16. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Teen Books

A Grimm Legacy by Janna Jennings , 249 pages, read by Angie, on 11/13/2013

Andi, Quinn, Frederick and Dylan are all sucked from their lives and into another world. It is a world where fairy tales are real. They are assisted/kidnapped by a mysterious Mr. Jackson who is reluctant to turn them over to his boss. The four must figure out why they are in this world and what role they need to play. It turns out each of their grandparents escaped from Elorium many years ago and they are back to finish the abandoned tales.

I really enjoy fractured fairy tales and this one didn’t disappoint. The girls’ tales were easy to figure out. Andi had a magical cloak and shoes, Quinn’s hair grows at an alarming rate. The boys were a little more difficult and less obvious. I liked the mystery of the story and the open-ended ending that allows for more tales.

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

06. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , ,

Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston, 416 pages, read by Kira, on 11/05/2013

lampblackLaura and her husband Dan’s attempts to conceive a child have taken a toll on their marriage.  They move out to the countryside in Wales to remove some stress.  Then Laura start interacting with characters from the past (some are ghosts invisible to others, while some are characters seem to be enacting past lives).

No – this book is Not as good as other Paula Brackston books I’ve read.  It was difficult to identify with the main character Laura, and the parallel story was Not upbeat at all.

lampblck

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

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 11/01/2013

Poor Rump. His mother died before giving him his full name. He has always been stuck with half a name and no destiny. He lives with his grandma in The Village on the Mountain. The villagers look for gold in the mines to send to the King (King Barf!). All of their rations come through the fat, greedy miller Oswald. This is a land where names have power, magic exists and pixies and gnomes are everywhere. Rump discovers his mothers old spinning wheel and discovers he can spin straw into gold. The magic comes at a price and soon he finds himself in the power of the miller. When the king comes looking for the new gold, the Miller claims his daughter spun it knowing that Rump would help her. Rump goes to the Kingdom and does help Opal, but at a huge cost. Because of the magic Rump can not give the gold away, he has to receive something for it. He is unable to bargain, he must accept any trade offered to him. When Opal offers her first born child Rump despairs but he has to accept. He runs away to Yonder to find his mother’s family and to hopefully break the bargain. Alas, it is not to be. Rump has to find his true name in order to overcome the magical curse and be free.

I love fractured fairy tales. There is just something so enchanting about taking a story we all know and turning it on its head. The tales of Rumpelstiltskin are really not that detailed in explaining why things happen. Liesl Shurtliff simply fills in Rumps backstory for us. She explains his actions and those of the other characters in the story. The Miller becomes the true villain in this tale and Rump is simply a boy who has to find his destiny. I loved all the fantastical characters like the pixies who are attracted to gold, the gnomes who are messengers and the trolls who don’t eat people! I thought this was a thoroughly creative and imaginative story and I loved it.

21. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Fairest, Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham, 160 pages, read by Brian, on 10/10/2013

I enjoy reading the FABLES graphic novels. These stories have a great balance of humor, action and horror.  Fairest explores the secret past of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzul, Cinderella, The Snow Queen, Snow White, Thumbelina and others.  Forget Disneys’ Once Upon a Time and read Bill Willingham’s FABLES.

 

 

10. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham, 264 pages, read by Angie, on 10/08/2013

The characters of stories and legends have been driven from their homelands by “The Adversary”. They are now living in the “mundy” world. Those able to pass as human or able to afford glamours live among the mundys in New York. Those who can’t pass live at “the farm” in upstate New York. The first few chapters are the story of Rose Red’s murder. Her sister Snow White and Bigby Wolf investigate, linking the murder to both Jack (of beanstalk fame) and Bluebeard. The second set involves the farm and the uprising of its inhabitants. I loved Willingham’s take on these characters. I love that Prince Charming is a freeloader and has been divorced by both his wives. I liked Snow White as a take charge administrator. And I really enjoyed Colin pig’s escapes to the city (though I was saddened by what happened to him at the farm). I was a little surprised by how adult this book was considering its characters, but I guess that is why it was in the adult section at the library not the teen section! I will definitely be checking out the rest of this fun series.

08. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Fairest, Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham, 160 pages, read by Courtney, on 08/20/2013

At this rate, I’ll read just about anything with Bill Willingham’s name on it. The various spin-off series from the Fables franchise are no exception. This particular offering features back stories for both Briar Rose and the Snow Queen. Great balance of humor, pathos and literature. The ladies in the Fables world kick butt and I look forward to spending more time with them in the future.

08. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick, 336 pages, read by Courtney, on 08/23/2013

Becky Randle has not lived the most exciting life. She lives in a single-wide trailer with her 400lb mother. She works as a cashier in a failing supermarket. She has exactly one friend in the tiny Missouri town they live in. Becky doesn’t really ask for much, though she dreams of more.
When her mother dies, Becky discovers a name and a phone number hidden in her mother’s things. The name is Tom Kelly, one of the most prestigious fashion designers in the world. Against her better judgement, Becky gets in touch and is whisked away to New York where she is told by Tom and his handlers that, if she wears three dresses designed by him, she will become the most beautiful woman in the world. Becky is highly dubious, believing herself to be set up for some sort of embarrassing reality show or something of that ilk. When she looks at herself in the mirror, she sees bad skin, limp hair and a body she’s less than happy with. How can she possibly become the Most Beautiful Woman in the World (hereafter “MBWitW”)?
The first dress is red and Becky quickly discovers that it does indeed make her the MBWitW, but only when she’s with other people. When she’s alone, she looks like an overdressed version of herself. She eventually begins to get used to the adulation and creates a persona to match, dubbing herself “Rebecca” and reserving “Becky” for her non-MBWitW-self. Only after she realizes that Tom Kelly’s talents are indeed exceptional, she is presented with the other half of the bargain: she has one year to meet someone, fall in love and get married. If not, she’ll go back to being Becky forever. If she can make it happen, she’ll continue to be the MBWitW for the rest of her life. Her rise to super-stardom (because extreme beauty evidently becomes famous on its own) puts her in a position to meet plenty of potential princes to enable her “happily ever after”. Imagine her surprise, however, when a very real prince takes an interest. Is a year long enough to fall in love and get married? Can Becky really fall in love when she’s living her life as Rebecca? Who is the prince really in love with: Becky or Rebecca?
It’s an interesting enough premise, but it kind of felt like a mess to me. I get the message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc., and that’s a good one to send to a teen audience. I just felt like everything was a bit of a stretch. Tom Kelly as a character is more than a bit perplexing. I’m not even entirely sure what he is, though he’s clearly modeled after Calvin Klein. Most of the characters have some sort of real-life counterpart, which points to satire, but doesn’t quite pull it off. While the twists in the book were surprising, I felt like they ultimately dragged it out even more. This really should have been a novella or a short story to maintain maximum effect, but at novel-length, it lagged in places for me. I had heard that this book was supposed to be really funny, but I wound up finding it a bit over-the-top, particularly when it came to Becky’s rabidly protective BFF. This one probably works for some folks, but I don’t think it was the book for me. Not bad, just not what I was hoping for.

08. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books · Tags:

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, 384 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/03/2013

Welcome to the town of Never Better. It’s the home of young Jeremy Johnson Johnson, a teen with the unusual ability to hear ghosts. He is presently accompanied by a rather famous ghost: Jacob Grimm (of the Grimm Brothers). Jacob has been “haunting” (yes, I’m using the term very loosely) Jeremy for quite some time, protecting him from the Keeper of Occasions (an entity only Jacob seems familiar with). Jeremy, for his part, is quite content to be constantly accompanied by this ghost. Life has been rather lonely for him. His father became a shut-in after his mother ran off years ago. Jeremy has been doing his best to keep the tiny family afloat, which is rather difficult as their sole source of income is the family bookstore, The Two-Book Bookstore. The bookstore really does have only two books, volumes one and two of his grandfather’s autobiography. Needless to say, business is not good and foreclosure is imminent.
When redheaded, gregarious Ginger takes an interest in Jeremy, the two set off a series of events that will lead them into a deadly situation that only Jacob Grimm can help undo.
Narrated entirely by the ghost of Jacob Grimm, this book is one of the most original and intriguing fairy-tale-related stories I’ve come across. It takes a moment to get used to Jacob’s manner of speaking, which is appropriately didactic and peppered with German phrases, but the narration does wonders to set up the atmosphere of the book. The town of Never Better has a slightly menacing and dreamlike quality to it. For instance, there’s a Santa-like baker in town whose bakery makes a rare type of cake with superstition on the side. Whenever the green smoke rises from the chimney of the bakery, the town then knows that delicious Prince Cakes will be on the menu the next day. There’s also the matter of the town’s runaway problem. Young folks leave and never come back, yet the townspeople are largely unconcerned. All the mysteries eventually tie in together to create a truly unique and timeless world where it seems anything might happen, particularly if you have the ghost of one of the Grimm brothers on your side.

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Towering by Alex Flinn, 296 pages, read by Leslie, on 08/09/2013

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“A contemporary retelling of Rapunzel told from the alternating perspectives of three teens whose fates unknowingly bind them together to destroy a greater evil”

While I really like the twisted fairy tales, this one left me feeling like the book was reaching but not quite hitting the mark.  It didn’t flow well, although I like the premise of it.

