Review of Night of Masks and Knives by LJ Andrews

Synopsis:
Wicked men stole the boy she loved. But when she found him again, he’d become more wicked than them all.

Malin Strom has been searching for Kase, her childhood sweetheart, since he was lost at the annual masquerade years ago.

With her gift for stealing memories, Malin crosses more than one dangerous line to take secrets from those who know what goes on behind the curtain of the wicked festival.

But when her brother is traded into the masquerade as punishment for using magic to hide Malin’s gift, her only chance to save him is to enlist the services of a brutal crook—the Nightrender—and he bears a striking resemblance to a face from the past.

No longer the boy she knew, her lost love, Kase, now rules as the amoral leader of brutal thieves. Pulled into his world of tricks and schemes, tantalizing attraction returns, but so do the secrets behind Kase’s disappearance, and the masquerade.

When their plan to save Malin’s brother takes them back to the dangers of the festival, painful betrayal forces Malin to face a cruel choice: save her brother’s life? Or give up the thief who has always held her heart.


Filled with luscious world building, spicy romance, and epic battles, this first book in the Eastern Kingdom is part Viking, part Cinderella.

Review:
This book had me drawn in from the beginning. Kase might be dark and lost in his own pain, not wanting to let others in because they could be hurt, but Malin was willing to do whatever it takes to free not only her brother but Kase as well. Seeing the two try to reacquaint themselves and deal with the darkness that people often face (though perhaps not to that extreme) when growing up and taking on more responsibilities. I absolutely love this well developed world where no one is a stock character; everyone has hopes, thoughts, dreams, ambitions. I also love how Andrews ties in fairytale elements without mimicking the plot of said fairytale. There is more spice in this book than some of the previous ones but it isn’t overly descriptive. I absolutely adored this book, and have already started the second in this series (technically the 5th in the Broken Kingdoms series). Highly recommend.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Heart of the Raven Prince: A Cinderella Retelling by Tessonja Odette

Synopsis:
A playboy prince in want of a decoy bride.
A servant girl desperate for a disguise…

Raven shifter Prince Franco is every social climbing debutante’s dream. He’s handsome, heir to the Lunar Court throne, and deliciously single. Every young woman wants to bed him, wed him, or steal a moment of his time. Except, of course, for Ember Montgomery.

Half-fae Ember craves freedom from her conniving stepfamily. As if they weren’t enough to deal with, a chance encounter with the arrogant Prince Franco leaves her humiliated and in a fiery rage. Nothing could convince her the prince is anything but a rake. But when the opportunity to evade her scheming stepmother falls into her lap, she’ll pay the price—even if it means impersonating the prince’s newest flame…

To prove himself a worthy heir, Prince Franco must marry a princess. But after far too many unsatisfying trysts, he’s given up on love. With the social season in full swing, and bringing with it a horde of husband-hungry socialites, he’ll do anything to delay the pressures of both marriage and the crown. And what better solution than an alliance with a desperate servant girl glamoured as his false future bride?

Locked in a bargain, Ember must pose as a princess until midnight at the full moon ball. Until then, all she has to do is wear the glamour, pretend to court the prince, and above all else, not fall in love. But when feelings emerge on both sides, she starts to wonder if there’s more to their contrived courtship than either of them planned…

Can Ember and Franco find love when the masks come off? Or will illusions and lies prove stronger than their hearts?

ACOTAR meets Bridgerton in this standalone fairytale retelling of Cinderella. If you like slow burn romance, fake engagements, and snarky fae royals, then you’ll love this swoon-worthy story in the Entangled with Fae series.

*NOTE this book is upper YA/NA featuring mature situations and some adult language. The romance is slow burn but leads to moderate steam.

Heart of the Raven Prince is a complete stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Fair Isle Trilogy. Journey back to Faerwyvae or begin your adventure for the first time with this enchanting tale. Each book in the Entangled with Fae series can be read on its own and in any order. Happily ever after guaranteed!

