24. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, read by Kira, on 05/23/2013

percy-jackson-and-the-lightning-thief-1-19-10     Fast paced, enjoyed the concept of the 12 camp cabins each one for a different member of the Greek pantheon.  I would like to see the camp.  Alexandra_Daddario_in_Percy_Jackson_and_the_Olympians__The_Lightning_Thief_Wallpaper_2_1280It lightning_thief_hd_wallpaper_thumbwas really obvious which god’s son he was, but enjoyable to watch him and his mates discover his heritage. I really liked the book, until somewhere right towards the end, after Percy battles Ares, somehow things didn’t really fit.  I thought for sure I’d want to start right in on the next book in the series, but afpercy-jackson-and-the-olympians-the-lightning-thief-920160ter I finished I changed my mind.  Maybe it was the author’s attempt at bridging to the next book, lightning_thief_ukthat percywas weak.

Fairy Tale Comics takes several old tales and translates them into graphic format. The tales include Puss in Boots, 12 Dancing Princesses, Baba Yaga and many many more. I like the graphic format and think it works really well for fairy tales. However, I feel like some of these tales have been shortened or abridged or just plain changed. It kind of seems like that takes away some of the magic of the tales. I think the illustrations are outstanding though. They are diverse and really fit each of the tales. I wish the narrative was as good as the pictures, but this is a fun quick read and a good introduction to fairy tales.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce, read by Kira, on 04/26/2013

Cover-of-Some-Kind-of-Fairy-Tale The protagonist Tara Martin disappeared 20 years ago.  When she returns she claims she spent 6 months in Faery.  Her family and boyfriend have been devastated by her disappearance and respond in various ways to her tale.  I’m Not sure this really belongs in SciFi, since the focus is more on the internal psychological bluebells clyne meadow 2007world than the magical aspects.

 

So I liked a lot of the book, but unlike many other reviewers could see the ending from a mile away (well not the epilogue part).  Perhaps, it reminded me of the book “Giants of the Frost” by Kim Wilkins.

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Graphic Novel

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 6 by Bill Willingham, read by Courtney, on 04/28/2013

In this volume:
The battle with the Adversary heats up (literally). Bigby is tracked by Mowgli and begged to return to Snow and the kids. The kids are growing fast and trying to control their shape-shifting abilities, otherwise they’ll never be allowed to leave the farm. Finally, a compromise is reached wherein Bigby may be able to live with his family after all.
This volume does feel really short compared to previous deluxe editions, but it’s a fantastic installment just the same.

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Poetry

Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge, read by Courtney, on 04/10/2013

Here’s one that’s a must-read for more mature fans of fairy tales. Koertge takes well-known stories from the fairy tale cannon and turns them completely on their heads. In poetry form. Which is totally awesome. Many authors have difficulty getting their point across in 400 pages. Ron Koertge can tell a complete story in a single poem. And this book has tons of them! I loved these post-modern renditions; they feel simultaneously both truer to their original forms than many other modern adaptations and feel more contemporary than ever before. A fun, thought-provoking and fast read.

17. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Romance

Gift of Magic by Lynn Kurland, read by Kira, on 04/01/2013

gift of magic

In the conclusion, the third book in this 2nd trilogy of the Nine Kingdoms, Sarah and Ruith battle their way past an astounding number of evil-doers.  Sarah always retains this mousy-ness about her.  Ruith thinks she’s oh so courageous, but she’s always hesitant, but insistent.  I wonder if the author knew what she was going to do with all the various characters, some of the key players were introduced for the very first time in the second book of the trilogy. I much preferred the charismatic Morgan woman-warrior.  Well I hope the 2nd book the the 3rd trilogy is as good as the 1st title in the 3rd trilogy, whenever it comes out.

14. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Poetry, Teen Books

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge, read by Angie, on 04/13/2013

Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses is a satirical look at fairy tales with a modern twist (and a gruesome one). Ron Koertge does a brilliant job showing the darker side of these tales. I also enjoyed the modern updates. This was a fun quick read.

09. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Graphic Novel

Fables Deluxe Edition Vol 5 by Bill Willingham, read by Courtney, on 03/31/2013

In this edition: Witness Jack’s rise to fame as he moves to Hollywood to produce an epic trilogy: his own story. Mowgli makes his return to Fabletown. Boy Blue confronts the Adversary in the Homelands and proves himself to be quite the fighter. The Eastern Fables’ land is invaded and envoys are sent to Fabletown, making for a rather interesting cultural clash.

09. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Graphic Novel

Fables Deluxe Edition Vol. 4 by Bill Willingham, read by Courtney, on 03/31/2013

In this volume:  Elections are held.  King Cole is out of office and Prince Charming is the new mayor of Fabletown.  Snow and Bigby briefly revel in the birth of their litter before Snow is forced to take her kids to the farm.  Being banned from the farm, Bigby wanders off on his own.  Beast takes Bigby’s place as the new sheriff, with Beauty taking on Snow’s former role as the mayor’s assistant.  Growing pains are inevitable.  It doesn’t help that Charming has made promises that are impossible to keep.
In the meantime, Boy Blue has left Fabletown with several important magical items.  His journey is one of revenge against the Adversary.

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Teen Books, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, read by Courtney, on 03/03/2013

Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing in the distant future. The man who paid for her surgeries and brought her back to China is long-dead and Cinder has been living with his wife, Adri, and his daughters, Pearl and Peony. Cinder, being a cyborg, has no rights as a human being and is considered (and treated as) property by Adri. Cinder’s only friends are an android named Iko and the youngest of her “stepsisters”, Peony. One day, Cinder is surprised to find Prince Kai visiting her little mechanic shop to repair one of the royal androids. Cinder does have, after all, the reputation for being one of the best mechanics in the country. Nonetheless, she is completely stupefied that the Prince would even deign talk to her. In the meantime, the city is being faced with an outbreak of a deadly plague. Even the king cannot escape its clutches. After Peony falls ill with the dreaded disease, Adri sells Cinder off to the royal lab for plague research (which no “volunteer” has yet been able to survive). When Cinder fails to contract the disease, it is realized that she may be more valuable than anyone, especially Cinder, thought possible. There are, however, a few more surprises in store for Cinder when the Lunar Queen comes down to earth to attempt a marriage treaty with Prince Kai.
Overall, I enjoyed this adaptation of Cinderella. It was not as direct an adaptation as many I’ve read, but the main characters and plot points all seem to be in place. I did find parts of the world-building either lacking or problematic, which I can only hope will be addressed in the rest of this series. It’s fast-paced and engaging, with some unusual twists. The main reveal, however, is very predictable – I had it figured out within a few chapters and spent the rest of the book testing my theories. Sometimes it’s fun to be correct; sometimes it’s a bit disappointing. In this case, it fell more on the disappointing side since it was simply too easy to guess at the biggest plot point. Still, an entertaining read with plenty to discuss thematically.

25. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross, read by Angie, on 03/24/2013

Mira has spent all of her fifteen years sheltered by her two godmothers. They have raised her since her parents died in a fire when she was a baby. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mira decides to run away to her hometown of Beau Rivage to find out more about her parents and to find their graves. She concocts and elaborate scheme to run away with decoy emails and bribed classmates, but once she gets to Beau Rivage her plans fall apart. She has no idea how to begin her search so she camps out in a casino. There she is discovered by two brothers (separately). Blue, seventeen and surly, warns her away and tries to get her out of the casino. Felix, twenty-two and runs the casino, immediately offers her a room and anything she wants. Of course she falls for Felix, but she becomes friends with Blue and his friends. Turns out the town of Beau Rivage is full of fairy tale characters under curses from actual fairies. At some point in your childhood you will get a mark that identifies what type of character you are and what role you will play. Mira’s mark makes her Sleeping Beauty. She also meets Snow White, the Huntsman, Prince Charming and many others. But it is Blue and Felix’s curse that is the most mysterious. No one will tell her about it other than to warn her to stay away. But of course that doesn’t work mainly because Mira is pretty stupid.

