, one of the bravest knights of the round table, and brought about the ruin of Camelot. Poor Arthur. He should have known that not even the sword in the stone was powerful enough to stand against true love, but hey, points to him for trying. Never mind that he and Lancelot both died, and Guinevere had to spend the rest of her days in a nunnery.

Pelleas and Melisande

A lesser known French tale about a girl who marries a nobleman only to fall in love with his brother later and bring about the ruin of his entire household. Rife with wishing wells, forest trysts under the cover of darkness, sword fights, and a line that inspired one of my favorite quotes from the Star Crossed series: “Only I know that it will be the turn of the poor little child soon.”

Paris of Troy and Helen of Sparta and Tristan and Isolde

Who said that you could write a book series about tragic love stories and not include Paris and Helen and Tristan and Isolde? Not me! From the gates of Troy to the shores of Cornwall, here are two women who know what it means to give up everything for the man you love. Too bad they both lose them in the end.

Cinderella and Cupid and Psyche

Did you know that there are more than a dozen different versions of Cinderella in existence? It is arguably the most popular fairy tale ever written, and also one of the most well-known. So when I set out to write the Star Crossed series as a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella, I wanted to do it in a way that was different from all the other versions and retellings that are already out there. Step one: make it dark. Everyone thinks of Cinderella as a pretty blonde in glass slippers surrounded by helpful blue birds and singing mice. But for those who aren’t familiar with the Grimm fairy tale, the story wasn’t always so lighthearted. There were slippers filled with blood, self-inflicted dismemberment, and birds that peck your eyes out. Hence, the tragic love stories and curses. Add a few monsters to the mix (a sea monster here, a gorgon there), and voila! Step two: tie it in with Greek mythology. Why? Because the roots of most fairy tales can be found in Greek mythology, including Cinderella, who’s original version was about Rhodopis, a Greek girl who was taken to Egypt to be a slave until she caught the eye of the pharaoh and was made his wife. And who better to play fairy godmother (or in this case, godfather) to a Greek Cinderella but Cupid, god of Love? And if the godfather turned out to be the prince charming in disguise, well, that’s just one of life’s interesting little twists. This, of course, is where the myth of Cupid and Psyche comes in, with a few of my own personal touches, like stolen slippers, reincarnation, and volcanic eruptions. The rest, as they say, is history. Or, as Hermes would say: “Stories are more than just words written on paper. They are pieces of our soul.” But will there be a happy ending for our Sinderella and the other characters in the Star Crossed series? Or will they all end as tragic as the rest? That, readers, is up to you to find out.


Fathoms Below by Laura Holt
Series: Star Crossed Series #1
Published by The Book Patch on November 30, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings
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Cather Stevens doesn’t love.

Not now, not ever. She has spent her entire life watching love ruin her mother, her aunts, her cousins, her grandmother, and she made a vow a long time ago that she would never let that happen to her. But when she meets a winged boy named Hermes who tells her that she is the key to ending the star crossed curse that has plagued the women in her family for centuries, she will have to redefine everything she knows about love, life, and herself.

With more than just her own heart on the line, she must find the location of her great-great grandmother’s diary. It was hidden long ago, fathoms below her town, and holds the answers to all of her questions, especially one: are the fairy tales and Greek myths that she grew up hearing actually fiction like she was taught to believe, or are they something more…something real?


About Laura Holt

Laura Holt is the author of Fathoms Below and Fathoms Above. She is from a small Georgia town, where she lives with her daughter. Growing up as the oldest of three sisters, Laura used her imagination to make up stories as a way to escape from the sometimes crazy-making monotony of everyday life. As she got older, her love of stories grew into a love of books, especially fantasy, and eventually, she wrote her own stories down as well. When Laura isn’t busy writing or thinking up a new way to promote the Star Crossed series, she can be found curled up on the couch reading, working out, or spending time with her daughter. A few of their favorite pastimes include watching shows like Once Upon a Time, shopping, and going treasure hunting. Laura is also active in the children’s ministry at her local church, is addicted to Pinterest, loves anything chocolate (as long as it doesn’t have soy in it), and is always looking for a new way to get her daily adrenaline fix. You can follow Laura on Instagram and Twitter at @authorlauraholt.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

