Review of Wolves and Paths by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
Red only knows life under her oppressive grandmother. She can’t even go on trips, participate in Halloween, or eat meat. Come on! She’s almost an adult! And rebellion just makes her worse.

So against her judgment, Red sneaks off with her boyfriend to Disney World. It could be worse, right? But maybe her grandmother was onto something because the trip lands them all in another world: Fable, where fairy tales are real and things go bump in the night. And now her grandmother is captured by an evil wizard named Alric.

Now Red is center stage in a tale she must complete to save her grandmother. But Alric is determined to rule Fable by making all the famous fairy tales fall—and Red is his first target. It’s time for Red to break her chains and face her fears. But she’s soon to learn that even the most famous fairy tales are not always what they seem…

Review:
This was a very interesting twist on Little Red Riding Hood, while incorporating a bit of the original fairy tale’s parental failing. In the original, Red is allowed to wander in the forest, not protected from things that could potentially hurt her, warnings given but without reason. In that regard, this story is the same, that Red is not given reasons for what she must do, and because of that, she rebels. The lesson that seems to blare from both versions of the story, the original and this, is that without knowing the logic behind WHY, most will go off and do whatever seems fun/like a good idea at the time… even though it might (usually) cause trouble.

Red is refreshing and not at all just a damsel in distress. Her loyalty runs deep and her feelings make her a quite relatable character. I loved this version of Red Riding Hood, and while I have read books with a similar twist, this one was done quite in depth considering all of Red’s grandmother’s rules.

Star Rating: 

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Review of Thread and Spool by Holly Hook

Synopsis (from Amazon):
When you can spin yarn into gold, getting whisked to a fairytale world by an evil king is just Tuesday.

Brie’s mysterious ability means trusting others is a bad idea. So she lets her guard down around no one: not her boyfriend and not her adoptive parents. She’s had enough of their gambling and gaming problems.

But when an evil king comes knocking and chases Brie into a realm of magic called Fable, it changes everything. With only one elf, Stilt, by her side, Brie learns she’s meant to take part in a famous fairytale–one that will end in her death or worse, a lifetime married to that evil, greedy king. Just more of the usual, right?

Stilt says he can help her escape, but in return, he might ask for something she can’t give. Who is her elf companion, really?
Trust or die. What’s more terrifying?

Review:
An interesting premise, that fairy tales are true, and that the characters within them want out. Brie is a likable character, empathetic, reasonable. Everything in one girl’s life is thrown on its head, and she’s stuck between what seems reasonable and what is SUPPOSED to happen, something that all of us likely have felt at some point– what we want to do verses what is expected of us.

This book gave a backstory to characters that rarely see one, explaining how not everything “evil” is as it seems, but that conditions can force a disposition on someone who is usually not that way at all.

Star Rating: 

 

Review of Bleeding Heart by Allana Knight

Bleeding Heart: A Reimagining of Beauty and the Beast

The Baroque Fae Series Book 1
By Allana Knight

 

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 175
Winter 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon) 
Magic is dangerous in seventeenth-century Venice. Fairies are outlawed. No one can quite remember why. Mirabelle is what the city folk call sangua de fata, tainted — a girl with fairy blood. Abandoned on the streets of Paris, Mirabelle has come to live with a merchant’s family on the outskirts of Venice. Brought up as one of their own, still she is daily reminded that she doesn’t belong. Cursed with the power of fairy blood as well as its beauty, experience has taught her that magic, especially hers, comes with a terrible price. As her family’s fortunes dwindle each day, the people of Venice mutter that Mirabelle is cursed. And when her father returns from a fateful journey with a magic rose, Mirabelle will have to face her worst fears if she wants to save him from a fae curse. She will have to enter Ombre Mondiale, the Faerie Realm, and become the wife… of a beast.

Bleeding Heart is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast, the first in a series of fairytale retellings set in an alternate version of seventeenth-century Europe, where magic is common and the fairy kingdom is one of many world powers striving for domination.

