Review of An Unnatural Beanstalk by Brittany Fichter

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Some fairies ruin everything.

Eva never doubted her place in her happy little world. Born second to a former woodcutters-turned-wealthy merchants’ family, all she ever wanted was to care for her siblings and to play the harp. Unfortunately, when her fairy godfather’s gift-giving goes awry, Eva receives an unusual talent that gets her abducted and betrothed to a loathsome duke with giant plans for the kingdom.

Jack never ventured far from his mother’s farm. But when Eva’s fairy godfather, in an attempt to fix his goddaughter’s plight, forces Jack to take some magic beans and responsibility for saving Eva, Jack finds himself in as much danger as the girl he came to save.

In this retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, follow Jack and Eva as they attempt to outsmart the duke, save the kingdom, and just possibly find their own happily ever after as well.

An Unnatural Beanstalk is a romantic fairy tale novella. It can be read on its own but is more fun when read as a part of the Entwined Tales, a series of interconnected fairy tales by six different authors. Each story follows the adventures of one of seven children from the same family as they seek out their own happily ever afters in spite of their reluctant fairy-godfather.

Review:
Eva has a wonderful ability to play the harp that she’s worked hard to master and get good at. When someone ends up in a bad situation, she cannot help but offer to help, and that causes her fairy godfather to “reward” her.  While Eva’s family life is unconventional, Jack’s is too. Finding Jack and Eva’s stories entwining is amusing and endearing as both go through unique trials and tribulations in their attempt to free Eva. Unique, it’s good to see Eva realize that just because she isn’t the exact size and shape that is considered most desirable, doesn’t mean she ISN’T a desirable and capable woman.

Star Rating: 

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Review of My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn’t exactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum “Chrissy” Everstar, Tansy’s fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy’s three wishes don’t exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn’t bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She’ll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief ‘s son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control. Janette Rallison pulls out all the stops in this fresh, fun-filled follow-up to the popular My Fair Godmother.

Review:
While having a fairy tale feeling, Tansy is very much a unique character. She feels what most who experience parents that split up do, and while she knows she isn’t behaving the best, she does want to fix her problems. Due to the way Chrissy’s “gift” wishes turn out, Tansy finds herself examining what she thought she liked and wanted, and if that’s really what would really make her happy, and how her situation is compared to others.

Star Rating: 

Review of Glass and Death by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
Can the son of the darkest wizard in Fable save it?

Shorty’s world is in trouble. The land of Fable is falling victim to a growing darkness, one being spread by an evil dark wizard named Alric who is bent on making every fairy tale fall. Worse, Shorty’s grandmother hates him and even the knights around his castle fear his presence.

The fact that he’s the son of Alric might have something to do with that.

No matter how far Shorty runs, he cannot escape from his origin and the dark magic pulsing through him. When a group of refugees arrives on his doorstep, one of them with a magic ball of yarn that can show you anywhere you want to go, Shorty realizes his time of hiding is over. And they’re being pursued by Annie, Alric’s evil sister.

Shorty must act. Finding and facing the dark wizard himself is the only thing that will free him—and Fable—from the darkness.

Review:
Shorty has grown exponentially from his original journey with Candice to this point. In many ways, Shorty’s journey is one that most go through in life– are they like their parents, will they do the same things, or will they take another path and do something completely different? Realizing that he must lead, it’s up to Shorty to forge his own path. Facing up to one’s parents is the hardest thing a child can do, but sometimes, it is necessary, and while Shorty’s case is extreme, one can only hope that his journey shows that you can be whatever you truly want to be, and that you will have have far more friends and followers if you do what is right.

Star Rating: 

Review of Swans and Silence by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
All Ignacia has ever known is caring for her six younger brothers. Now she’s given her life to hiding them from their witchy stepmother, Annie, who is bent on eliminating the royal siblings and taking the Swan Kingdom for herself.

When Annie turns her brothers into swans, Ignacia flees to a nearby village. Armed with only a magical ball of yarn, she must free them from their curse. She just has to weave each brother a magical shirt, but there’s a catch: she can’t utter a word until she’s done. That means no talking to the handsome young king.

Or defending herself against accusations of witchcraft and murder.

