Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Win an ARC! of So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev

So, by now you probably ALL know that I am in love with the Theatre Illuminata books. Website for the books is here

And guess what guys! You can win an Advanced Readers Copy of the third instalment 'So Silver Bright'. How exciting it that! *hops up and down on the spot like crazy).

Check out Lisa Mantchev's blog post here  for the details.

Happy fairy finding every one! :)

Outlander Book 1 - Post 7

Right, this is going to be a very quick and slightly serious/heavy Outlander post.

What is with all the freakin’ rape attempt? It seem like every 2 minutes someone is trying to rape Claire. IN FRONT OF JAMIE no less. What is that all about?  So that makes a tad squirmy but I am persevering. If I was reading I think I would be guilty of skipping these parts but I am listening on my iPod so I just start to concentrate extra hard on my ironing at those bits.

Rendell’s true nature comes to light. It seems that someone is constantly trying to rape both of them at one point or another.   

And finally - Jamie beating Claire. I am not sure how I feel about that. I mean, yes, Claire was a silly mare in trying to get away when she did – bit she didn’t know that there was a wee horse party of English soldiers out having a little gallop did she. And there is nothing to say that the soldiers wouldn’t have found her if she had stayed where Jamie had left her. So I am not sure about that at all. I understand that it was done as a disciplinary measure *shrug* on Jamie’s part and not because he was drunk and being lose with his fist but still…having some experience with violence I am not happy at all with a man raising his hand to a women – no matter the reason. But then this was a different world and a different time so…who am I to judge I suppose. But that was another point where I wasn’t at all happy.

But I quickly cheered up when the next day Claire threatened to carve out Jamie’s heart and fry it for breakfast if he raised his hand to her again. You go Claire! I don’t care how dang adorable Jamie is. That ain’t acceptable so I am all for Claire stabbing him in his sleep at that point.

And that’s me for this post.

Monday, 30 May 2011

In My Mailbox! (3)

As promised here is some more of my IMM for this week. I told you I went a little crazy with the kindle. This isn't all of them so more one more post should cover it - but I am too lazy (again) to finish it right now.
Some of these I have already read ad reviewed.

Mermaid book! I like mermaid books! I have finished this one and a review will be up soon.

I have already done a post on Whisper on the Wind. Ghosts and 'ghosts'. OK read.

Halfway through this one. I am really enjoying it. Haven't quite reached the solving of the mystery part yet though.

This isn't my usual kind of read but I was looking for something 'light' to read and I admit to being influenced by the cover. It looks like it will be a fun read. And also if I like it there are other books in the series.

I am about a third of the way through this, not really my kind of book but the idea seemed pretty cool. But right now his attitude is annoying me!

I have been desperate to read this book and it was only £0.99 on Amazon so I jumped at the chance before I lost it. Can't wait to read it.

Princess's Dragon by Susan Trombley

Look at the pretty front cover!

Flanked by two lovely and graceful sisters, Princess Casiondra Falanell Cristalona Ariva - Sondra to her family - doesn't feel confident or beautiful. In fact, she's an unconventional princess who spends her days trying to disprove the nonsensical ideas of magic and myth.
As she stands on the edge of achieving the life she has only dreamed about, Sondra's handsome suitor, Derek, prepares to propose, and her poverty-stricken kingdom of Ariva uncovers a valuable resource that will change its future forever.
Everything seems perfect in Sondra's life until she encounters a wizard who transforms her into a monstrous dragon. Forced to flee from the man she adores, Sondra blunders into the territory of Tolmac, a powerful and ancient black dragon.
Instead of killing her as she anticipates, Tolmac takes her under his wing, unknowingly training the human princess in the fine art of being a dragon. As Sondra soon discovers, she must constantly sacrifice to make the right choices as she grows to love and admire her new mentor. With her homeland poised on the brink of war, Sondra finds herself facing an unbearable decision; she must choose between her heart and her duty to her country.

I read this book over a week ago but I have been a bit lazy where my reviews have been concerned so I have just got round to it now…

Anyway, I really enjoyed this story. It is such a funky idea. A princess who doesn’t believe in magic (or magical creatures) goes and insults herself a wizard and gets turned into a dragon. COOL right!

Princess Casiondra Falanell Cristalona Ariva – Sondra – used to believe in Magic until her sisters played a trick on her when she was young. And, rather than be hurt the way she was again Sondra has shut herself off from all thing magical. Instead she work s to find logical explanations for the things that other put down to being magical.

My heart really went out to Sondra. Everyone – even her family – views her as an oddity because of her ideas and not even her family understands how deeply hurt she was by her sisters’ trick.

The twists and turns of the story were great ad the whole book was a really fun read - way better than I was expecting.

Despite the first meeting between Sondra and the dragon Tolmac being a little rocky it was lovely to read of their relationship growing closer and stronger.

There was some interesting tension and suspense added through the introduction of  water goddess and a city of other dragons and then the reappearance of the wizard.

