Tag: Fairytales

Review: Queen of Snow by Laura Burton & Jessie Cal

Posted September 4, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Queen of Snow by Laura Burton & Jessie CalReviewer: Holly
Queen of Snow by Laura Burton, Jessie Cal
Narrator: Emma Faye
Series: Fairy Tales Reimagined #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Fairytale
Pages: 154
Length: 4 hours and 37 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Before she was The Snow Queen... she was a Princess on the run.

Princess Aria has one goal: collect the mirror shards to the Mirror of Reason to create a portal that will take her far away from the Chanted Kingdom. Before The Evil Queen kills her like she did to Aria's family.

But when Jack Smith from Oxford stumbles into her life through a portal in his grandfather’s study, there’s something familiar about him. A connection so strong, she can't ignore.

Jack is not only shocked to discover that fairytales are real, but confused as to why a pirate is after him.

So, if he wants to survive in this foreign land, and return home, he needs to help Aria complete the Mirror of Reason.

But as Aria struggles to control her ice powers, something awakens inside of Jack.

As his heart stirs for the young Princess, he cannot help but wonder if he’s found his true home, after all?

Another book in this series came up as a recommended read on Kindle and I was intrigued, so I figured I’d start with the first in the series. I don’t know if I would have read it if I’d known it was YA, but I ended up enjoying it regardless, so I’m glad I didn’t know. The pacing is a little off. Sometimes it felt like a drag to get through and other times things seemed to move too fast, but the writing was good and I found myself invested in the story of Jack and Aria.

Jack gets pulled into a magical land through a mirror he finds in his grandfather’s home after he passes away. He ends up with Aria and follows her as she attempts to collect shards of the Mirror of Reason, which will act as a portal between his world and hers. She wants to get out of her world before the evil queen finds her and he wants to get home.

This is a mashup of various fairytales. I enjoyed the way the story wove around everyone. It kind of reminded me of Shrek, in the way that the fantasy characters are all together. I have to be honest, the end…wasn’t my favorite.

View Spoiler »

That aside, I liked the story enough to download the next in the series.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5.

Fairy Tales Reimagined


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Review: Wolfish Charms by Jenna Collett

Posted May 4, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wolfish Charms by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Wolfish Charms by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly #2
Also in this series: Spellbound After Midnight, Shatter the Dark
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 6, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 415
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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Series Rating: four-stars

The wolves are at her door, but can she trust the villain offering her salvation?

Vivian James took seeing ghosts for granted until the day they vanished along with the person she cared about most. Now, plagued with visions of the future, all she wants is revenge on the creature that destroyed her life.

Even a devil's mask can slip.

Argus Ward is hunting the creature wreaking havoc in the kingdom. He used the kingdom's oracle to track its movement, but now that the oracle is dead, he'll need to use Vivian. She might be a fool to put her trust in a gangster, but there's something about him that keeps drawing her in.
Their partnership is straightforward, find the beast and get revenge. But, things are never that simple when love, murder, and werewolves get in the way.
Book two in the Ever Dark, Ever Deadly Series.

Wolfish Charms by Jenna Collett is the second book in the Ever Dark, Ever Deadly series. This is a take on Little Red Riding Hood, with some twists. I enjoyed the story a bit more than the first, Spellbound After Midnight.

Vivian is a Medium. She’s always been something of an outcast, since no one wanted to be friends with the weird girl who can see and talk to ghosts, so she mostly spends time with her best friend Tess and her ghosts. Until the night her grandmother and her ghosts disappear. Now she’s having visions of the future and trying to keep Angus Ward, the most notorious gangster in the land, at bay. The problem? She feels safe with Argus, and staying away from him goes against all her instincts.

Argus is determined to find the werewolves who have been terrorizing the city and to find help for his sister, who was bitten. He needs the Oracle’s help to find a magic dagger that will cure his sister. He almost had it, but it was stolen out from under him the night the Oracle died. Now he needs Vivian’s help.

I really liked Vivian and Argus, and I liked the mystery surrounding the deaths taking place in the Kingdom. Argus was something of an anti-hero. He definitely had shady dealings and wasn’t the best guy, but he had hidden depths. I liked how he tried to keep Vivian at a distance but couldn’t stay away.

From other reviews I’ve read it seems I’m the outlier, but I didn’t care for Tessa, Vivian’s best friend and the heroine of the first book, Spellbound After Midnight. I liked her well enough when I read that book, but her insecurities really got out of control. The next book features her and I’m on the fence about reading it. I’m looking forward to the following book, however. Bring on Liana and Bowen.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly


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Review: Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna Collett

Posted September 8, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly #1
Also in this series: Wolfish Charms , Shatter the Dark
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
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


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Sunday Spotlight: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

Posted February 10, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I’m a total sucker for fairytale retellings, and Beauty and the Beast is a particular favorite. I have to say, Leife Shallcross’s The Beast’s Heart ticks all my boxes. I’m ridiculously excited for this.

