Genre: Fairytale

Review: Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea

Posted November 1, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Beauty and the Beast by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea
Series: Timeless Fairy Tales #1
Also in this series: The Princess and the Pea
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 12, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Pages: 272
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Once upon a time Elle made a mistake. A small miscalculation sends her through the roof of an enchanted chateau. Stranded until her broken leg mends, Elle is forced to rely on the good will of the sour chateau owner —the cursed Prince Severin.

Prince Severin—the commanding general and staunch supporter of his brother the crown prince—is cursed to look like a beast until a maiden falls in love with him. However, he has given up all hope of shattering the curse after several painful and failed attempts to break it. As such he has only disdain for Elle, leaving her to the devices of his bossy servants. This suits Elle perfectly as she dislikes the entire royal family, Severin included.

Unfortunately for the unsuspecting pair, the chateau servants are determined to break the curse and spend the majority of their time pushing Elle and Severin together. After bonding over gardens, animals, and terrifying squirrels Elle and Severin show signs of friendship, and perhaps something more…

But not all love stories can end that easily. After all, Elle is not what she seems, and Severin’s life is placed in danger when hostilities flare between his brother and the monarchs of a neighboring country.

If they really want the love of a lifetime Elle, a loyal liar, and Severin, an indifferent beast, will have to use every trick they know to survive.

I’ve read some other novels by Shea and I am a total sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings, so I snagged this one from KU even though I had to DNF the first book in the prequel series (Apprentice of Magic). I enjoyed the way this was presented. The basic bones of the B&tB story are here, with some fun twists to make it the author’s own. I liked Elle and Severin, and the way their friendship developed. I didn’t really love the main conflict, and how he rejected her, but it didn’t kill the story for me.

I find these to be long reads and all the filler kind of makes for a difficult reading experience. Plus, I hate how the author sort of coyly drug out Elle’s reasons for being at the Chateau in the first place for the entire book. I had figured it out early on, and the constant hinting at it was frustrating.

While I enjoyed this and the previous novella, I don’t know that I’ll continue with the series. None of the other blurbs really appealed to me, and I’m not interested in the overarching storyline.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Timeless Fairy Tales

three-half-stars


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Review: The Princess and the Pea by K.M. Shea

Posted October 27, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Princess and the Pea by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
The Princess and the Pea by K.M. Shea
Series: Timeless Fairy Tales #0.5
Also in this series: Beauty and the Beast
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 1, 2018
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

What if the true makings of a princess have nothing to do with where she’s from and everything to do with who she is?

She may hate her nickname of “Warrior Princess” but Lis stakes her reputation on her ability to protect her client’s treasures no matter what she faces.

But this job is different.

When the royal family of Torrens hires her to guard the fabled Pea of Primeorder jewel it starts out like any other job. The king is kind of eccentric (and possibly delusional) and Prince Channing is strangely pleasant towards her, but otherwise everything is normal.

Until she learns about the thief.

The legendary thief Apex has sent a letter declaring his intention to steal the Pea of Primeorder. Lis knows this is either the vainest thief in the world or there is more going on then she’s been told. But a job is a job. Lis will pass this test at all costs even if she has to stuff the jewel in her mattress while she sleeps.

But eccentricities of the Torrens royal family only intensifies as Prince Channing starts asking Lis strange questions. Like...would Lis stay in Torrens after her contract is over, and if they could learn to fight together. (What kind of royal asks that?)

A Prince, a Warrior, and a Pea. The Kingdom of Torrens will never be the same.

This novella is a prequel for the Timeless Fairy Tale series. It is not necessary to read the books in the Timeless Fairy Tales series prior to reading this story. However, if you have read that series watch for the name drops and hidden Easter eggs!

I found the Timeless Fairy Tales series while browsing Goodreads and decided to give this novella a try. I loved the premise of a kickass warrior princess, and I’m happy to report she was everything I was hoping for.

Lis has made a name for herself as a mercenary. Although she’s of common origins, she’s been labeled the “Warrior Princess” because she’s such an excellent fighter. When she and her protégée, Vorah, are hired to protect the Pea of Primeorder jewel, Lis figures it will be a job just like any other. But when she arrives at the Kingdom of Torrens, nothing is quite as it seems. She’s determined to protect the Pea at all costs.

I really liked that Lis was a true warrior, and her friendship with Vorah. The two of them were fabulous and totally made this story worth reading. The romance was kind of unnecessary. I didn’t really feel like Lis was truly in love at the end. I’m honestly not even sure why it was included. The friendship between Vorah and Lis, and how kickass they were, made the story.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Timeless Fairy Tales

three-half-stars


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Review: Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna Collett

Posted September 8, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A spellbinding mystery leads an unlikely pair on the hunt for a killer.

Tessa Daniels needs a miracle. Preferably, the kind that comes with cold hard cash. Her magic shop is failing, and she'll be tossed into the street unless she clears her debt.

When a financial boon arrives in the form of a young woman determined to attend the prince's ball, a risky spell turns out to be the miracle she needed. That is until the woman is found dead at the stroke of midnight, and Tessa comes face-to-face with the kingdom's cold, and way too appealing, lead detective.