Posted September 27, 2017 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 0 Comments

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | Book ReviewA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on May 3, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 626
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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5 Stars

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

So… I have been struggling and struggling with how to review A Court of Mist and Fury since I read it almost a year ago. I almost considered not reviewing it at all because it seemed so overwhelming to me. It’s a huge book, filled with so many things that I loved so much that writing down all my feelings and thoughts seems impossible. BUT… I want to be able to look back and remember how I felt, so this “review” is really just for me. It’s an unorganized list of feelings and impressions and fangirliness. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Everything that happened in ACOTAR that I thought I loved so much was replaced and/or outdone by everything that happened in this book. For example, I was totally on team Tamlin… until I wasn’t. The book starts out with a very emotionally destroyed, almost traumatized Feyre, and Tamlin sucked so bad. I literally hated him within the first few pages. How the crap did this even happen? I LOVED him! But Rhysand… *swoon* He made me fall in love with him even more, even though I hated his villainous ways in ACOTAR. He’s still his normal mischievous, cunning, slippery self, but he’s also passionate and tender and so caring and protective of those he holds dear. I was sold. My loyalties were flipped on a dime. I had no idea I was capable of loving Rhys, but now I can’t imagine feeling any differently. That’s what this book did to me!!

2. The reason Feyre and Rhys fall in love is super sweet and magical, at least in my opinion. I thought Tamlin and Feyre were meant to be, but these two are on a completely different level.

3. The romance… I just can’t. It was everything I hoped for and more. I love so many romantic passages and quotes, but here are some of my favorites:

“I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belong to you.”

“I heard every word between you. I knew you could take care of yourself, and yet … ” He went back to his pie, swallowing a bite before continuing. “And yet I found myself deciding that if you took his hand, I would find a way to live with it. It would be your choice.”
I sipped from my wine. “And if he had grabbed me?”
There was nothing but uncompromising will in his eyes. “Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.”

“I was his and he was mine, and we were the beginning and middle and end. We were a song that had been sung from the very first ember of light in the world.”

4. There is so much emotion in A Court of Mist and Fury. There’s so many feelings, and I felt them right along with the characters. Feyre has been through a lot, if you’ll remember the end of ACOTAR and the whole Amarantha debacle. She’s very delicate and is having to recover from the trauma and abuse she went through. I related to her a lot, and found it refreshing that she didn’t just jump right back into her hardened, brave, strong self. I liked seeing the impact those prior events had on her. Even strong people have to process the bad in life. The author could have had them all recover during the break between books and then come back and show us strong characters. Tamlin is struggling, Rhys is struggling, others are struggling. Life is hard for these characters and I liked being able to witness it instead of hear about it after the fact.

5. I LOVED The Night Court and the secret, beautiful city of Velaris. The setting was just so pretty and magical. I also loved the people there, and all the new characters I got to meet.

6. The writing was wonderful. I love all the details and the feelings that Maas put into words.

7. This is the first time I have felt that the second book was better than the first. I never thought I’d see the day!

Basically… read it. Read. It. A Court of Mist and Fury was my hands down my favorite book of 2016, and I’m actually considering a re-read which I rarely ever do. Do yourself a favor and et invested in this series.

5 Stars

Top Ten Books Featuring Mythical/Magical Creatures

Posted September 25, 2017 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 12 Comments

 

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

This week, in honor of Magic, Myth, and Mischief, I put a bit of a spin on the topic and chose to list books that have mythical or magical creatures instead of specific character types! I love reading about creatures of all kinds, so I thought this would be a fun topic.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Scary monsters live in the Shadow fold. Plus, there’s the ancient, mythical Morozova’s Stag whose antlers hold magical powers.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
This is an obvious choice, but I’m just now reading this series for the first time in my life. There’s SO many mythical and magical creatures in this book including Hedwig the owl, a centaur, a troll, and a poltergeist.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
There’s the Beast, obviously, but also a firebird!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Fae! There’s High Fae, the Suriel, the Bogge, and the Puca.

Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun
The earth in this book is ridden with very deadly monsters including, “chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts.”

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Mythical beasts roam the dark and barren desert, including Skinwalkers, Demdjii (offspring of Djinns and mortals), and Nightmares. There’s also a mythical horse that Amani and Jin escape on.

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
One of my favorite things about this book is that the books fly off the shelves and turn into hawks.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
We’ve got chimaera of all kinds, seraphim, goddesses, and monsters.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Dragons and sylph!

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
There’s a cute little gargoyle who likes to voice his opinions, and there’s a ghost!

 


Nicole Conway Guest Post | Savage Blog Tour

Posted September 25, 2017 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway / 1 Comment

Nicole Conway Guest Post | Savage Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Nicole Conway’s Savage, hosted by Chapter By Chapter Book Tours! I helped reveal the cover for Savage earlier this month, and now I’m welcoming Nicole to the blog to tell us about Savage and how it ties in to her previous series.


This series is marketed as a companion follow-up to the Dragonrider Chronicles. Tell us about that series and how this one continues that story.

You absolutely do NOT have to have read The Dragonrider Chronicles in order to read this series! Here’s why:

The Dragonrider Chronicles deals with the origins of Jaevid Broadfeather. Each book from that series covers an important time in his life. It’s about how his journey began, how he became a dragonrider, how he was trained to becoming a knight in the king’s service, and how he impacted their world. At the end of that series, Maldobar has finally achieved peace after 20 years of war because of Jaevid’s sacrifice.

The Dragonrider Legacy takes place 40 years after the end of the first series and will tell the second portion of Jaevid’s journey. However, unlike the first series, a majority of it will be told from the perspective of an entirely new cast of heroes. Many of these characters are the children and grandchildren of the original cast from the Chronicles. Because the events of the first series are now legends and tales of heroism told to the current characters, readers new to the world shouldn’t feel alienated. They will be given any information from the first series they absolutely need. My hope was to generate feelings of nostalgia for those who are already fans of the first series, and to also pique the curiosity of new readers about just who this Jaevid guy is whenever parts of his epic story are told.

Overall, The Dragonrider Legacy has been so much fun to write! Having that curtain of history behind it from the original series makes the world feel all the more realistic and immersive. It’s really been an emotional experience for me, especially since this will be my last visit to Maldobar. Training, battling, and soaring with the Dragonriders has been an incredible journey for me as a writer. I hope it’s one that readers will enjoy as much as I have!


Savage by Nicole Conway
Series: (Dragonrider Legacy #1)
Published by Month9Books on September 26, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
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Savage begins the Dragonrider Legacy series, a thrilling companion to the international bestselling Dragonrider Chronicles.

Never send a hero to do a monster’s job.

Forty years have passed since Jaevid Broadfeather brought peace to Maldobar and Luntharda. But that fragile truce will be tested as darkness gathers on the horizon. The vicious armies of the Tibran Empire have crossed the far seas and are threatening to destroy Maldobar completely. Not even the dragonriders can match the Tibran war machines. And after an attempt to awaken Jaevid from his divine sleep fails, the fate of Maldobar is looking grim.

Reigh has never known what it means to be a normal human. Raised amongst the gray elves in the wild jungle of Luntharda, he’s tried everything to fit in. But the dark power within him is bursting at the seams—refusing to be silenced. And while his adoptive father, Kiran, insists this power must be kept secret, Reigh knows he’s running out of time.

As Maldobar burns, the world is desperate for a new hero. Destiny has called, and one boy will rise to answer.


 

About Nicole Conway

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book. Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school. She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation. Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

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Favorite Quotes from Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | Blog Tour (+Giveaway)

Posted September 23, 2017 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway / 2 Comments

Favorite Quotes from Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | Blog Tour (+Giveaway)

I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Kerri Maniscalco’s sophomore novel, Hunting Prince Dracula, hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! I read and loved Stalking Jack the Ripper (see my review) last year, so I was obviously eager to get my hands on this sequel. Today I get to share with you some of my favorite quotes from Hunting Prince Dracula! Don’t worry, they will not include any spoilers! It was really hard to narrow it down to just a few, but these were my absolute favorites.

Please note: The quotes below were pulled from the advance reader copy of Hunting Prince Dracula, and not from the final published edition. As such, page numbers were not included and the actual wordings might vary.


My Favorite Quotes from Hunting Prince Dracula

“Science could not explain the power of love or hope.”

“The world is vicious.”
Thomas brushed a lock of hair back from my face, his gaze thoughtful. “The world is neither kind nor is it cruel. It simply exists. We have the ability to view it however we choose.”

“Winding our way through the narrow path, we finally pulled to a blessed stop outside the castle. Fingers of moonlight reached over the spires and slid down the roof, casting our shadows in sinister shapes. This castle was eerie and I haven’t even stepped inside.”

“Curiosity was a disease that plagued me and I’d yet to find a cure.”

“I have a feeling you haven’t invited me here for kissing. Though it never hurts to ask. You’re dressed for sneaking about Dracula’s castle. Be still my thawing, dark heart. You certainly know how to make a young man feel alive, Wadsworth.”

“For there are no limits to the stars, their numbers infinite. Which is precisely why I measure my love for you by the stars. An amount too boundless to count.”


Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 19, 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery,
Pages: 448
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Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.


About Kerri Maniscalco

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

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Follow the Tour

September 20th

Pink Polka Dot Books & My Thoughts Literally – Welcome Post

September 21st

Book Crushin – Review
Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Review
Novel Ink– Favorite Quotes

September 22nd

YA and Wine – Review
Never Too Many To Read – Promo
Goldilox and Three Weres – Creative Post

September 23rd

Reading is My Superpower  – Review
Ticket to Anywhere – Promo
That Artsy Reader Girl – Favorite Quotes

September 24th

The Clever Reader – Review
Chapter by Chapter – Review
Books Boys, and Blogs – Creative Post

September 25th

Wishful Endings – Review
The Hermit Librarian – Promo
YA Under My Skin – Review 

September 26th

Book Princess Reviews – This or That Interview
Life Within Pages – Review
Latte Nights Reviews – Review

 


Morgan’s Favorite Fairytale Retellings | Book Blogger Guest Post

Posted September 22, 2017 by Jana in Guest Post / 2 Comments

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.


I’m so excited to have my friend Morgan (The Bookish Beagle) on the blog today to talk about her favorite fairytale retellings! I’ve added a bunch of her recs to my TBR. Thanks so much, Morgan!

Morgan’s Favorite Fairytale Retellings

When Jana approached me about being part of the Magic, Myth, and Mischief event I jumped at the chance! I love all of those things, especially in books. And I particularly love retellings, the way they are able to take a favorite, familiar story and twist it into something original and new. I also love being able to find allusions to the original tale! Any sort of retelling is great, including Jane Austen and historical, but for this post I’m focusing on fairy tale retellings. Without further adieu:

Cinderella Retellings

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine: a classic! Ella Enchanted was my very favorite book until Harry Potter came along. I loved her bravery, the fairy tale twist, the made up languages, CHAR! The ball was fabulous and the ending was so perfect I cried. Gail Carson Levine’s writing is wonderful and whimsical and never feels too young.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: one of the first YA retellings I read, and book one in The Lunar Chronicles, this futuristic sci-fi take on Cinderella is action-packed and filled with characters to root for! It also has some wonderful Cinderella references.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston: the perfect mix of geeky fandom culture and A Cinderella Story with a diverse cast of characters. It made my heart squeeze.

Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison: Disenchanted does a wonderful job of capturing a diverse group of characters within its pages, everything from race to culture to class. It’s timeless but modern and I love all the allusions and details from the first book and from fairy tales. It’s also very romantic and focuses as much on Ella’s character growth and her family as it does the more traditional Cinderella plot points.

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge: As much as I would love this to be a full-length novel, it works so very well as a novella. Gilded Ashes dovetails nicely with Cruel Beauty; it is dark and horrifying and sorrowful, yet romantic and full of love. I loved how the story unfurled and I loved the echos of Cinderella mixed with unconventional details.

Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas: This Cinderella/mash up retelling isn’t for everyone- it’s dark and a little confusing at first, but it also has one of the most original villains/story mechanics I’ve ever come across.

 

Other Retellings

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay: the rare book that has everything I love in a fantasy and also manages to be an original retelling/sequel of sorts to Sleeping Beauty.

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis: A sci-fi retelling of Snow White! Essie is self-sufficient, badass, and brave, and I loved the droids. The world building was extensive but not confusing, the villains were disturbing, and I loved all the Snow White allusions.

Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schultz: A really fun Peter Pan-inspired adventure! The writing was sharp and descriptive and had that humorous winking bite, and Jocelyn is a heroine worth following.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Beauty and the Beast meets Greco-Roman mythology in this lush, strange, and darkly romantic retelling. It’s a little confusing but worth the read!

Heartless by Marissa Meyer: a marvelous, enchanting, and oh so heartbreaking retelling of Alice in Wonderland. It also made me want to bake all the things!

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan: an extremely unique, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking Sleeping Beauty retelling set in a futuristic world.

 

Bonus: Retellings On My TBR

Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson: a fantasy romance inspired by Cinderella.

The Secrets of Eden by Brandon Goode: a m/m Cinderella retelling with magic!

The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo: Cinderella retelling at a theme park! Be still my Disney heart.

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember: a Norse-inspired f/f Little Mermaid retelling.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: a lush, magical retelling of Indian mythology.

Hunted by Meagen Spooner: a Russian-inspired Beauty and the Beast tale.
(Note from Jana: This one is AMAZING. I loved it!)

What are some of your favorite retellings? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned? Thanks again to Jana and Bonnie for letting me take part in Magic, Myth, and Mischief!


Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle

Well-rounded nerd. Bookworm. Blogger. Fangirl. Disney enthusiast who watches too much WWE.

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The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais | Graphic Novel Review

Posted September 22, 2017 by Jana in Book Review, Graphic Novel / 1 Comment

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais | Graphic Novel ReviewThe Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais
Published by Lion Forge on October 3, 2017
Genres: Fairy Tale, Retelling
Pages: 80
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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4 Stars

Lose yourself in in the dark forests of Amelie Flechais' spectacular artwork. A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him... but nice is not the same as good. A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.

This is a French retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, which was published in 2014 and has now been translated into English. In this version of the story we have the Little Red Wolf, who lives in the beautiful forest with his family. He has been taught to fear humans, and to not go into the forest of dead wood in order to avoid the vile hunter and his daughter. One day his mother sends the Little Red Wolf to his grandmother’s house to bring her a freshly killed rabbit. But the little wolf gets hungry on his way and ends up eating the entire thing! Plus he gets lost. A very pretty and sweet little girl offers to help him, but lures him into a rather dangerous and scary situation. The storytelling is like an old fashioned fairytale, with dark, humorous, and sweet elements. The writing style is magical, and very flowing. I really enjoyed reading it.

I absolutely love the illustrations in this graphic novel. They are beautiful! And the Little Red Wolf is absolutely adorable.

As I said before, the Little Red Wolf ends up in a pretty scary situation. Things get dark and the illustrations get a little scarier. I probably would not recommend it to younger children. But I honestly loved the magical storytelling, beautiful illustrations, and different spin on the traditional fairy tale.

4 Stars

Caraval by Stephanie Garber | 2017 Debut Book Review

Posted September 20, 2017 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 3 Comments

Caraval by Stephanie Garber | 2017 Debut Book ReviewCaraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 407
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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5 Stars

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

Oh my goodness… you guys, this was SO GOOD and so magical and amazing. I read it 9 months ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. I also have not been able to figure out how to review it because I LOVED IT SO MUCH that I have no idea what to say. I can’t tell you everything I loved because then I’d just be typing out the book for you. There was nothing I didn’t love to pieces, so writing a review is a truly overwhelming task that I’ve been scared to even begin. lol. I was truly and utterly captivated by and immersed in this story from the first page, and even though it’s over it has not yet let go of me. Part of me is still in that story, unable to let go of it and eagerly anticipating the next book.

Caraval is a magical, whimsical, quirky, convoluted, mysterious, romantic, captivating ball of beautiful words and imagination. The story is dripping with danger and unknowing, with mischievous and  ominous characters. Stephanie’s writing is on point, and her imagination and storytelling ability are on FIRE. I wonder if she rents out rooms in her mind…? The world of Caraval is bigger than our world, and the game has so many layers and mysteries that it’s basically ingenious.