Review:
While this story is a reimagining predominately of Beauty and the Beast, there are various other fairy tale story elements. I did like the connection between the Beast and the faeries, and thought that was a quite ingenious way to connect an “enchantress” in. I loved Mirabelle’s reason for feeling comfortable with leaving home to be with the beast as well as the role of the rose. I loved how Mirabelle’s parentage played into the story, especially with her connection to her father.

This was certainly a decent read that I would definitely recommend.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Allana Knight is the pseudonym of a Southern author and educator who enjoys fantasy, fairy tales, and young adult fiction. She is a reader by day and an author by night. She only accepts authentic reviews, and it is her policy not to solicit reviews or recommendations of her work.

Review of The Unbreakable Curse by Jenna Thatcher

The Unbreakable Curse: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling
By Jenna Thatcher

 

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 210
Winter 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon) 
When Helen is kidnapped from her home, she enters a life of horror where lies are woven as she slowly begins to fall apart. For centuries, a great Beast hides in his castle, the forgotten story of his curse now a bedtime fable. A powerful Witch is certain her curse will hold, and as time passes, it seems inevitable. Until one day a young girl is given a choice; to live or die. Magic, adventure, and romance come together in this beautifully reimagined tale where Beauty and the Beast meets the tales of Scheherazade.

Review:
A nice, unique retelling while still maintaining a lot of the original fairy tale’s elements. It was neat how Helen’s love for stories developed a connection between she and the Beast, and it was even more ingenious how her “stories” were true things that had happened in their world during the time that the Beast had been removed from society.

The way magic works, or presents itself, to the humans in this world is quite unique. I like that while the magic powers give people a heads up, it doesn’t necessarily save them from danger even if they knew to be wary.

I quite enjoyed this novel, including the ending. I’d definitely recommend it to those who like fairy tale retellings.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Jenna Thatcher lives in a quiet little valley surrounded by mountains. She has been to every state in the US (except Alaska), and has a soft spot for volcanoes. Her favorite job ever was as a children’s librarian where she ordered the 500s – 600s. Three kids and a smart-mouth cat keep her busy, but thankfully she has an amazing husband to juggle them all (not literally). You can find Jenna on Goodreads and at her website; jennathatcherauthor.wordpress.com

Review of A Goose Girl by K. M. Shea

A Goose Girl: A Retelling of The Goose Girl
Entwined Tales: Book 1
By K. M. Shea

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 117
Winter 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
As a royal lady’s maid, Rynn has one task: Escort the princess of Astoria to her intended’s kingdom and return home. Unfortunately for the former goose girl, the princess has other plans.

When her charge flees, Rynn’s not only forced to take the princess’s place, but she must also contend with a spiteful fairy horse, a good dose of political intrigue, and Conrad…the mysterious and all-too observant lord who consumes more of her thoughts than he should.

But with war looming on the horizon, Rynn stands to lose more than her heart. Can she convince the princess to return, end the charade, and make peace between the kingdoms?

More importantly, can she possibly avoid a death sentence when the truth is revealed?

A Goose Girl 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:
Wow. This book was fabulous. The characters had such depth and there was such a unique plot line in place. I thought I might have had an idea what was going to happen since I knew the original story, but I was nowhere near close. While the Princess is infuriating, Rynn is a very relatable character. Acting aside, one cannot help but absolutely love the royal family, and how Rynn infiltrates what could be a dastardly war.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
K. M. Shea is a fantasy-romance author who never quite grew out of adventure books or fairy tales, and still searches closets in hopes of stumbling into Narnia. She is addicted to sweet romances, witty characters, and happy endings.

She is also extremely committed to her readers—who have set up their base camp at kmshea.com—and lives in the idyllic Midwest with her furry pet, Perfect Dog.

Review of Goldheart by Kenley Davidson

Goldheart
The Andari Chronicles: 2
By Kenley Davidson

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 200
Winter 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Sometimes, spinning straw into gold is the easy part…

Elaine Westover is the last person you’d expect to find locked in an attic… again. A shy but brilliant artist, Elaine wants only to paint in peace, but is forced to accept a commission from a wealthy client in order to save her family home.

