Book Review: Riches to Rags by Casey L. Bond

Riches to Rags by Casey L. Bond

A YA Fairy Tale Retelling Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (10/31/17)

Summary:

“You are brave when you should be terrified, kind when you should be bitter, humble when you could be prideful, and your spirit, instead of being crushed beneath circumstance, somehow managed to rise above it all and remain joyful.”

Ella Carina’s favorite pastime is sitting in her window seat and gazing at the people outside as they go about their daily lives. She despairs that she’ll be stuck in the castle until her father forces her to marry an older man from Galder for political reasons. At 14, she expects to wait until after her older sister is married, but her father decides to marry both Carina and Ivy on the same day in a few weeks. With her future set, Carina is about to lose what little freedom she does have. The very next day the next kingdom over attacks the castle and she is swept away, her life as she knows it is over. But perhaps living in hiding as a farmer will give her the simpler life she has always dreamed about.

Keywords:

Fairy Tale, Retelling, Cinderella, Love, Innocent, Envy, Prince, King, Kingdom, Power, Escape, Hiding, Poor, Dreams, Castle, Tyrant, Family, Friendship, Fighting

My Review:

I love a good fairy tale retelling. Riches to Rags was an excellent fairy tale adaptation. I absolutely love Bond’s writing style and the flow of her stories.

I thought Carina grew so much from the beginning of the novel to the end. Bond does an amazing job of showing Carina’s growth and change as a character. Bond also creates so much conflict, terror, and circumstances outside of Carina’s control, that I wondered how she would survive. Carina’s true character, her grit, and her good nature shows true as she lives and works with the farmers. She is grateful to be alive to be placed with such a loving family. Carina is a much more active character than she has reason to be. Bond gives Carina the perseverance to create a good and happy life for herself, despite the circumstances that brutally took her away from her life in the castle as a princess.

As soon as you fall in love with Carina and her new romance with the blacksmith’s son and wonder how she will overcome the animosity from her new sister, a new conflict arises. This book had so much packed into it and I very much enjoyed reading it. I look forward to reading Casey Bond’s other fairy tale adaptations.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 10/31/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Casey Bond’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

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Book Review: The Time Mechanic by Victoria Bastedo

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The Time Mechanic by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. (07/16/2018)

Summary:

“I’m the new Time Mechanic. I was chosen, just like you, to take on an important mission. We’ll journey, risk our lives, and perhaps never return. But we’ll save this present time from encountering wreckage so catastrophic that history is shattered here. We’ll save many lives.”

Jeremy lives a simple life. He works hard in an honest job and saves as much of his income as he can. That all changes when he gets the urge to buy a new coat. His life changes don’t end there with the coat. Jeremy must soon deal with an ex-fiancee and confront an old friend before everything he knows and counts on changes. Life as the new Time Mechanic is chaotic and dangerous. Still, Jeremy will find new friends and form a team. Together they will fight new enemies on their new adventures together.

Keywords:

Simple Times, Action, Adventure, Thievery, Ordinary, Secrets, Gifts, Fighting, Capture, Rules, Friendship, Family, Steam, Mechanics, Engineering

My Review:

Jeremy may be simple and plain, but he reveals himself to be smart, levelheaded (most of the time), honest, and caring. Though “it’s from ordinary friends that Time Mechanics are made” Jeremy is not ordinary. His life may be ordinary before he encounters the mysterious steam that changes his life forever, but he is a larger than life character who embodies the characteristics of a do-gooder. He picks up the mantle of savior and Time Mechanic naturally, though he continually questions his own role and and choice as the Time Mechanic.

I liked how the book was grounded in the relationships between Jeremy and his team and the plot that unfolds as the evil plans of the bad guys are slowly revealed. Jeremy is granted special powers as the Time Mechanic and the book is set in some undefined time period in a fictional place called Tonturin where there are no cars and life appears to operate on a much simpler plane of existence. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fantasy book that was grounded in the characters’ reality.

Jeremy takes on the responsibilities as Time Mechanic, but he does so willingly and with full knowledge of the rules and potential dangers. I liked how the rules of the Time Mechanic were revealed immediately, but the mystery surrounding how Time Mechanics came to be is revealed slowly. I especially liked rule 2 – “accept the help and company of others who are so compelled.” The way those “compelled” people resisted at first was very entertaining.

This book was grounded in some alternate past and the way women were viewed (by the narrator Jeremy) as more delicate and needing to be protected threw me off even though Kannikey and Ffefferpip both proved more able and crafty than Jeremy and Miles at times.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. 07/16/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.25

 

Links for more information:

On the web

Victoria Bastedo blog

Book Review: Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

A Fairy Tale Adaptation published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. (08/11/2017)

Summary:

Cinderella marries Prince Charming and gets her happily ever after. But what of her stepsisters and stepmother? Alexandria and Atlantia are left without their free laborer and while pockets grow emptier, the three women grow hungrier. It isn’t proper for any young lady of merit to work in the household, but Atlantia is too hungry to care. A pan of eggs turns into washing the windows and sweeping the floors. Too soon, Atlantia will feel like the new Cinderella. But she’s too stubborn to let her mother or sister boss her around!

Keywords:

True Self, Self-Journey, Brat, Privilege, Money, Wealth, Power, Kingdom, Cinderella, Stepsister, Orphans, God, Chores, Servants

My Review:

God is very present in this novel, as well as the journey toward Him, but religion is not the focus, nor is it ever really talked about in this book. It is refreshing to see God present without religion. Is it true that a transformation of soul and personality can take place without God or without a belief in God? I like to think that many other factors helped in Atlantia’s complete transformation and that anyone in her situation could have been transformed, but only with God could she endure. Those with true and sometimes blind faith in Him are able to stay calm in the face of chaos and kind in the face of evil and endure in the face of unending torture. This is an interesting explanation for how Cinderella endured so many years as the servant to her stepmother and stepsisters and endured their cruelty for so long. This is also an explanation as to how she was able to forgive them and wish them no ill will once she’d been taken out of that situation.

I absolutely love the bad guy’s perspective and especially love seeing the complete transformation of a character that is realistic. I wish all bad guys in real life or even people who make bad decisions or used to be mean can about-face and become good people. I like to believe we all have the potential to be good people and that we all want to be good people deep down. Bastedo’s book is a thought-provoking discovery into how a good person can bloom out of a spiteful and mean person.

I enjoyed the changing POV’s – from Frey to Atlantia to Theo and getting multiple little stories along the way. It was interesting to view Cinderella’s story from afar, through the eyes of those around her, especially as this story takes place after her well-known tale.

I absolutely adore fairy tales and fairy tale adaptations and this book was no exception. It was enjoyable to read, fast-paced, and fulfilling. It was exciting to watch the characters, especially Atalantia, grow and change and to get an up close and personal view of their thoughts and feelings.

I received an ARC from the author. This is my honest opinion.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. 08/11/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

On the web

Victoria Bastedo blog

Book Review: Dust in the Desert: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 4) by Starla Huchton

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Dust in the Desert: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 4) by Starla Huchton

A Fantasy/Fairy Tale Adaptation published through Amazon Digital Services LLC (05/16/16)

Summary:

“A single grain of sand can shift the course of a dune, which changes the entire desert.” (Kindle Locations 192-193).

Alida was a simple thief. Istara was a dying city. The Sultana would not give up her power, would not go wanting, would not save her own kingdom. What can Alida, a single grain of sand, do to save Istara?

Keywords:

Desert, Dust, Kingdom, Sultana, Power Hungry, Thief, Deceit, Lies, Wit, Dying Empire, Magic Lamp, Djinn, Wishes, Humbleness, Love, Kindness, Falling in Love, Sympathy

 

My Review:

I absolutely loved Alida! She is the exact princess I always imagined myself to be as a little girl. She is so well spoken and clever, exactly how I want a princess to be. This book is exactly what teenagers should be reading! There is so much to take away from Alida in her actions, her reserved temperament, and her ability keep a level head. She is a great role model.

The dialogue between Alida and the prince Shahzadeh Sameer is amazing. It is so mature, eloquent and realistic for their world and their situations. I was captivated every time Alida spoke.

Tension is held constant throughout this book and it contained solid and compelling storytelling.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services LLC May 16th, 2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating:5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Starla Huchton’s Website

Book Review: Ride the Wind: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 3) by Starla Huchton

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Ride the Wind: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 3) by Starla Huchton

A Fantasy/Fairy Tale Adaptation published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (11/02/15)

Summary:

“It’s not about pursuing adventure, so much as seeing the adventure life already is.” (Kindle Locations 892-893).

Lukas is raised to be compassionate and when his mother tells him he needs to care for a magical injured Elk, he only pauses briefly. He promises his future to saving the creature and his word is a bond. Given a second chance to love blindly, will Lukas be able to wait in the dark or will his curiosity and worry get the best of him?

 

Keywords:

Wind, Power, Fairy Tale, Princess, Evil, Confinement, Complicated, Trust, Dark, Care, Promises, Strangers, Romance, Love, Loyalty, Family, Second Chances

 

My Review:

This flipped fairy tale features the prince and his story as he meets the ‘princess.’ I always want the princess story, but I was pleasantly surprised by the boy’s perspective. This is probably because he isn’t the stereotypical loud mouthed, boisterous, save everything in sight overbearing prince. He is a real person who was raised to be compassionate and motivated. He is sheltered, which adds to his odd behavior at times or how willing he is to jump into a ‘forever’ scenario, but he is also grasping at his second chance.

Both the prince and princess have believable and full back stories that contribute heavily to their current situations. The princess Erata and the Elk come from somewhere, they aren’t simply a Rapunzel from the tower. They came from a life before the magical house. They made mistakes to get to where they are now. Even the Prince has made his own mistakes in the past.

I only thought it was mildly odd that the creature in the story was an elk. There are dragons and such and one of the main characters is an elk? It fits when you think about the setting, but is still odd to visualize.

The romance, like any fairy tale, was glossed over. The prince was immediately enamored by Erata, even without seeing her though her main personality trait was timidity (although she saves him from poison). He falls in love hard for her and she timidly for him. I didn’t get as much of an ‘aw’ from their romance but as it has its roots in a fairy tale, having a typical head over heels love at first -sight- romance didn’t seem that far from the norm.

This novel was published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform November 2nd, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating:4.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Starla Huchton’s Website

Book Review: The Stillness of the Sky: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales) by Starla Huchton

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The Stillness of the Sky: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales) by Starla Huchton

A Fairy Tale Adaptation Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (02/02/15)

 

Summary:

“There will always be opportunities to be better people, but it’s up to us to take those chances.” (Page 286).

What can we do to ensure that the world be a better place in 100 years? Starla Huchton, Miss America contestants and Jack from the Stillness in the Sky all think the answer is peace. Jack’s answer comes with magical consequences that bind her to fulfill this wish by using her newfound abilities as a powerful and talented bard. She was nothing more than a farmer’s daughter when she came across the three beans after all.

 

Keywords:

Fairy Tale Adaptation, Contemporary Fairy Tale, Magic, Family, Love, Romance, True Love, Souls, Strong Female

My Review:

I used to read Princess stories and odd fairy tales and have never found another book written like those until finding Starla Huchton’s Flipped Fairy Tales. I’m so delighted by Huchton’s writing style and quaint fairy tale adaptations. She is a wonderfully talented writer with an eye for re-imagining childhood favorites. Her style will grab you and plunk you down into a world that is familiar, yet unique. Huchton must have sat down one day and thought, what if? Not just thinking through the possibilities, Huchton interweaves Aesop’s Fables’s type morals and characters that are struck with such conviction, you have to believe them and believe in them.

It’s entirely obvious the themes and morals Huchton describes through Stillness in the Sky, but they are not overtly preachy. They come from a place of goodness and kindness and wishing to instill the same understanding of peace in all the characters and through them to the reader. Not as obvious is the fact that Jack is humble. That is one of the most unique and distracting traits in a character. How many people do you know that are truly humble? Jack isn’t just humble, though, she is kind and wishes to do good by the world.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on Feburary 2nd, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Red and the Wolf by E. A. Walker

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Red and the Wolf by E. A. Walker

A Fairy Tale Adaption Short Story published by Two Moons Books (04/06/15)

 

Summary:

“…an adult needs to be able to hear the truth, even when it has an unpleasant sound.” (Kindle Location 281).

Vöröža wanted Juri from almost the moment she set eyes on him, but her Babushka had other plans. Snežana claims that Vöröža is of noble birth and shouldn’t consort with the lowly villagers, especially the woodcutter, but Vöröža doesn’t listen. In secret, at least she thinks so, she meets with Juri and they make plans together. All in the town are wary of the two women in the forest, but Juri, until one event that will have them sympathizing with the young Vöröža. Can she truly leave her noble birth behind?

 

Keywords:

 Romance, fantasy, werewolf, legends, fairy tale, little red riding hood, woodcutter, clueless, short story, old-world feel, isolated, forest

 

My Review:

This short story is based on Little Red Riding Hood, but it is very much its own tale and very different from the simple animated versions that abound in film. This story, though new, is told as if it is a tale retold, a legend of a small town near a wide and foreboding forest. E.A. Walker does an amazing job at carefully crafting her descriptions and keeping her consistent old world feel of the story. From the beginning Walker provides enough physical descriptions to set the scene and plunge the reader into Vöröža’s world.

The characters are whole and alive in the imagination. It was very helpful to have the pronunciation chart at the start of the story and helped as I read for visualizing. As the story went on, I thought there were a few too many characters and it got a bit confusing.

After reading the story a second time, I really was able to appreciate the bit of foreshadowing that was cleverly disguised.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this story in exchange for my honest review.

This novel was published by Two Moons Books on April 6th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.00

 

Links for more information:

Smashwords

Goodreads