Review of Swans and Silence by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
All Ignacia has ever known is caring for her six younger brothers. Now she’s given her life to hiding them from their witchy stepmother, Annie, who is bent on eliminating the royal siblings and taking the Swan Kingdom for herself.

When Annie turns her brothers into swans, Ignacia flees to a nearby village. Armed with only a magical ball of yarn, she must free them from their curse. She just has to weave each brother a magical shirt, but there’s a catch: she can’t utter a word until she’s done. That means no talking to the handsome young king.

Or defending herself against accusations of witchcraft and murder.

But her brothers come first and she can’t bear to let anyone help. Not even the handsome king.

Can Ignacia let go, defend herself, and survive, or will darkness be her future?

Review:
Many oldest siblings will feel Ignacia’s pain. She feels as if she should protect her brothers, she HAS to keep them safe. While others might agree to help, an older sibling will always feel that it is their job to help their young brother or sister. Ignacia knows her task is difficult, and maybe impossible, but all she can do is try her best and continue to do what she can for her brothers. Not only is Ignacia relatable, but her desire to keep to her mission instead of speaking is admirable.

Star Rating: 

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Review of Poison and Mirrors by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
Mara’s always had to have an attitude. There’s no room to be a pushover when you’re the bottom rung of the social ladder and you live in an orphanage. Her crush, Eric, probably doesn’t realize she exists. Or he’s too afraid of her black makeup and warped sense of humor.

But when she finally draws Eric’s attention, strange stuff happens to Mara and they’re right out of a fairy tale. A teacher’s tie nearly chokes him to death and classmates turn into donkeys…and it seems all this dark magic is aimed at her. Worse, she’s been having a nightmare about a very red and dangerous apple. Someone’s trying to keep her away from Eric at all costs—someone jealous. Could her best friend, Sara, be trying to eliminate her?

Mara must get to the bottom of this fairy tale nightmare if she is to survive. And it might take more than an attitude to learn the truth.

Review:
Oh, my heart! What happens when best friends are torn apart, despite having spent all their lives together? This novel had an amazing twist, and I absolutely loved it. Nothing is at all what it seems, and it seems that all are able to be manipulated, especially when key facts are left out about who they are.

This novel does call into question the people working for the king attempting to overthrow Fable– is everyone as complacent as he believes?

Star Rating: 

Review of Towers and Braids by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
Rae’s world is safe. Her tower is all the shelter she needs from all the scary men, beasts, and other dark forces her mother says roam the world of Fable.

Or is it? And what are men, anyway?

And why did she overhear her mother saying a young man might try to take her away soon? But when Henry sneaks into her tower, he’s not so bad, and he makes Rae feel strange in ways she doesn’t understand. Only after Henry gets chased off by her mother does Rae learn she has the gift of light. And a certain dark wizard wants to destroy her before she can combat the darkness he’s spreading through Fable.

Forced to leave her home when the dark wizard comes knocking, Rae’s only hope of survival is to venture into the dangerous world, find Henry, and claim her happily ever after.

Review:
Oh, an adorable fairy tale that takes place entirely in the world of fairy tales. Rae is refreshing in her naivety and simplicity. While Rae’s story is in many ways the Rapunzel we already know, the novel does a good job of showing how children (or a teenager in this case), without stimulus and learning, grow restless and rebellious. Henry also shows Rae that sometimes the prejudices given to us or taught to us are wrong, and that sometimes it’s better to spread your wings and see if you can fly, and learn how things are for yourself.

Rae, despite her upbringing, goes through quite a tumultuous experience to do what she believes is right. Her growth and understanding are brilliant to watch expand.

Star Rating: 

Review of Frogs and Princes by Holly Hook

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Candice hates 1.) being the rich girl in town everyone thinks is a snob, 2.) Shorty, the annoying guy who has a huge crush on her, and 3.) the fact she can hear frogs talking. Yikes.

But when a frog begs her to save him from dissection, she steps in, starting a chain of events that land her and Shorty in Fable, a world where the fairy tales are real. It turns out she’s a princess, and the frog she rescued is meant to be her prince. But he’s far from a happily ever after. If doesn’t free him from his curse and agree to be his timid, obedient bride, her kingdom will turn dark and fall into the hands of the most powerful dark wizard in Fable. And she thought Shorty was a jerk!

Candice must face her identity and make an impossible decision. And it also turns out Shorty’s got secrets of his own, secrets which might destroy them all.

