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.

Review of Ever After by Aya Ling

Ever After
Unfinished Fairy Tales 3
By Aya Ling

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 455

Date Started: May 20, 2017
Date Finished: May 21, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Kat has survived. She returns to Athelia as herself, Katherine Wilson. Edward, elated at learning she is alive, vows to bring her back to the palace. The obstacles, however, seem impossible to overcome. Marriage between a royal and a commoner is not recognized, not to mention that he is already legally bound to Katriona Bradshaw, who will do anything to keep her position as princess.

And there’s even more to worry about. Due to an uncommonly harsh winter, the people of Athelia have been suffering from inflated food prices, and are getting irritated at supporting the small, elite group of aristocrats. An uprising in a neighboring country only adds fuel to the fire.

Can Kat and Edward finally get a happily-ever-after?

Review:
I absolutely loved learning what Kat’s life was like when she ended up back in America, after having been in Athelia for 8 months of modern world time. Learning that another had visited the same place, the same people, though years and years before, was enlightening and wonderful, artfully tied together and perfectly executed. All of the “surrogate” family members in this novel were lovely, and relatable.

There are times where it’s completely uncertain whether or not Kat and Edward will get their happily ever after. Katriona makes no attempt to understand Kat, and believes she is owed being a princess after her ordeals because of Kat’s sudden entrance in their world. Kat’s standing as a commoner is also problematic– especially when Bianca is still out to destroy her.

I absolutely adore Kat’s relationship with Edward’s mother. While they have more in common than meets the eye, it’s clear that she supports her son in whatever makes him happy, and that if he loves Kat, she does too.

Having a role reversal towards the end made me quite happy, because while Athelia is still stuck in the past, it is Kat’s modernity that likely attracted Edward in the first place. Her ability to take care of herself, understand concepts that many of us (male and female) would find common place, and adapt to her situation is refreshing.

While I did quite enjoy this series, this book really should have had a copy editor. There were multiple times when sentences didn’t read right, usually because the phrasing was slightly off, or because the wrong word was used. Nonetheless, I quite enjoyed this series!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.
She is currently working on Ever After, Book 3 in the Unfinished Fairy Tales series, to be released in 2017. For exclusive bonus scenes, giveaways, and new release info, visit ayaling.com

Review of Princess of Athelia by Aya Ling

Princess of Athelia
Unfinished Fairy Tales Novella
By Aya Ling

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 88

Date Started: April 26, 2017
Date Finished: April 27, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Kat has now moved into the palace, determined to make the most of her time with her beloved prince. Being princess, however, is no bed of roses. She must learn how to behave like a royal, prepare for the upcoming engagement, and defend herself against hostile relatives. And knowing that her time with Edward is limited, Kat isn’t so certain that she wants to be princess anymore…

Review:
This was a cute little short story, but unfortunately it really seemed like it could have been summarized in a few short sentences. While it was nice getting to see Kat and Edward together again, the tale was simply too short, and over far too quickly.

I did like that Kat was willing to showcase her average modern skills, which were far superior to anything women were allowed to learn in Athelia.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.
She is currently working on Ever After, Book 3 in the Unfinished Fairy Tales series, to be released in 2017. For exclusive bonus scenes, giveaways, and new release info, visit ayaling.com

Review of The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

The Ugly Stepsister
Unfinished Fairy Tales
By Aya Ling

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 452

Date Started: April 25, 2017
Date Finished: April 26, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?

Review:
Last night I thought I’d begin a book, not realizing that I would become glued to this novel and not want to put it down. This is the second Cinderella retelling series that I’ve read this month and it was just as amazing as the last, in different ways.

Firstly, Kat joins the story of Cinderella begrudgingly, that is to say, completely against her will. It’s amusing and quite interesting seeing how she tries to combat the old fashioned world she ended up in. All of Kat’s reactions to clothes, as someone who has worn the full effect in Renaissance style clothing, was spot on (do NOT try to have a corset or bodice done up tightly– it IS quite difficult to breathe in!)

