Posts Tagged ‘Fairytale Retelling’

The Fairy Tale Hairdresser and Aladdin

Abie Longstaff and Lauren Beard (illustrator)

The Fairytale Hairdresser is having a long-overdue holiday — but in no time at all she is tangled up in a world of flying carpets, mysterious jewels and magical lamps. Can she rescue Aladdin, free the genie and save the day?

I like this book because Kitty actually travels to a different part of their magical land and I’ve been very interested in what other parts of their land exists. Aladdin has also been my favourite Disney film.

I also love the book because it’s like a re-written story. I really like Aladdin especially because of the Genie; it’s a girl!!!!!

Verdict: I really enjoyed this book and I hope you do too!

Reviewed by Tianna aged 9

Publisher: Picture Corgi
Publication Date: March 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Fairytale retelling
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Tianna 9
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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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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The Fairytale Hairdresser Beauty and the Beast

Abbie Longstaffand Lauren Beard (Illustrator)

fairytale hair dresserThe Big Bad Beast’s heart is melted by Bella, the most beautiful girl in Fairy Land – but could she ever love someone so beastly?
The Fairytale Hairdresser teaches Beast that beauty is on the inside (although there’s always time to treat yourself to a little makeover!) in this fabulous modern twist on the classic fairytale. There are witty fairytale jokes to spot and beautiful details to discover, read after read. Featuring all the fairytale favourites, this is the spectacular seventh story in the bestselling Fairytale Hairdresser series.

This is an exciting book.
I liked looking at all the different hair styles in this book.
I liked seeing the Beast looking funny.
I always like seeing all the different fairy tale people.

Verdict:I think it was the best book out of all of them.

Reviewed by Sienna aged 6

Publisher: Picture Corgi
Publication Date: March 2016
Format: Picture book
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book, fairytale
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Sienna (6)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Barefoot On The Wind

Zoe Marriott
29235197There is a monster in the forest…
Everyone in Hana’s remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana’s father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it – or be killed herself. But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined, and the beast is not at all what she expects…

Before I begin to tell you my thoughts and feelings about this lovely book I have a big fat and horrible secret to admit to you all…. this is my first Zoe Marriott read.
Yes I know shock horror and I should probably be burned at the stake for this treachery and massive YA offence; but before you get your pitchforks let me tell you what I thought, and let me solemnly promise that I will be making amends to right this terrible wrong!

Barefoot on the Wind is a wonderful and clever retelling of one of the best (in my humble opinion) fairy tales: Beauty and the Beast.
As with many retellings Zoe Marriott put her own imprint on this story. The transposition and adaptation of the original story line to a Japanese environment, lay out and way of life was incredibly faithfully done. The village, the villagers, the rules and regulations of that period in time down to the Japanese denominations for each member of society and status were respected, making me feel like I’d actually stepped into a Japanese mountain village that was being plagued by a beast and I was about to witness the unfurling of this story.
I was all geared up with my cup of green tea to sit back and enjoy what I thought was merely a transcribed and slightly altered fairy tale to suit the new set up, when Zoe decided that actually she hadn’t quite finished with her adaptation.
It soon became clear that from the original tale, all that was taken were the bare bones, in a manner of speaking.
Now before I go any further I should tell you all that I am a massive fairy tale fan, and will happily read any retelling and any new story that comes my way, but what I came across here was pretty wonderful and a very original take on fairy tales with a pinch of modern thinking.
Although you will catch a glimpse of Belle in Hana-San’s kindness and love for her family, and you will perceive some of the Beast’s hard earned humility in Itsuki, these two sets of characters are as different as they are alike. Zoe Marriott’s Belle is a fighter, a hunter and does not fear the dangerous dark woods that have claimed many a life. She is proud and strong and although her hierarchical society does not approve, she holds her ground steadfast and fights for what she believes is right even if that means going into the beast’s lair alone. Zoe’s Beast, that Hana dubs Itsuki, is the gentlest creature you will ever meet. He cares for all those that are harmed regardless of by whom and why. He has a big heart and has worked hard to learn what patience, humility, true love and respect mean.
Although initially perplexed I soon came to love these two characters and how their interactions were so similar and yet so different from those that I have loved and grown up with.

As I mentioned before Zoe merely used the bare bones of the classic and then built her own story giving it flesh and thoughts to shape it differently and make us readers reflect.

As per all fairy tales there is a lesson to be learned, and whilst deconstructing and recreating her tale our lovely author did not forget this vital part. Whilst the Disney we all know and love focused on romance and the signature happily ever after, Zoe Marriott decided to centre her story around Hana-San, her journey to self discovery, forgiveness and its ripple effect on the surrounding characters and, indeed, the story. Although romance and love is undoubtedly a main thread to it, Zoe Marriott reminds us that the types of love that can change someone also include the love between a family, siblings and friends. She reminds us that love’s close counterpart and partner in crime is hate and the line between these two at times has been known to be thin, thin and full of its own emotions ranging from anger to sorrow.

You might ask be asking yourself what else is different aside from the characters, the set up, the nature of the beast, the strength of the belle and the society whose rules they live by?

Well I will let you figure that one out for yourself, but what I will tell you is that this is a very cleverly constructed Japanese fairy tale retelling, and that like Hana-San you will have to walk into the dark woods and tread lightly on the dark magic that has cursed more than just a man, and you will have to heed the advice of the trees and the wind that blows through them because a monster, a beast roams the woods but the two are not always one and the same and every individual is capable of monstrous things.

Barefoot on the Wind proved to be more than just a simple fairy tale with a different back drop. Zoe Marriott brought with it her own set of characters and morales to teach us. Despite the simplistic story, she managed to build into it new thoughts and feelings giving it a new dimension and complexity that I had not previously appreciated.

Verdict: I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this tale and will happily be getting lost in these dark woods again with Hana-San and Itsuki.

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: September 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 313
Genre: Retelling, Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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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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Cover Reveal: Don’t Fall-Kind Of!

We have something a little different for you this week. Swoon Romance wants you to help them decide the cover for Don’t Fall! by Rachel Schieffelbein. They have three lovely cover options for you to choose from.

In which a teenage girl endures the over-protective love of her adoptive mother until she falls for a boy who has her wanting to spread her wings, pitched as a contemporary retelling of RAPUNZEL
Seventeen-year-old Anya leads a very secluded life in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother. She doesn’t go to school, but instead has a private tutor. Her over-protective mom keeps her so sheltered that she doesn’t even have a best friend.
But Anya doesn’t seem to mind. She has her books, her photography, and her daydreams, and would do anything to please her mom. Until one day at the library, the only place she’s allowed to go, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy.
Before long she’s lying to her mom, and sneaking out late at night to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she will have to risk her relationship with the only other person she’s ever cared about.

Option #1: Designed by Taylor.ink, photograph by Beth Mitchell
Option #2: Photographed and designed by Laura Lanning
Option #3: Designed by Anna Zaffke, photo from Shutterstock.by Aleshyn_Andrei

Dont Fall Cover Reveal Options

Which cover do you like better?
Option #1
Option #2
Option #3

Poll Maker

rachel run for rosesRachel grew up in a tiny town in Minnesota. She still lives there, with her husband and their four kids. She coaches high school speech and theater, rides Arabian horses, reads as much as she can, and writes stories. To learn more about Rachel and her work visit her website (here),
, her Goodreads page, Facebook page (here) or alternatively converse with her on Twitter (here).

Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

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The Magic Princess Dress

Gwyneth Rees

New from the wonderful Gwyneth Rees, an irresistible series about the power of wishes and imagination. When Ava enters Marietta’s dress shop on the hunt for her missing cat, she has no idea how magical it will be – but before she knows it, she’s trying on a beautiful Princess Bridesmaid dress, only to be whisked away to Fairytale Land – where Cinderella is about to get married, and her Fairy Godmother is about to turn Ava’s cat into something a lot less cute and fluffy. From the award-winning and bestselling author of the FAIRY DUST books comes this exciting new series that no little girl will be able to resist.

This story is about a young girl who discovers that fairy tales are real and are not always what you expect. As a child I loved all those princess stories and had favourites among the different versions of them. I was always intrigued that there were so many ways of telling the same tale. Now as an adult I appreciate those twists in a tale, the ways in which you can take what is so familiar and turn it into something new and fresh. This story is just like that.

Ava has to go and stay with her Dad for the holidays. A fact that she is not too impressed about. She takes her beloved cat, Cindy, with her and when she goes missing Ava is desperate to find her. Her search draws her to a strange shop (it made me think of Mr Benn for those who remember him!). The sign on the window tells her the cat had been found and is there and Ava is only made more eager to go in by the fact that her father so evidently doesn’t want her to!

Inside she meets the mysterious Mariette and goes into the back of the shop where lots of beautiful dresses are found. She tries on her favourite, a perfect fit! But then things start to get really weird as Marietta tells her that her cat has disappeared to a magical land through one of the magical mirrors and Ava will have to work out which one and follow Cindy through the mirror to get her back. Finding this a little too much Ava runs for home but is later drawn back and is even more surprised to find her Dad there too. It turns out her Dad and her Aunt (who is the owner of the shop) can travel to different worlds through the magic mirrors and Ava sets off through one to find Cindy. Once there she discovers a fairy tale land of Cinderella, arriving the night before her wedding to the prince. The Ugly Sisters are there and truly horrible, the Fairy Godmother too is highly unpredictable and Ava discovers a host of other characters that are never mentioned in her fairy story books. She befriends a mistreated girl called Tilly who has her own Cinderella type story and helps her to pursue her dreams and she goes about finding Cindy and trying to get a glimpse of Cinderella herself. Lots of drama ensues and Ava learns there is a lot more to Cinderella than meets the eye. She also learns a lot about herself and her family, through experiencing the reality of a fairy tale and in helping somebody else.

I really liked Ava, she tells it how it is and feels very normal in what is very definitely not a normal situation. I also liked the way there were parallels between her life and Cinderella’s story and the stories of other characters all blended well and drew out different threads from the story we all know so well. There was a good balance on the issues faced by Ava in both her real life and the magical world. There is plenty of humour too and plenty to keep you turning the pages.

Verdict: Any girl who has loved princesses and fairy tales will enjoy the twists and turns of this well- crafted story. My girls are too young for it but I will be keeping it for when they are old enough. The story is left open for sequels but I haven’t discovered any. I hope there are more as this was a highly entertaining and clever read.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: May 2011
Format: eBook
Pages: 272/1142KB
Genre: Fairytale retelling
Age: Middle Grade book review
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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King and King


Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland (illustrator)

Once there lived a lovelorn prince whose mother decreed that he must marry by the end of the summer. So began the search to find the prince’s perfect match and lo and behold…his name was Lee. You are cordially invited to join the merriest, most unexpected wedding of the year. KING & KING is a contemporary tale about finding true love and living happily ever after, sure to woo readers of any age. A great gift. Exuberant artwork full of visual play calls for repeated readings.

It’s the simplicity that makes this book interesting and likeable. It’s fairly short and adheres to the classic fairytale tradition of a Prince, told to get married by his mother but something’s not quite right with any of the prospective suitors, that is, until he meets ‘the one’ they both fall instantly in love and live happily ever after. It just so happens that in this story, it’s two princes that fall in love.

After the first reading, I had to discuss the outcome with my 4yr old daughter as her view is so entrenched that she couldn’t understand why the Prince would pass on the prettiest Princess. It was therefore nice to get her thinking about relationships and that being pretty isn’t necessarily what everyone looks for in a partner. I would like to think that now, if she saw people of the same sex kissing / told that they were married or gay, it wouldn’t be such a shock to her and instead, accept the fact that not everyone ascribes to the classic ‘Disney’ relationships that she is so used to.

The illustrations whilst clever, were not always to my taste. For me, some of the pages were just too noisy. I guess an older child would be more inclined to pore over the detail on every page but we’re not there yet and I could see that my daughter was starting to lose enthusiasm for the story.

Verdict: A truly modern fairytale that will gently tweak children’s often black & white views of relationships and marriage.

Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Tricycle Press
Publication Date: December 20o2
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 32
Genre: Fairytale retelling, GLBT
Age: Early Readers
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Cinder

Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I didn’t know what to expect from Cinder. It’s certainly very unique – the idea of a futuristic Cinderella as a cyborg! I enjoyed it for the most part but felt at times that there was something lacking.

Cinder is set in New Beijing, after the 4th World War. For me there wasn’t enough background or world building for me to grasp what New Beijing was like. There was hardly any mention of anything remotely Far Eastern which is the part of the world I assumed the book was set given the city name. From the lack of description, cultural information, customs etc it could have been set anywhere. I guess I expected a bit more of an oriental feel to things.

This book has all the elements of the fairy story we know so well; the evil stepmother, the two sisters – although one of them is lovely and a real friend to Cinder, and of course, the handsome prince. Although in this story there is a hefty dose of a dangerous life threatening plague – Letumosis, which Cinder’s sister falls ill with and which, unbeknownst to her, Cinder will be central to the cure for.

Cinder is a skilled mechanic working in the Market place. As a cyborg she is pretty much a second class citizen and more or less lives to serve her step mother and sisters. However as the story progresses we see that in fact she may have a far greater purpose than she could ever have imagined.

As it’s based on a well known fairy tale it does mean the story is fairly predictable, however I think there is a great potential for Cinder’s story – as ‘Cinder’ is the first in a series of The Lunar Chronicles. I liked Prince Kai and I’m intruiged by the dangerous Lunar people and their deadly but interesting skill of being able to ‘glamour’ the people and hide their true selves. The book improved as I read it and I much preferred the last third or so, when I felt it started to get going a bit.

While it’s certainly not in the category of, say, The Hunger Games, it has good potential and I will buy the next book in the series to find out what happens to Cinder as there are a lot of loose ends left to tie up.

Verdict: A largely enjoyable read, a bit slow to get going but good potential as a series. I look forward to the second instalment

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: January 2012
Format: eBook
Pages: 455KB
Genre: Dystopian, Fairytale retelling, Sci-Fi
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: Debut Author
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