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.

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