Review:
I wasn’t sure I was going to love this one as much as I liked the Beauty and the Beast one, because it had been so full of passing wisdom on how people think and act and how easy it was to get lost in a book. Ember has her own passion to be lost in, but she also had to find herself, whereas Gemma already knew herself and was trying to find a place in the world that would accept her. That being said, it’s hard not to love Ember. Ember is a damsel, in distress, that has every intention of saving herself. Her humanity is endearing, and her desire to help others is as well. Seeing how Franco grows from their interactions, as well as what Ember gains in return, is brilliant and I’m so very glad I read this! I had been a little worried that something dastardly would happen towards the end, given how The Curse of the Wolf King had such upheaval when you thought everything was neatly tied together, and there was; just not what I had thought it might be. All in all, I quite enjoy this series, and the underlining perhaps unintentional lesson that one doesn’t need to marry to be whole and in an equal partnership. Also I LOVE the wisps!!!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Damnation: A Cinderella Retelling by M. J. Haag

Synopsis:
Abused but not beaten, I will break the curse.
With the reason behind her mother’s death revealed, it’s a race for Eloise to exact her revenge and prevent her stepsisters from marrying the prince. However, amidst the glittering jewels and colorful ball gowns, the royal court holds secrets of its own that will devastate Eloise and strike a final blow to her plans. Betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust, Eloise questions how far she’s willing to go for revenge.


After all, in the game of kingdoms, everyone is a pawn.

Review:
Ooo, we had the heat, the romance, and enough twists and turns that I wasn’t sure exactly how it might end. I absolutely loved the twist with Prince Greydon, and I had expected it since the first book so I wasn’t terribly surprised. I loved how drawn to the right thing Eloise stays, and how she has to fight with her heart to consider if the things she has had to do for survival make her bad, or if she is bad to wish the things others have done onto them. There were so many neat twists and turns, and I especially loved the part with her hair. It was never fully explained but lovely all the while.

In the end I am left with a couple of questions: I wonder if Eloise and/or Kellen end up as magic users, if Eloise kept her second promise to Rose, and when Kellen’s book is going to be out! I am impatiently awaiting the continue of this series.

All in all, while I loved this series and thought it was very different and dark but in other ways from The Beastly Tales, I wouldn’t necessarily say you’d like this one because you liked the other. I clearly tend to love fairy tales and retellings, but while these may be in the same universe, the feel, story… everything is quite different. That doesn’t make it better or worse, and I love them both quite a lot, just don’t expect you’re getting the intensity and same level of adult themed content from this series as the last. That being said, this is in no way a clean story; just not as… detailed or sexually oriented.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Disdain: A Cinderella Retelling by M. J. Haag

Synopsis:
A single blow shattered my life of glass. They shouldn’t have left me with the shards.

Eloise knows the name of her mother’s murderer, but she cannot speak it. A curse keeps her silent and locked in the tattered remains of her once charming life. Though magic holds her tongue, it doesn’t quell the smoldering spark of her anger or her need to learn the reason behind her mother’s death.

However, games of magic have dire consequences. Desperate to keep those she loves safe from the repercussions of her actions, Eloise must make a bold gamble with her safety that could win her everything or destroy her forever.

Two lives hang in the balance. For, if Cinder fails, Snow will fall, too.

Review:
This book is certainly darker than the first, as promised. Eloise knows more than she should, but she’s proven herself to be quite resourceful. There are so many things left unsaid that you merely will have to read on to learn about. I love her resourcefulness and wit, and cannot wait to see what the third book has in store!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Defiant: A Cinderella Retelling by M. J. Haag

Synopsis:
A dark, twisted Cinderella retelling that fans of Sarah J. Maas and/or Melanie Dickerson are sure to enjoy.

Magic can have deadly consequences.

When the sudden and suspicious death of Eloise’s mother points to forbidden magic, Eloise is determined to bring her mother’s murderer to justice. She will stop at nothing to find the killer…even if the clues lead right to the palace gates and the prince’s manservant, Kaven. He is irrational, volatile, and prone to knocking women off horses. Given his personality, it should be easy to find the proof she needs to place him in irons.

However, when dark magic is used, nothing is as it seems, and Eloise is about to learn that nightmares often hide behind fairy tale lives.

Fans of the Beastly Tales will not want to miss this new addition to the same world. Filled with magic, unexpected foes, and brooding, impossible men, this Tale of Cinder is sure to leave you burning for more!

Review:
I bought this book as soon as I finished The Beastly Tales, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to fall into another world like that one; so in depth and gripping. So I waited, and finally- the time came to crack this open. Without any more preamble, I quite loved it. This story wasn’t all that similar to The Beastly Tales from my perspective. There was a good set up of characters, a nice revolving door, and there was no mention of anything of a particular adult nature in detail until I believe chapter 16. That being said, the set up and landscape are brilliant, and I found myself immersed and enthralled from the start. I had my suspicions about what was going on, and I was pleasantly surprised that I had not managed to figure out exactly what was going on. I quite love how the bookseller knows the difference in taste of books between the two girls, and never judges them or says anything about it, other than “these books are good for you, these are good for your sister”, and nor does he attempt to censure them. Amazing man! There is mention that the next books are darker, and I look forward to seeing what that entails. Off to buy the next…

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Fairy Godfather by Melanie Karsak

The Fairy Godfather: A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (The Chancellor Fairy Tales Book 3) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
What happens when a fairy godfather falls in love?

With my excellent track record as a fairy godfather, the elders sent me to Chancellor on a mission to help Alice, the quirky owner of the local bagel shop, find her Prince Charming. No one has managed to find a match for Alice. Where they failed, I will succeed.

The only trouble? My head isn’t in the game because I’m too busy falling in love with my best friend’s sister
.
I’ll need to get my feelings in check before I blow it for Alice. The upcoming Cherry Blossom Ball should give me the perfect venue to make a little magic happen. Can I pull it off before the clock strikes midnight on both our dreams?

Join Rayne in The Fairy Godfather, book 3 of The Chancellor Fairy Tales, a modern day retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale.

Review:
This book was such a sweet one. Of the three in the Chancellor fairy tales series it had the most connection with a commonly known fairytale, Cinderella. That being said I loved the fairy angel, and I loved Rayne. All the characters were believable and enjoyable to watch as they worked and grew. It was great seeing Alice go from stock-best friend to fully fleshed out character during the series. It was also neat how while there might be a fairy godfather, Dorothea is also very similar to a fairy godmother, trying to keep the Hunter line well taken care of. All in all, loved this book, but of the three, I still think The Cupcake Witch may be my favourite.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Shard of Glass: A Cinderella Romance by Emily Deady

Shard of Glass: A Cinderella Romance (Fairy Tale Royals Book 1) by [Emily Deady]

Synopsis:
Once she was a noblewoman.

Now she is a palace servant.

Ashlin never pictured herself scrubbing floors. But with the family savings depleted and her stepmother crippled by grief, Ashlin selflessly takes a job at the royal palace. She can pursue her dreams of becoming a seamstress someday in the future.

However, as she forms an unlikely friendship with the prince, she learns that the future may not be so certain. Wielders of a powerful magic threaten their small coastal kingdom and Prince Onric does not believe that their defenses will hold. 

As Ashlin navigates growing feelings for the charming prince, she realizes that her unique skills could help save the kingdom. But can she trust the charming prince or he is merely exploiting her selfless nature? 

Shard of Glass is a fantasy retelling of Cinderella. Discover a world where heroines can be both powerful and worthy of protection. If you love sweet romance, a little bit of magic, and heart-melting conversations, then this story was written for you.

Review:
This book was sweet, with nice layers. It wasn’t your typical Cinderella story, but there were definite elements that would be recognized. Ashlin is kind, smart, and resourceful and although she allows herself to be manipulated, she is a strong, brave woman. I absolutely loved getting to see how Onric interacted with Ashlin, and how she got to become herself again after tragedy. I will likely continue reading this series, in part to get more glimpses of enthralling captivating fairy tales that you feel yourself fully drawn into and invested in.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of A Cinderella for the Duke by Abby Ayles

Synopsis (from Amazon):
…It’s time to act based on her heart…

Lady Louisa Frasier is in a sad situation. With her brother, the Earl of Gilchrist, gone to America with his wife, and her best friend, the Duchess of Wintercrest, taking care of her own young children far up north, Louisa seems to have no friends to keep her company.

It is when her mother, the dowager countess, suggests a visit to her aunt in the lake district that prospects seem to look up for Lady Louisa. The Dowager Countess and her sister have not been on the best of terms, and Lady Louisa’s single goal is to mend the broken bond.

Arriving in their quaint country town, Lady Louisa soon learns that her aunt, Lady Hendrickson, has no desire to regain any family connection and instead seizes the opportunity to use Lady Louisa until she can take no more.

Henry Vaughan, the Duke of Rowland, has reluctantly returned to his country seat. Upon his Uncle’s most insistent request he is to acquire a wife before he may return to the life he has enjoyed.

Undoubtedly this will be an easy task as he has no preference as to whom the woman shall be, and plenty of distant country ladies will happily flock at the opportunity to be a Duchess.

The Duke’s indifference changes in an instant when a chance meeting with a masked mystery woman at his own private masquerade fills his every waking moment. Who was that enchantress? Why has she hidden herself despite his desperate attempts to find her?

Lady Louisa has no intention of telling the Duke that she was the one he met that fateful night. Her aunt is wholly set on snagging the Duke for her oldest daughter. Despite her growing attraction to the Duke of Rowland and the fact that this could quite possibly be her only chance at finding true love, she must keep her promise to make peace with her aunt’s family.

