Review of Spin by Genevieve Raas

Synopsis (from Amazon):
A necklace, a ring, a child…There is always a price one is willing to pay. 

Laila sees her impending death in the mountains of straw waiting to be spun into gold. Faced with the impossible, she makes the impossible decision to survive, no matter what the cost.
A shadowy stranger sees an opportunity for vengeance. 
Born to a nightmarish destiny that crushed and embittered his faith in humanity, he devotes himself to dealing in dark desires and desperate souls, and Laila’s is ripe for the trade.
When the stranger asks his price, Laila is bound by blood and magic to pay. 
His own heart was never supposed to be part of the deal, but when honor drives Laila to break their bargain, he ends up tangled in his own web of deceit and destruction in a desperate attempt to save her life. In the black of night, there are no fairytales, only choices.
One choice makes a queen. One choice consumes a soul. It’s a roll of the dice in a game where love is everyone’s undoing. 

Review:
I thought the way Laila and Rumpelstiltskin’s relationship developed was great, but I was vastly disappointed in the way he reacted, and in how this book ended. While it is the beginning of a series, I greatly disliked the middle to end of this book so much that I have no intention of reading the rest.

Star Rating: 

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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 The Princess Pact: A Twist on Rumpelstiltskin by Melanie Cellier

The Princess Pact: A Twist on Rumpelstiltskin
The Four Kingdoms Book 3
By Melanie Cellier

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 267

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

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Spinning straw into gold was only the beginning of the story…

Marie, the dutiful princess of Northhelm, chafes under the rigid protocol that governs her life. Then a growing darkness threatens the kingdom and uncovers the lie at the centre of her whole life–a single pact that changes everything.

Throwing off convention, she joins Rafe, a handsome, charming newcomer, on a quest to save her kingdom. Except he doesn’t know she has a mission of her own–to discover the truth about her identity. Increasingly drawn to Rafe’s strength and good humour, Marie is torn by her double purpose. With time running out and death and destruction looming, Marie will have to unravel the bargains that surround her and choose where her true allegiance lies.

In this twist on the classic fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin, a hidden identity is just one of the things Marie will have to unravel.

Review:
Marie was so easy to care about, given that she had worries and fears about her differences that many people feel throughout their lives. I had hoped reading the first book in The Four Kingdoms series that one would tell more about Marie, so I was quite pleased for this one to focus on her.

Marie’s journey was mostly of self discovery, though she learned quite a few useful skills along the way. I thought that Rafe was an excellent character and quite enjoyed the ending, though I had suspected long before the reveal. While part of me wants to admonish Marie for how easily she was manipulated, many people are pressured in similar ways regularly.

Rumpelstiltskin wasn’t at all the same story, or, part of it was, but for once, it was not necessarily Marie who had to go through the traumatizing experience with him. I quite enjoyed the way he was characterized, as well as both the description of and reasoning behind his appearance.

I quite enjoyed this story, and am reading book 4 in the series now!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Melanie Cellier grew up on a staple diet of books, books and more books. And although she got older she never stopped loving children’s and young adult novels. She always wanted to write one herself but it took three careers and three different continents before she actually managed it.

She now feels incredibly fortunate to spend her time writing from her home in Canberra, Australia where they don’t have a beach but they do have kangaroos hopping down the streets. Her staple diet hasn’t changed much, although she’s added choc mint Rooibos tea and Chicken Crimpies to the list.

She is currently working on The Four Kingdoms, a series of young adult fairy tale retellings.

Visit Melanie at her website: http://www.melaniecellier.com or follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Melanie-Cellier-689002674569364/ for all the latest news on The Princess Companion and other upcoming Four Kingdoms stories.

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 Rumpelstiltskin by K. M. Shea

Rumpelstiltskin
Timeless Fairy Tales 4
By K. M. Shea

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 236

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Things look grim for Gemma, a seamstress, when she is ordered under the threat of death by the insane King Torgen to spin straw into gold. Unwilling to forfeit her life, Gemma tries to escape her royal prison, earning her the respect of the mysterious mage, Stil. Stil offers to complete the impossible task…for a price.

Review:
My goodness. This is probably one of my favourite fairy tale retellings of Rumpelstiltskin.

Gemma is well developed and talented, but she also is very empathetic towards others. Stil, though we are uncertain of him for a while, is kind and helpful. The reader likely realizes what is going on long before Gemma, and the most annoying thing is Gemma’s absolute denial. Does it come from her inability to think of herself as worthy of attention because she is not a noble or because she thinks poorly of herself? The reader doesn’t know. What is shown is how intelligent and resilient Gemma is.

The depth of this story is amazing. The reason why no one stands up to the king, the reason why Stil is willing to help her, everything comes together to make this an amazing retelling. While he is not the Rumpelstiltskin you would remember, he is so much better! The underlying politics really add to the novel, and I absolutely adored the ending.

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 Twisted: The Girl Who Uncovered Rumpelstiltskin’s Name

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young People/Young Adult

Number of Pages: 306

Date Started: December 19, 2016
Date Finished: December 22, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)twisted
The mystery of Rosamund Hodge’s Crimson Bound meets the romance of the best Beauty and the Beast retellings.

An old tale tells the story of how a little man named Rumpelstiltskin spun straw into gold and tricked a desperate girl into trading away her baby. But that’s not exactly how it happened.

The real story began with a drunken father who kept throwing money away on alcohol and women, while his daughter, Aoife, ran the family farm on her own. When he gambled away everything they owned to the Duke, it was up to her to spin straw into gold to win it all back.

With her wits and the help of a magical guardian, she outsmarted the Duke and saved the day.

Well almost…

Her guardian suddenly turned on Aoife and sent her on a quest to find his name, the clues to which were hidden deep in the woods, a moldy dungeon, and a dead woman’s chamber.

Her feelings for one of the men who tricked her from the start threaten to complicate everything. Not the tale of a damsel in distress, this is the story of a tenacious, young woman who solved a mystery so great that not even the enchanted man who spun straw into gold could figure it out.

Not until Aoife came along.

Review:
Aoife is a relatable protagonist who wants to decide what she does with her future, instead of allowing herself to be roped into marriage with a disagreeable gentleman. She is intelligent and understands how to make the most out of what one has, but while she could easily survive elsewhere, her family ties hold her strongly in place. The story began to deviate from the original and I was so excited… just to be smacked back into the regular story.

Unfortunately, while Aoife is a great protagonist, the rest of the characters in the story don’t seem to have personality, and they don’t grow throughout the novel. While one might expect that a being such as Rumpelstiltskin likely doesn’t have many manners because he hasn’t spent a lot of time around people, it seemed that the duke was constantly acting like a petulant child. Luckily, the duke does begin to realize that changing his behaviour does get him the correct attention he craves.

All said, I quite enjoyed this book and when I began it I was almost late to ballet class because I couldn’t put it down. Good read, and one I feel that reluctant readers who enjoyed fairy tales might really like.

bonnieAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
Bonnie grew up a shy, quiet girl who the teachers always seated next to the noisy boys because they knew she was too afraid to talk to anyone. She always had a lot she wanted to say but was too afraid to share it for fear she might die of embarrassment if people actually noticed her. Somewhere along the line, perhaps after she surprised her eighth grade class by standing up to a teacher who was belittling a fellow student, she realized that she had a voice and she didn’t burst into flames when her classmates stared at her in surprise.

Not long after that, she began spinning tales, some of which got her into trouble with her mom. Whether persuading her father to take her to the candy store as a little girl or convincing her parents to let her move from Los Angeles to Manhattan to pursue a career at eighteen as a ballet dancer with only $200 in her pocket, Bonnie has proven that she knows how to tell a compelling story.

Now she spends her time reading and making up stories for her two children at night. By day she is an English teacher who never puts the quiet girls next to the noisy boys and works hard to persuade her students that stories, whether they are the ones she teaches in class or the ones she tells to keep them from daydreaming, are better escapes than computers, phones, and social media.