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Book Blitz, Excerpt, Teasers, and Giveaway: Lady of Sherwood

 

Lady of Sherwood
(Outlaws of Sherwood #1)

by Molly Bilinski
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.

After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.

As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.

Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.

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EXCERPT:

Other girls—some of the youngest ones from the kitchen—came from the brush. Smoke clung to them like a shroud, and tears had run in rivers down soot-stained cheeks. Ginny, the youngest at six, ran to Jemma and attached herself like a limpet to the older girl’s legs.

“Where is everyone else?” Robin asked, glancing between them and then back at the flaming manor. “Where is—where’s—” Her face heated even as the rest of her body grew chilled, and she stuffed her first in her mouth to muffle her scream.

“We are the only ones.”

Robin looked up at Kitty, surprised to find herself on her knees in the damp grass. She curled her shaking fingers into fists, and then rested them on her thighs. “How—what happened?”

“That man,” the girl went on, absently twisting her skirt in her hands. “The one who’d been courting you… he came for you in the night. When he couldn’t find you, he gathered everyone in the great hall.”

“Except you lot?” Jemma inquired.

“He was hurting her.” Kitty’s eyes took on a glossy quality. “He had Maggie by the hair, and he was hurting her. She had Ginny behind her, protecting her. I—I hit him over the head with a candle stand.”

“We went through the old tunnel,” another voice piped up. Maggie slipped her hand into Kitty’s. “Me and Kitty and Ginny.”

“And my—my mother?” Robin took a deep, shuddering breath.

“She kept her secret. We heard ‘im, shouting. He wanted to know where you was.” Ginny, this time. She wandered away from Jemma, and Robin opened her arms for her to nestle into. She’d helped Jemma look after the younger servants on the sly for years. Whether they’d been orphaned at birth or left to the streets, Jemma had brought them each back to the manor, and she’d given them a home and a hope the rest of the world didn’t offer. “She didn’t tell, Robin. She didn’t tell him where you was.”

“I heard Charlotte say you were gone,” Maggie said quietly. “She’d gone to your mother’s chambers to tell her. Miss Jemma was gone, too, and so was your bow.” She shrugged, a delicate lift of her shoulders. “We all thought you had gone to the field.”

“And she said nothing?” Robin’s heart beat hard against her ribcage.

“Lady was very brave,” Ginny murmured.

“She was,” Robin agreed. “Like you are. You all.” She looked at each of the other girls, who stared back, clearly waiting.

It hit her then—they were waiting for her. With the only survivors of the manor in front of her, and her mother dead—God rest her soul, God hold them all in His hand—it occurred to her in that moment. She was the Lady of Lockesly.

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Author Bio:

Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend…and any five minutes she can find). When she’s not writing or working, she’s

scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.

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Book Blitz, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Unseen

 

The Unseen
(Order of the Bell #2)

by Jacob Devlin
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: May 9th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Crescenzo and his friends may have survived their confounding journey to the enchanted realms of Florindale, but now they find themselves fighting for their sanity and lives while stuck on the other side of the very mirror they set out to destroy.

With their families trapped by a former ally with a crippling fear of the queen, Enzo, Rosana, and Zack must play a deadly game in Wonderland, where shadows are on the move, kings are at war, and one of them wants Rosana dead.

As darkness hovers over the world, the friends must lean on each other and stop the King of Hearts from following through on Avoria’s orders: Break them.

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Sequel to:

EXCERPT:

Zack wrinkled his brows. “Who are you? Why have I come to see you? I don’t even know you.”

“You wouldn’t know of Madame Esme. But she certainly knows of you. Lady Fortune keeps painting your name in the cosmos. It would appear there is an important role for you in the journeys of Pinocchio’s son.”

“Enzo,” Zack said quietly.

“Yes.” A chill rippled through the air, and Madame Esme cast a wary gaze around the tent. “Now, Madame Esme has very limited time to speak to you. Please listen carefully.” She lowered her voice, reached across the table, and then seized Zack’s elbow. “I have predicted the death of one of your own . . . the son of Pinocchio. Madame Esme cannot be sure of the circumstances, but it is to take place soon in the realm of wonder.”

Zack yanked his elbow out of Madame Esme’s grip. “What are you saying? Why would you tell me something like that, even if it were true? That’s . . . an evil thing to say.”