This is another book that can join the ranks of having a love triangle I could actually tolerate. Derek – Sondra’s human suitor – is a rough and tough warrior who doesn’t flinch at doing what has to be done (torturing enemies of the state comes under than heading too by the way) but he had a soft spot for Sondra and he was gentle and affectionate with her. While Tolmac is a rough and tough ancient dragon who doesn't think he needs anyone (well we know he is wrong, don't we) who also has a soft spot where Sondra is concerned. Although I knew how it was going to end I felt torn between them both to the very end and a little bit depressed by the ending. 

Fantastic debut novel by the author and I can’t wait to read the sequel – which coincidentally I just found out about before I started typing this review. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good dragon filled, magical read.

4 out of 5 stars – really only because I wish it had been a bit longer…

Outlander Book 1 - Post 6

So, it has been a while *cough* ages *cough* since I have done an Outlander post, so I have got my backside on gear and tada! Outlander post. I am ashamed to say that I am still on the first book but 30 odd hours of audio book is an awful lot of listening time.

Anyway, moving on.

So, forget what I said in my earlier post about the sex. I was right in what I said about it getting a bit…heavier as you read. So yeah. ADULT book peeps. Which is fine as the book came from the general fiction section of the book shop and not the nice and fluffy YA section – so I am not going to go on a rant about suddenly finding an ‘intimate’ scene in this book or whatever as it was expected.

One of my favourite scenes has to be the Loch Ness monster bit. How COOL! I mean, there is time travel in this book for pity’s sake so why not have Nessie pop in for a visit. I know some people just roll their eyes at this section of the book but I liked it – easily amused I suppose. 

I think in my last post I left Claire getting sizzled just before her wedding. ..yeah. She is now wedded and bedded (literally) and is quite happy. I think it is a bit of a shame though that she has been forced into this situation by circumstances. Although, since her marriage to Jamie she has admitted to us that she was attracted to him from early on...I think though that she wouldn’t have taken the attraction anywhere and would have remained faithful to her husband (even if he is a git – earlier post on that point) but circumstances have forced her into a position where she is needing to make the best of it – there are worse situations to be in than being married to a very cute Scotsman…I suppose.

‘Nother Outlander post up soon. 

Sunday, 29 May 2011

In My Mailbox! (2)

So...maybe (just maybe) I went a little mad with the kindle purchases this week. I couldn't help it. They were mocking me. And most of them I got for £0.00 that't right folks! They were FREE! Amazing or what. 

Anyway, here goes. 


Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with Coventry, Texas's new dressmaker. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothing, this seamstress is not at all what he expected. Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man? When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau--leading to uproarious consequences for the whole town--will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?

When spunky Marguerite Westing discovers that her family will spend the summer of 1895 at Lake Manawa, Iowa, she couldn't be more thrilled. It's the perfect way to escape her agonizingly boring suitor, Roger Gordon. It's also where she stumbles upon two new loves: sailing, and sailing instructor Trip Andrews.
But this summer of fun turns to turmoil as her father's secrets threaten to ruin the family forever. Will free-spirited Marguerite marry Roger to save her father's name and fortune? Or will she follow her heart--even if it means hurting the family she loves?

Lindsey Sims is staying with her grown sister's best friend, Rachel, while her parents are away on a trip to the Bahamas. Rachel Evans has received a mysterious letter from a man she's never met but who is, in a way, part of her family. Lindsey accompanies Rachel as she reluctantly answers the summons, and is plunged into a grown-up world of greed, jealousy and attempted murder. It's more than she bargained for, but twelve-year-old Lindsey is up to the challenge - and to discovering who is responsible for all the mischief.

Ellery Mayne is a high school girl who makes a disturbing discovery. After a foiled abduction attempt, she realizes that an entire team of security personnel are secretly shadowing her every move. As she works to make sense of this startling development, she secretly carries out observations of her own, testing the limits of a secret service detail who think they are conducting transparent surveillance on a clueless teenager. 
When the mystery behind the secret security unravels, Ellery is faced with decisions that involve her future and the hopes of two unlikely love interests: a handsome but conflicted security agent who doesn’t realize she knows about him, and her first love—a boy that broke her heart—who has returned to explain his actions and his feelings for her.
Told from Ellery’s perspective, she puzzles over what could interest not one but two handsome suitors and a whole security force. Suddenly this quiet loner realizes that her life is In the Spotlight and she is the Mayne Attraction

And I am too lazy to put up the rest right now so be expecting another IMM post soon (evil laugh) 

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Mayne Attraction - In the Spotlight (Book 1) by Ann Mauren

Ellery Mayne is a high school girl who makes a disturbing discovery. After a foiled abduction attempt, she realizes that an entire team of security personnel are secretly shadowing her every move. As she works to make sense of this startling development, she secretly carries out observations of her own, testing the limits of a secret service detail who think they are conducting transparent surveillance on a clueless teenager. 

