Tag: Fairy Tales

Review: Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James

Posted January 23, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Rowena
Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James
Series: Fairy Tales #2.5
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: December 6th 2011
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 352
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four-stars

It could only happen in a fairy tale.

Lady Lucy Towerton:Plain and tall. (According to the lady herself.) Titled and irreproachably proper. (According to her fiancé.)

Until, overnight, she becomes

Lady Lucy Towerton:Heiress. (Thanks to an aged aunt’s bequest.)Belle of the ball. (So say the fortune hunters of the ton.)

In charge of her own destiny (finally!), Lucy breaks her engagement and makes up her mind never to be proper again…

NOTE: This novella is related to "The Duke Is Mine" and includes Olivia Lytton.

I’m so fired.

I decided last month that I was going to make a noticeable dent in my TBR pile and participate in the book blogging community more so I signed up for the TBR Challenge hosted by Super Librarian Wendy. I picked out my books, I made sure that my January book was downloaded onto my kindle and then I made sure that I read the book in plenty of time to get it reviewed and scheduled.

I read the book. I wrote the review and then I forgot to schedule the review so you’re getting this month’s entry late. Sorry, I swear that I’ll do better next month. 🙂

Anyway, on with the review…

So January’s entry is all about the short story and I chose a book that I’ve been wanting to read for a long ass time. Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James. Eloisa James write fabulous historical romances and I knew that I was going to like this one because Ames liked it. We have similar reading tastes so I went into this one with high hopes and those hopes definitely played out well for me.

Lucy is a wallflower. She’s always overlooked and partying in the corner with the other wallflowers at every ball. When Cyrus asks for her hand in marriage, her parents grudgingly accept. They don’t want Cyrus in the family because his mother is a disgraced daughter of a lord of the ton, a woman who ran away and married a commoner. Cyrus is determined to turn things around for his family so that his sisters will get their shot at a season. He needs to marry someone above reproach and he finds all of that in Lucy.

Lucy knows that her marriage to Cyrus is not a love match but when she realizes how little Cyrus knows her and how much he doesn’t want to get to know her, she decides that she wants more than a marriage of convenience. She can afford to be picky because she came into an inheritance from her dead Aunt so she breaks things off with Cyrus and is surprised when Cyrus takes a genuine interest in her and pursues her in earnest.

Watching these two get to know each other and fall slowly in love with one another was a treat. Eloisa James is a pro at wrapping me up in feels and this short story was no different. It was fun to see Cyrus jump through hoops to win Lucy’s heart and I was so satisfied in the end. Cute and fun, you won’t regret reading this.

4 out of 5

four-stars

Guest Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall

Posted June 21, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia CornwallReviewer: Tracy
Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall
Series: A Highland Fairy Tale #1
Also in this series: When a Laird Finds a Lass, The Lady and the Highlander
Published by Macmillan, Swerve
Publication Date: June 21st 2016
Genres: Romance, Historical, Scottish
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three-half-stars

Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Daire is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Daire’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Daire does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Daire let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?

Dair Sinclair was once a man who would took risks like no man his clan had ever seen.  That brought his clan great wealth and they all loved him to pieces.  Until of course he came home after being captured and tortured and sent home a broken man.  Nothing his father does will break Dair out of his ravings and his wounds don’t heal properly.  The Laird (Dair’s father) sends for the local healer who doesn’t have a clue what to do.  She states, in a moment of fear, that only a virgin bride will heal Dair, the Laird sets off to find one.

The Laird ends up at the MacLeod holding after he hears that MacLeod has a load of daughters he needs to marry off.  He meets Fiona who goes by Fia while there and asks that she come try her healing on his son.  Fia agrees and heads off to Carraig Brigh with Dair’s father and her sister Meggie.  When she arrives Dair is up and about with his physical wounds healing but his emotional ones are still bad.  He had to watch his cousin get raped, tortured and hanged and he relives it every night.  He scoffs at Fia being able to help him but he finds that she does.  Of course someone who doesn’t want Dair to get well spreads rumors that Fia must be a witch because that’s the only way that Fia could have helped Dair.

While Fia was only brought to help Dair and Meggie supposedly to marry him, Fia finds herself falling in love with the man.  Of course Dair doesn’t believe he can have happiness and that puts a damper on things but it can’t stop him from falling for Fia as well.  The each have physical and emotional scars to deal with but together they can conquer anything.

This was a sweet story.  Yes, it’s a fairy tale but it was done well.  Though it was the Beauty and the Beast story I liked how she made Fia have scars as well.  They didn’t take away from her beauty and that beauty was from within as well.  I loved Dair and Fia together and how they worked through their differences time and again.

The villain in the story was quite obvious from the get go.  I didn’t like the person from the first time they were introduced onto the page and that continued.  There weren’t any surprises in the story but it was an enjoyable read and I look forward to the next in Lecia Cornwall’s fairy tale series.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy

Posted April 29, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy
Whitley’s review of Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy.

1851, Overland Trail to California. As a baby, Callie was left on the doorstep of an isolated farmhouse in Tennessee. The Whitaker family took her in, but have always considered her more a servant than a daughter. Scorned by her two stepsisters, Callie is forced to work long hours and denied an education. But a new world opens to her when the Whitakers join a wagon train to California—guided by rugged Indian, Luke McGraw…

A loner, haunted by a painful past, Luke plans to return to the wilderness once his work is done. But he can’t help noticing how poorly Callie is treated—or how unaware she is of her beauty and intelligence. As the two become closer over the long trek west, Callie’s confidence grows. And when disaster strikes, Callie emerges as the strong one—and the woman Luke may find the courage to love at last…

Wagon Train Cinderella is one of those books that had a lot of enthusiasm and charm…but not really a lot of talent. I did enjoy the premise and, well, the heart of what it was trying to do, but the execution was like watching a middle school play. (Well, that’s not fair, I think it was shorter than a middle school production.)

I liked the idea of this book, both the basic premise and a lot of the smaller ideas in the storyline. Most of the characters were (in concept) very entertaining and the relationships they all had with each other created a nice, complex character backdrop. There were lots of different ways people interacted, and the book wasn’t hyper focused on one relationship (or one dynamic over many relationships). Callie had a different role with everyone she met, and I loved that. It was nice to see her struggle to deal with being cowed by her stepfather and clinging to the friendship of a new acquaintance and still feeling like a true character in both roles. The development of both Callie, the rest of her family, and all the relationships within was a great (idea) too.

It’s just…well, the problem comes in the execution. The writing in this novel is very stilted and juvenile, and there’s far too much telling going for me to get a real emotional experience out of it. I felt like I was reading the outline of someone’s personal character growth, not a finished story. Lots of lines felt clunky, and at times chunks of a person’s character were either entirely informed or contradictory. Luke kept being described as cold and standoffish, and yet from our very first meeting with him he’s nothing but helpful and cheeky. Maybe he was intended to be cold except to Callie, but it just doesn’t come through in the writing. Plus, setting the book on the Oregon Trail like that fractures what little plot we’ve got into vignettes about ‘hardships of traveling west.’ They were interesting vignettes, but all the same, I didn’t get a sense of cohesion from the book.

Overall, I did enjoy the reading experience, but mostly in an academic sort of way.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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

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
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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

Guest Review: A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James

Posted July 10, 2013 by Ames in Reviews | 3 Comments

akamAmes’ review of A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James.

Miss Kate Daltry doesn’t believe in fairy tales . . . or happily ever after.

Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince . . . and decides he’s anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.

Gabriel likes his fiancée, which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn’t love her. Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him.

Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.

Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble . . .

Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune . . .

Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.

I love reading Eloisa James’ books but for some odd reason I’ve been dragging my feet on reading her Fairy Tales series. It’s a funny quirk of mine to put off reading books by authors I really enjoy. I’m weird, I know.

The blurb is a bit misleading though. To me, it makes it sound like Gabriel has already met his fiancée and that they’re friendly with each other by the time he meets Kate and falls for her. But this isn’t the case.

Kate’s hateful step-mother is forcing her to masquerade as her step-sister, Victoria, to impress Prince Gabriel. You see, Victoria is engaged to the Prince’s cousin, and he must give his approval to the match for it to proceed. But Victoria can’t meet the Prince herself at the moment because one of her little lapdogs bit her lip and it is swollen and infected and gross. So Kate is forced to act as Victoria.

This presents a bit of a problem because Kate isn’t sure she can act like a lady. Her mother passed away before she could mold and shape her behavior and acting as the estate’s steward since her father died doesn’t exactly make her ready for the ballroom. She’s better haggling with men at the market than dancing.

Prince Gabriel is in England because his brother, Prince Augustus, has turned out all his relatives that don’t kowtow to his new religious rules at court. And Gabriel, the honourable man that he is, sets up a castle in England and takes in all his exiled relatives (and various wild animals). But in order to continue supporting his family, he needs to marry an heiress. And so a Russian princess is found for him. She’s on her way to England for them to meet, but in the meantime, Kate and her future brother-in-law arrive.

Kate doesn’t think too highly of Gabriel when they first meet. And the feeling is mutual. But Kate’s lack of respect for his position intrigues him and he’s drawn to her. The contradiction in her character, as opposed to what he’s heard about her is a riddle he wants to solve. And he does so quickly. I liked that Kate masquerading as her step-sister is not something that’s drawn on for a long time. And I loved the dynamic between Kate and Gabriel. They both know that whatever is developing between them cannot last. Kate is not an heiress and Gabriel is too good a person to leave his quirky relatives to fend for themselves if he was to marry for love instead of money.

I really enjoyed A Kiss at Midnight. It had a delightfully quirky cast of characters from Kate and Gabriel, to his butler Berwick, to the little dogs Kate has to drag around while pretending to be Victoria. I liked the progression with Kate and Gabriel’s relationship as well. Kate is a practical kind of heroine, the ones I really enjoy the best. She goes with the flow. She’s got a wicked step-mother? She adapts. She doesn’t like the way her life is going? After this favor to Victoria, she’s outta there! Except you know, she finds out she has a godmother and she was a great character too. LOL

Also, things aren’t so cut and dried when it comes to her step-mother and step-sister. I was shocked at the news about those two and felt so bad for Kate. Just like Cinderella, she really needed a fairy godmother.

I know I’m making a muddle of this review, but I enjoyed A Kiss at Midnight. It has James’ signature cleverness and great characters. I loved the way things developed between Kate and Gabriel and was very happy with the resolution.

4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Fairy Tales series order:

A Kiss at Midnight
When Beauty Tamed the Beast
The Duke is Mine
The Ugly Duchess
Once Upon a Tower