The woman edged forward, impossibly calm given the horrible news she delivered. “Madame Esme is never wrong, Son of Pan. Oh, how often she wishes she were! Avoria arrived seven days ago, and what a mess we have become! The lands of Roma are falling to ruins once more. The Grand Canyon crumbles to dust as we speak. Avoria seeks a territory in which to build her citadel, and nothing will ever be the same. But the son of Pinocchio is destined to lead us all to battle. Thus, we need you, Son of Pan. We need you all to dethrone Avoria and restore peace. But if The Carver dies, hope dies with him.”

 

Author Bio:

When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake. Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

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Book Blitz, Goodies, Teasers, and Giveaway: Bellamy and the Brute

 

Bellamy and The Brute
Alicia Michaels
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 13th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retelling, Young Adult

A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill—including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness—one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.

Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…

As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?

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10 Things I Love About Beauty and the Beast

Boy meets girl. Boy is a total jerk (and a bit of an animal). Girl looks deeper to see that boy isn’t what he seems. Boy resists at first, but girl is too kind and inwardly beautiful … boy falls in love with girl. Girl realizes she loves boy even though he’s a beast.

The tale is a classic one, and the concept of a beauty falling in love with a beast, despite his falls, one that we can all identify with. There’s a reason that the tale of Beauty and the Beast continues to be retold through the ages. Something about it makes us believe in true love … because if Belle can learn to love the Beast, then it truly must be real … as well as undiscriminating.

In honor of the release of Bellamy and the Brute, as well as the movie remake of Beauty and the Beast, here are 10 things I love about one of my favorite movies of all time.

10. Gaston. Okay, so I know he’s the villain, and we’re supposed to hate the bad guy. But hear me out. Gaston is one of my favorite Disney villains, because you really don’t see him coming. Most bad guys make themselves known as the antagonists from the jump … they hate the hero or heroine for (fill in the blank) reason, and want to destroy them. But, really, all Gaston wants is for Belle to recognize his perfection. What starts off as a seemingly stupid and harmless annoyance, becomes dangerous by the time all is said and done. I think it’s a testament to how villains are made in real life … ignorance that gains strength over time.

9. The Music. Because, who doesn’t sing along to ‘Be Our Guest’ or cry when they hear ‘Beauty and the Beast’ In a movie like Beauty and the Beast, the music must be acknowledged, and these songs are truly iconic.

8. Maurice (Bell’s Dad). Because he was just so darn loveable and I couldn’t help but see a bit of my own father in him. I just wanted to give him a big ole hug!

7. Mrs. Potts. Because Angela Lansbury (voice of Mrs. Potts) is an angel from heaven and her rendition of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ brings tears to my eyes. Every. Time.

6. Beast’s House & Library. Sure, the castle of the beast is presented as sort of sinister when Belle first approaches. But, as an adult, I can’t help but watch the movie again and appreciate the architecture, as well as the décor and furniture. And that library? Yasssss!

5. Bell’s iconic yellow/gold gown. Because I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t wrap bedsheets around myself and twirl around pretending to wear that beautiful ball gown. Easily THE most iconic princess outfit of them all. Yes, more iconic than Cinderella’s. Sorry, Cinders.

4. The scene where all the talking furniture goes against Gaston and his gang. This was one of the most epic battles of Disney history, and possibly the funniest. The part where the talking armoire leaps down to crush someone while emitting an opera-like cry? Comedic gold, I tell ya!

3. The Waltz. One of the most romantic things I’ve ever seen was Belle and Beast waltzing in that beautiful ballroom. Le, sigh!

2. Belle. What’s not to like about a strong, smart heroine. Belle wasn’t just beautiful on the outside. She was truly kind and generous, while also reminding the people around her that she wasn’t to be trifled with. Gaston, especially. She was not weakling, and she checked Gaston on his B.S. every chance she got. Plus, she was a bookworm, giving me someone to relate to as a kid, being the girl with her nose always in a book and all.

1. Lumiere and Cogsworth. We all know the movie is about Belle and Beast and their epic romance … but I have to say I was also really into the bromance between a talking candlestick and talking clock. The banter, the arguing, the working together to get their mutual friend a girlfriend so they could all be human again … let’s keep it real. Those two were the real MVPs of Beauty and the Beast.

 

Author Bio:

Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. With several Fantasy and Science Fiction titles under her belt, Alicia strives to write multicultural characters and stories that touch the heart. V-Card, the first book of the Sharing Spaces series, was her first Contemporary Romance.

The mother of three and wife to a soldier, she loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen: A Snarky Reinvention of a Well-Loved Fairy Tale

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My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen

Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.

With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life.

My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen is a Cinderella retelling for the modern reader. The novel expertly balances issues like sexuality, family and financial troubles, and self-discovery with more lighthearted moments like how one rogue shoe can launch a secret, whirlwind romance and a chance meeting with a drag queen can spark magic and light in a once dark reality.

YA / Contemporary / Romance / Fairy Tale Retellings
336 Pages
Sky Pony Press
Expected Publication Date:  May 2nd, 2017
Preorder a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: just a bit stereotypical; love the humor and personality of the voice; entertaining, endearing, wholly recreated characters; I was sucked in from start to finish; tons of delicious angst, drama, and fun; the snark is on point; LOVE how David Clawson made this retelling wholly his own

Huge thanks to David Clawson, Sky Pony Press, and Edelweiss for sending me a free digital ARC of this read in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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By now, I’m sure ALL my loyal penguins know full well that I am all about retellings. They are the bread to my readerly sandwich, after all! I am ALSO all about snarky characters, uniquely individualized reads, and reinvented story lines (especially if it’s a retelling being reinvented)! There’s nothing quite like stepping into a world you’re pretty sure you’ve seen from every angle…and being proven wrong.

 

 

David Clawson did exactly this for me with this title. I’ll be honest with you guys–when I stumbled upon this title on Edelweiss and saw it was up for instant download, I didn’t think twice. I read the title, laughed out loud like a lunatic, and promptly hit “download.” I didn’t even stop to read the blurb, which means, when I picked this book up to read…. I had no idea it was a retelling. It took only a couple of pages for me to realize that’s exactly what I was reading…and only a couple more after that to realize it was going to be entirely different from the story I thought I already knew. David Clawson took this fairy tale, and molded it into his own witty, snarky, entertaining beast–and I ADORED every second of it!

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This was a fast-paced, entertaining read with some well-written, complex, and wholly unique characters. Trust me, penguins–this is not the Cinderella cast you know, but that doesn’t mean you won’t love them to tuna fish pieces. Honestly, I feel like the relationships sewn and nurtured in this book are SO MUCH BETTER than those I’ve been reading in the recent months. They are realistic, they grow and change as the characters do, and they’re all, in some tiny way, flawed…but they’re also easy for readers to relate to. In the original Cinderella story, and the subsequent retellings I’ve had the pleasure of reading/watching… I was never quite sure WHY the stepmother and sisters hated Cinderella so much. There never seemed to be an actual reason. David Clawson approached this in a new and unique way, and managed to wrap it up in the process!

 

 

I had a ton of fun with this book, and while it leans a bit heavily on certain stereotypes, I feel the personality and uniquely individualized characters really set this apart from other Cinderella retellings. The snark was heavy-handed, the morals (being true to yourself, feeling comfortable in your own skin) are handled with sensitivity, and I just ADORED me some Coco Chanel Jones–seriously, one of the best characters EVER! I recommend this to lovers of fairy tale retellings, diverse reads, and a strong focus on the sewing and building of familial relationships. If you’re seeking YOUR Prince Charming, maybe you should wear shoes that are much too big for you…you never know whose face you’ll kick one into!

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Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Review: Grimm Woods

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Blurbgrimm

A remote summer camp becomes a lurid crime scene when the bodies of two teenagers are found in a bloody, real-life rendering of a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. Trapped in the wilderness, the remaining counsellors must follow a trail of dark children’s fables in order to outwit a psychopath and save the dwindling survivors before falling prey to their own gruesome endings.

Drawing on the grisly, uncensored details of history’s most famous fairy tales, Grimm Woods is a heart-pounding thriller about a deranged killer who uses traditional children’s stories as tropes in elaborate murders. Set against the backdrop of modern-day Michigan, it’s a journey through the mind of a dangerous zealot and a shocking glimpse into the bedtime stories you thought you knew.

 

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Exclusive to AMAZON

 

About D. Melhoff

D. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town that few people have heard of and

even fewer have visited. While most of his stories are for adults, he also enjoys terrifying younger audiences from time to time, as seen in his series of twisted picture books for children. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Stoker, and his second grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror. For more information, visit grimmwoods.com.