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, 454 pages, read by Leslie, on 08/02/2013

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Scarlet Benoit and Wolf, a street fighter who may have information about her missing grandmother, join forces with Cinder as they try to stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana in this story inspired by Little Red Riding Hood.

I so enjoy fairy tales retold.  I like the way the author weaves the old tale into a new setting.  I also love science fiction and this blends very well.

26. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , ,

The Dark Mirror. by Juliet Marillier, 512 pages, read by Kira, on 08/25/2013

the-dark-mirror  Bridei, is taken from his family at age 4 to live with the Pictish druid Briochan, a strict taskmaster.  His education starts at dawn, and ends late into the evening; what he is being educated to be he does Not know, and doesn’t get an answer when he asks.  A fairy infant is left on their doorstep one auspicious night when Briochan is away on travels.bridei__tuala_the_dark_mirror

Bridei names the infant Tuala, and they become close friends.  When Briochan returns, against his better judgement he lets Tuala stay, but makes it clear to her that any mistep, will result in her banishment.

 

This was a very engaging story – {though the first chapter was a little slow}.  I very much enjoyed the tale, and can’t wait to read the next title in the series.

18. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Cloaked by Alex Flinn, 341 pages, read by Angie, on 07/15/2013

Johnny works for his family shoe repair business in a swanky hotel in South Beach. One day Princess Victorianna comes to stay. She is rich and beautiful and Johnny is enchanted. Turns out so is her brother; Prince Philipe has been turned into a frog by a witch and Victorianna needs Johnny’s help to rescue him. Of course, she promises to marry him if he succeeds. So Johnny sets of on his quest to find the frog prince; to help him along the way he has a magical cloak that will transport him anywhere, magic earbuds to speak to animals who were once people, and lots of talking animals who were once people. His best friend Meg turns up just when he is captured by the evil witch and together they continue the quest. Of course, once the curse is broken (by Meg) Prince Phillipe promises to marry her and Johnny realizes he is in love with Meg not Victorianna.

This book combines a lot of obscure fairy tales that readers may nto be aware of, like the six swans or the golden bird and the fox. They tie together nicely in this story. It is a fun, fantastical romp that will keep readers interested throughout. My problem with it was that it seemed to be written by a man and aimed at young males. Everyone is “hot” and the story is very much a teen fantasy: Poor boy meets princess who promises him love and riches. I didn’t think it was the best written even though the story itself was ok

01. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, 390 pages, read by Leslie, on 06/30/2013

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

A great new telling of the old classic, Cinderella.  This book was thoroughly enjoyable, It was hard to put down at night.  At one point, you even have to wonder if Cinder is really the missing princess, such is the way you get hooked to it.  I can’t wait to read the others in the series, a definite recommend!

10. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction

Story's End by Marissa Burt , 416 pages, read by Angie, on 06/09/2013

Story’s End takes place after the events of Storybound. Una, Peter and Indy have survived the return of the Enemy Fidelus and are out to stop his evil plots. Snow and her mother have been captured by the Duessa and must find a way to escape. Duessa and Fidelus are out to rewrite Story so that only their supporters survive and everyone worships them as the King and Queen of Story. The characters must unite to fight against them and pray for the return of the true king.

This is such a fun series. I love how creative Burt was in the creation of Story with its different districts of characters (Enchanted Forest, Westerns, Internationals, etc.). I also really enjoy the tale of the muses and how they created the Tales until they were imprisoned in an enchanted sleep. Una and her band of resistance fighters are all interesting and complex characters. The ending was completely satisfying and exactly what I hoped for. I am going to keep Marissa Burt on a to-read list.

06. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Classics, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Short Stories, Tammy · Tags:

Shen of the Sea: Chinese Stories for Children by Arthur Bowie Chrisman, 221 pages, read by Tammy, on 05/29/2013

This collection of Chinese folktales made for a fun read. You can almost hear the voice of the storyteller telling the stories around a campfire or more appropriately a father or mother telling their children’s these fables and tales at bedtime that their own parent told them. The stories cover a wide range of characters from peasants to princesses and kings. There are some morality tales as well with the man character being someone who is not too bright or who is lazy or stubborn. Some of the tales are similar to the fairytales including some dragons making an appearance.

Winner of the Newbery Award Winner 1926.shen

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

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, 377 pages, 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.

06. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists by Various Authors, 128 pages, read by Angie, on 05/06/2013

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, 310 pages, 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, 224 pages, 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, 88 pages, 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.