Tag Archives: fairy tales

Book Review: Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Katherine Tegen Books
TBP: July 2nd 2019
272 Pages

This book is not for the faint of heart or weak in spirit. It’s not for skeptics who don’t believe in fairy tales and the powerful forces of good. It’s only for brave and intrepid souls like you, who will stare down evil in all its forms.

Inspired by the critically acclaimed film written and directed by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro and reimagined by New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke, this haunting tale takes readers to a darkly magical and war-torn world filled with richly drawn characters like trickster fauns, murderous men, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family.- Goodreads

I didn’t know I needed this book until I saw that it was coming. This is my first arc approved through Edelweiss + and to say that I didn’t boot my kindle up the moment that I received that approval email would be a lie.

This books is almost exactly like the movie. However, there is a lot of context that isn’t in the movie. For instance, you find out more details about what happened for prior to Ofelia entering the picture. Also each task that Ofelia has to complete has a very specific story that is connected to the lost princess and her family.

I loved it and I loved it not because the movie is completely embedded in my heart but because this is a fairy tale in every aspect. Each word offers a lightness that even when you know (well that is if you saw the movie) what is about to happen, you don’t feel overwhelmed with heaviness. There is hope but also an unforgettable sadness that sticks with you throughout the book.

Each “side” story brings you closer to understanding the role of each character; because you already know about Ofelia, you are, for a lack of better term, living her story. What this book gives you is the details. What happened when Ofelia left the underground? How did those that love her deal? Was Ofelia the only Ofelia? These are questions that weren’t answered in the movie but was answered with more than what you initially thought you wanted in the book.

From beginning to end, I was sucked back into the story and although I have watched the movie so many times, it felt new and I credit that to add the additional stories and not making this book just a play by play of the movie.

I have every intention of purchasing the physical book when it releases in July.

5 Pickles

 

Book Review: A Grimm Legacy (Grimm Tales #1) by Janna Jennings

Patchwork Press
Published Jan 20th 2018
304 Pages

Enchanted castles and charming princes thought to exist only in stories come to life in this classically twisted fairy tale that combines the timeless quality of folktales with the challenges of the modern world. 

The woods of Elorium appear ordinary to Andi… until the birds start to talk and elves answer doors. Whisked out of her world along with three strangers, Andi finds herself the reluctant guest of Mr. Jackson, a perplexing millionaire who claims to be able to help them get home. The secrets he harbors, however, make it difficult to know just who to trust. 

When the group of teenagers discover that in this new world, fiction is anything but, and that they all have unexpected family ties to this fairy tale land, they must learn to rely on each other. The only way to survive evil fairies and giants intent on keeping them in Elorium is to rely on each other. 

Faced with characters short on whimsy and bent toward treachery, Andi, Quinn, Fredrick, and Dylan are forced to play their parts in unfinished fairy tales. But in Elorium, happily ever after is never guaranteed.- Goodreads

This was a wildly creative spin on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and I am for it. Without giving too much away, because for whatever reason with this read it is so easy to do that, these teens are pulled into this world and are connected to each other and the world in some way. It isn’t as obvious as you think it is and I thought that it was really great that the author was able to hide that for so long.

Was there predictability? Absolutely. Did it take away from the book? Yes . . . I say that because without it, this would have been a stronger book.

The book is told in four points of view (each teen). However, some teens have a strong voice than the other. It is as if the author decided although they would all have a voice Andi and Fredrick would be the stronger ones. I felt that this was a weak point because it felt unbalanced. I enjoyed the heck out of reading each voice but it was clear who was favored within this story.

What I would have wanted from this book was more about the world. It wasn’t as detailed as I think it could have been and it was glossed over for the most part. I wanted something rich, bright and something that stands out in the setting. There wasn’t enough.

The author added a lot to the characters but didn’t follow through on those emotions and actions. I am hoping that in book two, she was able to do so. These kids are 16 ( I am pretty sure) so there was things that the author could have took the time to dig deeper on but again hoping that time was put in for book two.

Overall, I thought this was a solid story.

3 Pickles

 

Book Review: The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

Delacorte Press
TBP: Sept. 11, 2018
416 Pages

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos. -Goodreads

Amazing Cover? 

Vampires? Witches? Devil? 

Romance? 

Save the World from complete doom? 

This book has some promising points and it starts off really well; especially around chapter 3. But what started going down hill for me was when Ember started talking. Not only was her voice extremely annoying but she asked the wrong questions all the time.

She was a newbie witch that was pretty much self-taught but you won’t think that when she meets Jack, she would try to learn. But nope. It also bugged me out how, Jack protected her and watched her for years but she still felt that he shouldn’t have been completely trusted. I was a bit weary of that and that is mostly because he never gave her the impression that he was lying. Granted he had a kind of mysterious vibe but she trusted people that she has known less than 5 minutes. So I was bugged out about that.

But beyond Ember, I felt that the book wasn’t as creepy as thought it would be. I mean given the cover, the nightmare references as well as the setting in the Otherworld, I wanted to be shook to some degree, especially when there are Sleepy Hollow and Hades and Persephone references. I don’t feel that the book delivered in this aspect.

However, the overall plot was strong. There is a lot of detail in the setting and the pace. You fall in love with the surround characters and even though Ember becomes less annoying I personally still did not like her and fell more for everyone else.

Ember’s and Jack’s romance wasn’t too bad if you get past the fact that Jack has been watching her since she was 12 (I believe) and he is old. I thought it was cute and fitting as it was Jack’s first time actually wanting someone and something more than just his job. He became something better and more honest going through the emotions for Ember.

I thought this was a good standalone (yes it is not a series). It has some strong foundations but I wanted more from horror aspect of it and the mythology could have been upped more as well.

Overall,

3 Pickles

Book Review: Beast by Parker Kingston

Self Published
Published Aug. 17th 2018
476 Pages

Aasim Daniels had a perfect life. Money, a family that he loved, a reputation that opened doors for him wherever he went, and a long-time girlfriend that he was intent on marrying. That all changed when an unforeseen betrayal and dark turn of events left him heartbroken and fighting for his life. Hell-bent on revenge, Aasim finds himself on a quest that leads him to new surroundings and right into the unexpected path of a curly-haired beauty he can’t seem to shake. 

After her ex-boyfriend Gabriel betrays her in the most unimaginable way, Reygan Haynes is done with love. Her only focus is putting the pieces of her shattered life back together and fighting with herself to resist the pull of Gabriel’s advances and demands of reconciliation. Just when she’s convinced that she has it all together, a random encounter between her father and handsome yet scarred stranger flips her entire world upside down and threatens to destroy everything that she holds dear. 

Gabriel Brown wants what he wants when he wants, and doesn’t care how he gets it. Realizing that he made the biggest mistake of his life letting Reygan get away, he’ll stop at nothing to get her back. Already on edge due to his crumbling position in the streets, Reygan’s sudden disappearance causes him to completely unravel, as he’ll stop at nothing to get her back. Not even murder.- Goodreads

Fairly tales are my thing. Retellings are my thing. Make it an urban novel, written by a Black woman and I am all over it.

I was extremely skeptical when I began reading this book. I am not big person that enjoys saying or reading curses, especially the N word. The author doesn’t shy away from that type of language within this book and that was off-putting for me. When I began reading, I wasn’t too sure how she was going to tie the traditional fairy tale to this modern version. When everything started coming together it was great. The tie in was smooth and believable in the modern sense. It satisfied my requirements for a fairy tale retelling.

But here was my issue. Reygan screamed idiot to me from beginning to end. All I can say is she has a thing for abusive men. Granted in Beauty and the Beast, the beast had some anger issues but Reygan’s first and then on going interaction with Aasim (for some chapters) are down right verbally abusive. What really through me for a loop was how she ended up in his home and the exact moment you see her feelings for him change. It was as if someone clicked a switch. I was just shocked in all honesty as to not how easy. . . well how easy it was for her to get a soft side to him.

Other than that the pace of the novel was alright. There was a lot of moving parts, which kept me interested in the book. I wanted more fairy tale aspect to this book and that is really because I am a fantasy reader. I also wanted more description of apperances. The author glimpes over this. There wasn’t enough for me to drool.

Overall, not a bad read. Long but not bad at all. But as previously mentioned the cursing in everyday conversation was a bit too much for me.

2.5 Pickles

Book Review: Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen

Candlewick Press
TBP July 10, 2018
352 Pages

They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier’s cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside.

But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.- Goodreads

This book has been on my tbr 2018 edition since I heard about it last year. So when I got approved for an arc via Netgalley, I put everything down to take a stab at it.

Man, was I disappointed.

About 30% through the book, I couldn’t stand Lucie’s voice anymore. I understand her revenge and her wanting to see how the revenge plays out. I even understand her slight mercy. But she has this tone that becomes redundant. When she sees the beast changing and becoming the “person” she hoped the Chevalier would have been, she fights with herself to stay mad, to stay hateful. After what he did, it shouldn’t take a whole lot to state in hate mode. I actually was surprised by the change of heart. Yes, they were technically two different people but how Lucie was able to look at the beast and not remember what he has a human had done…. I have no idea.

The book moves fast enough. It doesn’t take a lot of time for you to see his transformation to a beast and to a likeable beast. The story begins off one way but then you’re literally disguised how quickly it turns left. The author wrote a very intense scene, that I had to put the book down for a moment to regain my composure. This is why I didn’t understand how Lucie was able to jump ship.

But what I really enjoyed about this book was how the author spun this retelling. The point of view, Lucie, is completely different from what I have read. She is literally the third party to the classic fairy tale and it was interesting to see her point of view. However, for a story about revenge, there wasn’t enough intensity and anger that I had hoped for.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read but it could have better.

2 Pickles

Book Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Flatiron Books
TBP Jan. 30, 2018
368 Pages

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.- Goodreads

I cannot tell you enough how much this book pissed me off and was a disappointment. Alice is a crappy person. She is mean. She is selfish and she is ungrateful. Even at the end where there is some form of justification about why she is that way, it really is no excuse.

The majority of the book is Alice showing no interest in anything other than saving her mom and using people to get to that goal. She doesn’t make an attempt to find information on her own but relies on someone else to do so. She screams and yells and wants to run into things blindly at the risk of others.

The overall story was slow and the best part of the book was the fairy tales written by her grandmother. I honestly would buy that book. They were creepy, didn’t have a lesson to be learned (kind of) and were memorable. I loved them and wished that there was much more of it in the main story. Also the author did a pretty good job making the fairy tales real life. I think that their involvement with the modern world was short lived and there should have been more of it.

But let’s get to the part of the book where I almost threw my kindle across the wall. So Finch is bi-racial and there is a scene, a powerful scene that showed how much of a scumbag Alice is. Was this scene necessary, no not really but I can see why the author added but there was almost no context before the incident and it was pretty much brushed aside after a page and Alice’s BS excuse. You cannot add something like that and then do nothing with it. You really cannot.

After that I was completely discouraged to continue the book but I did keep going and Alice is still crap. But the author did something purely amazing when Alice got to Hazel Wood. Slightly predictable but some really good stuff comes out of that. I was disappointed in this book mainly because of Alice and there wasn’t enough fairy tale aspects in this novel.

2 Pickles