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Excerpt:

July 7th, 5:44 a.m.

One hacksaw. One hammer, six boxes of nails. Twelve Mason jars, four hunting knives, two pairs of handcuffs. Fifteen gallons of gasoline divided evenly among three dented jerry cans.

It’s time.

A work glove hovered over the table where the objects were laid out side by side and began ticking the air as though marking off an invisible checklist. The chamber reeked of mildew, and the walls had no windows or electrical sockets—no lamps, no wires, no switch covers. A single red candle provided the only light, its crimson wax dripping down its shaft like blood.

The hand picked up a piece of paper from the table and slipped it into a blank envelope. Below, a beetle scuttled across the floorboards. The insect—its gangly antennae tuned to some foul frequency in the gloom—raced past the sole

of a giant boot just as a drop of liquid fell through the air and struck it dead center, engulfing its body in a hot, gelatinous blob that filled its orifices and burned it from the inside out. Another droplet tumbled from the candle, plopping onto the envelope this time, and then a brass stamp came down and pressed the wax into a hardened seal.

Drawing in heavier, raspier breaths, the figure held the envelope up to a corkboard that was bolted to the wall. More than a dozen pictures of young men and women were tacked to the panel by their throats and foreheads, smiling in the shadows.

The figure pinned the envelope to the board and stepped back to take in the room again.

The table and the switchblade.

The book of matches.

The iron rods, the hatchet, the .22 Smith & Wesson.

The smiling faces.

Now, the figure mused, watching the photographs flicker in the bloodred light. Who’s the nicest, who’s the worst, who wants to hear a story first?


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4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: well-rounded, complex, shady snark characters; SO MUCH BLOOD AND GORE I loved it!; horror that was actually horrifying; mix in a side of fairy tales for an interesting, unique tale; plot-focused novel that still manages to round out everything else; this read was intense!

Huge thanks to D. Melhoff, Bellwoods Publishing, and Worldwind Virtual Book Tours for sending me a free ecopy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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OH. MY. PENGUINS. If you’d told me, last week, that I’d be reading a book that mixed horror and fairy tales into one gruesome mess–and done so in an entertaining and awesome way–I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I’ve read a few books pegged as “horror” recently and overall been vastly disappointed, so when I picked up this book, I didn’t let my hopes get TOO high. But GOOOOOODNESS, I underestimated this read!

So let’s talk plot first this time, because oh my, this book is TOTALLY plot-centric and I absolutely adooooored that! It’s not often you find a book that’s focused on plot yet still manages to implement and introduce complex, well-rounded, awesome characters…but this book?! This book manages to make everything seamless. The plot is action-packed and SUPER intense, to boot. Like seriously, penguins–I was clenching my fists, sitting on the edge of my seat, terrified about what was still to come. And that doesn’t happen to me often these days–usually I can see where things are going and puzzle out what the major “plot twists” are. D. Melhoff? You caught me totally by surprise, SEVERAL times, and I love that you did!

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Like I said, these characters are well-rounded and complex. I really enjoyed that we also get different varying perspectives from them (the better to watch you DIE, my dear!) It brought a fun and unique twist to the story, and helped to keep the air of mystery and drama at SUPER INTENSE instead of just chugging along like some other horror novels I’ve read. I really enjoyed the way this comes full-circle in a sense, too–and that ending! That ending will just…gah. It’s bound to haunt me, just as I’m sure it’s bound to haunt that specific character. GAAAAH! GAH! I need more horror novels like THIS, okay?! So…someone recommend me some maybe?

In the end, this was a super entertaining, gruesome, intensely satisfying read and I cannot wait to see what D. Melhoff does in the future! The plot is action-packed and blood-soaked, the characters are like balls of shady snark, and the read was SO so worth it! I recommend this to lovers of horror, murder mysteries, and varying points of view. If characters actually bled, this book would be dripping red–be sure to wear an apron while reading, and remember, even fairy tales have a dark side.

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9

The Neverland Wars: Beautiful Prose, But Not Enough Plot

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The Neverland Wars

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

The Neverland Wars (Book 1)
Retellings/Fantasy/YA
302 Pages
Clean Teen Publishing
Publication Date:  May 9th, 2016
Get a copy here!

