Book Review: Nordic Tales by Chronicle Books & Ulla Thynell (Illustrator) #NordicTales #ChronicleBooks #FolkTales #FairyTales #BookReview

Nordic Tales

By: Chronicle Books

Illustrator: Ulla Thynell

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My Review:

Nordic Tales by Chronicle Books and illustrated by Ulla Thynell is a beautiful collection of 17 folk tales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark. Every tale varies in length, but most are fairly quick and easy to read.

The book is divided into three sections: Transformation, Wit, and Journeys.  Under each title, the author has included where it originates, and a few tales have more information attached at the bottom of the page for more clarification of a word used, or a historical fact; for example, the word jöjking is a Finnish word which means to sing songs.

Many of the tales in this book were unfamiliar to me, while others reminded me of tales from childhood; for example, “The Old Woman and the Tramp” was very similar to “Stone Soup” with the concept and the lesson it teaches of kindness and sharing. Another familiar tale was “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”. Most contain  folkloric characters we’re all familiar with including trolls, witches, dragons, giants, and talking animals of course. Some tales end happily, while others don’t.

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Book Review: Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran #BookReview #Retelling #2019ReadingChallenge #Fairytale

Snow, Glass, Apples

By Neil Gaiman

and Colleen Doran (Illustrator)

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My thoughts:

-Mild spoilers-

This Snow White retelling is totally reimagined and nothing like the original. In Neil Gaiman’s adaptation, Snow White isn’t the little innocent sweetheart we all know, but rather some type of blood-sucking monster. In addition, this retelling is told from the not-so-evil queen’s point of view…

“If it were today, I would have her heart cut out, true. But then I would have her head and arms and legs cut off. I would have them disembowel her. And then I would watch, in the town square, as the hangman heated the fire to white-heat with bellows, watch unblinking as he consigned each part of her to the fire. I would have archers around the square, who would shoot any bird or animal who came close to the flames, any raven or dog or hawk or rat. And I would not close my eyes until the princess was ash, and a gentle wind could scatter her like snow.

I did not do this thing, and we pay for our mistakes.”

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What am I reading this week? #Reading #AmReading #BookLovers

Because I’m not reviewing very much right now, I thought I’d do another post highlighting what I’m reading this week.

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Last week I finished Depravity by M.J. Haag and shared my review on Friday. I enjoyed the book (despite some niggles) and went right on to book two in the series titled Deceit. I DNFed the second book about half way through and won’t be finishing the trilogy. It became too weird for me. I normally don’t DNF books, but I just couldn’t handle this one. I liked that the characters were developing more and the beast was more understood, but the details were too much for me. I’m not going to tear the book apart though, and I didn’t rate it because I didn’t totally finish it.

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I’ve decided to finally read Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which is now a movie releasing on Friday. I bought the book from Barnes and Noble and will be starting it today.

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Book Review: Depravity (Beastly Tales #1) by M.J. Haag #Retelling #2019ReadingChallenge #BeautyandtheBeast

Depravity (Beastly Tales, #1)

By M.J. Haag

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My thoughts:

While searching for retellings on Amazon, this book popped up: Depravity by M.J. Haag. I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and this being categorized as an adult romance pulled me right in. I was able to get the ebook on Amazon for free and ended up purchasing the Audible version as well.

The story begins with Benella, a teenage girl living with her father (Bernard) and two sisters (Bryn and Blye). Her mother has passed away and the family struggles to make ends meet. Her father works as a teacher, and one sister as a seamstress, but they still have little money or food to eat. The sisters try to save as much coin as possible, even if it results in the family starving. The girls are coming of age and old enough to marry, but depsite their father’s hope’s, struggle to find suitable husbands that they approve of.

Benella forages for food along an enchanted estate, finding crops to either share with her family or trade for other goods.  She eventually encounters the beast who lives at the estate. The beast is angry and has been known to capture people, but he allows Benella to go free, yet consistently asks her to stay with him at his estate. The beast perplexes Benella as she strives to care for her family, and tries to stay safe from two village boys who are relentlessly trying to beat her up.

It’s been mentioned that this is an erotic and seductive tale; however, I surely didn’t think it was very erotic at all. When the story first began there was a sexual scene, but it was vaguely described. As the book went on, it wasn’t until the last third where some other sexual scenes came about (one very uncomfortable one including a sexual encounter with a wood nymph), but most others were on the light side in my opinion. I expected romance here between Benella and the beast to eventually develop, but instead the ending was left wide open, resulting in me feeling compelled to read book two and three.

As far as the worldbuilding and character development, I found it just okay. There really wasn’t much imagery at all. Naturally, I wanted to know more about the beast, but hardly any information was given besides him being extremely angry, and of course having a tail.  He’s not well understood, but maybe the characters will flesh out in book two and three. With that said, I did find it unique how the author wrote scenes in her own way, making this retelling stand out from other Beauty and the Beast retellings. I was also on the edge of my seat during a few parts.

I did enjoy the author’s writing, but wish the story was more of a romance as labeled, and that it had more detail. As a retelling as a whole, it was enjoyable, and the Audible narrator was great.

I’d rate this one 3.5 and round up to 4****. My plan is to move right along to book two to discover what’s to come of Benella and the beast.

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Book Review: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly #BookReview #Stepsister #ReadingChallenge #2019ReadingChallenge #Retellings

Stepsister

By Jennifer Donnelly

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I read Jennifer Donnelly’s Lost in a Book which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I truly loved it, so Stepsister was highly anticipated. There’s a special place in my heart for fairy tales, especially Cinderella. To be honest, I haven’t read that many Cinderella retellings.

Will my review spoil this book? Not totally…although I do mention the plot and certain themes which lead into the ending.

Stepsister begins right at the end of Cinderella as the prince seeks the girl to fit the slipper. Isabelle and Octavia–the evil stepsisters–will do whatever it takes to get the slipper to fit, even if it requires cutting off parts of their feet. Once everyone notices what the sisters have done, they are shamed and hated throughout the kingdom, and their sister Ella now sits with the prince.

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A to Z Challenge “P” The Princess Bride “Storybook Love” #AtoZChallenge #ThePrincessBride

I’ve joined in for the A to Z challenge this year which runs from April 1st to the 30th. My choice of theme is Music from Favorite Films. I’ll be sharing the songs in order of film title and will write a little about my thoughts on the movie as well.

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The Princess Bride is a classic fairy tale adventure which shares a story within a story. It begins with a sick grandson (Fred Savage) and his grandfather (Peter Falk) who reads him the story The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

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As the story is told, we’re introduced to Wesley (Cary Elwes), a young farm boy, and Buttercup (Robin Wright), his one true love. There isn’t anything Wesley wouldn’t do for Buttercup.

Buttercup: “Farm boy, polish my horse’s saddle. I want to see my face shining in it by morning.”

Westley: “As you wish.”

Buttercup: “Farm boy, fill these with water – please.”

Westley: “As you wish.”

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