23. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Carousel Sun by Sharon Lee, 336 pages, read by Kira, on 03/22/2015

Cover-Carousel-SunThe second book in the Carousel saga.  Though the stakes aren’t as high as in the last novel, I still found this a very enjoyable read.  2270482292_d35dac85e7_z 'Swamp Dweller' merman painting, Jade GengcoKate’s bad neighbor is still running drugs, and seems to have found another Ozali to help him evade the police.  One of the things I like about Sharon Lee’s writing is that she doesn’t spell things out for you, you have to figure things out on your own.  I finally  Scenics_coastal_waters_and_landmassrealized what had become of the bat-winged horse – though the clues had all been there in the previous book.  I also love the way Kate needs to assert herself, if she wants things to develop between her and Borgan.  I’m waiting to see what happens to the other escaped carousel animals in her next book – Carousel Seas.SeaWitch4  Lee also manages to capture the magic of riding a carousel.dragon_0011d39076ffdcd3feb85e89ebbab63c5c7Wild-Cats-Carousel-947741Carousel-4

19. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee, 432 pages, read by Kira, on 03/19/2015

Carousel Tides Carousel-Tides-shirt5-outlined I almost gave up on this book, while reading the first chapter – but if you persist it gets better, way better.  The protagonist Kate has returned to the beach town in Maine where she grew up with her Gran, her Gran who runs the carousel, her Gran who has disappeared for several months now.  Kate had pledged herself to be a Guardian of the Land, but after she misused the power of the Land and a friend got killed, Kate fled the land, awaiting a slow death (by breaking away from the land).  This is a magical and inventive world, with a great backstory, that slowly gets filled in, as the narrative unfolds.  I’m really glad to have discovered another fantasy author like this!IMGP1751

18. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, 416 pages, read by Angie, on 03/17/2015

Feyre is the youngest daughter of an impoverished merchant. She is the sole provider for her family. When her mother died she charged Feyre with taking care of her older sisters and her father and Feyre has tried to fulfill that promise. One day when she is out hunting in the forest she shoots a wolf. Turns out the wolf was a shapeshifted faerie and she has to pay for his life. She is whisked off over the wall by Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court. Hundreds of years ago there was a war between mortals and fae that divided the world. The fae courts stayed behind the wall in the north and the mortals were relegated to the southern most part of the island of Prythian. Recently the fae have been venturing beyond the wall and attacking humans. Feyre finds life in the Spring Court different from what she expected. Tamlin and the other faeries treat her with respect and she is better fed and clothed than she has been in years. She finds herself falling in love with Tamlin. But things are not right in Prythian. There is a blight on the land that seems to be spreading and endangers both fae and humans alike. Feyre has the power to stop the blight if only she would realize it.

I am a big fan of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series so I was really excited when I saw this new series. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a different twist. Maas has gone back to the old story of Beauty and the Beast, but instead of a troll queen we have an evil faerie queen. The beauty is a mortal girl and the beast is a faerie prince. It is a fabulous story with a fabulous set of characters. My only little quibble is that it is marketed as a teen book, but it has some fairly sexy sex scenes with a bit more detail than teen books usually have. Didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book, but I might be a bit hesitant to give it to younger, more innocent teens (not that I don’t think they get more graphic information elsewhere). I can’t wait to see where this series goes as this book wrapped most of the storylines up pretty nicely; although there is a nice twist at the end.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read the ARC of this book. I loved it!

05. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Leslie

The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni, 309 pages, read by Leslie, on 02/23/2015

 In this riveting fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to Arthurian legend. Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this first book in a new series that combines exciting magic and pulse-pounding suspense.

With lots of books with ties to the King Arthur legend, this one is refreshing in its portrayal.  Jax is orphaned and living with a guardian he does not like, who is barely older than he is, and he doesn’t understand why he can’t live with his relatives.  He doesn’t like where he lives, his guardian’s friends and he is determined to figure out how to get out of the situation.  Unfortunately, he has inherited his father’s power of persuasion and his guardian, trying to protect him from his destiny as much as possible, does Jax a disservice by keeping him in the dark.  And by doing so, Riley Pendare almost destroys that which he is charged with protecting.

A great book for reluctant readers of the male persuasion, this has just about everything they could like in a book.  It has magic, King Arthur, good guys, bad guys trying to overthrow the world as we know it, a girl to protect, and a teenage boy who keeps trying to figure it all out.  Highly recommended for all.

02. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Teen Books

The darkest part of the forest by Holly Black, 328 pages, read by Angie, on 02/17/2015

In the heart of the forest lies a glass coffin with a horned-boy in it, a faerie prince forever asleep. He never wakes no matter how many people dance on his coffin, try to kiss him, or simply stare at him in awe. As far as the people know he has always been there and will always be there.

He is not the only unusual thing in Fairfold, a town where humans coexist with the fae. Residents know what to do to protect themselves and only shake their heads when tourists go missing. However, something in the heart of the forest is growing stronger, and the protections no longer seem to be working. Hazel and Ben have grown up in Fairfold. Ben is gifted with music, but his gift comes with a curse. Hazel wants to be a knight and fight the monsters in the forest. She made a deal with the fae, but doesn’t know how or when she will have to pay it back. Hazel is in love with Ben’s best friend Jack, a changeling whose human parents decided to keep him when they got their own son back. Jack knows more about what is happening with the fae in the forest than he lets on. One day, the horned-boy awakes and the monster at the heart of the forest makes her way into town. Hazel, Ben and Jack have to find a way to stop the monster and save the town before it is too late.

This is Holly Black at her best. It is a dark fairy tale filled with lies, secrets, heroes and curses. Hazel is the star of this story, but she has the most secrets to protect. Hazel is keeping secrets from Ben about the deal she made with the Alderking; she is keeping secrets from Jack about her true feelings; and she is unknowingly keeping secrets from herself. Hazel’s secrets have to be revealed if our heroes are going to win the day.

Fans of Holly Black’s teen books like the Modern Faerie Tale series or The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and her middle grade books Doll Bones and The Spiderwick Chronicles, will appreciate the way she is able to weave the dark elements of this story in with the more heart-warming elements. She is at her best when she is writing about strong female characters who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and those around them, but who are also aware enough to know when they need help.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

25. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Black Wings by Christina Henry, 295 pages, read by Kira, on 02/24/2015

Madeline Black is an agent of Dblack wingseath, guiding souls to the door of the afterlife.  Shortly after she rents out the lower rooms in her house, to hot-looking Gabriel Angeloscuro, demons wanting to kill her start showing up near her house, including her evil half-brother Antares.  The author does some interesting world-building, building a genealogy of residents of heaven, but mostly hell.  I picked up this title on accidB0351_BlackWings_coverent, thinking it was another by Barb Hendee – both have call # HEN.  Enjoyable enough of a read, but I doubt I’ll continue the series.fantasy-and-gothic-pictures-girl-with-black-wings-and-blue-dress

24. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction

The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell, 332 pages, read by Angie, on 02/23/2015

Sand has a fight with his father so he runs away and makes an offering at a shrine. The next thing he knows he is waking up in the sundered castle. Thirty years ago something happened at the castle that caused everything from the walls to the last apple to split. The castle was then surrounded by an impenetrable wall of thorns. Sand has no idea how he got in the castle, but once there he decides to use his skills as a blacksmith to start fixing things. He fixes everything from doors to buckets to spoons. He even puts things back to rights in the crypt beneath the chapel. Sand spends weeks alone in the castle working and trying to find enough food to get by. Then a girl appears; she is the same girl he put to rights in the crypt. Seems that Perrotte has been mended as well. She was once the daughter of the castle before she was murdered by her stepmother. Once Perrotte and Sand get past their surprise at the new circumstances, Perrotte helps Sand with the mending of the castle. They notice that the more they mend the lower the wall of thorns becomes. They are determined to find a way out of the castle and back to their lives.

This is a magical fairy tale with a twist. I really enjoyed Sand and Perrotte and how their relationship develops. Perrotte goes from being a snobby lady who looks down on humble Sand, to a warm human being who considers Sand her best friend and protector. I liked the discovery of Sand’s magic and why it came to be. I also enjoyed Perrotte’s tragic story of her past and how she came back to life. The one thing I thought was rushed was the ending though. We spend the majority of the book in the castle with Sand and Perrotte as they are working together and rebuilding the castle. Then in the last few chapters Perrotte’s stepmother comes with her army; then a peace is established; then they leave the castle. It is all very hurried and didn’t seem to fit the pace of the rest of the book. But as this is a fairy tale everyone lives happily ever after and all is well.