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: super descriptive, beautiful prose; not much in the way of actual story; interesting, vibrantly written characters; a lot happens, but I didn’t feel like much of anything happened; love how much we saw of the fairies; the ending was sort of abrupt and weird

Look, penguins–ANOTHER book review! Are you all proud of me for actually sitting down and getting some reading done? I haven’t finished a book in so long, and today (or, rather, today for me, which….isn’t today for you all but still), I finished off two! YAY ME!

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Unfortunately, this retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales fell a bit flat for me overall. But let’s start with first things first: the prose. Audrey Greathouse wove some gorgeous, stunning imagery throughout this read. There were many times throughout these pages I found myself in awe of the beautiful, captivating AMOUNT of detail she managed to sneak into every sentence–it was as if every one of my five senses was awakened and heightened. I was transported into this world–or, at least, into Neverland, which is where Audrey Greathouse’s imagery really pays off.

However, I felt as if–while it seems a lot happens within the course of this journey–there wasn’t really a story taking place at all. While Gwen is both captivating and entertaining as a character, she is also stuck in the midway place between child- and adulthood. This makes for an interesting and complex point of view…but also a stifled, sometimes confusing one. Gwen is struggling to come to grips with a lot of things in this book, and I felt that the action was perhaps a bit lagging to focus instead on her relationship with her little sister…and her struggles to make peace with what’s happening around her. It was a fun, enthralling read–but I don’t feel like much story was told in the end.

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The characters were vibrantly written and complex, however. The relationships explored throughout–between Peter and the lost children, Peter and the mermaids, Gwen and the mermaids… All of them helped to mold and shape my opinions of them as individuals and as a cohesive group. It was especially interesting to watch Gwen interact, as sort of a hovering outsider–someone not quite on the inside, but not on the periphery either. Her reactions and interactions were both endearing and entertaining.

In the end, this was just an okay retelling for me. The prose is gorgeous and descriptive, but I felt the story fell very flat. The characters were intriguing, though, and Neverland came to life for me in a new and exciting way. I was curious about the war between reality and Neverland they kept alluding to…but unfortunately wasn’t given as many answers in this book as I’d hoped. I’d still recommend this to lovers of Peter Pan, retellings, and dystopian/fantasies. This was a fun and complex journey; I just wish I’d enjoyed it a little bit more.

4

Alice Takes Back Wonderland: This has a Bit of a “Kingdom Hearts” Feel

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Alice Takes Back Wonderland

Goodreads Rating: 3.59 Stars
283 Pages
Publication Date: September 28th, 2015
Curiosity Quills Press Publishing
Get a copy here! (Also available on Kindle Unlimited)

After ten years of being told she can’t tell the difference between real life and a fairy tale, Alice finally stops believing in Wonderland. So when the White Rabbit shows up at her house, Alice thinks she’s going crazy.

Only when the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole does Alice realize that the magical land she visited as a child is real.

But all is not well in Wonderland.

The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. Plain is replacing wondrous, logical is replacing magical, and reason is destroying madness. Alice decides she must help the Mad Hatter and all those fighting to keep Wonderland wonderful.

But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl?

Alice must journey across the stars to unite an army. She discovers that fairy tales are real in the magical world beyond the rabbit hole. But they are not the fairy tales she knows.

Fairy tales have dangers and adventures of their own, and Alice must overcome the trials of these old stories if she wants to unite the lands against Ace.

With the help of Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and heroes old and new, Alice may have the strength to take back Wonderland.

4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: some grammatical issues/misspellings; HIGHLY entertaining; humorous and snarky; sometimes dark, always fresh and new; David D. Hammons took the fairy tales of old…and recreated them almost entirely into his own unique journey; unexpected love interest in Peter Pan?; LOVE all the pop culture references; LOVE the unique ideas

So I guess I need to send a HUGE shout-out to the lovely people over at Lit Cube for turning me on to this book in the first place; if they weren’t so dedicated to finding their subscribers awesome, lesser-known reads, I’d have NEVER known this book existed.

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Let me just get this quick note out of the way to start with: there are some grammatical issues with this book. There are some missing words in the middle of sentences, there are places I had to backtrack to see where I’d gotten confused. It is not perfect writing; it is not even necessarily “pretty” prose. BUT. The dialogue? Spot-on. The dialogue ALONE carries this book quite a ways–because snark, and sass, and pop culture references, and general awesome. Trust me, guys–the dialogue far outweighs the small grammatical quirks this book has.

 

And OH, my penguins, was this a ton of fun to read! David D. Hammons took the fairy tales we all know and love…and crafted something brilliant and wholly his own out of them. I LOVE the world-building that happens throughout this read. I love that the author took the time to sit down and actually come up with a unique, fresh way to twist and braid these stories together into one epic adventure. There’s a sort of “Kingdom Hearts” feel to this that I immediately connected with and felt drawn to (Kingdom Hearts is, after all, one of my favorite video games) The plot is filled with fun, entertainment, and humor. I laughed–HARD–throughout a good majority of this read.

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While there’s not MUCH in the way of romance, there is a hint of it between Alice and Peter–especially toward the end. This pair was snarky, sassy, and so much fun to read, I didn’t even mind how simple it seemed (then again, I have a huge soft spot for Peter, so…) The characters are all vibrant, easily recognized despite sometimes being “in costume”…and a barrel of laughs to boot! And the cast is HUGE, guys–characters such as Hercules, Paul Bunyun, and Jack the Giant Slayer all make their own special appearances, along with so many others.

 

And while, in the end, Alice does not get the ending she was expecting throughout her journey…the ending is satisfying in a way I wasn’t expecting it to be, and closes everything up pretty nicely. This adventure is quirky, light-hearted, and so very easy to slip into; the hours will pass and you’ll finish the book without even realizing what’s happened around you.

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This was a pretty awesome read overall, and I’m SO so glad that I got the chance to pick it up–though now I sort of want to play Kingdom Hearts. I might have to do that sometime soon. The snark was on point, the cast of characters is vibrant and huge, and the plot is filled with entertainment. If you’re seeking a fresh, unique retelling…this just might be the book for you!

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Bookishly Obsessed (#5)

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This is going to be a weekly post for Saturdays featuring anything “Bookish” I find myself obsessed with.  In most cases, this will be a certain type of book/read/author.  I might branch out to include covers, as well, but we’ll see.  By “obsessed”…I mean I own tons of/go out of my way to collect!

This week:

Fairytale Retellings

And no way in HECK I’m going to gather all my physical copies for pics, because there are SO.  MANY.  So I’m just going to put up the cover images instead.

Owned and Read:

Cloaked

A Kiss in Time

Beastly

Grimm Diaries Prequels (The Grimm Diaries Prequels #1-6)

Entwined

Spinning Starlight

The Glass Casket

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)

Alice in Zombieland

Mirror Mirror

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1)

Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1)

Own, but haven’t Read:

The Wicked Years (Books 2-4), by Gregory Maguire
A Mad Zombie Party (White Rabbit Chronicles #4), by Gena Showalter
Mechanica, by Betsy Cornwell
Spelled, by Betsy Schow
The Undead World of Oz, by Ryan C. Thomas
The Looking Glass Wars (Books 1-3), by Frank Beddor
A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas
Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe #1), by Rosamund Hodge
The Stepsister Scheme (Princess #1), by Jim C. Hines
Modern Wicked Fairy Tales, by Selena Kitt
Beauty , Deerskin, and Rose Daughter, by Robin McKinley
Of Beast and Beauty, by Stacey Jay
The Wicked will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2), by Danielle Paige

Sadly…this isn’t even counting the ones that I WANT to read, but don’t own yet.  I… I think I have a problem, guys.

WHY, retellings?! WHYYYYY?!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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Bookmark Monday (#13)

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BOOKMARK MONDAY
HOSTED BY:  GUILTLESS READING
DESCRIPTION: DO YOU HAVE A BOOKMARK YOU WANT TO SHARE? JUST TAKE A PHOTO AND LINK UP IN THE LINKY!

Find their latest post here!

My theme this week: Fairy Tales!


Fairy Tale Castle, by KINGkerlitz
Something about this bookmark just screams gorgeous to me!  I love everything about it.

Wood Tag Book Marks, Beautiful Bookmarks, Decoupoge Bookmark, Bookmarker, Paper Bookmark, Book Lover, Ornament, Kiss a Frog, Princess, Dream
Magic Words, by DLAbeaddesign
These are so so pretty!  I just want to stare at them.  Can I buy them and frame them for my walls?  Because I think I would.