When the mystery behind the secret security unravels, Ellery is faced with decisions that involve her future and the hopes of two unlikely love interests: a handsome but conflicted security agent who doesn’t realize she knows about him, and her first love—a boy that broke her heart—who has returned to explain his actions and his feelings for her. 

Told from Ellery’s perspective, she puzzles over what could interest not one but two handsome suitors and a whole security force. Suddenly this quiet loner realizes that her life is In the Spotlight and she is the Mayne Attraction.

*Insert embarrassing happy dance here at finally reading a GOOD book*

I loved this book! I started reading it and couldn’t put it down until I had finished – and even then I could have quite happily gone on for another 500 pages (but that didn’t happen…).

Romance, mystery, heartbreak, death, kidnapping attempt, hidden feelings... Greatness!

Ellery was a great character to see the story through. She was so cute with the little things that she did that it made her o much more real to read. She was painted to be so 3D and she stayed that way all through the book which was another joy of this story. She was not thick. She knew what she wanted to do, she knew what the consequences of her actions could be and she didn’t flinch from them. She didn’t paint everyone else as the bad guys if they didn’t understand her reasons or agree with her (having that happen in other YA novel sets my teeth on edge). She had definitely been the most realistic YA heroine I have read this year! The way that she conducted her little tests and experiments to see who was watching added a real fun twist to the story too. 

And finally! NO SEX! Thank goodness. Kodak moment with party poppers and fireworks people! There was kissing and some slight (SLIGHT) innuendo but that was it and I loved it. I spent the book dreading when I would click to the next page and see the infamous words ‘I took his hand and lead him upstairs’ or have the wondering hands scene which would then lead to something else. But there was nothing like that! In fact, everything about this book was lovely. The relationships were geared towards a more serious nature - instead of having just dating things where more serious in that engagements were being spoken about and I personally liked that.

Ellery not allowing herself to be pressurised into doing something she wasn’t comfortable with made me very happy too. She had the kind of personality were she likes to please people but I was glad to see that she could make decisions for herself. (SPOILER) Even with what would seem like a small thing like sharing a tent with a guy. Even though he said he would ‘behave’ himself. She still said no. For some reason this stuck out with me. I suppose that was because if a guy cares for you enough he should respect your decision and if something comes up that makes you the slightest little bit uncomfortable you have the right to make your own decision and put your foot down. I could be reading waaaay to much into that little bit but I really liked it anyway.

The supporting cast are so colourful and as much fun to read about as Ellery is. And having her make friends with a group of Goths was a stroke of genius – in my humble opinion.

Gray and Ash are both lovely in their own ways and I can honestly see why Ellery finds herself stuck between the two of them. I would find it difficult to choose between then too I think. I can’t wait for the next in the series.

A wonderful, fun read.

5 stars!

Favourite Love Triangle - Theatre Illuminata by Lisa Mantchev

I am not a great fan of love triangles. In fact I HATE them. Most of the time they bug me silly and I want to do nothing else but slap some sense into the girl (as most of the time it is a girl) in question, tell her to get her hormones sorted out and stop stringing along two guys and put them (or at least one of them) out of their misery already!

But! I will honestly say this is the first time I have EVER read a YA book and thought ‘Oh boy, even I don’t know who I would choose’

And so I was torn when the end of ‘Perchance to Dream’ arrived and we find out that Bertie (SPOILERS COMING) cares for both Ariel and Nate the exact same amount. And I mean EXACTLY the same. So now I am living in suspense because I am assuming that she will eventually have to choose one of them…or maybe neither…Crumbs! What would be worse? Leaving Nate crushed and broken? Leaving Ariel crushed and broken? Or leaving both of them (and no doubt Bertie) crushed, broken and alone?

Great, I am going to have nightmares tonight about the possibilities now.

Nate? Ariel? Nate…? Ariel…?  Agh. Nate? Ariel? Neither…? Both?

Oh, now there is a possibility that I dint think of. It won’t happen of course. But then again, she is married to both of them…

And then there is the fact that these men are as different as chalk and cheese and obviously hate each other’s fictional guts - Nate being the rough and tough sea faring sort and Ariel being a seductive air spirit with butterfly familiars. Really? Can anyone be more opposite Yeah I didn’t think so either. And the great thing  is that we have been given the whole of the first book to get to know them as characters – reasonably free from any kind of romantic entanglements – and then book 2 we get to see the romantic side building between Nate and Bertie, and Ariel and Bertie.

Sorry guys, waffling on a little bit there. So I shall leave you all in peace. 

Roll on BOOK 3!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Eye of the Beholder by Ruth Ann Nordin

Mary Peters despairs that she will never marry. At nineteen, she has no prospects of finding a husband, so she takes matters into her own hands and becomes a mail-order bride. When she arrives to Omaha, Nebraska to meet the man she's due to marry, he takes one look at her homely appearance and rejects her.