I was fully expecting and intending to write a detailed, organized, and coherent review. But… I don’t want to say anything more than this because it’s honestly better if you have no idea what to expect. I went in very skeptical (hello hype, and the book had not even been published yet!) and not quite sure what to expect. Best decision ever. The less you know about Caraval, the more mysterious and exciting it will feel to you. So don’t read any reviews. Just don’t do it. My review is vague enough that you’re pretty much just going to leave my blog knowing Caraval is a book you’ve got to read. If I’ve convinced you of this, I’ve done my job! If not, write to me and I’ll talk your ear off until you can see there’s no other option.

5 Stars

Tobie Easton Guest Post | Submerge Blog Tour

Posted September 19, 2017 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 3 Comments

Tobie Easton Guest Post | Submerge Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Tobie Easton’s Submerge, hosted by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours! As part of my month-long event that I’m co-hosting with Bonnie, Magic, Myth, and Mischief, I’ve asked Tobie a very important question.


If you were a mermaid, what kind would you be? Tail and hair color? Sparkles or no sparkles? Any special talents or abilities?

Sparkles! Definitely sparkles. Actually, a fun fact about the book covers for the series is that the addition of sparkles was one of the only parts of the cover design that was my idea; the original cover of Emerge that my publisher sent me (which I LOVED) was nearly identical to the finished version except that there were no sparkles. I asked if we could do something to the title to make it more magical and suggested sparkles or starbursts of some kind. The cover designer, who is extremely talented, played around with different versions of the idea and the whole team fell for the one you see now. Then, of course, we continued that theme on the Submerge cover. I’m so happy because I think it really matches the fantasy feel of the book and hints at the mermaid magic within.

In addition to sparkles, I’d wear a traditional Mer siluess, which translates to chest-covering in Mermese and refers to the garment Mermaids wear on their torsos when the bottom half of the body is in tail form. Siluesses are cut kind of like fancy crop tops. They’re made of luxurious fabrics and often embellished with seashells and precious stones. I’d definitely have some seashell and pearl hair accessories (since my tears would turn into pearls, they’d be easy to come by!).

As for the color of my tail, that’s a hard one. When I first started writing Book 1 of the series, I asked a bunch of my friends and early readers what color tail they’d have, and everyone had a different answer! I incorporated so many different tail colors into the series so that everyone can picture themselves as Mer. I love when readers message me and tell me what their tail color would be! I originally thought mine might be gold like Lia’s or a deep green like her eldest sister Em’s, but then I did a photo shoot with Project Mermaids to help raise awareness for ocean conservation, and I fell in love with the light turquoise tail we chose on the set. Since then, I can’t really picture my Mermaid alter-ego any other way ;) And as you might have guessed from my author photo, I do wear a lot of turquoise, so it really fits. The makeup artist at the shoot even added sparkles to my hair and face (to match the cover, of course!).

Here are some behind-the-scenes pics and the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot:

And the final image in all its magical, Photoshopped glory from the photographer:

 

I still can’t believe I got to be transformed into a mermaid for a day! WAS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE? Six-year-old Tobie is still squealing. At home afterwards, I sat around for the rest of the day in my pajamas with all the makeup still on because I couldn’t bear to take it off!

Anyway, as for hair color and special abilities, I will give you a hint at a detail in Submerge and say that those might actually be related. I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. Submerge will definitely dive deeper into the secret workings of Mer magic. I’m so excited for you to read it when it comes out this week and to learn more about the Mer world!

I’d LOVE to hear about what kind of mermaid you’d be, so let me know in the comments or on social (@TobieEaston)!

xo Tobie


Submerge by Tobie Easton
Series: Mer Chronicles #2
Published by Month9Books on September 12, 2017
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Now that Lia and Clay’s love has broken the Little Mermaid’s curse, everything has changed. Will Lia’s family remain on land, leading the only life she and her sisters have ever known, or will they move below the waves, to the sparkling new capital city? Lia is adamant about staying on land with Clay for her senior year. But at Melusine and her father’s trial, new revelations threaten what Lia holds most dear.

The verdict will shake Lia’s whole world, calling into question her future with Clay, her feelings for Caspian, and the fate of all Merkind. As she wonders who to trust, Lia sets out on a treacherous path that will lead her away from her sheltered Malibu home to a remote and mysterious school for Mermaids—Mermaids who may hold the secret to ancient magic Lia can use to either get back all she’s lost or to embark on a thrilling and dangerous journey.


About Tobie Easton

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens. She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books on www.TobieEaston.com.

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