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My Lady Jane: Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just a Little HO(A)RSE

bookreview

My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies, #1)My Lady Jane
(The Lady Janies #1)
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
491 Pages
Historical / Fantasy / Young Adult / Romance
HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

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4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: super entertaining; these characters are vibrantly different and yet still familiar; the humor in this is SPOT ON; LOVED the narrators, they helped to both bridge the gap and break the wall down; intriguing, unique premise to the “magical” aspects

If I could brew snark and put a stopper in satire, this book would be at the tippity top of my favorites list. Seriously, the level of personality JUST in the narrators alone was consistently sending me into fits of giggles. They (the narrators, not the giggle fits) helped to both bridge the gap between reader and characters…and also, somehow, build up the wall at the same time? I’m not sure if that even makes sense as an explanation. While they were fairly transparent with their chronicling of the events, they also made it very apparent how unreliable they could be. By this, I mean they often led us, the readers, onto hidden and treacherous paths toward what we thought, at the time, was disappointment…only to totally change directions halfway through and surprise us entirely. Basically, this whole journey was a mess of chaos, scattered thoughts, and pitter-pattery heartbeats–and I adored every single moment!

 

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The characters are also just as vibrantly written, with their own distinct flairs and personalities. I found myself falling in love with and then loathing them each in turn, though for varying reasons (some of which are due to those pesky flighty romance butterflies. Seriously, this is a roMESS from start to finish!) While each character is uniquely written, they also (at least, in certain instances) maintain a semblance of the real-life historical figures they’re based upon. This both entertained me throughout, and made placing the characters/their relationships to each other slightly easier in the middle of the messiest bits. (Don’t worry, Penguins–mess is a good thing in this instance!)

 

This plot is fast-paced and filled with the type of satirical snark I’ve been DYING to read for ages now, but have been unable to find of late. There were so many moments I found myself piecing things together only to laugh out loud at the brilliance behind the implications (the play on horse and steed, especially, was almost too much for my poor ribs!) While it is obvious this isn’t true to actual historical events (or, at least, such events have been altered to better fit the magic of this world) I really enjoyed the creativity and fun that the authors brought to this tale.
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I am just SO glad I made time for this book this month–I should have read it eons ago, honestly! The characters are witty and vibrant, the satirical snark is top-notch, and the plot is super entertaining. I recommend this to lovers of historical satires, delicious word-play, and journeys that quite literally RETELL history! Breathe deeply, Penguins; what beastly form will you take when the light flares?

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Star-Crossed in Romeo and Juliet: This Verona is Full of Strife and… Pizza Sauce?!

bookreview

 

Fakespeare: Starcrossed in Romeo and JulietStar-Crossed in Romeo and Juliet
(Fakespeare, #1)
by M.E. Castle

280 Pages
Middle-grade / Children’s / Retellings
Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group /
Imprint Publishing
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Three kids get lost inside Shakespeare’s book and must help Romeo and Juliet finish their story in order to return home in this silly middle school series!

Dear Reader, 

You are reading this because you expressed interest in the Get Lost Book Club. 

Are you ready to embark on a journey to Italy, where you’ll find yourself right in the middle of a major feud between two rival pizza-making families: the Montagues and the Capulets? A swordsman and perfumer will hunt you. There will be disguises, fake pizza, and tomato fights (make sure to duck!). You must help Becca, her stepbrother Sam, and her dog Rufus convince Romeo Montague to ask Juliet Capulet on a date, or you will all be stuck in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet forever! 

Intrigued? Worried? Downright terrified? You should be. But if you’re ready for an adventure, step right up and follow me. It’s time to get lost.

Sincerely,

The Narrator

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4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: this was, throughout, laugh out loud hilarious; I LOVE the new “spins” that M.E. Castle put on this classic; the morals and lessons are whimsical, witty, and well-done; the nods to the original play were woven in to this story brilliantly

HUGE thanks to M.E. Castle and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/Imprint Publishing for sending me a gorgeous hardcover copy 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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Okay, Penguins. Here’s what’s going to happen next: I’m going to FREAK THE FRACK OUT about this hilarious, awesome book…and then you’re going to drop everything you’re doing for the next few hours and go read it! Trust me, the time is well worth it, and passes in a fit of rib-cracking laughter and manic cackling that’s bound to make your (insert family, roommate, lover, children, pet, wallpaper, violent pink flamingo, etc. here) wonder just what it is you’re up to. Which is GOOD, because that means more Penguins wanting to pick this book up, and that means my army will grow even bigger! Yes. This is such a great plan, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner!

 

This book is, as I mentioned a time or two earlier, absolutely gut-bustingly hilarious! Within a page, I was giggling (very obnoxiously, might I add). From the very get go, this book sucked me into the story–almost as literally as the book in the book that eats the main characters, in fact! (Wow, that was a mouthful of a sentence! Let’s not do that again.) The action begins almost immediately upon landing in Verona, though we quickly learn that things are not QUITE like the original play led us to believe. This retelling was super inventive, with some genius spins on the “tragedy” that kept this read perfectly acceptable for young hearts and minds. I really appreciated the amount of humor M.E. Castle put into this, while still maintaining the bigger plot points from Shakespeare’s star-crossed tale of woe.

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The morals and lessons woven throughout the journey–about bullying, and family, and self-love/self-acceptance, and so many other delicious things!–were well-handled and portrayed in a light that made them both entertainingly humorous and super easy to understand. This is such a great book to lead mid-grade readers to, both for the morals AND for the introduction to Shakespeare. While the prose is much less complex (and much easier to understand!) than Shakespeare’s tragedy, the main story is still mostly there–just minus the actual TRAGEDY of the, uh, tragedy.

 

I had an absolute BLAST blasting my way through this retelling, and cannot wait to pick up the next book in this series (and YAY me, I already own it!) These characters are entertaining and set on a path of growth/acceptance; the prose is humorous and enlightening; and the new spins on an old tragedy both made this read unique and were laugh-out-loud hilarious. I definitely recommend this to lovers of middle-grade novels, those seeking a less intimidating introduction to The Bard, and readers who love humor and word play. Be careful when touching this book, Penguins; it just might eat you while your back is turned!

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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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Lady of Sherwood promoLady of Sherwood Teaser 1

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.

Lady of Sherwood Teaser 3

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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Lady of Sherwood Teaser 4Lady of Sherwood Teaser 5

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Blog Tour, Giveaways, and Review: Cry Wolf

 

Cry Wolf
Greta Stone
Publication date: March 1st 2017
Genres: Gothic, New Adult, Paranormal Romance

Peter is a kitsune. Chaos follows him wherever he goes. Good intentions, bad intentions—it doesn’t matter. Even mimicking the howl of a friend he hasn’t seen in over a decade turns out to have disastrous consequences.

The wolf doesn’t have a name. For now, he goes by Luca. He has no past, and as an escaped slave, if he can’t stay hidden in the shadows, he’ll have no future. When someone steals his howl, he’s drawn to investigate, and ends up saddled with a mouthy fox who insists they used to be friends once upon a time.

Petty problems and a dubious reunion are pushed aside the longer they’re stranded together. The Underwood is a dangerous place.

They have two choices: work together or die.

Join Greta Stone in a dark paranormal MM romance retelling of Aesop’s fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and David P. Mannix’s classic novel, The Fox and the Hound.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Author Bio:

Greta is the unruly offspring of a tiger and a dragon. She spends most of her time reading, stalking her favorite musicians, and harassing other authors with pranks.

Underwood District Series (MM Romance/UF)

Cry Wolf – Book 1

Cry Wolf: Mating Season – Book 1.5

Take a Tour of New Gotham: http://www.brimstonepub.com

Sign up for GRETA STONE’S MAILING LIST and receive access to a bonus adventure featuring Peter and Luca.(Their fates might be changed forever.)

Copy and paste to join my newsletter: tinyurl.com/l99rh6m

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Newsletter

 

GIVEAWAYS!

eBook giveaways:

The first 5 people to comment on ANY tour post (given on each day) will automatically win a free e-book copy of Cry Wolf. Greta will keep tally and submit prizes at the end of each tour day.

Take a trip to New Gotham!

A paid vacation to New Gotham is an expensive affair. I found a witch who specializes in crafting gatestones. These magical pendants are used for traveling between dimensions. The bauble offered as a contest prize should take the winner to Avaline’s Trees. Keep in mind, gatestones are touchy things. It might not do anything at all. Or you might up in oblivion. Good luck with that. We’ll read about it in the papers, no doubt.

Elderstone Keys – What’s the big deal?

There is a house in New Gotham that is rumored to be haunted. No one has lived in it since the Great Depression, and no one can recall what its last occupants looked like, what they did for a living or where they went. Only one is fated to enter and learn its secrets. Anytime I host a contest, I give away keys to Elderstone. The person who collects ten of them is fated to own the house. Among their keys, they’ll have the mystical key that opens the door. (More information)

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bookreview

3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: intriguing, entertaining takes on some well-known classics; vibrantly written, well-rounded characters; some awkward writing and grammatical mistakes; adorable, stubborn romance; whimsical, but a bit meandering plot-wise

Huge thanks to Greta Stone, Skeleton Key Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

CW Quote1

So, okay. This was definitely an entertaining, intriguing read! The characters are vibrantly written and complex, each with their own defined struggles and inner demons. I really enjoyed being pulled along for this journey with Luca and Peter; their individual arcs and growths are only intensified when woven together, and I adored watching the transformation take place!

There’s a lot of the “oral narrative” vibe happening in this read, which I also really love. This being said, though, it felt as if the plot was a bit more meandering than anything. While there IS a story happening here, it seems to take place more in the background; we are, instead, at the whims of the characters, following blindly where they lead–which is in a lot of different directions at times. While this type of story-telling works for some journeys, I don’t feel it really did THIS journey much justice.

CW Quote2

The romance was slow-building but so super steamy, I was impatient for them to get past the walls entrapping them and just kiss already! And penguins, the fireworks when the walls finally got torn down?! I thought my kindle might go up in flames in my hands! It was a believable, endearing romance, and I loved watching them interact with and react to each other–and the world around them. There were, throughout, some awkward grammatical moments and missing words…but I was so caught up in the romance, I didn’t even care. Honestly, I was ALL ABOUT the love between these two.

This was a fascinating, whimsical read, and I adored every minute of the journey! The characters were vibrantly portrayed, the romance was believable and easy to root for, and the whole read had an air of the oral narrative to it. I definitely recommend this to lovers of the fantastical, to seekers of complex character arcs, and to those who adore whimsy. In this forest, the trees are purple and love abounds; step outside, won’t you?

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Netherfield Prep: There’s More to This than Pride and Prejudice

bookreview

Netherfield Prep

YA / Retellings / Romance / Contemporary
580 Pages
Sleeping Dragon Books
Publication Date:  April 6th, 2017
Get a copy here!

 

A modern reimagining of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

When Lily Brewer’s mum dies, she’s shipped to the other side of the world to her step-sisters’ pompous English boarding school, Netherfield.

There, she meets Austin Cooper. Arrogant as hell but with abs to die for, Austin soon becomes the bane of her existence.

His twin brother, Jax, is the complete opposite. Kind and sweet, Jax soon strikes up a thing with Lily’s roommate, Anne.

Austin, though seems keen to keep them apart.

Will pride and prejudice ruin them all?

Or, will love win the day?

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4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: P&P Retelling for the win!; I mean really, do I need any other reason to adore this?!; the characters are superbly individualized, with enough hints at the original to keep them straight in my mind; lovelovelove the modern day boarding school setting; a lot of weird comma usage?

Huge thanks to Elizabeth Stevens and Sleeping Dragon Books for sending me a free digital galley 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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Be still, MY beating heart! I know what you’re all thinking. “Really, Beth?! ANOTHER P&P retelling?! Haven’t you read enough of those yet?!?!?!?!” And the answer is….NEVER. I can never ever ever read enough P&P retellings for it to get old, so….get used to it and suck it up, beakers. You’ll be seeing a lot more of them to come; they’re here to stay! They’ve lugged their many suitcases out of the car, dragged them up the stairs, and perched themselves on my shelves –both the physical and the digital ones– in pretty little rows. They’re not going anywhere…except maybe to work with me, tucked into my purse.

That being said. Elizabeth Stevens brought a hint of the new along with the classic in this modern-day retelling, and I absolutely ADORED every step of the journey! The characters have all been given different names. The relationships in a lot of instances have been changed–for instance, not all of the Bennet sisters are ACTUAL sisters in this version. I adored how out of the box and creative Elizabeth Stevens decided to be with these characters; she gave them all such vibrant, loud personalities, while still maintaining the integrity of the original characters. It was both a refreshing change and a beautiful nod to the original content, I’m super impressed.

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There was, throughout, a weird issue with commas in random or wrong places that sort of broke me out of suspended disbelief…but these were such minor and easy to forget issues, I didn’t have trouble quickly falling back into the story and following the flow of the plot. In fact, I got rather used to the awkward comma placement, and learned how to ignore it whenever they popped up. The plot, the characters, and the entertainment were more than enough to make up for such a small grammatical problem, it didn’t subtract from my enjoyment of the read at all!

This was a super adorable, entertaining, modern-day P&P retelling and I will be on the lookout for more of Elizabeth Stevens’ works in the coming future. The characters are vibrantly written and imbued with their own unique quirks…while still maintaining enough of the original characters for readers to tell who’s meant to be whom. I definitely recommend this to lovers of Pride and Prejudice, boarding school romances, and bad-boys turned “good.” Don’t pass this ball down the field, penguins; run with it and score!

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Book Blitz, Excerpt, Teasers, Playlist, and Giveaway: Ensnared

 

Ensnared
by Rita Stradling
Publication date: May 23rd 2017
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

A Near Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

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Playlist:

Ensnared - Rita Stradling - Promo 3.jpg

EXCERPT:

December 2, 2026

Alainn woke knowing someone was in her room.

Whoever it was sat behind her. Quiet, even breaths rasped through the air. Alainn’s eyelids peeked open. Moonlight cast a grayish glow, cutting deep shadows into the space around her bed.

“Good morning, Alainn,” Rose said in a quiet voice. When Alainn didn’t respond, Rose said, “I can tell from the change in your breathing pattern that you are awake.”

“Rose?” she whispered, not quite ready to let out a sigh of relief. Alainn twisted to look at her. “What are you doing here? Did you break my lock?”

“I picked it,” she said. “It is now locked again.”

“Oh, uh—” Her heart pounded in her chest; she sat up and faced the robot. “Why—why would you do that?”

The moonlight lit half of Rose’s face as she watched Alainn, expressionless. “Do not be alarmed. You are obviously having a fear reaction, but I was simply waiting for you to wake up.”

“Don’t you need to sleep—recharge?”

Now that Alainn faced Rose, she smelled the faint odor of her exhaust. Rose continuously exhaled the lightest tang of something sweet and acidic. The air in the room felt used, like a plane cabin after a cross-country flight.

“I was not completely forthcoming with you today. While what I said was true, I have for a time now believed that having Father imprisoned would impede my potential. While I have far surpassed his skills in software, there are times when I need assistance. I am limited by my need to stay near my charging station. Your brother is often absent for days at a time—and you, months.”

“Okay, wait—you’re going to go tomorrow?” Alainn scooted forward on the bed. A dormant hope resurged through her. Alainn would do anything—she’d worship at the robot’s feet if Rose agreed to go.