But fate has other plans for Mary. Dave Larson happens to be nearby and thinks she will make a good wife. Though she is stunned that someone as handsome and as kind as Dave would ask her to marry him, she accepts. She knows that this marriage will not bear the fruits of love. Love, after all, is for beautiful women. Isn't it?

This was another OK read, it was fine to fill a few hours with but I don’t think I would have been able to handle it if it had been any longer.

Mary, at the grand old age of 19 can’t see herself ever getting married to any of the men in her area as she isn’t the prettiest girl on the block so she answers an ad in the paper, hops on a train and goes to meet her new husband. The husband in questions takes one look at her and immediately judges her by her appearance and refuses to marry her.

Another man over hears this and offers to marry Mary instead as he was going to but an ad in the paper looking for a wife anyway. And so begins the story.

I found some points in this book a bit slow and dull it does cover quite a fair amount of time but the time is glossed over with the ‘six weeks later…’ kind of thing.

Mary is painted as being a strong and independent young women but this does not remain constant as she allows others to walk over her if it prevent an upset. I would have liked it if she had a bit more of a spine in these situations.

Thankfully Dave - her husband – doesn’t take kindly to her being used by others and outs his foot down when needed.

So, yeah, OK read but not amazing.

2 out of 5 stars for me I think.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Whispers on the Wind by Donna Fletcher

Belinda Latham travels from Nantucket, Massachusetts to Cornwall, England to claim her inheritance… Radborne Manor. She arrives on a dark and stormy night and can find no coach driver who will take her to the manor. She learns why from the inhabitants of the local inn. It seems that Belinda has inherited more than just the manor. She has also inherited a ghost and not just any ghost… the arrogant Maximillian Radborne, lord of the manor.
Maximillian Radborne intends to frighten the young American away, but she doesn’t frighten easily and she’s a stubborn one sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. She irritates him and has no sense of proper propriety and… she tempts the devil in him.
Belinda spends her nights in the arms of a sexy ghost and her days trying to solve the mystery of the ghost of Radborne Manor. 

This was a cute romance with humour, suspense, ghosts, ‘ghosts’ and murder thrown in for good measure.

I don’t really have any strong feelings about this book other than it was a pretty OK read, so there is nothing or me to go on at a length about.

The hero of our story comes across as being very arrogant and bossy (which is a result of being lord of the manor all his life) but he also has a caring and tender nature that comes out.

They do end up in bed together VERY quickly though which was a bit of a let-down for me. There wasn’t really an awful lot of relationship building before hand either…I mean, you could kind of guess that it was going to happen but if it had happened a bit later on I wouldn’t have minded.

Belinda was an OK heroine. She had the guts to stand up to a ghost and tell him to get lost so that gives her an extra star…but, I didn’t really like her all that much.

Funny aspect of the book though was that Max (lord of the manor) ends up being jealous of himself. 

So…yeah, sorry this isn’t a very padded out review.

Ok, read to take up a few hours with some pretty interesting twists throughout.  

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Forever Mine by Elizabeth Reyes

Seventeen-year old Sarah’s life is turned upside down when her single mom is sent to jail. She’s forced to move, leaving behind everything she’s ever known, including her best friend Sydney. Lost and bitter in a new school, her one goal is to save money and move back home. Then she meets Angel Moreno. 

Enigmatic but gorgeous, Angel is almost too good to be true. Except for one thing, his archaic belief that guys and girls can never be “just friends”. The problem? Sarah’s best friend Sydney is not a girl. 

With their unexpected romance intensifying to places neither ever experienced, how long can Sarah keep Angel in the dark? And how will he react when the truth finally comes out?

I have been looking forward to reading this book for weeks (as you can probably see from my IMM post) but sadly it was a let-down of epic standards…for me anyway. But then again I have been pretty tough on the YA books lately haven’t I.

The sex in this book was heavier than what you would find in your average YA novel and frequent – not necessarily actual sex but conversation and stuff like that. 

The first time that they are really alone (which is only their second or third meeting) they are kissing, and then the first date (that is the next day) he is ALL over her…Talk about jumping the gun a bit. And all the way through the book he is always touching her. Which, I suppose on some levels is cute but it just yelled SMOTHERING at me. Give the girl some breathing space will you.

And then there is Angel’s controlling attitude towards Sarah. Now, in my eyes anyway, there is a fine line between being protective and being down right controlling and I think that Angel crossed that line and it did not make me comfortable one little bit – especially when I started to think how the relationship would develop in the future if this attitude continued.

His reaction to finding out that Sarah’s best friend was a guy was completely OTT and his continuing stance that boys and girls can’t ‘just’ be friends made me want to hit him. Just because the only relationship he has ever had with girls has been when they are throwing themselves at him it doesn’t mean that all boy/girl relationships are like that. And then (yip, ain’t finished yet) when he does semi get used to idea he demands to know whenever she and Sydney (her best-friend) talk on the phone. Now I’m sorry but at that point I would have been telling him where to go and not to slam the door as he left! How dare he! And the attitude of his brothers (and the other boys) towards women aren’t that much better and I would have loved to bang all their heads together and tell them to start respecting girls!

I just couldn’t gel with any of the characters at all.

So, all in all not my kind of book.

1 star...maybe 2 at a push.

In My Mailbox! (1)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the Story Siren here

Can you believe it? I actually have an in my mailbox post this week!! Well, okay, technically the books didn't come via the mailbox, or even come past my front door...

The came flying through the air via Amazon and landed inside my kindle. Clever books!

So, here's the books.

Forever Mine by Elizabeth Reyes
Seventeen-year old Sarah’s life is turned upside down when her single mom is sent to jail. She’s forced to move, leaving behind everything she’s ever known, including her best friend Sydney. Lost and bitter in a new school, her one goal is to save money and move back home. Then she meets Angel Moreno.

Enigmatic but gorgeous, Angel is almost too good to be true. Except for one thing, his archaic belief that guys and girls can never be “just friends”. The problem? Sarah’s best friend Sydney is not a girl.

With their unexpected romance intensifying to places neither ever experienced, how long can Sarah keep Angel in the dark about the guy waiting for her back home? 

This isn't usually my thing but I spotted it over a month ago and I still wanted to read it so I thought 69p wasn't going to break the bank. The story sounds pretty cute and the reviews I have read are positive so we shall see. 

The Princess's Dragon
 A princess is unwillingly transformed into a dragon and now she must learn how to fly! Can Sondra find herself while trapped in the body of a monster?

This is the charming tale of a princess named Sondra who is determined to prove that there are no such things as dragons and magic. Her denial of all things magical leads to her transformation by a grumpy old wizard into a dragon. She must learn how to survive in a body that is not her own with the help of an ancient and intimidating male dragon. Along the way, she discovers that things are never what they appear to be and she must prove herself worthy of a love more magical than anything she has ever denied.

This was an impulse buy on my part. I found it on a kindle fantasy list on Goodreads and immediately thought, this is my kind of book. A girl who doesn't believe in magic and does everything she can to prove it doesn't gets turned into a dragon. CLASS! A review for this will be up very soon. (oh and the cover is sooo pretty)

And last but not least

Winter Passage by Julie Kagawa
Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl...until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck—Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon—who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey. Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter—a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat.... An eBook exclusive story from Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series.

I actually haven't read ANY of the Iron Fey series but I have been desperate to and although this isn't the first book it was FREE for kindle on Amazon so I thought I would give it a bash.

So that is my IMM for this week and I am crazy glad to actually have something after 3 (?) months of nothing. Happy dance.

So what is in your mail box this week?

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted nothing more than to be pretty…

The new novel set in the World of Ella Enchanted

I was born singing. Most babies cry. I sang an aria. Or so I believe. I have no one to tell me the truth of it. I was abandoned when I was a month old, left at the Featherbed Inn in the Ayorthaian villiage of Amonta. It was January 12th of the year of Thunder Songs.

The Fairy Lucinda has once again given a dreadful gift. THis time it's a mysterious magical mirror. The gift is disastrous when it falls into the hands of Aza, who never looks in a mirror if she can help it. In the Kingdom of Ayortha, Aza is most definitely not the fairest of them all. Many spurn her. Many scoff at her. She keeps out of sight.

But in the land of singers, Aza has her own gift, one she's come by without fairy intervention: a voice that can do almost anything, a voice that captivates all who hear it. In Ontio Castle, merry Prince Ijori is drawn to it, and vain Queen Ivi wants to use it for her own ends. Queen Ivi would do anything to remain the fairest in the land.

In this spellbinding tale filled with humor, adventure, romance, and song, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine invites you to join Aza as she discovers how exquisite she truly is.


The world that Gail Carson Levine has created is wonderful. Here we enter a world were gnomes can see into the future, ogres could makes you cook yourself with their persuasive tongues and the fairy Lucinda is constantly causing trouble with her ‘gifts’. And ‘Fairest’ is no exception.

How do you measure beauty? What would you do to become beautiful? What would you do to stay beautiful? Would you kill?

I would say that this is highly influenced by Snow White, we have magic mirrors, apples, poisons and an evil (and slightly schizophrenic) queen. And of course a maid with black hair, red lips, and pale skin.

I enjoyed this book, although it had me getting very agitated and angered on Aza’s behalf when the people around her treated her terribly because of her looks. I don’t think I have ever wanted to hit so many people from one book before.

I even wanted to give the prince a good wallop for being an insensitive idiot. (SPOILER) But only at the point where everyone assumes that Aza has ogre blood running in her veins.

“I kissed you!”

You swine! You were meant to love her! And now you are letting a little thing like DNA get in the way! DUDE!!

Other than that point I do like the prince, before that bit he is a sweetheart to her. And he finds her beautiful despite what everyone else says.

Needless to say everything turns out well. One poisoned apple and near death experience later of course.

And does Aza have ogre blood in her? Or is she something else?

Friday, 20 May 2011

Fairy Tale Bletherings (5) Sequels

This first book isn't exactly a sequel it is more a 'story of' than a 'continuation too' but who's being picky. It is a very good read so I think it can get popped into the post (and there will be references to this book in some future posts I have planned too).

First off just look at THAT cover.

It is gorgeous! I won't say anything else about it as I am determined to have this as a Cover Crazy one week but DANG. It is just so beautiful to look at.

This is a really good story of Neverland and of the hopeless romantics among us you may well not mind that the growing relationship between Hook and Wendy is going against everything we know of the characters.

I will point out that Wendy is NOT a child in this! We are not told how old she is only that she had been getting older during her time in Neverland. But she is not a little ten year old in this book.

And as you can tell from the cover, you can see that she is older too.

This one is more of a sequel and kicks off with the children once again back home. I have not read this one yet so I can't really say what it is like. Bit it is sitting quite happily on my kindle and I will be doing a review on t in the near future so keep an eye out if you are interested.

Here is the blurb
It has been five years since Wendy Darling and her brothers returned home after a harrowing ordeal in which they'd "gone missing" for several days and nights. To Wendy, they returned by fairy magic, fresh from the fight with Captain Hook, a little mussed up but none the worse for wear.
But to the rest of the world, Wendy and her brothers were abducted and put through such a traumatic experience, Wendy has subconsciously taken to hiding the truth from her brothers and herself by making up stories. Fairy stories – about a boy named Peter Pan and a world called Neverland.
Life is anything but a fairy story for them now. Wendy is being subjected to unwanted psychiatric therapy, her brothers are bullied at school, and the family is falling apart.
Then, one mist-filled night, a billowing black flag parts the clouds in the sky like the fin of a shark. It bears the stark white symbol of a skull and crossbones upon it.
Wendy has been forced to leave Neverland behind. But it is far from finished with her. In the blink of an eye, her world is once more turned upside down by a pixie in human form, a one-handed captain far more handsome and intriguing than she remembered him to be – and by a little boy… who grew up after all.

Sounds good doesn't it?

And last but not least we have Half Upon a Time which is a kind of sequel to Jack and the Beanstalk. I haven't yet been able to read this but it sounds like a really fun read and a post will be up about this at some point too.

Life’s no fairy tale for Jack. After all, his father's been missing ever since that incident with the beanstalk and the giant, and his grandfather keeps pushing him to get out and find a princess to rescue. Who'd want to rescue a snobby, entitled princess anyway? Especially one that falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says "Punk Princess," and still denies she's royalty. In fact, May doesn't even believe in magic. Yeah, what's that about? May does need help though--a huntsman is chasing her, her grandmother has been kidnapped, and Jack thinks it’s all because of the Wicked Queen . . . mostly because May’s grandmother might just be the long-lost Snow White. Jack and May's thrillingly hilarious adventure combines all the classic stories—fractured as a broken magic mirror—into one epic novel for the ages.

Does anyone else know of any novels that are direct or direct-ish pick ups from fairy-tales?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Fairy Tale Bletherings (4) Retellings

Back again guys.

I am sorry if this is me harping on quite a bit but I am really stuck on the reading side of things...still. 

So, there are a whole bunch of Fairy tale re-tellings out there. Some of them are stand alone novels and some of them are in a series. So I thought I would mention a few. Some I have read and some I haven't. 

Robin McKinley has written two re-tellings of  Beauty and the Beast and one of Sleeping Beauty. 

This one is my favourite of her two re-tellings. It is easy to read and follow. 

Now, this one is good also but it is a little more complicated to follow and the language is a bit more...oldie. But there is an interesting twist at the end. 

And this is the re-telling of Sleeping Beauty and I LOVED this one. And it has a great (and I mean GREAT) twist at the end (or I thought so anyway) I would recommend this to anyone. It does seem a little slow and tedious at points but it is well worth the read. 

There is also a series of books published my Simon Pulse called Once Upon a Time... and the list can be found here

The series has everything including Anastasia and Mulan. They are good and aimed towards teens and younger readers I would say. And they have some lovely covers. They aren't overly complicated which makes them gorgeous to look at. 

And then there is the books by Gail Carson Levine. I have only read two of her novels and I found them throughly enjoyable when I was in my early teens. 

 This is a story based on Cinderella. With the interesting twist on the tale that Ella has had a curse of obedience placed on her. But after all...hoe bad could that be? You'll have to read it and find out. 

And Fairest is strongly influenced by Snow White. With mirrors, poisons, apples and near death/death experiences. But of course there is a twist :)

Both of Gail Carson Levine's books are good but the names tend to be a little off putting - for me they were anyway. The human names tend to be normal enough and easy enough to read but the names for the gnomes and other magical creatures are a little strange and I found myself just putting in other names like 'Bill', 'Fred' and 'Jim Bob' because I was too lazy to try and figure out how to get my brain round the actual names. Someone smarter than me could probably manage fine. 

There are also some fairy tale re-tellings by Mercedes Lackey but I haven't read them yet so I can't really recommend them...

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Maybe this is squinting at a story and warping it to fit aPhantom mould but just bear with me for a little while.

Frankenstein’s Monster (we shall call him Fred for the rest of this post), Fred, just wants to be loved, yes? And yet he turns into the kind of person that he does because of the way he is treated and the way that others react to him – hmmm….this sounding familiar to anyone?

The only thing that Fred requests of Frankenstein is afemale, a mate who looks the same as he does and will not be disgusted by hisappearance. All Erik wants is to be like any other man and have a wife and a home.

I also got thinking about this a little before I began typing – yeah, occasionally I think.

So here goes what I think.

Fred wanted someone who could match his appearance, a woman who had been patched together from the corpses of others. No I am not going into how Erik thinks of himself as a living corpse – although come to think of it there is a comparison there for you. But moving on.

So we have established that Fred was looking for a woman who was his equal in a physical sense. Maybe, just maybe, Erik was searching forthat one woman who was also his equal but not in a physical sense but in avocal way. Looking for that one person who could fit his voice and blend with him. After all, music is his life, his oxygen so why would that not carry onto any potential relationships. Sorry I am not putting this very clearly. Moving on before I dig myself into a hole. Now the phantom bits are done time for the rest of the post.

Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. 

I am ashamed to say that this is the first time I have even considered checking this book out. The only kind of history I have with this story is probably the same as many other peoples. The films and the TV sketches. In never really appealed to me. But I was pleasantly surprised by this novel.

It has everything.

Suspense, horror, sci-fi, crime, drama, romance. Like I said EVERYTHING!

I was actually really surprised by how sad and emotional I found in places, which caught me by surprise since I wasn't expecting it to be like that at all. I can't really go into the story a great deal as this was once again an abridges version. *shiver*. But one thing that I found a bit strange was the educated way that the monster spoke. You wouldn't have thought that this guy had been patched together from various bodies when he spoke. That stuck out to me. Perhaps there is a lesson there that appearances can be deceiving.

Frankenstein himself struck me as being a very selfish, weak, idiotic kind of man. All the way through he assumed that the monster was going to make him suffer by killing him. Idiot! This guy is smarter than that and knows that the way to torture Frankenstein is to pick off his loved ones. And it is not like he wasn't provoked. All the monster wanted was a mate, a female of 'his kind' to have by his side and share the life that he was being forced to live with him.

Frankenstein accepts this but then keeps putting it off and putting it off. The guy is a moron. He says himself that there was no knowing what the monster would do and he still continued to procrastinate in the construction of a female monster. And even went on wee holiday in between times. *cough* IDIOT *cough* Oh pardon me.

And then he changes his mind and refuses to create a female - to the monsters face!! And you know that everything is just going to go down hill from there.

And what else. He just has to rub it in the monsters face by getting married doesn't he. I am sorry! But anyone can see that is just adding insult to injury. I think I would have lost my temper good and proper at that point to if I were the monster.

His best friend, his wife and then his father all die (or are murdered - brownie points for whoever can guess who the murderer was)and then he is locked in an asylum because he is thought to be mad. But the dude was a moron in my humble opinion anyway. But he gets out of the asylum and the story continues.

I couldn't help but find it funny that Frankenstein describes the monster as being being selfish and yet I can only see the selfishness and idiocy in Frankenstein. I do not blame the monster for wanting a companion.

All in all very enjoyable if depressing book.

So there is Frankenstein for you :)

Narrator - Richard Pasco
Length - 3hrs 6mins
Published - 28/05/2005

Once again this was an ABRIDGED version of the story. Bah, humbug. It was nice and easy to listen to an easy to follow, despite having the majority of the story missing. :( The reader had a nice voice that wasn't hard to listen to for hours and I could clearly tell when he was speaking as Frankenstein, the monster or Walton.

Fairy Tale Bletherings (3) Beauty and the Beast

And now for my personal favourite - Beauty and the Beast. I am a sucker for this story. I just love it so much. How love can make a beast into a man… *sigh*

I probably won’t be telling anyone anything they don’t already know but I’ll go ahead anyway

Once again this is a story that has various adaptations and versions. In some Beauty has sisters, in other she is an only child. It is also a pretty boring story when it is not given a spin. All it is about is the beast asking Beauty to marry him every night at dinner and every night she says no. That is the basic gist of the story. And, I am glad to say that it doesn’t really have a major icky factor like the previous tales mentioned. The beasts ‘beastliness’ changes in illustrated copies. Sometimes he is a lion (an actual lion) sometimes he has the body of a man and a beasts head – you get the idea.  But there are no bleeding feet, eating children or cutting off of other bodily parts.

One point from what I assume is the original story that sometimes makes it into cartoons and some films are the magical gifts that the beast gives Beauty when she returns to her father for a visit. She is given a mirror that she can use to see what is happening at the Beasts castle and ring than when she twists it on her finger it returns her to the castle.

These versions also have the Beast dying of a broken heart when Beauty is late returning to him. But when she does she cries over him, her tears land on him and he turns into a handsome prince.

But still no blood, gut or gore. Yipee.

What I love the most about this story is how it is in so many other stories and tales. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, Hades and Persephone…

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Fairy Tale Bletherings (2) Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

I find Little Red Riding hood to be one of the more fascinating fairy tales out there so I couldn’t resist giving it a post all its own. I also find the story really interesting to by the time I have finished my blethering it will more than likely be as long as the previous post.

Did you guys know that there were actually werewolf-trials ‘back in the day’? You know? Like witch trials but only looking for were-wolves instead. I sure didn’t and it kind of blew my mind when I was doing some quick research for this post and double checking some stuff. Please tell me I am not the only one who didn’t know this.

Anyway, that little titbit of information isn’t there just for the sake of it. It is there because in some versions of the story the wolf is sometimes referred to as a werewolf.  Cool huh! Well, not for the poor people who were tried and executed but there is a wee bit of trivia for you anyway…

So there are quite a few versions of the story of Little Red Riding Hood - some that are a little more gruesome than others.

Early versions of the story have the wolf leaving the meat of the grandmother out and Little Red Riding Hood eating her grandmother without knowing it. Um YUCK! And not all the versions have Little Red Riding Hood getting away. In some she does actually stay eaten.

Some have the wolf eating both grandmother and granddaughter and then having him take a nap (after all everyone feels like a wee sleep after eating a big meal don’t they?) The woodcutter then comes along, cuts them out of the sleeping wolf’s belly, fills it with rocks and sew him back up. The wolf then drowns after waking up and feeling thirsty after his big meal he goes for a drink and falls into the water.  Pretty icky really isn’t it?

But in the earlier versions of the story a red cloak/hood isn’t even mentioned.

And then there are of course the oodles of meanings that are given to the story. But I won’t go into them other than to say that they are indeed wide and VERY varied and not always about a little girl going to visit her grandmother for the day.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Fairy Tale Bletherings (1)

Snow White
Sleeping Beauty
The Little Mermaid

Since I am finding it ridiculously hard to get into any books lately I thought I would do something a little different and post on fairy-tales, I didn’t really pluck the idea out of mid-air though. One of the books I have been trying to read is a fairy tale type book.

I don’t think that I have enough followers to actually start any arguments but this is not meant to offend anyone’s views of their favourite cartoon or anything else. This is just me being…well…me. This is not meant to be a be-all-and-end-all, professional post on fairy tales, it is just me having some fun. 

So let’s get going.

So despite the fluffy and happy version of these fairy tales, the original versions tend to be a little icky…

‘Snow White’ for example. The Wicked Queen didn’t just try to kill Snow White with the apple. Oh no, there were suffocating laces, poisoned combs and then the apple. And there is no denying that Snow White is VERY dim to fall for the queens tricks every time. And how is the wicked queen punished at the end? She is put into a pair of red hot iron shoes (of course) and made to dance until she drops dead. Oh, goody, that makes a nice bedtime story for little kiddlie-winks everywhere. NOT!

And how about ‘The Little Mermaid’’? Well kids, she DIES at the end! That’s right. The stupid prince doesn’t marry her and the Little Mermaid jumps into the sea and turns into sea foam because she loved the idiot prince too much to pop him off and save her own life. And then we have her constantly bleeding feet. Yip, can anyone imagine THAT in a Disney film.

Now let’s have a look at Sleeping Beauty. The first half of the tale is pretty much as most versions depict it. But not everything is rosy after the marriage. The prince loved his wife and children so much that he left them to go and play at soldiers in another kingdom while leaving his family in the clutches of his crazy mother. Charming. Who was more than happy to have them boiled, roasted or stuffed and have a good nosh up – of THEM! I would personally want a divorce at that point but that’s just me…

Cinderella. Now mostly Cinderella isn’t too…icky but it is a wee bit. The version by Charles Perrault is the one that is stuck to predominately through childrens entertainment, with the fairy godmother, pumpkin etc, etc, etc. But then there is the good old Brother’s Grimm, we can always count on them to get a grim (get that…lol – ok moving on) spin on things. In that version we have the step sisters cutting off bits of their feet so that they could try and fool the prince and fit into the shoe and then they have their eyes pecked out by birds – and the prince is painted to be a bit of a tool too.

More coming soon…

Any specific fairy tale you would like me to mention. Pop a comment below!