fairy tales

Book Review: Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson

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After reading/reviewing a book co-written by Candace Robinson earlier this year, I immediately added another of her independently written books, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, to my summer reading queue. Mid-way through the book, I learned it’s a series and book two will be coming out in about a week (8/17/18). One thing’s for sure… Robinson is fantastic at writing YA/NA characters and story lines that appeal to a wide variety of reader types. I’m not normally a fantasy reader, but this is a prime example of why I could love the genre. From wicked twists on fairy tales to utterly shocking characters, I’m all in for the series!

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The debut in this series starts off rather quiet. A few people are missing, but no one’s super worried. Best friends Maisie and Perrie are in their own world about to graduate from high school. Perrie’s angry with her former boyfriend for doing something and she’s now making googly eyes at a new boy named August. Suddenly, people they know begin to disappear, including some from their own small group. At the same time, a mysterious museum pops up, but it’s made of stone and couldn’t just appear out of no where, could it? When Perrie finally gets into the building, everything changes. Imagine large snow globe-like glass objects with cute little scenes… imagine being inside them and meeting people you thought were only fictional characters! So… that’s all I will say as even that might be considered a bit of a spoiler, but in my opinion, that’s the exact reason why someone will pick up the book.

Effortless reading. It’s not quite a suspenseful thriller as much as it is an immersive must-read to understand what’s happening type of book. The rules aren’t clear yet, but we know from the prologue, there’s evil lurking somewhere inside someone — we just don’t know who it is. You’ll be drawn in from the beginning. You’ll care more about the story and the plot than the characters, as to me, this is all about how’s it gonna turn out? A fairy tale ending or complete and crazy destruction? Robinson’s writing style is strong and I wholeheartedly recommend diving into this book. I’ve already secured a copy of the second book and I will be reading it next month. Care to join?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Happily by Chauncey Rogers

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Why This Book

I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of of Happily by Chauncey Rogers this week and am grateful for that opportunity. I’ve been a fan of the author’s work ever since I read one of his earlier novels, Cleaving Souls, last year after I connected with him via his blog. I liked his style and was eager to see the translation from a more psychological and suspenseful story to a re-telling of a classic Cinderella story.

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Approach & Style

It took me about 5 hours over 3 days to read an electronic version via Kindle Reader on my iPad. The book is ~300 pages and divided into ~20 chapters each with a clever title to clue you in on the events. The story is told in first-person POV and from the perspective of Laure, the protagonist. It is a re-telling (re-appropriation, alternative version) of the classic Cinderella tale, but it has several new takes and theories on what was really happening behind the scenes with that darn shoe! It crosses many genres and would be a good read for young adults or adults, especially with the beautiful imagery, language, and multiple double-meanings in many of the lines and action.

Plot, Characters & Setting

Laure is trying to survive in a distant land with no family to support her. She’s caught trying to steal some supplies but races away in the nick of time. Just as she’s about to be captured again, she stumbles into the perfect escape route with the help of local merchant, Luc. At first, he wants to turn her in, but when an opportunity presents itself for them to both get what they deserve/want, everything changes. Meanwhile, King Justin is looking for a bride for his son, but there is a twist regarding the shoe left behind at a ball. Some fathers (or royalty for that matter!) just don’t know when to quit being so pushy. The two stories collide and threaten to change the future for everyone involved, but Laure fights to get what she wants. It’s a fairy tale… wanna guess what happens?

Key Thoughts

Although it’s a fairy tale, the language is more modern and realistic. Rogers has done a fantastic job removing the fluffy aspects of the original story by adding a touch of rawness and humor. It’s very easy to read his work without getting caught up in too much description or too many unnecessary details. There’s always a good balance of imagination, facts and ample window room for the reader to fill in the blanks when you read a Rogers novel.

The re-telling of the story is quite brilliant. You of course have your shoes, the ball, a prince and a girl trying to get away from a poor life… but she is not Cinderella… and you know that from the very first page when she begins talking. Sassy, direct, and tough are the three words that most come to mind. When you dive into the other characters, you’ll find no true step-sisters, but a pair of reasons/people that hold her back. Not all the characters are picture-perfect pretty models who we often see in these types of stories. Rogers took the facts, threw them high up in the air, caught a few as they landed, twisted and tortured the rest, thus turning everything we knew upside down!

What I enjoyed most about this story is the clever use of modern afflictions or situations in a timeline that could be almost any period in history. It’s less about the setting and characters, and instead more about the challenges we face in being who we are. One or two facts about our appearance or lot in life do not define who we can be or what can happen to us. That’s where I found myself intrigued and surprised throughout the course of this wonderful read.

It’s a story you will enjoy reading if you find humor and smiles in seeing how people can very differently interpret the comings and goings of Cinderella and her prince. Some parts will speak more loudly than others, but in the end, you’ll have a very fun connection to familiar people in an alternative setting. You’ll know it’s the same story, but it will also be something fresh and new. Kudos for such an insightful glance into what makes characters tick.

Summary

I recommend this book, as well as several others written by Chauncey Rogers. His imagination will surprise you and his writing will impress you. Another winner! Be sure to pick this one up on April 3rd when it is officially published.

More Details on the Book

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

No fairy godmother. No magic pumpkin. Just one grumpy girl and a glass slipper. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, make it.

Links to Buy or Read More:

 

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Review: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

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The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Book Review


4 out of 5 stars to The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, a re-appropriation of classic fairy tales, published in 1992 by Jon Scieszka. What a hilarious book! Sometimes the classics need a little refresher, and when you add a dose if stupid and fun humor, how can you go wrong? The author and the artist have created a superb work for modern times, where children can easily do a read and compare between the versions of centuries ago and the modern re-telling that stand alongside. Not for the faint of heart, especially if you don’t want to see some of your favorite characters pushed and pulled a little! It’s one of those books where you just need to relax and enjoy it — don’t get caught up in the craziness of what the author’s done or said. Think of it as a way to compare old and new… and when the kids are old enough, it might be a tool to help them learn to love analyzing literature and comparing two things that are similar but very different. Take a chance! You know you wanna…



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: The Complete Fairy Tales

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The Complete Fairy Tales
The Complete Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Book Review


4 out of 5 stars to The Complete Fairy Tales, written in 1835 by Hans Christian Andersen. Many people are familiar with the fairy tales written by the Grimm brothers, but sometimes don’t realize there were several different versions or collections by different authors. Another popular one is the series written by Hans Christian Anderson. The two I was the most familiar with were “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In both, you see some of the “horror” that you see from other classic fairy tales, but these are more about reality and real-life situations that could occur. Also, they don’t always end up a positive note. A few movies have been made from them, and countless cartoons and TV shows. I enjoyed some of them, but not all of them. I do think they are worth a read, as they provide some insight into the goings-on of a working mind nearly 200 years ago. It’s true-to-form stories that have a basis in moral lessons versus coming-of-age sentiments. Both are valuable, but they are a bit different. Not quite for young children, probably better for pre-teens or teenagers.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales

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The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adored fairy tales as a child… wait, I’ve always adored them, even now when I’m… not a child… so many different interpretations — truly the foundation for many of today’s TV shows, movies, children’s books… a must read!

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Review: The Book of Lost Things

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The Book of Lost Things
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars to John Connolly‘s The Book of Lost Things. I added this to my “To Read” list sometime in 2015 as it reminded me a little bit of the “Once Upon a Time” TV series which I love. And it didn’t disappoint!


Story

A young adult novel focusing on a young boy’s quest to fit in his earthly world and survive in his fantasy world in 1940’s England. Young David (around 10) has suffered a lot as a boy. His mother dies early, his father remarries quickly. He is shy and doesn’t venture much out of his room. When he’s forced to accept his new stepmother and then his young half-brother, David mysteriously disappears into his books through a realm in secret sunken garden where he’s immediately thrown into fairy tale land. He must find a way out but quickly learns the fairy tales all have a dark side in this universe, and he’s not the first to be transported to the new world from his old world. He’s faced with the be-all, end-all question of selfish vs. selfless behavior. What will he choose and what are the impacts?


Strengths

1. John Connolly has a vivid imagination with brilliant characters and creates a fun re-appropriation of beloved fairy tales.
2. You see a lot of yourself in David and know what he’s doing wrong all the time — makes you realize the commonality among all of us.


Weaknesses

1. Not enough of the fairy tales are included to truly feel like you’ve shown us the full picture of this world. We need more!
2. I don’t know enough about David’s family and real world experiences to understand how/why he was chosen to enter the new world – so I’m a bit doubtful of the premise and how children are chosen by the Crooked Man.


Final Thoughts

It’s still a great read. I think it’s appropriate for pre-teens across the curriculum. It will speak volumes to different types of kids — those who love to read, those who have problems at home, those who just love fantasy, those who like history… need to compare novels like this to others in its genre to provoke true literary analytics, e.g. this vs. “Harry Potter,” this vs. “Life as We Knew It” and this vs. “Chronicles of Narnia.” I think it’s a great “survival of the fittest” read to help young adults learn how to mature.

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