Review of These Wicked Revels by Lidiya Foxglove

These Wicked Revels
Fairy Tale Heat 2
By Lidiya Foxglove

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance
Number of Pages: 155

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Princess Evaline

I should not be so intrigued by the King of the Revels’ wicked promise. I should not wish to abandon my family and remain in this faery land of song and dance forever. But it was a temptation, when in my own homeland of Torina, my pious mother forbids me from my beloved music and dancing…much less dancing with beautiful men.

But do I love the King of the Revels enough to belong to him?

Will

I haven’t been the same man since the King of Torina sent me to fight in his pointless, bloody war. I came home with a limp and bad memories of my friends dying in my arms, but now the king has offered Princess Evaline’s hand to anyone who can figure out why her slippers are worn out in the morning. I accepted out of revenge. But as soon as I saw her, I knew I wanted to capture her heart fair and square. First, I’ll have get past the King of the Revels…

These Wicked Revels is a standalone fairy tale retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses for those who like an unabashedly adorable happily ever after with a side of serious steaminess! (Even the trees are naughty in this one. You’ve been warned.)

Review:
I’m torn. I did love the novel, but I had at one point hoped, wished, and prayed that Evaline would make quite a different decision.

The characters were so well developed in this novel. The reasons Evaline wanted to go where she can dance are understandable, and make one hope she can remain free forever. Will, on the other hand, is equally well developed, though in another way entirely. While Evaline may be an innocent, not understanding or taking part in important kingdom wide events, Will has lived a full life of service, and understands what would make a kingdom run better. I’ve never read a story that had such depth of a character, and such an amazing roundabout way of bringing it all together in the end.

The sexual tension runs high in this book, and I believe the scenes are written fairly well.

 

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Lidiya Foxglove likes her fairy tales to be very naughty indeed. She grew up on a steady diet of fairy tales, folklore and fantasy and loves the swoon-worthy romance and happily ever afters, but thinks the best fairy tales also have the thrill of forbidden desires. If she’s not writing, she’s probably reading. Come hang out with her on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/Lidiya-Foxglove-1702249670069437/
Contact: lidiyafoxglove@lidiyafoxglove.com

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Review of Beauty and the Goblin King by Lidiya Foxglove

Beauty and the Goblin King
Fairy Tale Heat 1
By Lidiya Foxglove

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance
Number of Pages: 152

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Maybe I was the girl Clara didn’t want me to be. Here I was, with the goblin king, and I didn’t want him to stop.

For the past ten years, the Goblin King has stayed locked away in his caverns. He only opens his doors for one purpose: he will give one gold coin for every night a girl is willing to spend with him. Despite his fearsome reputation, his fangs and claws, the girls come back safe and sound, and they never say a word about it. One must be very desperate to accept such an offer…or very curious. Well, everyone says curiosity has always been my downfall. Too clever for a girl so beautiful.

Now my family is on the brink of losing everything. My sister Clara knows the goblin king’s story has always intrigued me, and she’s willing to sacrifice me to get her hands on his money. But I finally have the chance to sate my curiosity.

What will I find when I get there? A man who is cruelly cursed, haunted by a past misdeed? Or the man who will unlock all of my secret desires?

It has been a long time since the Goblin King trusted anyone, but if he is willing to trust me, I might be able to save him and his people. But the witch who cursed him is close at hand, and she doesn’t play fair.

Beauty and the Goblin King is a fairy tale retelling for those who like an adorable happily ever after with a side of serious steaminess!

Review:
Beauty and the Beast is known to be my favourite fairy tale, so I was interested how this would pan out with a goblin beast. I quite enjoyed him. I thought he was well developed, and that you could tell what he had learned from his experiences.  HOWEVER, our protagonist seemed undeveloped and seems to suffer from love at first… intimacy.

If the relationship between the Beast and the protagonist had been drawn out a bit more instead of her instantly wanting to help him and stay with him, it would have been a bit more believable. Minus that, I still found the story rather enjoyable, though the female protagonist leaves a lot to be desired.

I did read more of this author later, and will say I believe her writing and storytelling quite improved.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Lidiya Foxglove likes her fairy tales to be very naughty indeed. She grew up on a steady diet of fairy tales, folklore and fantasy and loves the swoon-worthy romance and happily ever afters, but thinks the best fairy tales also have the thrill of forbidden desires. If she’s not writing, she’s probably reading. Come hang out with her on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/Lidiya-Foxglove-1702249670069437/
Contact: lidiyafoxglove@lidiyafoxglove.com

Review of The Princess and the Pea by A. G. Marshall

The Princess and the Pea
Fairy Tale Adventures 1
By A. G. Marshall

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 334

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
True worth can only be measured by the heart…     

After a century of bloodshed leads his family to the throne, Prince Alaric of Aeonia will do anything to preserve peace and protect his people. He knows only one way to prevent further conflict and refute the enemies questioning his bloodline: marriage. Torn between his duty to his country and his own happiness, Alaric calls for a Princess Test. This ancient matchmaking tradition will silence his critics and protect his future with a wife of noble birth, but…

Perhaps not all the girls are noble after all.

Over a century has passed since Evangelina Shadow-Storm accepted the cold embrace of enchanted sleep to seal away the goblin hordes. But the seal binds them no longer. Forced to face the goblins without her family or weapons, Lina seeks the aid of the Council of Kings by pretending she’s a princess. But the only way to claim such a status is to prove her worth in the one tradition that survived her slumber: the Princess Test.

Review:
This book was masterfully done. It is a fairy tale wrapped in a fairy tale of the world you’re reading about. No matter what you think of the original fairy tale, forget it, and give this one a read. From the beginning the reader is completely brought into the world, uncertain what is happening, but feeling very deeply for the protagonist.

As with any story of contending for a prince’s hand in marriage, there are the women we care about, as well as the people that no one can stand. The princesses are well developed and even those we dislike have good reasoning for acting as they do. Of course, like any fairy tale, not everyone is as they seem.

I enjoy the way in which the story within the novel had evolved through time, with misunderstandings and uncertainties. Reduced to a fairy tale, it takes a strong heroine to step up and force her way in to try to keep her kingdom safe.

I definitely recommend this book, and look forward to reading more by the author.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
A.G. Marshall loves fairy tales and has been writing stories since she could hold a pencil. She is a professional pianist and perfected her storytelling by writing college papers about music (which is more similar to magic than you might think).

She fills each book she writes with magic, adventure, clean romance, humor and other random things she loves. Her stories are designed to sweep you away to magical places and make you laugh on the journey.

Get the exclusive short story “Gemstones and Gremlins” for free by joining her newsletter at: http://www.angelagmarshall.com/email-signup

And be sure to check out all the other free bonus content on her website!
http://www.angelagmarshall.com/freebies

Review of Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond

Girl in the Shadows

Cirque American
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: YA Fantasy
Number of Pages: 380

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Eighteen-year-old Moira Mitchell grew up in the shadows of Vegas’s stage lights while her father’s career as a magician soared. More than anything, Moira wants to be a magician too, but her father is dead set against her pursuing magic.

When an invitation to join the Cirque American mistakenly falls into Moira’s possession, she takes action. Instead of giving the highly coveted invitation to its intended recipient, Raleigh, her father’s handsome and worldly former apprentice, Moira takes off to join the Cirque. If she can perform alongside its world-famous acts, she knows she’ll be able to convince her dad that magic is her future.

But when Moira arrives, things take on an intensity she can’t control as her stage magic suddenly feels like…real magic. To further distract her, Raleigh shows up none too pleased at Moira’s presence, all while the Cirque’s cocky and intriguing knife thrower, Dez, seems to have it out for her. As tensions mount and Moira’s abilities come into question, she must decide what’s real and what’s an illusion. If she doesn’t sort it out in time, she may forever remain a girl in the shadows.

Review:
I was really excited when I found this book, since I had quite liked Girl on a Wire. While I didn’t hate this book, it wasn’t as amazing as the first in the series. Moira is a likeable protagonist and seems to have a solid plan in place to secure her future in the magic business. While Raleigh appears totally capable and ready to look out for her, given that she doesn’t try to take over his stage, she seems far too easily smitten with Dez.

Dez is too undeveloped, and it’s hard to like him or his connection with Moira, even when you realize just how much is on the line. I found this book a little too two dimensional and the females were too powerless. For the type of energy supposedly there, much of the book seems to be a damsel in distress story, which is the opposite of what the first book in the series was.

Nonetheless, I would read another book if it came out, and do like this author.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Gwenda Bond writes YA and children’s fiction. Her novels include the Lois Lane series (Fallout, Double Down), which bring the iconic comic book character front and center in her own YA novels, and the Cirque American series (Girl on a Wire, Girl Over Paris, Girl in the Shadows), about daredevil heroines who discover magic and mystery lurking under the big top. She and her husband author Christopher Rowe will launch a middle grade series, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service, in 2017, and Lois Lane: Triple Threat will be released.

Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Publishers Weekly, Locus Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. She has an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and their unruly pets. There are rumors she escaped from a screwball comedy, and she might have a journalism degree because of her childhood love of Lois Lane. She writes a weekly letter you can sign up for at http://www.tinyletter.com/gwenda. Visit her online at http://www.gwendabond.com or @gwenda on Twitter.

Review of The Magician’s Diary by C. J. Archer

The Magician’s Diary
Glass and Steele Book 4
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Gaslamp Fantasy
Number of Pages: 338

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
India and Matt thought all their problems would come to an end once they found Chronos. But the watch magician brings with him as many questions as answers, and a load of trouble. To fix Matt’s magic watch, they must find an old diary that once belonged to a doctor magician murdered decades ago. The hunt drags them into a sordid mystery involving two of London’s craft guilds. With old and new enemies determined to stop them, and long-held secrets unearthed, Matt and India must work together better than ever.

But as the reason for India’s strangely strong magic is revealed, she wants to draw other magicians into the open, while Matt wants to hide magic to keep her safe.

Her plan backfires. His plan shatters. And danger comes to their door.

Review:
Finally, the search is over, and Chronos is discovered, throwing everyone for a lop. While Matt and India end up working continually in close proximity, it becomes harder and harder for them to deny there may be something between them. Seeing Matt and India go through so much together, with interviews, and dealing with friends and family, it is almost silly how uncertain she seems of his intentions. Nevertheless, there is surely going to be more turmoil to face in the future. His family is becoming more easily to hate with every book, and it is my hope that their stupidity doesn’t cause his eternal unhappiness.

C. J. Archer is such a great, wonderful person on top of being a great author.  She has a fan group on Facebook, CJ Archer’s Ministry of Fans, where people who like her books can talk about them, and Ms. Archer interacts with her fans frequently (which makes her even more endearing).  If you are like me and adore her books, join the group and chat with like minded individuals.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of A Witch’s Rite by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Rite
Book 5 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 278
Season Read: Fall
Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Michelle is getting used to her new life, one with clans, parents, a loving grandmother, and a boyfriend. But her old responsibilities are still around. The police still need her help, and balancing all her obligations is becoming more difficult, but police cases won’t wait for anyone, and when the police call, she has to answer.It starts out like any other case. Suspicious magic has been reported, and the police need Michelle to help them check it out. When it turns out that the magic is deep in the Cohutta Wilderness Area, Michelle asks Elron to accompany her. It isn’t long before she’s learning just how much she doesn’t know about the woods.When that small problem turns into a really big problem, spells are flying, danger is everywhere, and only one question remains. Will they escape alive?

Review:
This story, slightly longer than the last, was absolutely brilliant. There were many points where the reader would be left uncertain of what may happen, which is always the best type of book to read. As Michelle and Elron continue to grow their relationship they are forced to realize that while together they are strong, they each have their own advantages and need to work together when obstacles arise. There wasn’t an overabundance of unnecessary descriptions, and everything flowed quite well.

Of course, at the end, all you can want is… more!

61P034pMUPL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
I live in North Georgia with my dog and a mountain of books. We sweat through the summer and freeze through the winter. Life as we know it comes to an end when so much as a single snowflake falls out of the sky.

For fun, I play with my dog, read, knit, crochet, paint, tie-dye, and do origami. I make a great pizza. I’m negotiating with my roommate over sea monkeys and working on a vegetable garden.

Black tea and water are my favorite beverages. I’m a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Arrow.  A few of my favorite authors are Ann Bishop, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Tamora Pierce, Raymond E. Feist, and Christine Feehan.

Also check out N. E. Conneely’s Amazon page.

Review of Twisted: Flipped Fairy Tales

Twisted: Flipped Fairy Tales
By Various Authors

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retellings

Synopsis: A compilation of fairy tales that end differently than we’re used to.

Review:
Turns out this book is no longer available on Amazon. I debated whether or not that means I should leave as detailed a review, but decided that I should at least give every story in the compilation some sort of mention, as originally intended.

Little Red- May Sage
This was a rather hard story to get into. The landscape was constantly changing between the fairy tale type world we know and modern day. There were carriages, yet cell phones. While there was definitely sex appeal, the story bared little resemblance to the original it was based upon. The “red” tie in was nice, and I didn’t necessarily mind the ending. Overall I’d say this ranked 3/5.

Rumpelstiltskin- Vivenne Savage
I love this book. I’ve been finding more and more that while my love for Beauty and the Beast has always shone bright, my love for Rumpelstiltskin (well, retellings, anyway) is a close second. This story has everything: retribution, love, sacrifice, and learning to be a better person. I definitely recommend seeking this story out, as I think it’s work buying and reading on its own.  5/5, easily.

It seems this one is going to be out for individual purchase December first, under a different title. You can get to it by the link here.

Stepbrother- Erin Bedford
This one confused me. It took me quite a while into the story to figure out which fairy tale this was supposed to represent. The connection is minuscule at best between this story and a fairy tale. While the world was decent, and the connection between the main characters was spot on, I think it would be better marketed as its own story, instead of claiming fairy tale retelling status. I did like the ending, but overall the world and what was going on in it seemed quite different than anything fairytale-esque. If you’re looking for vampires, here’s one you might like. 3/5.

Of Bones and Ashes- Nicole Zoltack
A story from a villain’s point of view. This story… was quite different from anything I’ve ever read about the fairy tale it takes place in. I wasn’t sure I would like it, because at the beginning it seems so certain that the narrator is actually the one in the wrong, though we quickly learn how untrue that may be. A back story unlike any other, if you like things a bit dark and peculiar, this is definitely one for you. 4/5.

Hunger in the Woods- Carma Haley Shoemaker
This was a brilliant take on the fairy tale it borrows from. A very different story than the original, and brought into the modern world seamlessly. Part horror story mixed with learning not to treat people who are differently poorly (they may be your only salvation), this was a story I really wasn’t sure how it would end. Definitely recommend. 4/5

Rumpelstiltskin- May Sage
This story was quite different from that which we are used to.  While I quite enjoyed it, it was so very different from the original that it may have done better to be slapped with a different character altogether, so that it could stand on its own merit. I did enjoy the ending, and the banter between the main characters was entertaining. 3.5/5