Most people wouldn’t complain about being sent to live in a palace.
But I’d rather stay in my forest home.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice. I’m far too young to inherit Lockwood and the king of Iseldis is now my guardian. His luxurious feasts, blazing fires, and fancy clothing will do nothing to ease the fresh pain in my heart.
But my maid has an excellent suggestion. If we switch places before we arrive at the palace, I can grieve my lost parents in peace before my entire life changes.
What could go wrong?
Lady or Maid is a short story about Ian and Robin which takes place ten years before Shard of Glass. It is a sweet retelling of The Goose Girl and takes place during the Iseldan version of Christmas. Cuddle up for some cozy snow, sour berries, and a first crush.
This book was just perfect. I loved how donkeys were worked in instead of merely horses; it gave an interesting and neat development to the story that hasn’t been done. It was also neat how Robin showed herself to Ian despite supposedly being a goose girl, and how much he could see from his interactions with her. His keen insight after studying under his father to become king was quite well shown. I quite enjoyed this novella, and didn’t want to set it down. It was easy to read, but what really drew me in was how it really revolved around the emotions, relationships, and connections between the royals and their inner circle. Absolutely loved it.
Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯
A forced engagement. A cramped ship. Two hearts that refuse to bend.
When Ceola’s father arranges her marriage to Tuav Strand, she’s furious. Not only is she in love with someone else, she’s tired of sacrificing everything for her father’s political career. But when her father offers her a handsome sum to spend three months with the man before she calls it off, she gladly accepts the deal. That money means freedom.
Tuav is a sailor, not a politician. He won’t abandon his summer patrol for some spoiled girl from the capital, even if she is the Regent’s daughter. What he can do, however, is make her miserable enough to break off the engagement herself.
When Ceola arrives at the coast to spend time with the man she already hates, she finds him leaving on patrol. The only way she can fulfill her bargain is to join his expedition. Stuck on a confining ship with him, a lighthearted crew, and an old natural philosopher, her only respite is that in three months it will all be over. Or will it?
This sweet romance is an enemies-to-lovers tale full of banter, adventure, romance, and a happily ever after.
I quite enjoyed the development of our lead protagonists from naive children to adults that had to empathize with each other, and that other people have goals and ambitions in life. I thought it was incredibly realistic as I know I, for one, was (am) a hopeless romantic, and probably spent far too much of my time daydreaming about relationships that were never to be. Ceola really has to grow up and not act like a brat, and while Tuav finds himself learning more of the girl, it is really Ceola who develops.
The ending was nice, but seemed a bit lackluster, with a promise but nothing actually finished. I imagine that, like the Fairy Tale Royals books, you’ll learn more about how everything settles in the next book in the series.
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯
On a side note, clearly once I read some books of an author I really like, I tend to devour a lot. Any recommendations from those of you reading?
Life in captivity is horrible.
But pretending to be a prisoner is worse.
Aizel is a Majis and, against her will, a spy. She is supposed to be uncovering secrets for a cruel king, but spends most of her time listening to the haughty, self-absorbed musings of her captor, Prince Erich.
It would be much less frustrating if she could at least complain about it, but the king has silenced her, taking away her voice so that she cannot wield her magic.
If she fails to gather information from Erich, her family will be killed. But if she reports back to the king, her people’s only hope for freedom will be exterminated. Can she find a way to communicate with her captor and convince him of the truth about the Majis?
My goodness does this story have depth! Erich is the last born son, and as such, he finds himself not thought of and respected as his older brothers, and although he does have to act the part of a prince, he doesn’t enjoy having to squelch his self to be prim and proper. Aizel is the opposite, with lots of responsibility and guilt at not being more capable than she is. Both are good protagonists with a lot of depth and growth throughout the story. Both have to overcome obstacles and learn to see beyond the information they’ve had propagated throughout their lives.
I quite enjoyed all of the time alone that we got to witness, and how Erich and Aizel interact with their horses, and the mention of how one is with their horse tends to give an insight to how they are as a person. This may be my favourite in the series so far, though I truly loved A Shard of Glass. I absolutely adore how all of these stories are woven together within one family, but how each story gives more insights on parts of the story we read in previous novels in the series.
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯
Beauty is a curse.
It attracts the basest sort of men, even a beast.
With her father deathly ill, Isabel Bielsa throws herself into their mutual passion: bookbinding. Hiding in the library also allows her to avoid the unwanted attentions of the local self-absorbed noblemen. But, there is only so many times one can read the same book. When the governing council demands her father’s skills she happily goes in his stead.
However, her new library assignment is far from private. Prince Aden of Iseldis, cursed into the form of a beast, keeps interrupting her work. With his idealistic standards and comfortable self-righteousness, she sees him as just another man besotted by her beauty. That is, until Isabel discovers that his curse has also affected his eyesight.
As her feelings for him grow, Isabel nears the end of her assignment. Can she break Aden’s curse before the magical attacker comes back to finish him off for good?
Thorn of Rose is a fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It is a sequel to Shard of Glass, but can be read out of order. If you love sweet romance, a little bit of magic, and a self-assured heroine, than this story was written for you.
Both Isabel and Aden have strong ideals and personalities, which make them clash and have to actually work to get to know each other–something that likely could have and would have happened even without his curse. Isabel is very opinionated and used to dealing with people thinking she is stupid (something any reasonably attractive female is unfortunately well acquainted with, I fear) and perhaps because of that can be rather brash and cruel, assuming all men are the same because most she has come to know have been. Aden is both brash but quite emotional and carrying, and his relationship with Warrior and dedication to keeping people safe is sweet.
I absolutely love this take on Beauty and the Beast, because while some versions (Disney) claim she’s a beauty but don’t necessarily show it beyond one annoying suitor, this not only shows why she would be so annoyed with men in general, but also gave her a depth and level of intelligence other versions lack. There were always high stakes, and the story flowed very well, and was hard to put down. I absolutely loved the integration of her love of books and how connected she is to her father through her love of reading and the written word.
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯
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.
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: ✯✯✯✯✯