Cinderella’s Slipper, by fripparie
If I wear this (er, I mean, dress my books with it!  of course…), will my fairy godmother arrive to grant my wish?  That would be cool.

Ribbon bookmark-Fairy tale velvet ribbon bookmark-beautiul handmade bookmark- reading tools-back to school-gifts for her-princess mirrorFairest of them All, by tonyasepulveda
I just LOVE?! that the box is shaped like a heart?!?!  I mean…subtle but awesome nod to the fairy tale.  Love!

bookmark velvet unicorn cameo vintage
Unicorn Lace, by KINGkerlitz
I mean…you can’t forget the beasties, right?!  So here’s a unicorn–one of my favorite fairy tale/mythological creatures!  The colors on this are just gorgeous.

And there you have it!  Five magical bookmarks for your page-saving needs!  Which are your favorites from this batch?  Have any bookmarks you’ve discovered recently you’d like to share with me?  Let me know below!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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A Review of Entwined, by Heather Dixon

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Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

– – – – –

Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Quick Reasons: fairy tale…but not any fairy tale you’ve ever heard before; a Phantom-esque, mysterious antagonist; gorgeous, seamless prose and story telling; a cast of intelligent, snarky, and wildly individual characters; lots of magic, mayhem, and drama

Okay, first off: this cover?! Absolutely STUNNING. The silver foil leaves not only stand out, but FIT with the story—as does the rest of this cover. I’m not one, usually, for people on covers, especially facing AWAY from the reader…but this one! This one is just so gorgeously fitting for the story, I can’t fault it. It was brilliantly executed, and I just can’t stop looking at it.

What happened?” said Clover, wetting a cloth in the basin, and dabbing Azalea’s face.

“She had a sort of fit,” said the King. “I think her underthings may be laced too tightly.”

All the girls, including Azalea, blushed brilliantly.

Sir,” said Eve. “You’re not suppose to know about the U word!”

“Am I not? Forgive me.”

So, off the cover now: this story is so intriguing and mysterious! From the beginning, readers are given almost too many questions to possibly answer. Left in the dark much like the eleven sisters (yes, you read that correctly!) readers are never quite sure what to think or where to turn with their questions. Mysterious characters like the King and the Keeper are a stark juxtaposition to warmer, more open-with-their-emotions characters. The hot and cold of the relationships, reactions, etc are enough to leave a reader’s head spinning!

Despite this, Heather Dixon has a way of weaving a relationship into it’s best (or, in some instances, it’s worst) advantage. Where one relationship slowly, stutteringly thrives and grows and turns into something wonderful, another falters, sweeps into darkness, becomes violent—the whole time leaving readers on the edge of their seats, holding their breath! I think Heather Dixon THRIVES when it comes to creating characters and relationships and making them realistic.

You cannot dance up there,” he said, quietly. “I can see you are in mourning. But you are welcome to dance here, among the magic. Please. Come and mend you broken hearts here. Come back, every night.”

The story is so artfully woven, the world practically LEAPS to life. Heather Dixon took into consideration different societal norms and regulations of the time and was sure to pay attention to the conventions of the world while still maintaining a sort of magical, fairy tale enchantment. The dialogue is honest and realistic, colloquiallisms at once being sometimes mocked and often so well-done I didn’t notice them. And yet, Heather Dixon ALSO went out of her way to make this NOT the typical fairy tale we all know and love—by warping certain standards and outright breaking others.

I will say it took me about forty pages to TRULY get invested in the story and characters; up til that point, this seemed to be falling a bit flat. But once I really settled in for the read, the words leapt off the page and the fast-paced, enchanting, and at times whimsical story cloaked itself around me, dragging me deeper and deeper into the book. This was a quick, thrilling read, and I adore the many ways Heather Dixon played with and explored what “fairy tale” should be. Also, the character growth and the discovery of self—the coming of age journey—was subtle and brilliantly done.

He’s around the twist,’ said Azalea. ‘Breaking all the windows? He’s mad.’

‘Ah, no,’ said the King. ‘It’s only madness if you actually do it. If you want to break all the windows in the house and drown yourself in a bucket but don’t actually do it, well, that’s love.”

I absolutely ADORED this read, and will definitely be seeking out more of Heather Dixon’s work in the future! I’d recommend this to lovers of fairy tales, magical realism with dark undertones, and (just possibly) day dreamers of all ages. This whimsical read is one I’m glad not to have missed!