“No, you are going to go tomorrow.”

Alainn froze, staring at Rose. “What?” she whispered.

“I have calculated one way in which all parties can achieve their desires.”

“I’m sorry—I’m not understanding.” Alainn shook her head. A hard knot formed in her stomach.

“I am not surprised.” Rose reached out to pat Alainn’s hand. “You are not as intelligent as the rest of your family.”

“Spell it out in really simple terms, then.” She just managed to not growl the words at Rose.

Slowly, Rose looked up to the ceiling, moonlight slashing up the curve of her neck, her chin, and the line of her nose. “Earlier tonight, I arranged for you to be picked up by Mr. Garbhan through e-mail, writing as if I was Father. In one hour, a car will arrive outside to take you to his building. I have designed and created hardware for your body. If you are scanned, a chip in the hardware will communicate to the scanners that you have an organic circuitry system rather than a human brain.”

Alainn shook her head, hoping to dislodge some of the grogginess there. “I’m still not following—you’re saying you want me to pretend to be you and turn myself over? That you already arranged it?”

“Yes, you are following. That is exactly what I am saying.”

“I—I—” Alainn shook her head again. The air thinned around her.

“I have a working plan for the transplanting. You can assimilate easily into a life of servitude as you are already accustomed to the labor you will be asked to perform.” Rose lifted a hand, ghostly gray in the low light, and ticked off the chores on her fingers. “Cooking, housekeeping, and bookkeeping. Unless . . . is your concern that he might use you for sexual gratification?”

“What? No.”

“I believe that this would be a particular concern of yours.”

“I never even considered that he would do that to you—I, of all people, would never have tried to push you into going if I thought you’d be used that way.” Alainn blinked furiously. “Rose, do you really think that I would have let myself be the model when my

dad printed your face and body if I thought Mr. Garbhan was going to do that to you?”

“It is highly unlikely that I was designed for this function. I have also been assured that there were documents signed to that effect addressed to Father.”

Alainn held out her palms to Rose. “Rose, it’s not just that. I can’t take your place. There’s no way that would work . . . and I can’t live in that tower for the rest of my life. I’m a human. I know that probably sounds callous to you, but you were created to not need sunshine and fresh air. And you don’t need exercise. Humans need those things, me especially. Everything I am,” she touched her chest, “is centered on being in the outdoors.”

“The duration will be seven to fourteen days, no longer.” Her head swung down, causing shadows to swallow her eyes. Two black hollows focused on Alainn. “When Mr. Garbhan pays Father, he and I will make the Rosette model; this process should only take a week, unless there are complications. And then I will devise a way to switch you with the new model.”

 

Author Bio:

Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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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

Beautiful sexy woman in elegant dress fashionable autumn Collection of spring long brunette hair makeup tanned slim body figure accessories interior luxury castle gold monogram baroque palace of QueenBeautiful sexy woman in elegant dress fashionable autumn Collection of spring long brunette hair makeup tanned slim body figure accessories interior luxury castle gold monogram baroque palace of QueenNow Available

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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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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Illusionary

 

illusionaryIllusionary
by Desiree Williams
Publication date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Dorothy got sucked into a tornado.

Alice fell down a hole.

Wendy flew to Neverland.

Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.

Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.

Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.

No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by
helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.

Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than
she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.

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desireeAuthor Bio:

Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.

You can find out more about Desiree and her books at
http://www.desireewilliamsbooks.com

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Book Blitz, Excerpt, Teasers, and Giveaway: Don’t Speak

 

dontspeakDon’t Speak (A Modern Fairytale)
by Katy Regnery
Publication date: February 27th, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

From  New York Times bestseller Katy Regnery comes a new twist on a beloved
fairytale.

A fisherman’s daughter.

The governor’s son.

Two very different worlds.

In this modern retelling of The Little Mermaid, a fisherman’s daughter from an
Outer Banks island untouched by time, meets the son of North Carolina’s governor at a fancy party where she’s working.

Laire, who wants so much more from life than her little island can offer, is swept
away by wealthy, sophisticated Erik, who is, in turn, entranced by her naiveté and
charm. The two spend a whirlwind summer together that ends on the knife-point of
heartbreak and forces them to go their separate ways.

Years later, when fate leads them back to one another, they will discover the
terrifying depth of the secrets they kept from each other, and learn that shattered hearts can only be healed by a love that willfully refuses to die.

All novels Katy Regnery’s ~a modern fairytale~ collection are written as fundraisers.
10% of the e-book sales for in March and April 2017 will be donated to P.E.O.
International, a non-profit organization that celebrates the advancement of women,
awards scholarships and grants, and provides motivation for women to make their
dreams come true.

**Contemporary Romance. Due to profanity, adult themes and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.**

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Don’t Speak is part of the ~a modern fairytale~ collection, which includes six standalone, completely unrelated novels inspired by beloved fairy tales:

The Vixen and the Vet (Beauty & the Beast) – available now

Never Let You Go (Hansel & Gretel) – available now

Ginger’s Heart (Little Red Riding Hood) – available now

Dark Sexy Knight (Camelot) – available now

Don’t Speak (The Little Mermaid) – available soon

Swan Song (The Ugly Duckling) – available late-2017

Love my fairytales? I’m always open to suggestions! E-mail me your favorite and
maybe I’ll reimagine it for you!

blank paper with pencil and compass on sea-shells background

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dontyouseeandnowwhereveryougo

EXCERPT:

“Hey!”

She heard his voice before she saw him.

Had she known the ultimate cost of that simple glance heavenward, maybe she
wouldn’t have stopped. Maybe she would have just kept on walking with her head down. But fate held no warnings for Laire Maiden Cornish.

Shielding her eyes, she looked up at a deck wrapped around the second floor of the
mansion, waiting a moment for her eyes to adjust as he came into view.

There, in the glittering sunlight . . . a boy.

No, a man.

A young man, a little older than she, tall and muscular, with jet-black hair and a
square jaw, dark brown eyes, and a deep tan. He wore a robin’s-egg blue bathing suit
with Kelly green palm fronds in a small repeat and a pair of sunglasses buried in his
thick hair. In one hand, he held a phone up to his ear, and in the other, he slowly swirled a glass filled with ice and clear liquid. He stared out at the sound, concentrating on his call.

“Hey!” he yelled. “Can you hear me now?” He huffed with annoyance, pulling the
phone away from his ear and squinting at it before trying again. “Pete? It’s Erik. Can you hear me?” He set the glass down on the balcony’s wooden railing and gave his phone his full attention. Staring down at it, he muttered, “Shit. No reception.”

It’s Erik.

Erik.

His name is Erik.

Feeling a sharp burn in her lungs, Laire realized she’d been holding her breath and
sucked in a huge gulp of air as she stared up at him, frozen in the moment, utterly
mesmerized.

She had never seen a more perfect, more handsome person in her entire life.

The sun glinted off his dark hair and wrapped his body in gold, making him appear
godlike so very far above her. Were she the type to swoon, Laire imagined she would
have been a puddle of goopy longing on the ground below him, content to sacrifice her
pride for a glimpse at his beauty.

haveherkisstheboy2beautifulgirl

 

katyAuthor Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013.

Twenty-five books later, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled, New York Times and USA Today Blueberry Lane Series, which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story, and Ambler families of Philadelphia; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern
fairytale~ series; and several other standalone novels and novellas.

Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a
RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set,
The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Today bestseller list in 2015,
and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s Blueberry Lane collection, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1-4, became a New York Times E-book bestseller.

In 2016, Katy signed a print-only agreement with Spencerhill Press. As a result, her
Blueberry Lane paperback books will now be distributed to brick and mortar bookstores all over the United States.

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her
writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs,
and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

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