I’ve been really lucky with the fairy tale retellings – most of them have been very good, a couple have been great. But luck doesn’t last forever. I just read a couple that were disappointing.
The Firethorn Chronicles by Lea Doue are set in a land with dragons and sorcery. Sounds promising, right? Here’s what the description says:
“The Firethorn Crown, a re-imagining of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” is the first in the Firethorn Chronicles, a series of stand-alone novels inspired by fairy tales and other stories. Follow the sisters on their adventures in a land where sorcery is feared, women can rule, and dragons fly.”
The dragons that I encountered in the two books I read ranged from the size of a bird to large stone dragons. Both cool, but not exactly impressive. That’s kind of where I am with these books. The first is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses. Princess Lily is the oldest and for some strange reason, her mom is intent on announcing her engagement as soon as the king goes out of town. That’s never really explained either. There’s several suitors, a bunch of sisters, and an evil-ish sorcery type guy who places a curse on Lily.
You can tell how much I liked it it, right? It just didn’t make as much sense as it should have, but I thought that maybe I had just been in the wrong mood and I should give the author another chance. I did like the dragons. So I tried the next book, The Midsummer Captives. This one was based loosely on A Midsummer’s Night Dream and brought back the same evil-ish sorcerer. This time it’s Princess Gwen who gets tangled up in events and is trapped by the stone dragons I mentioned earlier. But the plot is just as confusing and if the antagonist is better characterized, there’s not enough description of anyone else to make them stand out. I won’t be reading more by this author.
It’s the time of year to list your top reads of the year! And since I always have a tough time sorting such lists, I’ve given myself a theme of the top fairy tales/myth based books. I’ve narrowed it down to these 5.
Alaric is under pressure to marry a princess. His family’s right to rule is being questioned, but with the right princess besides him, that would all be resolved. He finds the perfect woman – except that she’s a powerful warrior, not a princess, and she’s just awoken from an enchanted sleep to save the kingdom. I loved the way this took a familiar fairy tale and updated it. The friendships between the princesses were really refreshing too. Give this author a try.
Celeste is not asleep, but she might as well be. She’s under a powerful enchantment that turned her from brilliant to foolish. Only she knows that her mind is still as alert as ever. The only way to break the spell is to find someone who loves her for more than her looks, but for that hidden mind as well. I think this was my favorite from the series because it’s so unexpected.
I loved this series of King Arthur and her knights, but it was the final book that really put it over the top for me into a 5 star read. The author wrapped everything up so beautifully that I was practically in tears. Just great.
This novella takes the story of the Princess and the Frog and sets in an African setting. Queen Kartek’s people have been attacked by an evil sorceress and her only means of helping the people has been lost. A misshapen stranger offers to retrieve the magical item but only if she will marry him. I loved this one for the setting.
So that’s my list. I have plenty of others that almost made it, if you want more! What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Like I mentioned with the Camelot post, I am in the mood for some great comfort reads. I’m still not feeling very good, and I’m not up to dealing with a stressful series right now. I want something that will make me happy! My newest writer to do that is Melanie Cellier.
Melanie writes the most adorable light fairy tales! They all have the most gorgeous covers, great stories with plenty of strong princesses (and more than a few commoners), some swoon-worthy princes and guards, and plenty of humor throw in there too. And of course, a happy ending.
The first series is The Four Kingdoms and it starts with The Princess Companion. All of the books are included in Kindle Unlimited, but if you don’t have that, they are all around $3, so it’s pretty hard to beat that.
I don’t always go for light and fluffy, but that’s what I’ve been in the mood for and I’m not even going to apologize for it! If I read serious stuff for 11 months and fluff for 1, I think that’s fair. But I may not be ready to get more serious! When life is serious, you need something that makes you smile. I’m not even sure that made any sense, but hopefully you’ll get what I mean. Tell me what you read for your happy books in the comments.
So you’re wondering what would be left of Cinderella without the magic? Turns out, a really great story!
Here’s the publisher’s summary:
Trystan has only two goals — to free herself from her stepmother’s household and to live her life on her own terms. But she cannot do so alone. In her desperation, she accepts the aid of a mysterious band of conspirators in exchange for her promise to help protect the kingdom. Trystan is uncertain whether her new friends can be trusted, but then she meets Donevan, a compelling and enigmatic young man whose face haunts her dreams.
Caught between her desire for love and the needs of a kingdom in turmoil, Trystan attends the Royal Masque, where she learns that her quest for a happy ending may have betrayed the man she loves. Plunged headlong into a nightmare of duplicity, espionage and intrigue, she will have just one chance at redemption, though she may be forced to sacrifice everything she’s ever dreamed of to prevent her kingdom from falling into the hands of a ruthless adversary.
I just found this one when looking for new Kindle Unlimited books – I love that program, BTW, so many great books for one price – and I found this one. I’ve never read anything by this author before but I admit to being a sucker for fairy tales. You might think I’d be too old for them, but even at my age, there’s nothing quite like a Happily Ever After.
It didn’t take me long before I was hooked! Trystan is a little bit of a brat at first, but I did like her. Really she’s just awfully young and self-centered at first. By the end of the book though, she’s really learned to be aware of the people around her and not take things for granted. As for Ramsey, he won my heart from the first. I loved this serious, responsible prince who just wants a few minutes privacy. Except this girl keeps crossing his path!
I liked the secondary characters as well and I’m so glad there are more stories out there. I will definitely be reading the next in this series and I see there’s even a prequel about Lizabeth, Ramsey’s aunt. I’m looking forward to reading them. You should definitely check these out!
Rapunzel is a terrible tomboy growing up in a very restricted castle with no one but the guards and her mother around. One day she decides to climb to the wall that surrounds the castle.
What she sees comes as a complete shock. The entire horizon, as far as she can see, is a complete wasteland. Her mother has used her magic to drain the energy and power from the land and used it to create the gardens and food she grows for the castle. Even worse, Rapunzel’s own real mother is working in the mines. Rapunzel was taken from her by the witch.
Well, anyone familiar with the story knows what comes next, with the whole locked in a tower thing. But the Hales have given this story a fun Western twist and made Rapunzel a feisty heroine who can save herself, thank you very much. She eventually does meet Jack and teams up with him to save her real mother and stop the witch.
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!
This author grew up in California then moved to China.
This is her first published book.
It’s published by Simon & Schuster.
This is a YA sci fi/dystopia.
This book was just released THIS WEEK!
It’s the first in a series.
It has a little fairy tale twist going on.
This author currently lives in Utah with her family.
The fairy tale twist is from Sleeping Beauty.
The main character is a girl accused of a crime.
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!
Reader Discovers Enchanting New Audio! Details to Come!
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.
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.
Title: Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of the Little Mermaid (Once Upon a Time #4)
Author: Debbie Vigiue
Genre: fairy tale, YA romance
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.