Review:
Oh my goodness, I love Candice! Not only is she sucked into something she doesn’t quite understand, but she takes it in stride and tries to make it better. Candice is intelligent, although most people do not see that, and her desire to make things right tempered with the ingenuity of having lived without magic lead her on an interesting path to fulfilling her story without setting herself up for a dismal existence. Candice and Shorty grow throughout their journey, which makes following them enjoyable.

Star Rating: 

Review of Wolves and Paths by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
Red only knows life under her oppressive grandmother. She can’t even go on trips, participate in Halloween, or eat meat. Come on! She’s almost an adult! And rebellion just makes her worse.

So against her judgment, Red sneaks off with her boyfriend to Disney World. It could be worse, right? But maybe her grandmother was onto something because the trip lands them all in another world: Fable, where fairy tales are real and things go bump in the night. And now her grandmother is captured by an evil wizard named Alric.

Now Red is center stage in a tale she must complete to save her grandmother. But Alric is determined to rule Fable by making all the famous fairy tales fall—and Red is his first target. It’s time for Red to break her chains and face her fears. But she’s soon to learn that even the most famous fairy tales are not always what they seem…

Review:
This was a very interesting twist on Little Red Riding Hood, while incorporating a bit of the original fairy tale’s parental failing. In the original, Red is allowed to wander in the forest, not protected from things that could potentially hurt her, warnings given but without reason. In that regard, this story is the same, that Red is not given reasons for what she must do, and because of that, she rebels. The lesson that seems to blare from both versions of the story, the original and this, is that without knowing the logic behind WHY, most will go off and do whatever seems fun/like a good idea at the time… even though it might (usually) cause trouble.

Red is refreshing and not at all just a damsel in distress. Her loyalty runs deep and her feelings make her a quite relatable character. I loved this version of Red Riding Hood, and while I have read books with a similar twist, this one was done quite in depth considering all of Red’s grandmother’s rules.

Star Rating: 

Review of Thread and Spool by Holly Hook

Synopsis (from Amazon):
When you can spin yarn into gold, getting whisked to a fairytale world by an evil king is just Tuesday.

Brie’s mysterious ability means trusting others is a bad idea. So she lets her guard down around no one: not her boyfriend and not her adoptive parents. She’s had enough of their gambling and gaming problems.

But when an evil king comes knocking and chases Brie into a realm of magic called Fable, it changes everything. With only one elf, Stilt, by her side, Brie learns she’s meant to take part in a famous fairytale–one that will end in her death or worse, a lifetime married to that evil, greedy king. Just more of the usual, right?

Stilt says he can help her escape, but in return, he might ask for something she can’t give. Who is her elf companion, really?
Trust or die. What’s more terrifying?

Review:
An interesting premise, that fairy tales are true, and that the characters within them want out. Brie is a likable character, empathetic, reasonable. Everything in one girl’s life is thrown on its head, and she’s stuck between what seems reasonable and what is SUPPOSED to happen, something that all of us likely have felt at some point– what we want to do verses what is expected of us.

This book gave a backstory to characters that rarely see one, explaining how not everything “evil” is as it seems, but that conditions can force a disposition on someone who is usually not that way at all.

Star Rating: 

 

Review of A Goose Girl by K. M. Shea

A Goose Girl: A Retelling of The Goose Girl
Entwined Tales: Book 1
By K. M. Shea

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 117
Winter 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
As a royal lady’s maid, Rynn has one task: Escort the princess of Astoria to her intended’s kingdom and return home. Unfortunately for the former goose girl, the princess has other plans.

When her charge flees, Rynn’s not only forced to take the princess’s place, but she must also contend with a spiteful fairy horse, a good dose of political intrigue, and Conrad…the mysterious and all-too observant lord who consumes more of her thoughts than he should.

But with war looming on the horizon, Rynn stands to lose more than her heart. Can she convince the princess to return, end the charade, and make peace between the kingdoms?

More importantly, can she possibly avoid a death sentence when the truth is revealed?

A Goose Girl is a romantic fairy tale novella. It can be read on its own but is more fun when read as a part of the Entwined Tales, a series of interconnected fairy tales by six different authors. Each story follows the adventures of one of seven children from the same family as they seek out their own happily ever afters in spite of their reluctant fairy-godfather.

Review:
Wow. This book was fabulous. The characters had such depth and there was such a unique plot line in place. I thought I might have had an idea what was going to happen since I knew the original story, but I was nowhere near close. While the Princess is infuriating, Rynn is a very relatable character. Acting aside, one cannot help but absolutely love the royal family, and how Rynn infiltrates what could be a dastardly war.

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.