But her brothers come first and she can’t bear to let anyone help. Not even the handsome king.

Can Ignacia let go, defend herself, and survive, or will darkness be her future?

Review:
Many oldest siblings will feel Ignacia’s pain. She feels as if she should protect her brothers, she HAS to keep them safe. While others might agree to help, an older sibling will always feel that it is their job to help their young brother or sister. Ignacia knows her task is difficult, and maybe impossible, but all she can do is try her best and continue to do what she can for her brothers. Not only is Ignacia relatable, but her desire to keep to her mission instead of speaking is admirable.

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Review of Poison and Mirrors by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
Mara’s always had to have an attitude. There’s no room to be a pushover when you’re the bottom rung of the social ladder and you live in an orphanage. Her crush, Eric, probably doesn’t realize she exists. Or he’s too afraid of her black makeup and warped sense of humor.

But when she finally draws Eric’s attention, strange stuff happens to Mara and they’re right out of a fairy tale. A teacher’s tie nearly chokes him to death and classmates turn into donkeys…and it seems all this dark magic is aimed at her. Worse, she’s been having a nightmare about a very red and dangerous apple. Someone’s trying to keep her away from Eric at all costs—someone jealous. Could her best friend, Sara, be trying to eliminate her?

Mara must get to the bottom of this fairy tale nightmare if she is to survive. And it might take more than an attitude to learn the truth.

Review:
Oh, my heart! What happens when best friends are torn apart, despite having spent all their lives together? This novel had an amazing twist, and I absolutely loved it. Nothing is at all what it seems, and it seems that all are able to be manipulated, especially when key facts are left out about who they are.

This novel does call into question the people working for the king attempting to overthrow Fable– is everyone as complacent as he believes?

Star Rating: 

Review of Towers and Braids by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
Rae’s world is safe. Her tower is all the shelter she needs from all the scary men, beasts, and other dark forces her mother says roam the world of Fable.

Or is it? And what are men, anyway?

And why did she overhear her mother saying a young man might try to take her away soon? But when Henry sneaks into her tower, he’s not so bad, and he makes Rae feel strange in ways she doesn’t understand. Only after Henry gets chased off by her mother does Rae learn she has the gift of light. And a certain dark wizard wants to destroy her before she can combat the darkness he’s spreading through Fable.

Forced to leave her home when the dark wizard comes knocking, Rae’s only hope of survival is to venture into the dangerous world, find Henry, and claim her happily ever after.

Review:
Oh, an adorable fairy tale that takes place entirely in the world of fairy tales. Rae is refreshing in her naivety and simplicity. While Rae’s story is in many ways the Rapunzel we already know, the novel does a good job of showing how children (or a teenager in this case), without stimulus and learning, grow restless and rebellious. Henry also shows Rae that sometimes the prejudices given to us or taught to us are wrong, and that sometimes it’s better to spread your wings and see if you can fly, and learn how things are for yourself.

Rae, despite her upbringing, goes through quite a tumultuous experience to do what she believes is right. Her growth and understanding are brilliant to watch expand.

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Review of Frogs and Princes by Holly Hook

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Candice hates 1.) being the rich girl in town everyone thinks is a snob, 2.) Shorty, the annoying guy who has a huge crush on her, and 3.) the fact she can hear frogs talking. Yikes.

But when a frog begs her to save him from dissection, she steps in, starting a chain of events that land her and Shorty in Fable, a world where the fairy tales are real. It turns out she’s a princess, and the frog she rescued is meant to be her prince. But he’s far from a happily ever after. If doesn’t free him from his curse and agree to be his timid, obedient bride, her kingdom will turn dark and fall into the hands of the most powerful dark wizard in Fable. And she thought Shorty was a jerk!

Candice must face her identity and make an impossible decision. And it also turns out Shorty’s got secrets of his own, secrets which might destroy them all.

Review:
Oh my goodness, I love Candice! Not only is she sucked into something she doesn’t quite understand, but she takes it in stride and tries to make it better. Candice is intelligent, although most people do not see that, and her desire to make things right tempered with the ingenuity of having lived without magic lead her on an interesting path to fulfilling her story without setting herself up for a dismal existence. Candice and Shorty grow throughout their journey, which makes following them enjoyable.

Star Rating: