Genre: Fairy Tales & Folklore

Guest Review: The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Corwall

Posted April 5, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia CorwallReviewer: Tracy
The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
Series: A Highland Fairy Tale #3
Also in this series: Beauty and the Highland Beast, When a Laird Finds a Lass
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Romance, Historical, Magic, Scottish, Fairy Tales & Folklore
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Laire MacLeod’s father has married a mysterious widow who is a vain beauty that deals with potions and spells. Laire does not drink them with the rest of her family and is the only one who could see through her stepmother’s games. When Laire flees to find help from her Uncle the Lady’s huntsman follows her with orders to kill. Laire must survive in a dangerous new city and find the antidote to a poisonous potion before it is too late.

Iain Lindsay is cursed. He is bound for seven years to be the hunter of a Lady who uses him to bring back birds to use in her potions. When Laire MacLeod escapes the Lady’s nets, Iain tracks her to Edinburgh, where she’s found shelter with an unusual band of thieves, but he cannot bring himself to harm her. Instead, he finds himself falling in love with the MacLeod beauty.

But a Highlander’s oath is his bond, and the price for helping her is death, both his own, and of those he loves.

Laire MacLeod is frightened for her family.  She is one of 11 daughters – her father has been married 8 times.  Laire has loved all of the different women in her father’s life until he married Bibiana.  Laire knows that there is something strange going on with her.  Her sisters aren’t acting normal.  Her father is so entranced by Bibiana that he can literally not take his eyes off of her.  Laire decides that she needs to get away and seek help for her family before Bibiana does something horrible to them but Bibiana sends her huntsman after Laire.

Ian Lindsay, once a Laird in his own right, is bound to work for Bibiana for seven years.  That time is almost up and he wants desperately to get away from the witch, for that’s what she is, a witch.  When he is sent out to find Laire and bring back her heart he doesn’t want to do it.  He was attracted to Laire and doesn’t want to hurt her but he also knows there is no naysaying Bibiana.

Ian follows Laire to Edinburgh and plans to kill her but when he gets there he starts to see the potential of a real life and not one that involves Bibiana.  Laire is determined to find something that will stop Bibiana from hurting her family and she won’t let anyone stop her, no matter what it takes.

The Lady and the Highlander was a great book.  It was magic and fantasy blended so nicely with a Scottish highland romance.  The story was a take off of Snow White but I thought the way that Cornwall wrote the story was very original.  The “dwarves” weren’t dwarves at all and were actually child thieves.  I’m not sure what it was about the story that drew me in so quickly but I thought it was a charming story.  Yes, it was nutty as we didn’t really understand what Bibiana was doing to the people until later but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.

Cornwall definitely has a gift for rewriting fairy tales.  I’ve enjoyed her interpretations of Beauty and the Beast as well as The Little Mermaid as well as this book.  I hope she continues writing the Highland Fairy Tale series because she’s writes them really well.

Rating: 4 out of 5  

four-stars

0 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Guest Review: Soul Solution by Katherine McIntyre

Posted August 13, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Soul Solution by Katherine McIntyreReviewer: Tracy
Soul Solution by Katherine McIntyre
Published by Decadent Publishing
Publication Date: July 24, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Fairy Tales & Folklore
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

For Erik Anderson, the Copenhagen line is his curse. He takes the train every night en route to collect souls. Like any lovelorn fool, he bargained his own long ago, and now pays the price—a lifetime of loneliness as a grim reaper. Stay distant—that’s been his mantra and what keeps him sane.

Until Mina Castner drops into his life like a whirlwind, one spilled drink leading to staying up until dawn with the woman. He believed one night couldn’t hurt, but he sorely underestimated her determination. Every encounter between them is reprieve from the guilt of reaping souls every night, but it can’t last. Even if she sparks long buried feelings, and even if her sheer presence intoxicates him, he can’t let this continue. For humans, his touch is poison, and if he slips up, it could cost her life

Tracy’s review of Soul Solution by Katherine McIntyre

Mina is at a club on a blind date and having a horrible time when she almost literally runs into Erik. Taking the golden opportunity to ditch her horrid date she offers to buy Erik a drink and they spend all night talking in a lounge. Mina is incredibly attracted to Erik but they don’t exchange numbers when dawn rolls around. Even though she wants to see him again she has no way of contacting him except that she knows that he said that his life consisted of clubs and the Copenhagen line (train).

Erik is a grim reaper and collects souls. His is a very solitary life and the guilt over what he does swallows him up almost every time he has to take a soul. He goes to clubs that are in cities that travel the Copenhagen line – disembarking at the next city every night. As he can tell those who are at deaths door, and don’t even know it, he takes those souls. He is completely intrigued by Mina and her outlook on life. When she shows up at the club the next night on the next stop on the line he’s shocked but thrilled. He can’t touch her, however, as every time he touches her her body will decay more and more (as apparently everyone’s does daily from birth). He feels the same connection that Mina does but will only agree to seeing her every night until the end of the line. Once they reach it in a few days he’ll never see her again.

Mina knows that there’s something strange about Erik but he won’t share and she doesn’t want to push him. She doesn’t understand him as she can tell he feels the same way about her that she feels about him but she’s willing to agree to just the end of the line in hopes that she can change his mind. Unfortunately things don’t end up anything like they thought or could have even imagined.

So, Erik is this grim reaper. We know he became this after he sold his soul for a woman’s life – the woman he loved. Apparently that woman, once she found out what he had become, thought he was a monster and kicked him to the curb. We never actually get the full story on that so we can only imagine what the situation was. Erik has to collect 1000 souls in order to complete his contract. We never find out how long he’s been a reaper or how many souls he has left to collect. We’re given to think that it’s been a damned long time since he began and that it will be a damned long time until he’s done. Now, maybe I’m being way too practical, and I know that the book said that he had spent a bit of time refusing to collect souls at all but…this should not take all that long. If he went to the clubs every night (which it appeared he did) and collected a soul a night this should take him a little less than 3 years. Even at a few a week it would still only take a few more years than that. I was just very confused as to why it was taking so long to fulfill his contract. Now if it was 100,000 I could see how it would take for freakin’ ever. I also wasn’t sure what he became in order to be a reaper or what he became after he was finished. Also, how can no one think it’s weird that someone dies every night in a club in a different city along the train line? Wouldn’t someone suspect? I think my brain was just working too damned hard on figuring all this out. lol

Ok, despite all of that there were some pretty great scenes in the story. I really loved the connection between Erik and Mina and I thought the author did a great job of portraying their frustration at not being able to take the relationship further. I do wish we could have gotten to know the characters better but it is what it is.

This story, from what I understand in a note from the author before the book started, is that this was part of a Decadent Publishing “Beyond Fairytales” Challenge. McIntyre apparently received Hans Christian Andersen’s String of Pearls and this is the story she came up with. I personally thought the whole premise was well done and made the connections to HCA’s story quite interestingly.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

This title is available from Decadent Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars

0 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

Posted May 6, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Beastly by Alex FlinnReviewer: Holly
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Series: Kendra Chronicles #1
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: December 29th 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Fantasy & Magic, Social Issues, Adolescence
Pages: 336
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-stars

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

I love fairytales in general and Beauty and the Beast in particular, but I was hesitant to read this. I’m not a big fan of YA, and I wasn’t sure how a modern retelling of a fairytale would work. I ended up enjoying the story, though I had to set aside a large chunk of disbelief to make it work.

The problem is this is written as a contemporary novel with the witch’s curse as the only fantastical element. That made the Beast’s imprisonment of Beauty harder to take, since, in the modern-day world, a young girl being forced to live in a house alone with a monster would be hard to hide. Especially since she was a high school student who attended a very posh private school on scholarship. I had a hard time believing no one noticed she was missing or went looking for her.

I wasn’t really sold on the romance. In part, I think, because this is told in first person from Kyle/Aiden/Beast’s point of view.  Lindy was essentially kidnapped and forced to spend time with him, so, while I felt a friendship form between them, I didn’t really buy into the everlasting love they supposedly felt.

Still, the journey of self-discovery the Beast took was interesting and made for a good read. His selfish, awful actions in the beginning were well written, which made his eventual transformation from evil boy to gentle beast believable and wonderful.

I did like the story enough that I may search out the movie. My daughter watched it when it was first released and really enjoyed it. I will say she really enjoyed the book when it was first released, so it may be a case of me being a bit too old for this.

One thing I’d like to note is how terrible the editing in my copy was. I downloaded this for my Nook when it was a temporarily free read, and the number of typos and misspellings was ridiculous. I’m surprised a bestseller that was optioned for film wasn’t cleaned up better.

2.75 out of 5

two-stars

1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Guest Review: Cinderella and the Ghost by Marina Myles

Posted February 20, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Cinderella and the Ghost by Marina MylesReviewer: Tracy
Cinderella and the Ghost by Marina Myles
Series: The Cursed Princes #4
Published by Kensington Books
Publication Date: February 17th 2015
Genres: Historical, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Time Travel
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

A DANGEROUS ATTRACTION
When her demanding stepmother died, Ella Benoit knew just how far their fortunes had fallen, unlike her spoiled stepsisters. So she never expected the bequest from her late father. A chateau in France and the freedom to live her own life, all at once!
The chateau has seen better days, but Ella knows she can put the ruined house to rights. The life-size portrait of its first owner, Jean-Daniel Girard, seems to watch her work with approval, even pleasure. With bright blue eyes, strong features, and an athlete’s body, the viscount is a tempting sight even now, more than three hundred years after his tragic death. But the more she looks at the portrait, the more convinced Ella is that she’s met Jean-Daniel before. In another life, perhaps—or maybe, as the form who haunts the halls at night, invading Ella’s dreams…

Tracy’s review of Cinderella and the Ghost (The Cursed Princes #4) by Marina Myles

Ella has been badgered, beaten down and treated like a slave by her stepmother and 2 stepsisters. She promised her father that she would look after her stepmother but it was darned difficult. Once her stepmother dies she finds that her father bought a French chateau for her and left money for her to restore it to its former beauty. She’s excited about the adventure and excited to be away from her horrible stepsisters.

Once in France she finds that the house is supposedly haunted. She does have some rather strange things happening but while scared she honestly believes that the ghost – who she believes is the Vicomte in the painting, Jean-Daniel Girard – is trying to tell her something. She figures out that he wants her to return to him somehow but she has no clue what to do to time-travel. When she finds a magical amulet it manages to propel her into the past.

Once in the past Ella finds many things. First she meets Jean-Daniel who she instantly likes and soon grows to love. She also finds that there are many people in her 21st Century who were surely reincarnated from the people she meets in the past – namely her friend Mimi and of course her evil stepmother and 2 evil stepsisters. Can she not get away from them? She has to find a way that she and Jean-Daniel can be together but also find a way to save his life as she knows exactly when he died.

This was a cute little book and I liked the story, to a point, but sometimes found it to drag in places and go on unnecessarily in others. I think it could have been tighter and the story would have flowed better. The second half of the book seemed to fly by but the first half was slow going. I also wasn’t a fan of the Vicomte playing with a rubber ball with his dog in 1703 as rubber wasn’t invented until the 19th century

This is a twist on the typical Cinderella story and I really liked that. It had some good ideas going for it and I was happy that the couple found love. That is, until that HEA was trashed completely at the end. I ended the book and was ranting to my husband. How could the author dangle that HEA out there and make us think that all was well and then pull the rug out from under us??? The ending, which was supposed to make us happy, I believe, and make us think that Ella found her HEA (again pushing the reincarnation idea) was harsh and completely angered me. I wish that things hadn’t worked out for Ella and Jean-Daniel in 1703 as I would have been much happier with the conclusion in 2015.

Overall the book was ok but unfortunately I can’t say I completely enjoyed it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

This title is available from Kensington. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-stars

0 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,