Archive for August, 2015

Pan’s Revenge

Anna Katmore

pan's revenge“Are you ready to be kissed?” he breathes against the corner of my mouth.
My knees start to tremble and there are butterflies in my belly now. Way too many. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”
“I think it’s the best idea I had in a long time.”
Desperate to leave Neverland and find his love in this notorious town called London, James Hook makes a grave mistake. He puts his own wishes above those of his half-brother and once-arch-enemy, Peter Pan.
The consequences alter Peter’s life in a way no one could have foreseen. The boy who wouldn’t grow up swears revenge, and what better way than by stealing Hook’s girl?
The first to arrive in London, Peter finds Angel once again without any memory of ever being in Neverland. That gives him time to plant the idea of a ruthless pirate captain in her mind—someone who tried to kill her once and is now on his way to kidnap her again. If only this stubborn girl would stop playing with Peter’s head. He’d completely forgotten how beautiful she was. Or is it only because he sees her through different eyes now?
Through a shower of falling stars, a loop around the moon, and then a hard left at the Clock Tower—when James Hook finally arrives in London, he has to fight with a vengeance for his love and face a boy who grew up after all…

*this is the review of a sequel so inadvertent spoilers may be present*

I delved into this sequel not long after reading Neverland as I had enjoyed it so much, and I have to say it did not disappoint!

Having never really come across a sequel to Peter Pan’s story except for what Disney presented to me as a child, and might I say it did not seem like a likely plot-line option, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The only thing I was certain of was that Peter Pan was going to become darker than before, Angelina had lost her memory and poor Captain James Hook was going to have to prove himself all over again after it had already taken him 300 odd pages the first time!

My hunch was correct and the book delivered more upon that.

The alternate point of views for each chapter once again gave the book a little more depth, and I was pleased to see that Peter Pan himself had a stronger voice this time. Seeing the story unfold from the supposed “good” and “evil” characters is always very interesting and makes for a good read but especially when the latter get a voice as it is so uncommon.

Needless to say romance was a strong theme as poor Jamie was left to prove his love again, restore lost memories and save Neverland. But equally a strong thread of family, trust, betrayal and forgiveness was laced through the book. Infact I would almost dare say that it was as important if not almost more so than the romantic theme, as a reminder that love is familial too and just as important. And although I am a declared sappy and romantic saddo through and through, I will happily admit that I was not at all disappointed or saddened by this. The equal sharing of this made the book that much more of an enjoyable and interesting read.

The pace was initially slow but picked up as the story unravelled and I flew from Neverland to London and back again. Anna Katmore threw several rather unpredictable twists in her plot and left me hanging on the edge off a cliff right until the very end.

Verdict: A sequel that lived up to it’s prequel’s set standards, and that proved to be not only a fun and romantic read, but one with a little more depth and emotion than I expected endearing itself to me that much more.

Reviewed by Prudence

Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: July 2014
Format: eBook
Pages: 346
Genre: Retelling, fantasy, romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Prudence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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TTT: Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, bloggers and bookworms to join in.

I’ve done one Top Ten Tuesdays and like to think I didn’t completely botch it so here’s my second attempt!
I tried to put on my mentor/teaching hat. When teaching my students (and I do genuinely have students) I aim to be honest, fun and enthusiastic. So with this post I’ve made a mixture of things that would be just for fun, thought provoking, educational and all 3 put together. Here’s hoping a disaster did not come of it!!

1 – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Yup I’m going old school!!! This amazing woman and her literary achievements need no introduction. The style of writing is one that is sadly being lost, especially now with increasing texting and shorthand with stuff such as OTT, TBH and (my personal favourite – not) OMG!!! Aside from the fact that the story itself is wonderful, full of characters that reflect a truthful representation of the time, and there are several themes aside from the most obvious romantic one; the choice of words and language is simply beautiful and something I would like more to appreciate. The woman uses no swear words and yet her tongue is sharper than any string of profanities, her wits are fast and cunning, ruled by a cool and pensive mind that thinks before acting something that too many of us have long forgotten by speaking before ensuring the brain and mouth are properly connected! I think a lot could be learned and it is a masterpiece that should not be forgotten.