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Steam-punk

Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann, Janet K. Lee (Illustrations), 128 pages, read by Angie, on 02/11/2015

Time has stopped in Anorev. Everyone is either a robot or a child; there are no adults. There is no night or bedtime or chores or anything one would expect. Then 312 Dapper Men descend from the sky. They are here to set things right and to restart time. One of the Dapper Men enlists the help of a boy named Ayden and a robot girl named Zoe. They need to do something with the robot angel in the harbor in order to make things they way they should be. I actually wanted more from this story than I got. There isn’t a lot of explanation as to why time stopped, what happened to the adults, who the Dapper Men are, etc. The story itself is pretty sparse. The artwork is gorgeous however. It brings life to the story where the words do not. This is an interesting steampunk fairy tale fantasy but just needed a bit more.

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Fairest by Marissa Meyer , 222 pages, read by Angie, on 02/04/2015

Fairest is Queen Levana’s story and what a story it is. While this doesn’t really change my opinion of the evil queen it does explain a bit about how she got to where she is. Basically Luna royalty is messed up. Levana and her sister Channery aren’t even sad when their parents are murdered. Channery becomes queen and just wants to sleep with every guy she is attracted to, doesn’t care about politics and loves tormenting her little sister. The torment began very early when Channery forced Levana into a fire that horribly disfigured her. This caused Levana to become really good at glamour so no one can see what she really looks like. Levana becomes obsessed with one of the royal guards and tricks him into sleeping with her and then marrying her basically by taking on the glamour of his dead wife. Levana is a pretty twisted character and does a lot of things that make you doubt her sanity. But crazy is often exciting to read about. This doesn’t really give a lot of info about the other books in the series but we do get glimpse of Cinder and Winter’s beginnings and of course how Levana became fixated on Earth.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Graphic Novel

Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 9 by Bill Willingham, 368 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/04/2015

This is clearly a pivotal point for the characters in Fables. It’s the battle we’ve all been waiting for: the Fables versus the Adversary. It’s every bit as epic as you’d imagine.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Poetry, Teen Books

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann, 114 pages, read by Angie, on 02/03/2015

Poetry is not something I pick up and read very often. I don’t have anything against poetry I just like prose more. I am always glad to be introduced to interesting poetry however. I heard about Poisoned Apples through School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books and decided to give it a try. I am glad I did. The poems are a mix of contemporary and fairy tale themes. They deal with the things women have had to deal with forever: sex, body image, a male-dominated world, etc. They speak of things that are not always spoken about. These are not happy, light poems but dark and disturbing at times. They are beautiful in both their message and their words.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction

Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 02/02/2015

Gilly lives with her family in their shoe. Her father is the shoemaker who invented the glass slipper. But now the princesses have given glass slipper production to the fairies and Gilly’s family isn’t doing so well. She steals things to provide her family with food and the occasional gift. When she is finally caught she is sent to Fairy Tale Reform School (FTRS). FTRS is run by reformed villains like Cinderella’s stepmother, Red Riding Hood’s wolf, Ariel’s sea witch and Snow White’s evil queen. Gilly meets a lot of other fairy tale delinquents at the school and finds that not everything is as reformed as it seems.

I enjoy reading fractured fairy tales and it seems like they are a trend in children’s literature right now. I like the twist of the villains being reformed and trying to reform others in Calonita’s take on the fairy tale world. There were plenty of twists and turns to this story to make it interesting. It is the beginning of a series and opens up a lot of possibilities for future books. The fairy tale world is full of interesting characters and tales and there is no end to the new twists you can come up with.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

02. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste , 240 pages, read by Angie, on 02/01/2015

Corinne lives on an island with her fisherman father. Her mother died when she was a baby. The island is a special one with a forest filled with Jumbies. Jumbies are creatures that can harm you if you come in contact with them. The villagers stay away from the forest and the jumbies and have lived together for many years. One day Corinne ventures into the forest to retrieve a necklace that belonged to her mother and is followed out by Severine. Severine is the queen of the jumbies and it turns out the sister of Corinne’s mother. Severine wants a family and decides she is going to take Corinne and her father. When that doesn’t work out for her she decides to retake the island from the humans. Corinne teams up with her friends to stop Severine and save their home.

The Jumbies is an interesting fairy tale based off island myths. Baptiste used the stories of jumbies from her childhood to craft a modern fairy tale. The jumbies are just scary enough but not too scary to intrigue young readers. The chapters are nice and short and make you want to keep reading. The characters were well developed and interesting. I liked the Severine’s motivations were actually revealed and she wasn’t just a one-dimensional character like so many villains.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

21. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books · Tags:

Desert Tales: A Wicked Lovely Companion Novel by Melissa Marr, 245 pages, read by Brian, on 01/21/2015

desertThis a companion novel to the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr.  This novel takes place in the Mojave Desert where Rika (human and now fairy) chose to live.  Rika, didn’t really belong with the desert fey.  She basically lives in solitude.  Ritka meets a human who is kind and a romance begins, so maybe, just maybe, fey can come out of hiding from the humans.

