Review of Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels

Synopsis (from Amazon):

A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill―including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness―one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.

Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…

As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?

Review:
This story felt like it went on forever, and I never wanted to set it down. There are twists and turns everywhere, both supernatural and common teenage problems to see and deal with, and all of it very relatable. Bellamy’s father is known for being crazy, and people worry or laugh suggesting she’ll be the same, so already, Bellamy has to deal with being ostracized and belittled, even if just for being smart at times.

With supernatural uncertainties, Tate and Bellamy find themselves having to figure out a mystery, while also learning about each other and how to associate with someone physically disabled. All in all, I thought the situations, and their reactions to them, were very realistic, and the story was gripping and quite wonderful. I certainly recommend, especially to those who enjoy Beauty and the Beast.

Star Rating: 

Review of The Princess Search by Melanie Cellier

Synopsis (from Amazon):
An outcast.
A prince.
And a deadly rebellion…

After a lifetime of rejection, seamstress Evie can’t trust Frederic, the crown prince of Lanover–not his words of friendship or the way the warmth in his eyes seems to ask for even more. But when they end up on a tour of his kingdom–one filled with increasing danger–Evie’s mistrust might doom them all.

In this spin on the classic fairy tale, an ugly duckling must discover her true worth in order to save her kingdom and maybe even find true love.

Review:
This book truly shows that your past experiences will aid you in your future, and that the way you look at your life is just as important, if not moreso, than what you’ve gone through in the past. Although things hurt, experiencing pain is a part of life.

I quite loved how Evie, a seamstress who designed all sorts of clothes, ended up among a royal tour, getting to help the kingdom and teach the crown prince how to see beyond the obvious, and look for little details, reliving the life she had before, and realizing that getting out of it and being in a position to help isn’t something to be ashamed of– she should be proud of how she’d worked to elevate herself, and become something.

Star Rating: 

Review of An Inconvenient Princess by Melanie Cellier

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Penny knows all about expectation. After all, she’s a seventh child and they’re always blessed, especially in a fairy-favored family like Penny’s. But Penny also knows all about disappointment. Because there’s nothing magical about her at all. She’s perfectly ordinary, even outshone by her own twin, Anneliese.

But maybe being ordinary is a good thing in this case, since gifts from the family’s fairy godfather, Mortimer, tend to lead to disaster. Which is why Penny is filled with dread when she discovers her twin has called on Mortimer for help. Anneliese ran away to find adventure, but now it sounds like she needs rescuing—if only Penny knew where to find her.

But soon Penny has far more problems than the location of her missing sister. When she’s forced to call on Mortimer herself, she’s soon embroiled with a rogue fairy, a tower without doors, a charming prince, and one highly inconvenient princess. With more and more people looking to Penny to secure their happily ever afters, will Penny ever have a chance to find one for herself? Find out in this twist on the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel.

An Inconvenient Princess 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:
Penny is pragmatic. She doesn’t want to find trouble,but she knows her sister lives in a realm of tall tales and being extravagant, so when she sets off, Penny knows she will have to follow. Penny is an intelligent heroine, which makes her interesting. Despite being the younger twin, she feels responsible for Anneliese, and it drives her to great lengths. Finding her courage to become a leader instead of a follower, and try to do what is right makes this a great ending story for the series, especially since the happy ever after isn’t what you’d expect it to be.

Star Rating: 

Review of A Beautiful Curse by Kenley Davidson

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Follow your heart…
But you might just end up snacking on flies.

When a bumbling fairy godfather gifts a humble woodcutter’s fourth child with extraordinary beauty, she spends the next eighteen years trying to hide it—behind a book. Now, Elisette is ready to follow her dreams and become a scholar, but her admirers keep getting in the way of her ambitions. Ellie knows better than to rely on her fairy godfather, but she’s desperate enough to risk asking him for help. The trouble is, Mortimer isn’t feeling very helpful. In fact, he’s downright irritated…

After a bit of vengeful fairy magic, Ellie discovers that webbed feet and green skin are even harder to manage than beauty. No one cares what happens to a frog, except maybe quiet, unassuming Prince Cambren, who has enough troubles of his own.