Detective Derrick Chambers has no use for the supernatural. As the rising star at the Royal Agency, he won't let magic, or the pretty witch that deals in it, get in the way of solving a murder.

His logic tells him to steer clear of Tessa's chaos, but a forced partnership soon turns into an attraction neither can resist.

With the body count rising, and the kingdom in a panic, an exposed secret will tear them apart and put Tessa in the sights of a killer where no amount of magic can save her.

Spellbound After Midnight is an enemies-to-lovers, slow burn romance, with a puzzling mystery, strong female heroine, and fairy tale elements.

Spellbound After Dark is the first book in Jenna Collett’s Ever Dark, Ever Deadly series. I found this while browsing Kindle Unlimited and decided to give it a try based on the reviews. This is my first read by the author. I really enjoyed the writing and the story. I easily fell into it.

Tessa Daniels is a down-on-her-luck witch. Her mother was renowned in the kingdom for her powers, but Tessa has never had very good control of hers. More often than not, her potions and spells go wrong (sometimes seriously so). As a result, the magic shop she inherited when her mother passed away is on the brink of bankruptcy. In a moment of desperation, Tessa borrowed money from the local kingpin, and he’s calling it due.

When a young woman she casts an illusion spell for turns up dead, Tessa realizes she can help solve the young girl find justice and solve her financial problems by collecting the reward money. The catch? She has to work with Royal Detective Chambers, a total stick-in-the-mud who also happens to be attractive as sin.

Derrick Chambers isn’t thrilled about being forced to work with a witch, but they end up making a good team. Both on the case and off it. Unfortunately, Tessa forgot to mention that whole “in debt to a gangster” thing, and there may be no coming back once he finds out.

This story was an unexpected delight. I liked the fairytale twist (“Cinderella” died at midnight, and the “fairy godmother” has to solve the murder case), and I really loved the romance. Derrick was really wonderful to Tessa, despite them getting off on the wrong foot. He was kind and caring, and it was obvious he was struggling with his feelings, but he was never cruel.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love that Tessa kept secrets from him. I understood her reasons, but I didn’t agree with them. Aside from that, I don’t have much to complain about. I loved the friendship Tessa had with Vivian, a medium. I also enjoyed the world and the mystery behind the murder. I figured out the suspect early on, but I still liked the way the story unfold.

I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly

four-stars


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Lightning Review: The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell

Posted April 7, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow RowellReviewer: Holly
The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman
Series: Faraway #1
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: Narrated
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Fairytale
Length: 46 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A charming everyman and a mysterious something-under-the-bridge cross paths in a short fairy tale by the #1 'New York Times' bestselling author of 'Eleanor & Park' and the 'Simon Snow' series.

It’s fate when a man accidentally drops his phone off the bridge. It’s a fortune when it’s retrieved by a friendly shape sloshing in the muck underneath. From that day forward, as they share a coffee every morning, an unlikely friendship blooms. Considering the reality for the man above, where life seems perfect, and that of the sharp-witted creature below, how forever after can a happy ending be?

'THE PRINCE AND THE TROLL' is part of Faraway, a collection of retold fairy tales that take happily-ever-after in daring new directions. Whether read or listened to in one sitting, prepare to be charmed, moved, enlightened and frightened all over again.

This was a well-written short story that really seemed to serve no purpose. I enjoyed how the friendship between Adam and the Bridge Troll developed, and there was a lot of witty dialogue, but the story lacked any kind of cohesion or conclusion. The Road (aka Climate Change and Development) were bad, but there’s nothing we can do about it so let’s just wait until the rains come and wash it all away? Meh.

For a quick listen, I didn’t hate it, but I did finish it kind of scratching my head about the point of it all.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Faraway

three-stars


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Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 24, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #3
Also in this series: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, Kiss of the Spindle
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk, Fairytale
Pages: 368
Length: 9 hours and 32 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.   Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower is the third book in Nancy Campbell Allen’s Steampunk Proper Romance series, which is a mesh of fairytale and steampunk. I call these books “Steampunk Lite”. Though there are Steampunk elements, they’re very lightly drawn. We first meet Hazel and Sam in book one, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast. Although not necessary to read in order, I do believe you understand more about them and their motivations if you read the other books first.

Hazel Hughes comes from a long line of Mediums. Her mother is convinced she has the same power, but her first real attempt to summon spirits ends in a complete disaster (Beauty and the Clockwork Beast). Now she works as Sam’s surgery assistant. She’s had a crush on him for ages, but they run in different social circles and she knows they can never be. When a mysterious man turns up and claims to be her uncle, she’s shocked. Even more so when he tells her she was actually abducted at birth, and she has a twin sister who is slowly going mad. The Count believes Hazel may be the key to saving her twin. She agrees to travel to Romania with him to help her sister, and Sam joins them. As they travel in a submersible, strange things happen that make her question everything..her uncle, her sister and her relationship with Sam.

I was very interested in Hazel and Sam after the previous two books. In keeping with the series, this is a Rapunzel retelling. Though the fairytale elements were light, I enjoyed it. Hazel’s journey across the ocean, as well as her personal journey, was fun and interesting. I did struggle a bit with the book in the middle, as it was rather slow. But the early parts and last quarter or so really worked for me.

Nancy Campbell Allen was a great find for me this year. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

three-half-stars


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