2 – Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling

I believe this series equally needs no introductions. Who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter, and who wouldn’t happily write an essay on it dissecting any number of characters, themes or just let the imagination run wild!!!
I remember a school friend of mine, with whom I was not in class with sadly, who actually had Harry Potter on her syllabus and I was sooooo jealous!!!!
I would also like to point out that I could rather easily use each Harry Potter book to fill this Top Ten Tuesday post but I won’t. Just saying though :p

3 – Splintered series by A.G.Howard

Ok well it’s no secret that I love this series very much, all you need do is read my previous Top Ten (Tuesdays) Fairytale Retellings. And not just from an amazing plot line point of view. I think this series has a lot of potential from both a literary point of view as well as storyline. I cannot praise A.G.Howard’s genius, style of writing, narration technique enough and the effort that went into planning the words as well as the characters and their thoughts. This series would make a fantastic adventure for any class to dissect any which way they like from any point of view!

4 – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Yes my English teacher would be very proud of this choice of mine. This is a book that when I first bought it for my own syllabus at school I thought I was going to get bored stiff. And to be fair initially I did. This is a book that I never would have picked up of my own accord off of any shelf, in any bookstore. But my very own amazing English literature teacher made me appreciate it and the narrative depths and themes it reached in the creepy dystopian world not fair away from our own, created by Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale holds a special place on my syllabus and bookshelf, not only for the endless theme possibilities and narrative stances any reader can take, but because of what it represents to me. Being able to turn a book that I would have never picked for myself, into one that I thoroughly enjoyed analyzing and appreciating on a literary level, is a rare gift for most literature teachers, and I would hope that someday I can achieve this.

P.S. I now hold this book in high esteem and care for it a great deal. I highly recommend it for those who want more than just another dystopian novel with a good story, it’s for those of view who wish to read into every colour, every expression, every gesture all the possibilities of what Margaret Atwood was actually meaning and hinting at.

5 – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m taking another leaf out of my teacher’s classes (in case you hadn’t noticed, I loved reading and dissecting themes, narration styles and passage analysis from the word go lol). I picked this book for the simple reason that I thought the difference between it and it’s screen counterpart would be a good example of the variations between the two, and how little changes can drastically alter the bigger picture and significance to the story. Zombies who can fall in love raises a variety of themes ranging from religious, to social etc but throw in a few varying twists and well you have a whole new set of delivered meanings! I felt Isaac Marion was trying to give us more than just another zombie story. I think perhaps an underlying gentle reminder to enjoy life, and that love is what fills us and separates us from the insensitive cold empty corpses. But that’s just my opinion. Watch and read, and you may come up with a whole new theory of your own. Discuss…

pride and prejudiceharry potter 1splinteredthe handmaids talewarm bodies

6 – Do No Harm: stories of life, death and brain surgery by Henry Marsh

Ok I’ll be honest I haven’t read this book yet but it’s almost at the top of my TBR pile and fast climbing. I figured that aside from adventure, drama, period drama and paranormal I should have some in depth emotional reading going on. And I thought this would do the trick. Written by a brain surgeon and with each chapter a particular case that hit him strongly, made him stop and think, I thought this would be perfect. I’m a total sucker for Grey’s Anatomy so I was totally sold! I thought this would be the perfect read for some emotional searching and philosophical inner turmoil.

7 – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Eeeeeeer I have a confession to make about this one. I kept thinking about what I would want to be on my syllabus and this book kept popping back into my head no matter how many times I pushed it aside. I studied it myself right at the beginning of secondary school and I’m not entirely sure why but it struck a chord with me. Something about the particular dysfunctionality and polar opposite characters who somehow though manage to survive together and make it work got me hooked. I’ve done several passage analysis on this novel and there’s always something to be found hidden among the language styles, scenes, actions and choice of words. It’s hard to explain but I felt this book deserved a spot on my list. For those of you who have read it hopefully this will make more sense to you :p

8 – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I thought we were overdue for a not-so-serious choice lol!
I discovered stardust initially as a film and absolutely loved it!!! And when I then found out it was based on a book…. well the love just deepened.
Stardust is an amazing and thrilling story that has something in it for everyone. Some magic, some scary parts, adventure, pirates, fighting and romance. And if that none of that appeals to you, well then the chance to imagine and see Robert DeNiro in a pink tutu should be reason enough!!!
I loved this story in both forms and picked it because I thought every student reader could find something in it to fall in love with and relate to.

9 – The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

Well I figured we were due a little more darkness and horror. I’m trying to be sensible and keep romance, adventure and horror equally balanced here :p
The Picture of Dorian Grey is a very interesting tale and each reader will find his own interpretation of the curse, it’s purpose or lack of and indeed the mystery behind it all. This is a novel that has left authors and readers alike puzzled for a longtime and to be honest there is no right or wrong answer. One of the few lessons I truly learnt in literature is that no opinion or interpretation is incorrect or wrong so long as you can back it up.
So bring it on. What’s your interpretation of Dorian Grey and his creepy (I think we can all agree it is creepy) picture? Thoughts anyone? You there at the back speak up!

10 – Finding Sky by Joss Stirling

I thought I should finish on a high note and on something that I personally identify with, something that represents me. I have fallen for a lot of books and their tales (all of the above included in varying different ways) but this is one of my all time favourites that I simply cannot get away from. This story is basically me in a book essentially. It’s simple, sarcastic, short and sweet and with some magic.
I picked it as my final choice because I think it’s important that whilst you’re learning that you don’t forget who you are and what opinions are your own, ensuring that others do not rub off on you simply because you’ve heard it enough times. I would encourage all readers, students and learners to stick to their guns, thoughts and opinions.
Learning is serious, but it’s also about having fun and staying true to yourself.

do no harmof mice and menstardustpicture of dorian greyfinding sky

And on that note I wanted to add a little bonus. Being the amazingly cool teacher that everyone wants *cough cough modestly cough cough* I would let every pupil pick a book of their own choosing that they feel resonates the most with them, that they relate to or that they just simply enjoy time and time again. They can make this choice provided they can justify their reasoning and attempt to put into words what it is that keeps drawing them back for another read.
And with that….. Classed dismissed!!! :p

Posted by Prudence

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Self Published Sunday Chats with Melissa Brown

This week on Self Published Sunday we are delighted to welcome debut author Melissa Brown as she talks about the inspiration behind her recently released novel, Becoming Death.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00026]Ever since her father’s demise, Madison Clark knew death had her number. After losing her first job, she is ushered into the cryptic family business. Little does she know her family is hiding a dark secret; they are grim reapers, custodians of souls on their journey to the beyond. Madison expects her historic legacy to have benefits beyond immortality. What she doesn’t expect is to still be struggling for cash while reaping souls on the side.
As if being Death’s minion wasn’t strenuous enough, Madison finds herself back at school with her worst enemy studying the ancient rules, methods and paperwork of her vocation. In a cascade of life changes: her best friend admits he’s in love with her and she starts a new job as a professional mourner, but she can’t help thinking her family might have other secrets.
Just when things are finally starting to feel normal again Death throws her a curveball: her next victim is her best friend. Madison must find a way to overcome the strict guidelines of being a grim reaper in order to save his life.

1. Have you always been interested in grim reapers or was it just an idea you had?

I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, I was a huge X-files and horror movie fan growing up. The idea to write a book about grim reapers came while doing research for a paper at university about fairytales and folklore. I realised female grim reapers seemed to be a rarity and thought it might be fun to place one in a modern setting.

2. When you write, do you plot or are you more of a panther?
I’m a pantser, I like discovering how the story is going to flow as much as the reader. I normally have an ending in mind I’m writing towards but even that has been known to change in the past.

3. What is your favourite UKYA book at the moment?

A Little Princess Frances Hodgson Burnett

I just re-read this and there is a reason it’s a young adult classic because it’s magical. Sara Crewe’s dreams are bigger than herself and she draws the reader into them. She is a female character that takes on any challenges thrown at her and comes through the book a stronger person.

4. How did you go about researching your book?
I spent a lot of time watching TV shows, movies and reading books with grim reaper’s in them. It was hard work, trying to keep track of all the different ways grim reapers were portrayed and the lore about them in each story.

5. Are you a secret grim reaper?

Maybe…best not get too close.

melissa brownMelissa Brown an American author that lives in Norwich, England. She is a teacher in ICT skills, English and creative writing. In 2014, she was shortlisted for the IdeasTap Inspires: Writers’ Centre Norwich Writing Competition and longlisted for the Nottingham Writers’ Club’s inaugural National Short Story Competition. She was also a featured poet at the Norwich: City of Stories launch event, where she did a live reading of my poem ‘The Library.’ She enjoys films, books, comics, fangirling and subscription boxes. She blames her love of the written word on her hometown library and fanfiction. She lives with her partner, Kris, and her awesome cat, Hailey. You can learn more about Melissa and her work by visiting her website here, her Facebook page (here) or Goodreads authors page (here). Alternatively pop over to Twitter (click here) and converse with her there

Becoming Death is available to buy from Amazon.uk (here)

Melissa is hosting a tour-wide giveaway!

For your chance to win one of 5 necklaces inspired by Becoming Death or one of
2 copies of Becoming Death check out the rafflecopter below.

This giveaway is open to UK participants ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How NOT To Write A Novel

I can’t tell you how excited we are to be hosting this fantastic author as she promotes her latest book, Black Cairn Point. Not only is she responsible for a thrilling dystopian novel (we are still keeping our fingers crossed for a sequel to Bombmaker), she is also the author of Caroline’s favourite paranormal novel, Ferryman. Without further ado we will hand you over to Claire McFall
b c pTwo survivors, one terrible truth.
Heather agrees to a group camping holiday with Dougie and his friends because she’s desperate to get closer to him. But when the two of them disturb a pagan burial site above the beach, she becomes certain that they have woken a malevolent spirit. Something is alive out there in the pitch-black dark, and it is planning to wreak deadly revenge.
One year later Heather knows that she was very lucky to escape Black Cairn Point but she is still waiting for Dougie to wake from his coma. If he doesn’t, how will she prove her sanity, and her innocence?
How NOT to write a novel…

I was talking to a friend the other day about a project she was working on. She told me all about how she used Post-it notes to keep her ideas organised, how she had a timeline with deadlines to ensure she never got behind, how she planned steps in detail so that she could work her way methodically to a positive conclusion. Then she turned to me and said, “Well, you must do all this every time you start working on a new novel, right?”

Eh, yeah. Sure.

Maybe.

Or, you know. Not.

I think I must be a bad writer. Not a bad writer (I hope)… a naughty one. Because I really don’t like planning. You know those people who get ready to decorate a room by putting down dust sheets, moving any breakable objects, laying out all of their equipment beforehand? I don’t do that. I grab that bit of wallpaper – that bit that’s been ever so slightly hanging off the wall and bugging you for ages – and YANK! It’s a bit messier, and you’re likely to get stuck when you come to slapping the paint on in three days’ time and discover you haven’t prepped the walls right… but you know what, when you’re finished, it looks just as good!

And that’s kind of how I write.

When I get an idea, I get an idea. I’m filled with enthusiasm and I just want to get in there and start bashing away at my laptop before I lose it. That feeling. The one that gives your story an edge and makes it come alive. You can’t plan that, it’s got to sink its way in through your writing. I’m always afraid that, if I plan every little detail, I’ll lose the excitement. After all, if I know exactly what’s going to happen, exactly where it’s going to go, what’s left to discover?
The downside with that is that I have several novels which have gotten to, oh 25,000, maybe 35,000 words and then… died. It’s like one of those maze puzzles. You start out enthusiastically with your pen, get halfway through and realise that you’ve gone the wrong way. Some people might get out the Tip-ex and start again. Me? I just turn the page over. There’s always another puzzle.

Please note: this is a stupid, stupid way to write. It’s frustrating, leads to wasted time and it’s, well, stupid. It’s also my way. Doh!

What else do I fail to do that other, smarter, writers do as a matter of course when beginning a new project? Make character profiles.

That’s not true, actually. I usually start with good intentions – giving each main character a page in my notebook, creating a mind map with their name in the centre – and I dutifully fill in mundane details like their age, hair colour, rough height. That sort of thing. The problem is, I don’t keep it up. As the novel progresses I flesh out their characters, add in new people, and my notepad remains woefully under-filled. And then I find myself, and half eleven at night, eyes burning because I’ve already been writing for six hours, searching through seventy five thousand words of manuscript because I can’t remember if David had green eyes or brown. The air is blue, my wineglass is empty and I’m muttering to myself “Why the hell didn’t you write this down?” Why? Because I’m a bad writer!