Kat is quite the relatable heroine: a girl who isn’t quite comfortable talking to guys, who slowly begins to realize that while things might be seen as the correct way to act in society, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the way one should act. Kat also discovers that when one isn’t as good at something as another, it is far better to move on and not dwell on it.

Kat has the advantage of coming to understand several different types of relationships while she’s in the fairy tale world. She and her “real” family have unconditional love: they want what is best for each other, and want each other to be happy, even if what they do to be happy doesn’t necessarily make sense to each other. Kat and her fairy tale family have more of a “I love what you can do for me” relationship, which, while quite unpleasant, everyone experiences at least once in their life.

Five stars, would totally recommend.

SLIGHT SPOILER:
I absolutely adore how Kat and the prince come to meet and learn about each other. While they have a lot in common, between their need to get away from everything and everyone to escape sometimes, and their desire to help the people, it would have been nice to see them take an interest in each other’s hobbies. Who knows… maybe we’ll see something in book 2?

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.

She is currently working on Ever After, Book 3 in the Unfinished Fairy Tales series, to be released in 2017. For exclusive bonus scenes, giveaways, and new release info, visit ayaling.com

Review of Happily Ever After by Kelly Oram

Happily Ever After
Cinder & Ella book 2
By Kelly Oram

Star Rating: 
Genre: YA, NA (New Adult)
Number of Pages: 454

Date Started: April 17, 2017
Date Finished: April 18, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
The end of one story is often the beginning of another. Hollywood heartthrob Brian Oliver and his Cinderella princess Ellamara Rodriguez have finally found love outside the digital world. But leaving their anonymity behind creates a whole new set of obstacles for the nation’s new favorite sweethearts. With the stress of Brian’s fame, Ella’s disapproving family, and the pressures of a new relationship weighing down on them, the It Couple quickly begins to wonder if they can hold on to their newfound joy, or if maybe happily ever after is only a fairy tale.

Review:
Bought this book as soon as I finished the first. I was so excited that Cinder & Ella’s story got to continue, and that we would see more growth, and that everything wasn’t simply perfect because they finally were together again.

I love that Ella doesn’t find suddenly having the ability to do and be whatever she wants the fairy tale ending. She wants to find something to DO, something she can enjoy and still make money doing (something we can all relate to). She wants to make sure she is capable of taking care of herself, doing things without always having Brian there instead of relying on him for everything. What a fabulous role model. Her personal issues with her appearance, given, she is far more scarred than most, will resonate with most teenagers and young adults. It takes a while to find confidence in one’s self and how to dress, what one wants to be. It’s even harder reinventing oneself, but totally possible.

This novel, like the first, completely gripped me from the beginning and I love it. The relationships, while sometimes harsh, are quite realistic. Seeing that no matter how rich and famous one is doesn’t mean that everything in their life is perfect is a great message for young people who might believe that life would be perfect if only….

I would absolutely love a novella with Ella’s next planned fairy tale–mentioned to Brian towards the end.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

Review of Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder & Ella
Cinder & Ella book 1
By Kelly Oram

Star Rating: 
Genre: YA, NA (New Adult)
Number of Pages: 322

Date Started: April 16, 2017
Date Finished: April 17, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her-her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder. … Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement-or his fake fiancée-but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

Review:
There is absolutely too much to say about this novel. I’m sure I’ll forget something, because there is SO MUCH that makes this novel amazing.

Firstly, I’ll start off with the fairy tale aspect: the elements of Cinderella are all there, but with an amazing fresh twist. Ella has a lot to worry about, and while she does try to be polite and nice to people, she still has flaws. Ella is stuck with her family, and in this retelling, she simply can’t leave like many likely believe the original Cinderella should have. Brian is every bit a prince with the power to completely change Ella’s life, but things don’t magically fall into place where he sweeps her off her feet– that’s not how the real world works.

This novel does a great job of showcasing how attached two people can become without ever having physically met, how you can come to rely on your friends, no matter how new or old. I absolutely love that this novel shows that meeting people with like interests and not just because you’re in the same general social sphere can give you a much deeper connection.

Written from the perfect perspective, instantly you feel for the protagonists and want them to succeed in life. It’s a book that’s very hard to put down, and I found myself getting quite angry when real life got in the way of my reading.

The story within a story aspect was absolutely thrilling. It’s a great step to acknowledge that nowadays most people form connections with others with similar interests, and loving one particular book series or movie could be the one thing that draws you to someone, forming an irrevocable bond.

Knowing that you should be yourself and do what’s best for you, even if it’s scary, is an amazing lesson I think everyone can learn from.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

Review of Marry Your Billionaire: A Modern Cinderella by C. J. Anaya

Star Rating: 

Genre: Romance

Number of Pages: 413

Date Started: March 11, 2016
Date Finished: March 13, 2016

Synopsis:(From Amazon)Marry-Your-Billionaire-2
Six years ago, Midge Knightly walked away from her trust fund, her Hollywood producer father, and the expectation that she would join the family business. Avoiding handsome playboys with hidden agendas was just an added bonus. Now one semester shy of graduation, she is shocked to discover her scholarship has lost its funding.

Her estranged father is having problems of his own. A contestant on his latest reality TV series has cancelled a week before shooting.

His solution?

Midge gets her trust fund back if she stands in as a potential marriage candidate for the dating series Marry Your Billionaire. Twenty women competing for one arrogant guy. Not Midge’s cup of tea. Agreeing to this proposition sucks her back into the world she happily broke ties from, but no trust fund equals no college degree.

Brody Prescott, CEO and owner of an online dating company, has recently been pegged a heartless playboy–among other things–by a disgruntled female after a disappointing date. In order to save his company and his reputation as an honest businessman, the billionaire must prove to everyone that he isn’t the naughty, bad boy they believe him to be.

His solution?

Become the first bachelor on Marry Your Billionaire and hope that one of the contestants holds some potential. So what is he supposed to do when the woman who intrigues him the most wants to be eliminated?

Review:
It’s easy to become embroiled in the lives of Madelyn and Brody, but there were several things that tend to pull you from the general story.  Some of these things are legitimately annoying, and others might just be ones that bothered me, personally.  Madelyn doesn’t swear, which I understand, but choosing to exclaim “Good gravy!” and “Cheese and crackers!” became jarring, as I’ve never known anyone to ever exclaim these things.

It is constantly mentioned that Madelyn is working hard to become a romance novelist, yet her schooling only ever mentions her studying English.  There is a vast different between the requirements and skill sets of a degree in English and a degree in Creative Writing, which is also a major option in both undergraduate and graduate levels of education.

There were obvious faux pas in the realm of how a reality show would work and how the contestants would function, although they can mostly be forgiven, for the main story’s sake.  What isn’t forgivable is the obvious lack of knowledge that the producer/director seemed to have of the characters, as a large part of their work would involve needing intimate knowledge of each contestant.  Though there were also multiple grammar snafus, which while a bit irritating, did not take over from the overall enjoyment of the book.

That being said, this is a unique and very cute clean romance, that I’d definitely recommend.  It becomes hard to put down as we see both Madelyn and Brody putting themselves out there, and trying to figure out if the other one is sincere.  There are many twists and turns along the way, and at some point you wonder whether or not there will be a happily ever after or a happily never after.

CJAuthor Bio: (From Amazon)
I began writing short stories for family and friends when I was thirteen years old. My vivid imagination and love of mysteries and romances eventually led me to following my own dreams of becoming a published author. I’m a huge fan of The Mindy Project, Hugh Jackman, and binge eating any and all things chocolate. Who isn’t, am I right?

As a mother of four awesome kids I’m usually playing beauty salon with my daughters (my four-year-old shaved my arm one time while I was helping another daughter with her homework. Yep. That happened) getting my fanny kicked in Mario Kart by my snarky little son, and making out with my deliciously handsome looking Latin lover, aka, my hubby.

Come visit me on my website where you can grab two romances for free. http://authorcjanaya.com