I found this book fairly ridiculous. I love the concept of it. A town with fairy tale characters and curses and more along the lines of the Grimm tales not Disney. I think Once Upon a Time does this much better but it is still a fun concept. But then you get to the characters. Mira is so smart in making her plans to run away, but then once she gets to Beau Rivage it is like she took a stupid pill. She falls in love with Felix after a DAY! And all because he is nice to her and comps a room. No one mentions the fact that she is 15 and he is 22…hello illegal and creepy! Everyone tries to warn her about him (all very vaguely of course), which doesn’t work and only makes her more determined to be with her true love even though she is strangely attracted to Blue too. I will admit that I found Blue and Mira’s weird, mean courtship entertaining, but I still don’t get Mira. Almost all of the side characters were more interesting than her and a whole lot smarter. I can’t emphasize enough how irritatingly dumb she is. Even after Felix tries to kill her she is still starry-eyed and she has pretty much given up on her quest to find her parents. Whatever! I am not even going to mention the stupid ending and how unlikely that was. There are much better fairy tale books out there. Don’t bother with this one.

20. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery · Tags: ,

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, read by Kira, on 03/17/2013

enchant

Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Seventh daughter SUNDAY Woodcutter, befriends an enchanted frog-prince, Grumble, in the forest.  Although her kiss does Not return him to his human form right away, eventually her love for him does the trick.  Unfortunately, when he awakens, he remembers that her family loathes him.

Kontis deftly weaves in narrative themes from multiple fairy tales, from Jack in the Beanstalk, to Sleeping Beauty, to Rumpelstiltskin, to Cinderella, Dancing Princesses.  This is a fast-paced book, that at times fails thoroughly explain all the synchronicities.  Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the book.  Sweet and inventive.

Yes there is at least one vampire or perhaps 2.

20. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Eric, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, read by Eric, on 03/18/2013

The not-so-odd tale of young Odd, and three of the Norse gods in animal form, attempting to win control of Asgard back from a frost giant. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. No matter how short the fiction, he manages to put distinctive twists and touches on the tale. Knowing this, I was surprised to read this rather straightforward mythological adventure. It’s well-told, but if I didn’t know this was Gaiman, I wouldn’t have realized it. Certainly worth a read, however.

15. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, read by Angie, on 02/13/2013

This is the story of Liesl, Po and Will. Liesl is a young girl who has been locked in the attic by her stepmother. She wasn’t even allowed to see her father before he died. Po is a ghost from the other side who is drawn to Liesl and her drawings. Will is an alchemist’s apprentice and an orphan. He watches Liesl as she sits in her attic. Liesl, Po and Will’s paths cross due to a misunderstanding and a mixup. Suddenly they find themselves on the run as evil adults try to track them down.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a nice almost fairy tale. I love the adventure Liesl and Po and Will take; they are on a quest with a destiny to fulfill. Most of the time I think adults in these books are very one-dimensional and this book is no different, but for some reason it didn’t bother me here. Maybe it was the fairy tale quality of the story. Whatever it was I kind of liked that most of the adults were evil and bad. It is so much more enjoyable when they get whats coming to them.

10. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer , read by Angie, on 02/09/2013

Cinder’s story picks up right where we left off. She is in prison waiting to be sent to Luna and her execution, but not for long. She quickly escapes with another prisoner, steals a ship and takes off. She is determined to learn more about herself and her connection to Luna, which leads her to Scarlet. Cinderella has been joined by Little Red Riding Hood (wearing a red hoody of course). Scarlet lives on a farm in France with her grand-mere. Grand-mere has been kidnapped and Scarlet is determined to get her back. She meets Wolf who claims to help her, but truly knows more than he is letting on.

I love this series. It is becoming one of my favorites and I can’t wait to read the next installment. Meyer does a fantastic job combining the fairy tales with her futuristic society. I love that we learn more about Luna in this book and what they are planning for Earth. Meyer has truly created a fascinating cast of characters and a story that draws the reader in.

Crossovers-1 cover

The two volumes of this book are a fascinating and highly enjoyable read for anyone interested in the interactions between various pulp, mystery, adventure, and science fiction characters with real people throughout history.  The premise of this book is inspired by SF writer Philip José Farmer’s “Wold Newton” concept which he developed in the 1970s:  a “radioactive” meteorite crashed near Wold Newton, England in 1795 and affected several carriages full of people who were passing by.  Their descendants became highly intelligent and powerful heroes (or villains) such as Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Dr. Fu Manchu, Doc Savage, Lord Greystoke (aka Tarzan), and many more.  Farmer wrote popular and detailed biographies of Tarzan and Doc Savage in which he detailed the family trees of many “Wold Newton Family” characters.  Over time, the concept has been expanded and continued by others into the Crossover Universe.  Win Scott Eckert has done a fantastic job of compiling references to literary heroes who have met each other (or “crossed over”) and had adventures together, and thus co-exist in the same fictional universe.  Volume 1 covers the dawn of time up through 1939, and Volume 2 covers 1940 into the far future.  Reading these two books is a fun and highly addictive experience!

 

03. February 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction

Storybound by Marissa Burt , read by Angie, on 02/02/2013

Una is a lonely orphan who doesn’t fit in at her school. One day while she is hiding in the library she picks up a book and starts to read. Suddenly she is part of the story. She has been “written in” to the land of Story. Story is a land of characters and tales. Everyone there learns how to be part of the tales, but things are not as wonderful as you might think. A long time ago there was a terrible war. The muses, who controlled the tales, killed hundreds of characters in fierce battles. They were bound to their books and haven’t been seen or heard from again. But is that what really happened? There are characters that don’t believe, characters who want to read the old forbidden tales, characters who want to overthrow the Tale Masters. Una, with the help of her friends Peter and Sam (the cat), must find out what is really going on and who wrote her in.

This is a fun creative book. I will definitely have to read the next one since this book doesn’t really tie up all the loose ends. I like this world of characters and muses and villains; however, I have to admit that at times the book was a little slow for me. I wanted more action and resolution. The end does leave you wanting more and eager to read the next installment.

31. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , , ,

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Kira, on 01/27/2013

 

scorpioraces

Some race to win. Others race to survive.

Every November, on the Island of Thisby, riders compete in the Scorpio Races. They attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.
Some riders live.
Others die – because the Water Horses, though fast, are man eating monster horses.

The writing is gorgeous and the island itself seems like a character, Stiefvater creates very atmospheric locations.  There is something here for everyone, adventure, love (NOT ROMANCE), family relationships.  This might be Stiefvaters best yet!

scorpioraces2

20. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Cloaked by Alex Flinn, read by Leslie, on 09/16/2012

Cloaked

Seventeen-year-old Johnny is approached at his family’s struggling shoe repair shop in a Miami, Florida, hotel by Alorian Princess Victoriana, who asks him to find her brother who was turned into a frog.

I love the way she blends old folk/fairy tales into a modern story line.  While it has been awhile since I’d heard any of these old stories, there were one or two she introduced that I had not heard before.  This is a great book with which to introduce those tales to a new generation.

September is a twelve-year-old girl who lives in Omaha, NE. Her life was full of ordinary things until her father was shipped overseas to fight the war and her mother goes to work in a factory. Everything for September changes one day when the Green Wind blows through next to her kitchen window and invites her to take a ride to Fairyland with him on his flying leopard. It is at that moment the adventure begins. From a Marid named Saturday to an evil Marquess, September meets several memorable (and oftentimes loveable) characters throughout Fairyland during her journey to retrieve a special sword for the Marquess. A lovely tale full of wit and whimsy, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making was a delight to read all the way to the last page. It had just enough at the end for me not to get discouraged about the wait for the next one (sadly I’m number 2 on the waiting list) but left enough of a cliffhanger that I’m curious about September’s next journey.