Will Ellie find a way to break her curse and live happily ever after? Or will she spend the rest of her life eating flies and living in a pond at the back of the palace garden?

A Beautiful Curse 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:
Ellie finds life hard because no matter how smart she is, how well spoken, educated, most will not see beyond her looks, and believe that she is a capable person. While Mortimer offers a… different… solution, she finds that if someone can take her seriously when she isn’t even human, perhaps not all is lost for her. This is a unique take on usual frog prince story, and while the lesson learned is somewhat the same, the way in which Ellie has to learn it is unprecedented.

Star Rating: 

Review of An Unnatural Beanstalk by Brittany Fichter

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Some fairies ruin everything.

Eva never doubted her place in her happy little world. Born second to a former woodcutters-turned-wealthy merchants’ family, all she ever wanted was to care for her siblings and to play the harp. Unfortunately, when her fairy godfather’s gift-giving goes awry, Eva receives an unusual talent that gets her abducted and betrothed to a loathsome duke with giant plans for the kingdom.

Jack never ventured far from his mother’s farm. But when Eva’s fairy godfather, in an attempt to fix his goddaughter’s plight, forces Jack to take some magic beans and responsibility for saving Eva, Jack finds himself in as much danger as the girl he came to save.

In this retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, follow Jack and Eva as they attempt to outsmart the duke, save the kingdom, and just possibly find their own happily ever after as well.

An Unnatural Beanstalk 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:
Eva has a wonderful ability to play the harp that she’s worked hard to master and get good at. When someone ends up in a bad situation, she cannot help but offer to help, and that causes her fairy godfather to “reward” her.  While Eva’s family life is unconventional, Jack’s is too. Finding Jack and Eva’s stories entwining is amusing and endearing as both go through unique trials and tribulations in their attempt to free Eva. Unique, it’s good to see Eva realize that just because she isn’t the exact size and shape that is considered most desirable, doesn’t mean she ISN’T a desirable and capable woman.

Star Rating: 

Review of My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn’t exactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum “Chrissy” Everstar, Tansy’s fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy’s three wishes don’t exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn’t bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She’ll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief ‘s son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control. Janette Rallison pulls out all the stops in this fresh, fun-filled follow-up to the popular My Fair Godmother.

Review:
While having a fairy tale feeling, Tansy is very much a unique character. She feels what most who experience parents that split up do, and while she knows she isn’t behaving the best, she does want to fix her problems. Due to the way Chrissy’s “gift” wishes turn out, Tansy finds herself examining what she thought she liked and wanted, and if that’s really what would really make her happy, and how her situation is compared to others.

Star Rating: 

Review of Glass and Death by Holly Hook


Synopsis (from Amazon):
Can the son of the darkest wizard in Fable save it?

Shorty’s world is in trouble. The land of Fable is falling victim to a growing darkness, one being spread by an evil dark wizard named Alric who is bent on making every fairy tale fall. Worse, Shorty’s grandmother hates him and even the knights around his castle fear his presence.

The fact that he’s the son of Alric might have something to do with that.

No matter how far Shorty runs, he cannot escape from his origin and the dark magic pulsing through him. When a group of refugees arrives on his doorstep, one of them with a magic ball of yarn that can show you anywhere you want to go, Shorty realizes his time of hiding is over. And they’re being pursued by Annie, Alric’s evil sister.

Shorty must act. Finding and facing the dark wizard himself is the only thing that will free him—and Fable—from the darkness.

Review:
Shorty has grown exponentially from his original journey with Candice to this point. In many ways, Shorty’s journey is one that most go through in life– are they like their parents, will they do the same things, or will they take another path and do something completely different? Realizing that he must lead, it’s up to Shorty to forge his own path. Facing up to one’s parents is the hardest thing a child can do, but sometimes, it is necessary, and while Shorty’s case is extreme, one can only hope that his journey shows that you can be whatever you truly want to be, and that you will have have far more friends and followers if you do what is right.

Star Rating: 

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: 

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: