Last Set of Clues!

Open book on wooden table.

October is going fast, which means only a couple of weeks left until I draw the winner for a FREE SIGNED BOOK by a mystery author. I don’t want to drag the mystery out too long, however, so this is the last set of clues I’m going to give you before revealing the book!

 

 

  1. This author grew up in California then moved to China.
  2. This is her first published book.
  3. It’s published by Simon & Schuster.
  4. This is a YA sci fi/dystopia.
  5. This book was just released THIS WEEK!
  6. It’s the first in a series.
  7. It has a little fairy tale twist going on.
  8. This author currently lives in Utah with her family.
  9. The fairy tale twist is from Sleeping Beauty.
  10. The main character is a girl accused of a crime.
  11. There’s a strong Chinese influence in the book.

I hope that’s enough to get you thinking, maybe doing some research online. This book is for sale on Amazon, but it hasn’t hit bestseller status yet. It should! I’m really enjoying it. So suspenseful! I’m dying to see what happens next!

Make your guesses down below and check back on Friday, when I will do the cover reveal!

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Frogkisser!

Reader Discovers Enchanting New Audio! Details to Come!

Title: Frogkisser!

Author: Garth Nix

I heard a lot about this one when it came out. It seemed like everyone in YA and MG books was talking about it, and honestly, it sounds hilarious. Young princess has to kiss a frog to disenchant him, but he won’t cooperate. Pretty great premise, right?

Princess Anya is not in love with anyone. She’s too young. But her sister’s true love has been turned into a frog by their step-stepfather and her sister is too much of a drip to save him herself, so Anya steps in to save the prince. Along the way, she’ll meet the Association of Responsible Robbers, a Truly Terrifying Giant, a Druid or two, and the Evil Gray Mist. Royal Dog Ardent accompanies Anya on her Quest, which starts as a simple one – get the ingredients for Disenchanting Lip Balm, kiss the frog, go home – and turns into something much more complicated.

I loved the characters in this one. Anya has a nice little character arc, growing from a girl who only wants to stay in the library and study magic while someone else deals with everything to a leader who faces her problems head on. Anya also meets some great friends. Even Ardent the dog has a solid story line.

This was so much fun on audio. I really recommend the format. But it would also be great to read aloud or turn into a little play for kids at school. It is a little young, but sometimes that’s a fun change.

September is here

I 💘 fall. It’s my favorite time of year. The weather is nice, it’s time to get back to routine, and you can start baking. And it’s perfect reading 📚 time.

So what are you reading? Here’s what I’ve been doing.

Audiobooks

Private by James Patterson – too much going on, too many characters, too much profanity. Not recommended, even though it was free.

Frogkisser by Garth Nix – really enjoying this.

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix – fun so far, sounds good.

Ebooks

The Case of the Fallen Hero by Alison Golden – new series to me, but I liked it.

The Scent of Rain ☔ by Anne Montgomery – very good, review coming.

 

 

 

Review: Puss Without Boots

Title: Puss Without Boots, Fairy Tale Kingdoms #1

Author: Shari L. Tapscott

Genre: fairy tale romance

Themes: true love, magic, work, trust

Suzette, also called Etta, is the youngest child of the miller. Now that her aunt has passed, she left the mill to the oldest child, the donkey to the middle child, and Suzette – well, she gets the cat and some money – to buy boots for the cat. Suzette is less than thrilled. She uses the money to buy herself some boots.

But a few weeks later when Etta takes her first day off, she discovers that this is no ordinary cat. Puss can talk. He doesn’t mind about the boots, but he had definite plans for Etta. Plans that involve teaching her to hunt and stop spending time with the new chocolatier, Beau.

I really liked this book. After a string of books that I was only lukewarm about, this one won me over with it’s charming story and characters. Etta is such a refreshing change from so many stupid characters! And Beau, I mean come on, he has a chocolate shop! Plus their relationship developed slowly enough that I really cared about them as a couple.

This was a very quick read. I’m definitely recommending this one if you like clean fairy tale romance, and I’m pleased to see that she has several other books out. The next one is about Rapunzel.

Review: Midnight Pearls

Title: Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of the Little Mermaid (Once Upon a Time #4)

Author: Debbie Vigiue

Genre: fairy tale, YA romance

reprinted review

I am a big fan of the retold fairy tale, so I was happy to find this series of familiar tales and fables rewritten for teens. I just finished this one yesterday, and I enjoyed it. Finneas is out fishing one night when a terrible storm blows up. Just when he is ready to give up and surrender to the sea, he spots a child floating in the ocean. He rescues the girl and together with his wife, they raise the girl as their own. They name her Pearl. It’s a promising beginning, and I did enjoy the book. It’s not really anything unique, pretty much a classic tale. All the regulars from the original story are there – the handsome prince, the Sea Witch – but there are a few twists. I read it in a day, a quick fun story.

If you like this genre, I can recommend some titles from the ‘Once Upon a Time’ series. Overall, the writing is uneven. Some of the stories are really well done. My favorites are The Storyteller’s Daughter (1001 Nights), Sunshine and Shadow (The Magic Flute), and Golden (Rapunzel). Before Midnight, based on Cinderella, is my very favorite. But there are a few I just couldn’t read, one based on Little Red Riding Hood that has her falling in love with the wolf, and some one I can’t remember set in France during World War I. I got this one at the library.

 

Review: Spindle Fire

30653924Title: Spindle Fire #1

Author: Lexa Hillyer

Themes: sisters, sacrifice, jealousy, curses, love

Plot: “Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.”

Isabelle leaves everything behind to find a cure for her sister and break the curse. Meanwhile, Aurora is trapped in a dream world, looking for a way to escape and return to her own home. But are the two sisters living their own lives, or are they doomed to repeat a legend?

Reaction: I always love stories about sisters, because I have a sister and I’ve fought many battles for her. And I love fairy tales, so this seemed like a real winner. Unfortunately I felt like something was missing.

I’ve gotten away from YA for the most part, but a good fairy tale is one thing that will suck me right back in. (That and steampunk.) Sleeping Beauty is not my favorite story, but I do like it, especially when the hero is the sister! But this one was nothing like say Two Princesses of Bamarre. There’s a LOVE TRIANGLE. 3 men, 2 women. I did like the characters. I wasn’t crazy about Aurora to start with, but she gets more interesting the longer she’s out of the palace.

I thought Isabelle’s blindness made a lot of her actions unbelievable. How does she get around so well in the forest and on a ship? It was never explained in a way that really made sense to me. And while I’m pointing out plot holes, how does Aurora learn to speak so quickly? It takes babies a long time, and she does it in a day.

I don’t know whether to recommend this one or not. I’m not going to continue the series, but I didn’t hate it. I liked the way Hillyer wove together the story of these sisters and the fae sisters. That was almost enough to make me read more. But in the end, the love story was just not working for me. 2.5 stars out of 5.

 

The Princess Companion

Title: The Princess Companion: A Retelling of the Princess and the Pea, the Four Kingdoms #1

Author: Melanie Cellier

Setting: The Four Kingdoms, Not sure about when*

Theme: TRUE LOVE! Duh! What else? Oh, and true worth, the importance of trust and honesty, and other fairy tale stuff. But mostly true love.

Alyssa was looking for work, but she hadn’t planned on working for the Royal Family of Arcadia. Still, a job’s a job. And that hot prince is pretty nice boss.

So, what do you need to know about this book? It’s a fairy tale, with lots of fairy tale stuff – a woodcutter’s daughter, a handsome prince, his twin younger sisters, evil bad guys, and true love conquering all. The writing was good and I really enjoyed it. I would rate it as pretty solid, but not outstanding. Still, I would be happy to read the next one in the series, a twist on Red Riding Hood. And the cover is pretty cute.

*About the setting – I’m not sure when this is set. The bad guys were armed with guns, but that was the only clue. I’m guessing (and this is only a guess) somewhere around the late 18th century. But that could be way off.

This one is recommended, and it’s also clean enough for any reader.

Book Review: Sleeping Beauty

Title: Sleeping Beauty, Timeless Fairy Tales #8

Author: K M Shea

Genre: clean Fairy Tale romance

Themes: Duty vs Desire, Nature Vs Nurture, True Love

I just can’t get enough of this series! In the latest one, featuring Briar Rose or Princess Rosalinda, we get a strong, clever, brave heroine who it’s easy to root for.

It starts pretty much like the traditional story. The royal family has a new baby girl but an unexpected guest decides to throw a death curse into the mix to liven up the party. But Shea likes to weave all these fairy tales together into the story of a land that has been cursed so that everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. This one was great because not only did we get a wonderful main character, but we got to learn more about Angelique, the “enchantress in training” who’s been on hand to save the day numerous times.

I’m hoping to cajole K M Shea into doing an interview or guest appearance on my blog, so if you haven’t checked out her books, do it now and if you get a chance tell her Speedy Reader sent you. Crossing my fingers!

 

Book Review: Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales

Title: Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales

Authors: Elisabeth Grace FoleyRachel Heffington, J. Grace Pennington, Emily Ann Putzke, Suzannah Rowntree, Hayden Wand

Looking for a little fairy tale magic this season? This collection offers six stories which are both distinct and unique. From steampunk to western to WWII, this little book offers something for every reader. Not all of them end happily ever after, and as usual with such an anthology, I liked some stories better than others. I didn’t like the Snow White story as much, but they were all good stories. I wasn’t completely crazy about any of them, but I did like them each enough that I want to see how a full length story by these authors stands up.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review, but my opinion is my own. Verdict: worth checking out!

Looking for a fluffy read?

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You know how sometimes, when you’re down or tired or stressed, you just want to slip into your comfiest pjs, grab a mug of hot tea, and curl up with a cozy read? Yeah, I’ve been there a lot lately. Sometimes that calls for a reread of a favorite book – Georgette Heyer or P G Wodehouse or something that makes me smile. But I’ve found a new author whose books are the sort of fluffy stuff that you need when you’re stressed out. The writer is K M Shea, and her books are mostly retellings of fairy tales.

Fairy tales for me are the ideal comfort read. You already know how it’s going to turn out. You already know who the characters are and who the bad guy is. You know there’s going to be a little romance in there. (Prince Charming, anyone?) They’re fun; they’re magical; they’re predictable, and that’s exactly what you want. And I like my romance clean. Not preachy and religious, but not steamy either. Her books exactly fill this slot, plus they make me laugh.

She sets most of her books in a magical world that’s full of kings and queens and some enchantress or another. It is a series, but I’ve read them out of order and it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference. I mean, these are fairy tales, so you can figure out what’s going on easily enough. That said, the series is called Timeless Fairy Tales and it starts with Beauty and the Beast. I’ve read about four in this series so far and the only one I didn’t love was The Wild Swans. It has a more open ending and it didn’t really work for me.

She also has another series based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. It is a little different from the other series, sort of a prequel to the whole Fairy Tale series. I’ve only read the first on in this series, but I really enjoyed it. It starts with Heart of Ice. And come on, look at that cover up there. I know you shouldn’t judge by that alone, but seriously? Gorgeous.

In other news, the wedding over, my son is married, the bride’s gown looked good, she was beautiful, and it all ended Happily Ever After – pretty much, right?