Will the Duke ever find his mystery lady in green?

Will Lady Louisa find her own strength to stand up for herself and find her own path to walk in life?

Review:
Louisa is a kind, considerate woman who wants nothing more than to help. She isn’t looking to find a match, or do anything more than mend the relationship between her mother and her aunt. Unfortunately, her aunt takes advantage of her, and still, Louisa goes on to make a friend of one of her cousins, learns about plants, and helps the community.

When told that she cannot attend a masquerade, she decides then and there that she shall go and enjoy herself. While she does meet and truly start to care for the Duke, she knows she cannot do anything about it for fear of what her aunt might do to make not only she, but the cousin she is friends with miserable. She is self sacrificing, and it is her kindness, but also her intelligence, that make her an enjoyable protagonist to read and explore life with.

Star Rating: 

Review of Isabella and the Slipper by Victorine E. Lieske

Isabella and the Slipper
By Victorine E. Lieske

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 327

Date Started: January 7, 2018
Date Finished: January 7, 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
When Isabella accidentally switches phones with Chase Hawkins, the hottest guy in school, she finds herself making an unexpected connection with her secret crush. There’s only one problem: her awful stepmother and two horrible stepsisters would freak out if they knew. Plus, she’s sure Chase will run if he finds out he’s been texting the school nobody. But things get interesting when he gets paired up with her in physics class. Will it blow her cover?

Review:
When I first started this book, I thought of A Cinderella Story starring Hilary Duff. In some ways, this book is similar, but this book has great connection and depth. What made this book truly stand out is that while Isabella might be in an unfortunate situation, she still is a talented and bright individual with many people who care about her. I absolutely love her talent, and the way that the author continually mentions how important it is to her.

There’s little I dislike about Chase or Isabella. I found that they were both believable young adults, not fitting in, trying to do what’s expected of them and trying to find their way in the world. This is one of the best modern day Cinderella retellings and I’d definitely recommend it for anyone to read (though if you haven’t seen A Cinderella Story, go watch that).

It’s sweet, and it goes really quickly– it’s hard to put down! Give it a read.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Victorine enjoys commercial success through her writing, thanks in part to her ability to analyze and adapt to the constantly changing trends in today’s publishing environment. She self-published her first book, Not What She Seems, in April of 2010. In March of 2011, Not What She Seems began its 6 week run on The New York Times best selling eBook list. By May 2011 she had sold over 100,000 copies. Victorine’s first romantic comedy novel hit the USA Today Best selling books list in January 2015.

Victorine has also helped countless other authors through her involvement and outreach as immediate past president of the Nebraska Writers Guild. She is active in many writing groups and forums and has given dozens of interviews for TV, radio and print media and has been a panel member and keynote speaker at several major events, including The Business of Writing International Summit. Her candor as a blogger and guest has made her a favorite with audiences worldwide. Victorine also served as a judge for the 2015 Whitney Awards. Because of her selfless service to fellow authors through assistance with critiquing, beta reading and graphic design, she was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the CIR Strong Award, named for late Clean Indie Reads forum member Jessica Strong.

Victorine and her husband have raised their four children in Nebraska. Victorine also does graphic design work in the publishing industry.

Review of The Spinner and the Slipper by Camryn Lockhart

The Spinner and the Slipper
By Camryn Lockhart

Star Rating: 
Genre: YA Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 222

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
A Romantic Retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin” and “Cinderella.” Eliana, a humble miller’s daughter, never sought the king’s attention. Now her stepmother’s thoughtless lie has placed her in danger, for if Eliana cannot spin a roomful of straw into gold by dawn, the greedy king will order her execution. One glimmer of hope lights this dire situation when a mysterious stranger magically appears in Eliana’s prison cell. A series of bargains might be enough to secure Eliana’s freedom. But unfriendly powers observe the doings of faeries and mortals alike. Can Eliana and her nameless champion surmount the odds piling up against them . . . even the wrath of mighty King Oberon himself?

Review:
One of the absolute best combination fairy tales I have ever read. Eliana lives a relatively normal life, trying to be good and never asking for anything special. When she’s in danger, the mysterious stranger can save her. She wants to understand the stranger and why it is that he might help her, instead of instantly agreeing to the help– not something you see from just any miller’s daughter.

In combining the two stories, I thought it was a really neat approach to do so by adding in the fairy realm, and that of Titania and Oberon. It added a depth, puzzlement, uncertainty, and amusement that isn’t usually seen in fairy tales.

This certainly is a fairy tale of its own and I definitely recommend you read it!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
There is no information about the author listed.