Posts Tagged ‘Danielle L. Jensen’

Five Fabulous Beauty and the Beast Re-imaginings

fab-five-logo-e1397403514389Five Fabulous Books is an original feature here at Big Book Little Book. The aim of the feature is to showcase fabulous books and bookish things, with connecting themes, there by promoting reads we have enjoyed and sharing recommendations for similar books. We love to share contributions from fellow bibliophiles, bloggers, vloggers and twitter users. We love to hear from you too, so don’t forget to comment with your favourite themed books. You are very welcome to use the Five Fabulous feature on your own blog just be sure to link back to Big Book Little Book and leave your link in the comments below so we can check out your recommendations! Feel free to copy and paste our Fabulou5 graphic or create one of your own.

I’m a huge fan of Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast. It is my favorite Disney animation and the Disney film I related too most growing up. Not only is Belle a brunette and a bookworm, she was the first Disney “princess” I recall who seemed to have a choice about who she would go on to marry.

I loved that the beast and her developed a relationship rather than being victims of the insta love- I’ve met you once, you’ve saved me and now ill marry you- that Disney’s early incarnations had suffered from. While its wonderful to see Disney developing more realistic relationships and fewer teen brides, for me it started with belle. Even now I can’t get enough of the slow burning misunderstanding and dislike to love and respect romance trope.

Of course my daughter and I just had to go and see the movie on opening weekend and I have to say that we did not leave disappointed. If you are reluctant to see the movie as a big fan of the animation, let me reassure you that the story line pretty much follows its animated predecessor with the exception of clearing up the large plot holes from the original. Add to that some original songs, beautiful costumes and ensemble dance numbers, it reminded my of my childhood curled up on the sofa with my mum on a Sunday afternoon watching elaborate Technicolor musicals. I loved sharing the experience with my own daughter.

I have to admit that I’ve never actually read the original story, my love for all things Beauty and the Beast originates from the Disney classics, never the less this love has led to a passion of one of my favorite sub genres- the fairytale retelling- and today oday I would like to share with you five of my favorite Beauty and the beast reimagines.

Beastly by Alex Flinn
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.

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen
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…

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Wish List
My obsession doesn’t stop there. I have many Beauty and the Beast inspired titles on my wish list. At the top of the list is Hunted by Meagan Spooner which is being released on the 20th April in hardback
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.
So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronesses…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Posted by Caroline

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Cover Reveal: Hidden Huntress

Danielle L. Jensen‘s Stolen Songbird was one of my favourite debuts of 2014 (Click here to read my review and an interview with author, Danielle Jensen) therefore I am absolutely delighted to share the cover for its sequel, Hidden Huntress, with you. HiddenHuntress-300dpi
Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.
Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.
Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.
To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

I can’t wait to spend more time with Cecile and Tristan!

Posted by Caroline

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Interview With Danielle L. Jensen

If you follow Big Book Little Book you will already know that I loved Stolen Songbird ( read my review here), the debut novel by authorDanielle L. Jensen. You will therefore understand how excited I was to be given the opportunity to interview Danielle as part of her blog tour!

stolen songbirdFor five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

Congratulations on the publication of your debut novel, Stolen Songbird. I absolutely loved meeting Cecile and Co and I cannot wait to read the rest of the Malediction Trilogy. What have been the high and low points of your journey to publish author?
Thank you! I’m so glad you connected with the Trollus crew!!
High points of the journey have been signing with my agent, getting offered a book deal by Strange Chemistry, seeing my cover for the first time, and hearing positive reactions from readers. Low points were the many, many query/partial/full rejections I received over the years.

With her stunning singing voice and her unfortunate predicament of being kidnapped, Cecile is the aforementioned “stolen songbird”. Which animal best represents your personality?
Probably a donkey or a mule. I work hard, but I am known for occasionally being a stubborn a$$. Heehaw!!

During her incarceration in Trollus, Cecile empowers herself through the pursuit of knowledge, trying out many different activities in the process. Are there any activities that you have always wanted to try, but have yet to attempt?
I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano. I have zero musical talent.

I really loved the detailed and absorbing world building- the aesthetics, the social structure, the mythology- you created in Stolen Songbird. Can you tell us about some of your inspirations for Trollus?
I pilfered quite a bit of it from 18th century French culture, although by no means should anyone try to hold me to the standards of accuracy expected of a historical novel, especially since I know I’ve plucked bits of inspiration from 19th century France for the second book, the Paris Opera being a big one. It would be fair to say that France is a huge inspiration: the excesses of the monarchy, the focus on fine arts, and the revolutionary spirit of the people – I don’t think anyone reading the novel could miss it. I’m slowly building a Pinterest board with images, but it’s not done yet.
As far as the setting goes, that is a strange and unexplainable product of my mind palace. Yes, I’ve been dying to use that phrase – it’s so gloriously pretentious.

I was really impressed with the attention you paid to the secondary characters, fleshing them out and explaining some of their motivations. I also felt as though the friendships were treated with as much importance as the romantic elements of the story. If you had to choose to befriend one of your own secondary characters, who would you pick and why?
Thank you! I adore Marc, but I’d probably choose to be friends with the twins because they’d be the most fun to hang out with.

