Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

When a mysterious piece of jewelry and a strange visitor arrive in the jewelry shop where she works for her evil aunt, Lucinda's course takes a surprising turn. With the help of the Amaranth Witch, a young (and harmless) con-artist, and a prince, Lucinda uncovers secrets about her own royal past. A strong seller in hardcover, this original fairytale marks an exciting debut from a lyrical new voice

My Review: A sweet re-telling of the Cinderella story with a few twists.  Lucinda is an orphan being raised in her Aunt and Uncle's jewelry store.  Her Aunt (the wicked step mother) treats her horribly and Lucinda dreams of the days she remembers of living with her parents, who died when she was very young.  When a strange women arrives with a magnificent pearl, everything begins to change.
Lucinda is a sweet girl that is perfect as a Cinderella role.  She is just innocent enough without getting overly sappy and washing out her personality.  She doesn't always make the right choices, but tries her best to make up for the mistakes she makes along the way.  With the Amaranth Witch to help guide her to a better future, Lucinda may just find a new and better place for herself in the world.
Buy it now:
Barnes & Noble: The Amaranth Enchantment

Nook: The Amaranth Enchantment

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

A stunning modern-day fairy tale from acclaimed author Anne Ursu
Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it's up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

My Review: "The Snow Queen" was always a favorite of mine growing up.  I had several different versions that I just couldn't get enough of.  Anne Ursu's version live up to all that I remember "The Snow Queen" ever being.  Hazel is a fantastic character, and the world she trales while trying to rescue Jack is full of surprises and fantastic characters waiting to either help her or hinder her.  Hazel needs to use her wits to try and bring Jack back from the clutches of the Snow Queen.

This is a must read for lovers of fairy tales everywhere.

Buy It Now:

Paper: Breadcrumbs

Nook: Breadcrumbs

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book Review: Thornspell by Helen Lowe

Thornspell by Helen Lowe

Helen Lowe reimagines the Sleeping Beauty story from the point of view of the prince who is destined to wake the enchanted princess in this lush, romantic fantasy-adventure.
Prince Sigismund has grown up hearing fantastical stories about enchantments and faie spells, basilisks and dragons, knights-errant and heroic quests. He'd love for them to be true—he's been sheltered in a country castle for most of his life and longs for adventure—but they are just stories. Or are they?
From the day that a mysterious lady in a fine carriage speaks to him through the castle gates, Sigismund's world starts to shift. He begins to dream of a girl wrapped, trapped, in thorns. He dreams of a palace, utterly still, waiting. He dreams of a man in red armor, riding a red horse—and then suddenly that man arrives at the castle!
Sigismund is about to learn that sometimes dreams are true, that the world is both more magical and more dangerous than he imagined, and that the heroic quest he imagined for himself as a boy . . . begins now.

My Review:  Prince Sigismund has grown up sheltered and protected while his father's kingdom is at war.  He has fallen in love with all the stories of enchanted creatures and heroes rescuing princesses.  Then one day it all becomes real.  A not-so-chance encounter with a sorceress sets events in motion that will change his life forever.

Hearing the tale of Sleeping Beauty from the prince's point of view was fantastic.  He wasn't a hero, but had to learn how to be one.  With several teachers to help him along the way, he must face powers that he could never imagine, even after reading all the old tales.  He finds himself drawn to the enchanted forest, a place that is forbidden to all.  When he discovers that his dreams of a princess trapped in the forest are all real, he knows what his destiny is.

Sigismund is not perfect, and this is one of the many things that makes the story so good.  He is trustworthy to a fault and has to learn that not everyone is what they seem to be.  Caught up in events that seem to be spinning out of control, and taken away to fantastic realms that are not his, he learns the lessons and skills that it will take to save the princess.

The resolution had everything you ask for in a fairy tale, along with a few extra surprises thrown in to keep things a little interesting.

Buy it now:
Paperback: Thornspell
Nook: Thornspell

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book Review: Tuesday's Child by Dale Mayer

Tuesday's Child by Dale Mayer

Discription from Amazon: What she doesn’t exactly what he needs.

Shunned and ridiculed all her life for something she can’t control, Samantha Blair hides her psychic abilities and lives on the fringes of society. Against her will, however, she’s tapped into a killer—or rather, his victims. Each woman’s murder, blow-by-blow, ravages her mind until their death releases her back to her body. Sam knows she must go to the authorities, but will the rugged, no-nonsense detective in charge of tracking down the killer believe her?

Detective Brandt Sutherland only trusts hard evidence, yet Sam’s visions offer clues he needs to catch a killer. The more he learns about her incredible abilities, however, the clearer it becomes that Sam’s visions have put her in the killer’s line of fire. Now Brandt must save her from something he cannot see or understand…and risk losing his heart in the process.

As danger and desire collide, passion raises the stakes in a game Sam and Brandt don’t dare lose.
My Thoughts:
Samantha's character grabbed me from the beginning.  Struggling with her psychic abilities, not just mentally, but physically as each victim's wounds manifest on her own body.  She fears that the next attack will lead to her death as well.  She would do anything to help, and when Detective Sutherland finds out about her abilities a deep secret from her past rears its ugly head. 

Detective Sutherland finds Samantha's ability both a god-send and a problem.  While he truly believes in psychic abilities, he knows how the public will react if they ever found out that she was helping to solve a serial murder.  As the case escalates, and more deaths are uncovered, Sutherland finds himself drawn in an entirely new way to Samantha.  He only hopes that he can help her gain some control over her ability before its too late.

The story unfolds quickly and I was caught up in wanting to find out what Samantha was going to do right away.  I wasn't nearly as fond of Sutherland.  he seemed to be a bit of a stereotype police officer, with the exception of believing in psychics.  He was quite the "macho man" and it grated on me a bit at times. 

As one of Dale Mayer's first forays into the genre, it was very good story.  I have read a few of Mayer's other books (reviews coming shortly), and I see only good and better things to come.