Her client proves to be as powerful as he is rich, and after a chilling encounter reveals his twisted ambitions, Elaine refuses the job. That is, until he imprisons her and threatens to destroy everything she loves unless she meets his demands.

Held captive in a house haunted by tragedy and despair, Elaine fears that neither her courage nor her abilities can save her from her fate. To defeat her captor and win back her freedom, Elaine must accept the aid of a mysterious stranger, who may be hiding his own reasons for wanting her to stay.

Goldheart is the second book in The Andari Chronicles, a series of interconnected fairy tale retellings that evoke the glittering romance of the originals, while infusing them with grit, humor, and a cast of captivating new characters.

Review:
Elaine’s innocence and uncertainty in what’s appropriate in life is realistic and refreshing from all the stories with similar attempted heroines. While I thought the connections between some characters were a bit obvious (though it was supposed to be foreshadowing) that didn’t at all deter me from enjoying the story entirely. The story was inspired by Rumpelstiltskin to be sure, but the gold looked for here is entirely different from any version I’ve seen before. This unique story is one I quite enjoyed, and would certainly recommend to others.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Kenley Davidson is an incurable introvert who took up writing to make space for all the untold stories in her head. She loves rain, roller-coasters, coffee and happy endings, and is somewhat addicted to researching random facts and reading the dictionary (which she promises is way more fun than it sounds). A majority of her time is spent being mom to two kids and two dogs while inventing reasons not to do laundry (most of which seem to involve books).

Kenley is the author of The Andari Chronicles, an interconnected series of fairy tale retellings, and Conclave Worlds, a romantic science fiction series.

She also writes sweet contemporary romance under the pseudonym Kacey Linden.

Review of Spellbound by Sara Celi

Spellbound
By Sara Celi

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 248
Winter 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
This beauty is a real beast… High school senior Holly Kent has everything she could ever want perched at the top of Eastside Country Day’s social structure. She’s one of the most gorgeous girls in school. She wins every award. All the boys want to date her. And all the girls want to be her. But when a jealous rival casts a spell and ends Holly’s reign as queen bee overnight, she loses it all—including her beauty. Forbidden to reveal her situation to anyone,  Holly must adjust to a new life and find out if she has the strength to change her heart before it’s too late. Carson Isaac lives on the fringe of Eastside’s social scene. He never quite fit in, but an education at one of the city’s best schools could help jumpstart his future. Then, one fateful winter day, he sees his secret crush—the real Holly Kent—for the first time. Nothing will ever be the same. As romance blossoms, can Holly and Carson navigate their new reality in time? Or will they be bound by the evil spell forever?

Review:
While some part of this novel were a little flat (Holly’s relationships with her parents) it did well to show how fake people can be, and how they care very much for appearances. In that regard, the novel reminded me of the book Beastly by Alex Flinn (which is also a great book). There were great lessons to be learned, and depth to our protagonists.

This book left me with so many questions though! Did they ever become cordial with her old best friend again? What did she decide to do after high school? How did her relationships with her parents change?

Looking for a nice YA fairytale retelling: read this book!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Amazon Top 100 and Barnes & Noble Bestselling Author, Sara Celi, has lived all over the United States. She calls the Greater Cincinnati area home.

Sara has spent more than a decade working in journalism and broadcasting, with jobs both on-air and off-air at TV stations in Louisiana, Ohio, and Oklahoma. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications, magazines and newspapers, and she is a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive. Since the release of her debut novel, The Undesirable, in 2013, she has authored several other works, including Hollywood Nights, Natural Love, Prince Charming, and The Palms.

Sara graduated cum laude from Western Kentucky University in 2004.

In her spare time, she likes to read, shop, write, travel, run long distances, and volunteer her time to local charities.

Want more of Sara Celi’s books? Stay up to date at http://www.saraceli.com, or sign up for her mailing list using this link: http://saraceli.com/?page_id=446