 

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Teen Books

Grimm Memories by Janna Jennings, 262 pages, read by Angie, on 01/16/2015

Andi, Quinn, Dylan and Frederick are back in the real world after their adventures in Elorium. They starting having nightmares and decide it is time to go back and try to rescue Jack. Quinn’s brother Max gets sucked along for the ride. Elorium is not how they left it though. People are disappearing and others are having nightmares as well. This just makes the gang that much more determined to find Jack and figure out what is going on. There is a lot of adventure and excitement, a couple of people almost die, and there are a few other fairytales added to the mix.

I liked this second book in the Grimm Tales series. The story seemed a bit more cohesive than the first as we didn’t have to introduce characters and their stories all over again. There is plenty of action and intrigue as the group travels across Elorium to find Jack. I enjoyed the developing relationships between the boys and girls and the fact that the girls were awesome. Andi and Quinn pretty much ruled the adventure. They showed that girls can be smart, prepared and kick-butt as well.

Thanks to Netgalley for letting me read this book!

08. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Graphic Novel

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman, 56 pages, read by Courtney, on 12/08/2015

  How well do you remember the tale of Hansel and Gretel? I thought I recalled it pretty well, but then I read Gaiman’s version and realized how much of it had slipped my memory. I won’t likely forget how the story played out again though, because Gaiman’s take on it is exceedingly memorable. It’s one of the traditional variations on the tale, which are all fairly creepy to begin with, but the addition of Lorenzo Mattatti’s chilling black-and-white painted scenes add an even more ominous tone. Blurbs on the cover describe this as a “definitive” rendition, an assessment I can’t find any fault with. Notes at the end of this slim volume tell readers about the history of this classic tale, as well as some of the variations in the narration.
06. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Lisa

Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson, 304 pages, read by Lisa, on 12/12/2014

Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow’s princesses and knights….Come one, come all!

A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war.  She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.

Set in Grimm’s fairytale world, M.A. Larson’s Pennyroyal Academymasterfully combines adventure, humor, and magical mischief.

Description from Goodreads.com

06. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction

Fairy Tale Christmas by Michael McLean, Scott McLean, 176 pages, read by Angie, on 01/05/2015

The fairy tale villains want to change the endings of their stories. They are tired of good always winning. So they concoct a plan to kidnap Santa and force the heroes to give up their endings. They have Rumpelstiltskin as their inside man posing as an elf and an evil queen, a witch and a giant to do the kidnapping. Of course things don’t turn out like they planned at all. This is a fun little Christmas tale. I enjoy fractured fairy tales and this was pretty inventive. It is short and very readable so kids could read it very quickly or it could be read aloud at Christmas time.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Emma and the Blue Genie. by Cornelia Funke, 90 pages, read by Kira, on 01/01/2015

0385375409 emma-and-the-blue-genie-illustration2-kerstin-meyer-001 emma-und-der-blaue-dschinnI’ve really enjoyed Cornelia Funke’s works, and was delighted to see another of her works translated into English.  This is a short story of a girl having an adventure in elsewhere with some genies.

31. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Becky, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction

Blood Magick by Nora Roberts, 322 pages, read by Becky, on 12/02/2014

hw7.pl4

County Mayo is rich in the traditions of Ireland, legends that Branna O’Dwyer fully embraces in her life and in her work as the proprietor of The Dark Witch shop, which carries soaps, lotions, and candles for tourists, made with Branna’s special touch. Branna’s strength and selflessness hold together a close circle of friends and family–along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. But there’s a single missing link in the chain of her life: love… She had it once–for a moment–with Finbar Burke, but a shared future is forbidden by history and blood. Which is why Fin has spent his life traveling the world to fill the abyss left in him by Branna, focusing on work rather than passion. Branna and Fin’s relationship offers them both comfort and torment. And though they succumb to the heat between them, there can be no promises for tomorrow. A storm of shadows threatens everything that their circle holds dear. It will be Fin’s power, loyalty, and heart that will make all the difference in an age-old battle between the bonds that hold their friends together and the evil that has haunted their families for centuries