As every author know, writing a novel is actually only about 30% of the process. And it’s definitely the most fun bit. Unfortunately, after writing come editing. I despise editing. Now, I can’t knit, but imagine you made a jumper and when you were finished and proudly showing it off to your mum (because mums always seem willing to point out faults, or mine does anyway!) she picks out five places where you’ve gotten the pattern wrong. A bit where the hem’s not quite right. To me, it looks fine. Not perfect, but fine. And my mum’s giving me that you need to fix it so that it’s right look. That’s the relationship my agent and I have with editing. I think it’s fine… he wants it to be perfect. And I know, I know, it’ll be much better after I fix it, but just like with knitting (I imagine, I can’t actually knit), it’s not a case of fixing those little bits you can see. As soon as you pull on that thread, there are eight more threads that will need adjusting.
Maybe it’s more like a Rubix cube. You get one yellow facing the way you wanted, but you’ve thrown six other little squares out with that move, so now you have to change them too!

It’s important to be methodical when you’re editing. To keep track of changes. You know what’s really helpful with this? Word Track Changes (it does what it says on the tin and all that). Do I use it? No. Why not? Well, it makes things go all funny coloured and it looks messy and I get all confused and…

Another things it’s really important to do, is keep track of your versions. There’s often a bit of back-and-forthing between me and my agent, me and my editor, me and my agent and my editor. Things can get confusing, fast. My agent’s always really careful to label anything he works on. You know, like Black Cairn Point v1.0… Black Cairn Point v 2.2 (I had to get a wee plug for the novel in somewhere!) Me? I label my manuscript stupid things like Bombmaker_fixed or Ferryman_for_Helen. You know, helpful names that will enable me to remember which one’s the latest version… at the moment I’m saving it. Three hours later when I’m looking at the manuscript folder and trying to remember which one to email? Not so much.

So there you are. A “how not to write a novel”. If you think about what I do…. then do the opposite, you’ll be all right. 😉
Thank you to the lovely peeps at BigBookLittleBook for having me on today so that I can share my little pearls of wisdom!

Claire xxx

Posted by Claire McFall

User commentsClaire McFall grew up just south of Glasgow in the heart of Celtic and Rangers country. She teaches English in a secondary school in Peebles, Scotland, where she lives. Her debut novel, FERRYMAN, was long-listed for the Branford Boase Award, nominated for the Carnegie Medal and won a Scottish Children’s Book Award. Follow Claire at www.clairemcfall.co.uk or on Twitter: @mcfall_claire

Black Cairn Point was published by Hot Key Books on the 6th of August 2015

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Ensnared

A.G.Howard

ensnaredAfter surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world–a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

As this is a review of a sequel it may contain spoilers

Before I type up my review of this amazing book (I wish there was a better word than amazing but I can’t find it right now) I need a moment to piece myself together because it was, as previously said, amazing and I need to do it justice, or atleast try to.

*zen position assumed to gather my thoughts that are still reeling from awesomeness*

Ok here goes.

Ensnared is, unfortunately, the final book of what has been a fantastic rollercoaster ride of a retelling of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and although I can by no means speak for Lewis Carroll I think I can safely say A.G.Howard has done an amazing job of taking his story and bringing it to a whole new level whilst staying true to the spirit of the world he’d created.
Once more I plunged into A.G.Howard’s novel except that this time my journey started in AnyElsewhere a world in equal parts dangerous, beautiful and crazy as Wonderland if not more, as this is the home of the rejects. And if wonderland didn’t want them, you can only imagine what they’re like!

Alyssa and her father are on a mission to save her mortal and netherling knights, and to end Red’s tyrannical existence that sows death, pain and destruction once and for all. But the tasks at hand are harder than what they appear. Morpheus is unchanged and eager to save his beloved Wonderland but Jeb is not. All two volumes worth of adventures, emotional blackmail, torture and near death experiences in this deliciously creepy world he cannot call his own have finally taken their toll. Both the knights of Alyssa’s heart demand her attention, undying devotion and love, and both stake a claim to her heart. And although Alyssa is desperately trying to give just that to both in fair and just fashion, Wonderland’s undoing by Red’s hand declares and demands her immediate attention as both a netherling queen and a human with a conscience and a sense of responsibility.

This tug of war triangle increases with emotional and physical strength throughout the book with rapid pace until it spirals out of control and the ultimate price is paid.

But dear readers do not forget the most important thing of all, this is a story taking place in a world where madness and genius are two blades of the same sword that can take life, as it can give it. You need only but let go of sense. Afterall to quote the brilliant mind behind this enticingly dark novel “netherling logic, and therefore the solution, resides in the hazy border between sense and nonsense”.

The final chapter in this deliciously dark and yet vividly coloured novel that dances on the fine line between insanity and reason, plays out on Alyssa’s heart. The heart of this book is hers and it is equally the battlefield where the final verdict for herself and wonderland will be decided. And although the common enemy is Red, the remaindering opposing sides are none other than Morpheus and Jeb. They will be Alyssa’s undoing and her salvation, for what can tear apart can equally reunite. Netherling logic is at work readers and only by walking this incredibly tortuous path, forsaking sanity and clarity will you truly understand the true beauty of this novel.

A.G.Howard’s narrative techniques and style of writing clearly showed her skill in not only creating a fantastic storyline but also utilizing language and themes that further enhanced and brought to life the world that she was creating, a skill unfortunately not many use. Creating the story is half the battle, but it takes a lot of talent and dedication to carefully pick words, language and metaphors that stick to the storyline, are faithful to each character whilst generating the feeling of a dark, dangerous world so vividly coloured that you’d want to step into despite everything you know.

This was a simply beautiful and amazing ending to a fantastic series that I will be sad to see end, but that I will not hesitate to revisit. I cannot help but feel that I have been infected with netherling logic where every “act of madness is driven by the voice of reason”. Afterall the two are so closely entwined they are virtually one and the same, it just depends which side you choose to look from.

Verdict: High praise to A.G.Howard from a humble book worm who is now a little insane, but then again all the best people are 😉

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Fairytale retelling, fantasy, romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Prudence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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TTT: Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read/Want To Read

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, bloggers and bookworms to join in.

So today is my turn to do a top ten list, and as soon as Caz mentioned fairy tales she had my total and undevided attention. I love books in general but I am a total sucker for fairy tales of any sort. Legends, myths, tales, stories you name it and tell it and I will be your happy listener.

Now I haven’t read all of these so this is a bit of a mixture but they are all on my kindle in the reading pile to either be relived and enjoyed once again, or to be taken on a new adventure. I should add that these are in no particular order except that which sprang to mind ☺

1 – Splintered Trilogy by A.G.Howard

To those of you who know me well this will come to no surprise as being my first choice. I positively loved this trilogy, all the way from the cover, through the story and colour of ink all the way to the credits. I cannot praise or recommend this series enough to all of you book and fairy tale lovers. I enjoyed the bizarness of Alice in Wonderland and always thought it a little quirky in a funny way but at the end of the day Alice woke up and it was all just a dream. But A.G.Howard catapulted me down a rabbit hole where bizarreness has taken on a dark, dangerous and intriguingly beautiful edge. Madness and genius are to sides of a sharp knife that plunges you into a colourful darkness you will not wish to emerge from. Just talking to you about it makes me want to re-read this series all over again! This is a very short summary of what is an amazing retelling with more twists than you would expect, and I would keep going on but time to move onto my next top ten, but you get my point. READ IT!!!!

2 – Adventures in Neverland by Anna Katmore

I recently came across this duology, I have read the first one and am currently reading it’s sequel. It was an interesting spin on Peter Pan’s story and origin where perhaps not all is as it’s seems. Maybe Peter isn’t actually a good natured and fun loving young boy, and maybe the enchanment stopping everyone from growing up is more like a curse, one that Angelina has every intention to break if she doesn’t want to forget her home, her family and all that she holds dear. But even that comes at a price. Anna Katmore has a simple and yet lovely style of writing that breezed me through the pirate sails, the mermaid lagoon and the lost boy’s tree all the way back home leaving me wanting another fly-by which is why I didn’t wait long to read Pan’s Revenge.

3 – Heartbound by P.I. Alltraine

Having read how much enjoyed Neverland our fearless blog leader, Caz, approached me Heartbound. The cover was rather insipiring and then having read the synopsis and realizing it was yet another different recollection and retelling of my new found friend Peter Pan, well I simply couldn’t say no! So watch this space to read my upcoming review but it’s sounding very promising, and heaven knows I’m going to need another fix of pixie dust when I finish Pan’s Revenge *smiles cheekily*

4 – Beastly by Alex Flinn

In my time prior to blogging I stumbled across this book when I was house bound with the good old flu. I researched amazon for a new read and every time I searched the recommendations from those who’d read my favourite books this one just kept popping up, so eventually I caved, used my mother’s card details very sneakily and bought the book. And very much fell in love with the modern time retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I will admit I missed Lumiere, Cogsworth and Miss Potts but Alex Flinn made up for it. I particularly enjoyed how she related the simple and yet important morale of the story to our times and our young society. Beauty is not skin deep and is in the eye of the beholder, not the media or fashion magazines. I’ve read this book countless times and watched the film a few times too. I am not too ashamed to admit that Alex Pettyfer made a rather nice Beast :p but the book is always the best 😉 I will also admit that after having read it I simply had to re-watch the Disney version because I am a saddo and love the music and the story I grew up with.

5 – Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

This was recommended to me by Caroline, as she knew my love for fairy tales with a different spin on them or perhaps just a slight alteration. And having just read Beastly it seemed like the perfect book to follow onto. This is a retelling of Little Red Riding hood, although this time she’s not little and there are two of them. The story pleasantly surprised me and I very much enjoyed Jackson Pearce’s style of writing to the point that I went in search of more of his work and As You Wish was another very nice discovery! I shan’t say more but it was definitely a very welcome recommendation and was sad to return the book to its rightful owner ☹ I shall however be getting my little non-grubby mitts onto my own copy soon enough, and might I suggest you do the same 😉

6 – Twelve Dancing Princesses by Jessica Day George

This is a trilogy series of books that I came across a while ago and have still, frustratingly, not been able to read although I own all 3 of them. It is a retelling of the original Twelve Dancing Princesses story that admittedly not many know of. Each book is a sister princess with her own sets of trials, tribulations, a kingdom to save a prince charming’s heart to win. I will endeavor to read these soon with a bit of luck!

7 – The Goddess Series by Aimee Carter

Ok I will admit this is a little bit of a cheeky entry but just let me explain my decision before you condemn this book worm. Fairy tales come from myths and legends and well The Goddess Series is based on legends and mythology that goes a lot further back than Hans Christian Andersen. The Goddess Series is based on the Greek and Roman gods and their pesky meddlings with us humans, and the quest that all sentient beings voluntarily or not go on – that of the search for love. It is a heart-wrenching trilogy that I passionately read and re-read whilst painstakingly awaiting the release of each sequel. I feel deserves a place here as it is story based on legends and myths that I have always loved as a child and that (thankfully) Aimee Carter decided to put together to create a more complex story of family, betrayal, revenge, truth and, ofcourse the constant in any true fairytale, love. The pace and style of writing heart-pounding and yet gentle, slow and yet the end came too quick. It is definitely a series that is now complete I would recommend.

8 – Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that a fairytale lover and book worm such as myself has not yet read this very much acclaimed retelling of one of the classic Princess Stories. Cinder recounts it’s extended namesake: Cinderella. Except now she’s a cyborg and she’s in the future. One can only wonder how Marissa Meyer managed to work a glass slipper onto a cyborg’s foot. Or if indeed it is glass at all. Maybe it’s bullet proof and has rocket launchers underneath!! Don’t know about you but I am intrigued to find out though!!!

9 – A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Yup this is another Flinn book as she seems to have a soft spot like me for fairytales. I think the title sufficiently hints to the character this retelling is based upon lol but for those of you who perhaps are not familiar with the Disney classics this is Sleeping Beauty story. Except her prince charming wakes her up, by accident, several centuries later. I’ll be honest it wasn’t at all what I expected but I had a laugh reading it and seeing how it all turned out because let me tell you, prince charming and sleeping beauty do not get along! The additional interest was generated when Alex Flinn added at alternate chapters both of their points of view allowing the usually silenced prince to have a voice of his own. Something, I should add, she did in Beastly too! A Kiss in Time the led me to discover several other slight variations of the original story one of my favourites being Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz.

10 – The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

I thought I would finish with something not quite so airy-fairy and with no princesses to speak of. The Treachery of Beautiful Things was a deliciously dark book. Yes it has sprites, magic and fairies but the more beautiful they are the more life threatening they reveal themselves to be. I positively loved this book and it’s author if anything for the originality of it all. It’s like someone had taken a bit of every Disney and then darkened it all with evil, where good just doesn’t have it quite as easy as it normally does. It was a page turner, written in faerie language, full of riddles as nothing is quite what it seems making all the more alluring. Ruth Frances Long did an amazing job and I have been itching for more of her work so I think it’s about time I tracked down something new of hers and sank my teeth into it.

Posted by Prudence

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