Sunday Spotlight: The Beast’s Heart by Leife ShallcrossThe Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
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A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast's side of the story at long last.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.

Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast's heart.

Order the Book:


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From The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Leife Shallcross

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: February 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Leife Shallcross

leife shallcross headshot

I write mostly fairy tales and dark fantasy, with the occasional bit of soft sci fi thrown in for good measure. Even when I’m not working on something specifically fairy-taleish, a lot of my work draws on my love of traditional tales and folklore.

My first novel, The Beast’s Heart, was published by Hodder & Stoughton in May 2018.

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Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon

Posted January 4, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra GannonReviewer: Holly
The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale, #3) by Cassandra Gannon
Series: A Kinda Fairytale #3
Also in this series: The Kingpin of Camelot
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 31, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 576
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

The Queen: Guinevere must save Camelot. Ever since Arthur died, the evil Scarecrow has been trying to marry her and gain the crown. If she and her daughter are going to survive his mad schemes, Gwen needs to find Merlyn’s wand. Fast. Unfortunately, the only man strong enough to help her on her quest is Kingpin Midas, a flashy, uneducated mobster dealing with a curse. Gwen is a logical, rational woman, though, and she can draft one hell of a contract. She’s pretty sure she can come up with an offer not even the kingdom’s greatest villain can refuse.

The Kingpin: Anything Midas touches turns to gold. Literally. The curse has helped him to rule Camelot’s underworld with an iron fist. He has more money and more power than anyone else in the kingdom. He’s convinced there’s nothing he can’t buy. One look at Gwen and Midas knows that he’s about to make his most brilliant purchase, yet. He’s about to own the one woman in the world he would give anything to possess. All he has to do to claim her is somehow win a war against the smartest man in Camelot, hide his growing feelings from Gwen, deal with his overprotective bodyguard’s paranoia about the queen’s hidden motivations, and adjust to a five year old demanding bedtime stories from a gangster. Simple, right?

The Contract: Gwen’s deal is simple: If Midas marries her, she’ll make him King of Camelot. It’s a fair bargain. Midas will keep her enemies away and she’ll give him the respectability that money can’t buy. She never expects Midas to agree so quickly. Or for their practical business arrangement to feel so… complicated. Midas isn’t the tawdry, feral animal that Arthur railed against. He’s a kind and gentle man, who clearly needs Gwen’s help just as much as she needs his. In fact, the longer she’s around Midas the more Gwen realizes that their “fake marriage” might be more real than she ever imagined.

Recently Ilona Andrews blogged about The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon, and I had to try it. It was so much fun! It was sweet and silly and over the top in the best possible way. If you’re looking for something light to read, I highly recommend it. King Midas was everything!

This modern fairytale reminded me quite a bit of the Shrek franchise. Fairytale characters abound as Guinevere tries to retake the Kingdom of Camelot after the death of King Arthur. Though he was no one’s hero and she doesn’t mourn him, his death threw the kingdom into chaos. As the rightful queen, Gwen can take the kingdom back, but she needs help. Although Midas is an underworld Kingpin, Gwen has it on the highest authority she can trust him. After their first meeting she realizes he’s just a giant teddy bear and she decides she needs to marry him to protect him from those who’d take advantage of him.

Midas is no one’s fool. When Guinevere shows up and says she needs his help, he’s quick to agree. Even though he knows it shows weakness to jump in so quickly, he can’t help himself. She’s everything he’s ever wanted. He agrees to a “fake” marriage knowing full well he’ll never give her up.

Blue eyes, the exact color of Vivien’s enchanted lake, looked up at him… And for the first time in his life, Midas belonged somewhere. Oh God. He’d found her.

Gannon, Cassandra. The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale Book 3) (Kindle Locations 391-394). Star Turtle Publishing. Kindle Edition.

This was such a campy, over-the-top read. A bit predictable and one-dimensional at times, but fun and engaging for all that. I fell right into it. I loved Midas and Avalon, Gwen’s daughter, not to mention Tristan. The way Gwen thought she had to protect Midas was adorable. So was his immediate reaction to her and her daughter.

He just wasn’t taking the situation seriously. She’d mentally readjusted her plans to deal with the fact that she would have to protect Midas from himself. It would be difficult, but it was her responsibility to keep him safe, now.

Gannon, Cassandra. The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale Book 3) (Kindle Locations 1177-1179). Star Turtle Publishing. Kindle Edition.

If you’re looking for campy fun, this is the book for you.

4.25 out of 5


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