I absolutely loved Tristan and Cecile’s chemistry and how the differences in their personalities complement each other. Tristan is a meticulous planner, and a bit of a control freak, while Cecile is much more impulsive. When it comes to your writing are you a plotter or a panther?
They are foils for each other, that is for certain!
I am a pantser at heart, but I had to provide synopses for book 2 and 3, which was very tough for me. I like to have certain key scenes outlined in my head and then to make up the rest on the fly.

Who are your favourite literary couples/friendships?
Tessa and Will from The Infernal Devices
Cole and Isabel from Shiver Trilogy (and the upcoming Sinner – so excited for that!!)
Gansey and Ronan in The Raven Cycle
Verity and Kittyhawk in Code Name Verity

I loved the pacing and tone of their relationship and was beyond delighted that Stolen Songbird didn’t contain even a hint of “insta love”. What is your least favourite romantic cliche?
Clichés don’t bother me if they are well executed, but obviously they can be a bit lame when done poorly. I have lots of pet-peeves, but almost all of them are related to crappy character development or lackluster world-building.

As I have already mentioned, I am already excitedly anticipating the 2015 release of book two in the trilogy. Are you able to give us any hints about what to expect?
I’m really excited to finish writing it – there will be champagne when I finally hand that one in. As it stands (pre-editorial), there are substantially more chapters from Tristan’s POV in the second book. You’ll also find out a lot more about the world outside of Trollus.

Thank you so much for popping by and answering my questions.
Thank you for having me!

Questions by Caroline

dannielle jensenDanielle was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated in 2003 from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous; and in 2010, it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University and to pursue publication. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.

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Stolen Songbird

Danielle L. Jensen

stolen songbirdFor five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

What is it that first attracts you to a book? For me it can be an eye catching cover, a favorite authors latest release, or the recommendation of bloggers I trust, and at other times, as was the case with Stolen Songbird, it is a synopsis which promises something unique, which sparks my curiosity and heightens my anticipation, causing me to re arrange my TBR pile, abandon my plans for a goodnights sleep and dive straight in.

Even better when that attention is not just caught, but is wrestled in to submission and then, meeting my expectations, holds me captive for the duration of the book. Before I had reached the end of the first chapter of Stolen Songbird, I knew that I had found something special and, despite the rather precarious situation our heroine had found herself in, I couldn’t help a big goofy grin.

Cecile was a fantastic protagonist. Yes, she was a talented singer who had been foretold as the breaker of a centuries old curse (wait until you read how well that turns out!) and yet there is something quintessentially normal about her. She is prideful, strong headed and inquisitive- but with good reason- She empowers herself through the acquisition of knowledge. She recognized that things must change, and that she has a role to play, but doesn’t jump in without some trepidation and consideration.

Cecile’s first person account was peppered with Tristan’s ( the aforementioned troll prince) observations and thoughts. Tristan with his complicated, contradictory behavior, has his meticulous eye on the long game, the question is, which Tristan- the sarcastic, bored, egotistical prince or the garden stalking, peacekeeper, revolutionary- is the real Tristan?

I really enjoyed how Cecile and Tristan’s personalities collided and complemented each other. I loved that there wasn’t a single hint of insta love and that each increment of trust, of friendship, of affection was hard, if not amusingly, won.

While I adored our protagonists Cecile and Tristan, I was most impressed with the amount of time the author dedicated to fleshing our secondary characters. Each was allowed to express their personalities, to exist independent of our main protagonists- a very likeable male character with a tragic backstory a heart of gold who offers the hand of friendship without a hint of love triangle, a admirable female rival, a despicable villain with questionable but clear motivations. I am as excited to learn the fates of the supporting cast as I am that of the main protagonists.

I really loved the world building in Stolen Songbird. From the stunning aesthetics, the political intrigue, and complex social structure, through to how Trollus was grounded in familiar but uniquely interpreted history and mythology. All of which combined to make a really absorbing world.

I found it particularly interesting to experience the juxtaposition of the ugly cruelty and maliciousness of the Trollus society in contrast to those elements that were beautiful and commendable.

I started the book with the expectation that I would read a few chapters before bed, unfortunately the story had other ideas. I was held ransom by the beautiful story telling, the wonderful world building, the likeable, flawed characters and a slow burning relationship, which kept me on my toes.

I was unable to put the book down until I had reached the final page. Even then, despite the late (or should I say very early) hour and after more than 400 pages, the book felt far too short.

Thankfully Stolen Songbird is the first book in the Malediction trilogy, and so I know that there is plenty more to come. Has the author made it easy for me to wait out the next installment? What do you think?! Stolen Songbird is a book that ends on the kind of cliffhanger that has you madly searching for more pages. Just like that I found my self fully invested in another trilogy.

Verdict: Trolls, magic, rebellion, a hidden kingdom, a complicated Prince and an inquisitive heroine – this gorgeous grownup fairytale ticked all of my boxes.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: eARC
Pages: 324
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut author
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