Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I Want to Read It (81): Invictus



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Invictus by Ryan Graudin, September 26, 2017. Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers.
Time flies when you're plundering history.
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.
Why

I'll just say it now, I have not read any of Ryan Graudin's books...ever! I don't even know why...probably due to too much hype surrounding them in the booksphere of the internet.

That being said, I'm actually kind of interested in reading Invictus as sometimes I enjoy time travel books. Though I haven't read a "new to me" one in ages now. This one sounds both fascinating and thrilling, which is probably why it caught my attention.

What say you, should I give this one a shot? *if my library should get a copy, that is*

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Manners and Mutiny


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Vintage Reads YA Review: Manners and Mutiny


Manners and Mutiny (Finishing School, 4) by Gail Carriger, November 3, 2015. 326 pages. Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers. Source: Borrowed from Library.
If one must flirt...flirt with danger. 
Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine's floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia's sootie Soap nearby. She would rather thwart dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored.

Who can she trust? Royal werewolf dewan? Stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way. Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster.
First Sentence
"A ball, at last!" Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott sank back into her chair in delight.



Months and months later, I am finally closing out reviewing Gail Carriger's Finishing School series! Without further rambling, here are my thoughts on the end of this series!
  • I'll keep this short since it has been ages since I read Manners and Mutiny, and some of the smaller details have disappeared somewhere into the depths of my brain. Overall, I enjoyed the ending of the series and how things played out. Sophronia was, well, very Sophronia right till the very end. While I didn't agree with some of her actions near the end, she at least stayed very true to character with her choices.
  • One of the things I remember most vividly about this book is that it was both action-packed, she crashed an airship for goodness sake, and hilarious!!As with the previous installments, I really thought this book balanced everything so well; it was neither too serious nor too silly. Which made it all the more interesting to me as a reader. It just an overall enjoyable read, you know.
  • Like I said, most of what happened have slipped my mind, perhaps I've read too many books since this one, but I do remember that the character arcs were interesting. I really liked the progression of character development for Sophronia and her friends throughout the book; you could definitely see a marked difference from who they were in the beginning of the series to the end. Yet, as much as they changed and grew throughout the series, they were still very much themselves at the end. 
Final Verdict: Manners and Mutiny- A wonderfully adventurous conclusion to a great series.


A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Spinning Pages (35): London Eye Mystery


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




This week on Spinning Pages takes us to London where a brother and sister must determine what happened to their cousin when he disappeared after riding the London Eye. Will they be able to stop arguing enough to solve the case and rescue their cousin Salim?
Some books are harder than others to pair with a song. Sometimes, it is solely based on the fact that there are different aspects of the book that different songs could go with, so the choices are nearly impossible to narrow down...like this week.


I'll Be There by Spica-
You say you’re okay
You always say that it’s not (huh, let’s go)
It’s written on your face, don’t lie to me
Stop hiding like a fool

Being weak, being weak
Is sometimes okay – just don’t give up, no
You believe, believe me, feelin on the beat
Forget all the things of the past – skip
Spread out your shoulders and look up in the sky
Don’t sigh – come out and let it fly

(English translation from Color Coded Lyrics)

 If you're wondering why I selected this song and more specifically why the above lyrics, well, that is a fairly easy question to answer (for once). I chose these lyrics because they made me think of the characters and how they each were attempting to put a brave face on things. Whether it was moving to a new country or facing the fact that you made a wrong decision and having to deal with it. That and how they have to learn to believe (as corny as that sounds) in each other in order to solve the mystery.

You can learn more about The London Eye Mystery by checking out my review.

You can also watch Spica's music video for I'll Be There!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I Want to Read It (80): The Vanishing Violin



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.




The Vanishing Violin (Red Blazer Girls, 2) by Michael D. Beil, August 10, 2010. Published by Knopf Books for Young  Readers. 
When there are mysteries to be solved, the Red Blazer Girls are on the case! The discovery of the Ring of Rocamadour has secured the girls' reputation as Upper East Side super-sleuths, bringing many sundry job requests (no mystery too small, right?) and some unwanted attention from crooks. This time the girls must follow a trail of cryptic clues, involving everything from logic to literature, to trace a rare violin gone missing. But nothing is as it appears, and just as a solution seems imminent, the girls find themselves scrambling to save the man who was once their prime suspect. Bowstrings and betrayal, crushes and codes abound in this suspenseful companion to the Red Blazer Girls' 2009 debut. Recent clues indicate that there'll be more mystery and mayhem to come
Why

It has been three years since I read the first adventure of the Red Blazer Girls, and I don't know why but somehow I ended up thinking of the series and wondering what happened in the second volume. 

I am curious to see how the girls will evolve in The Vanishing Violin and what exactly they will encounter in their next mystery. Of course, I'm always up for reading a mystery! I'm fairly certain my library has a copy, so maybe it is high time that I got around to reading their next mystery!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The London Eye Mystery


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, November 20, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: The London Eye Mystery


The London Eye Mystery (London Eye Mystery, 1) by Siobhan Dowd, June 7, 2007. 333 pages. Published by David Fickling Books. Source: Borrowed from Library.
Monday, 24 May, 11.32 a.m. Ted and Kat watch their cousin Salim get on board the London Eye. He turns and waves and the pod rises from the ground.

Monday, 24 May, 12.02 p.m. The pod lands and the doors open. People exit in all shapes and sizes – but where is Salim?

Ted and his older sister Kat become sleuthing partners since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain runs on its own unique operating system, to find the key to the mystery.
First Sentence
My favourite thing to do in London is to fly the Eye. 


While I did not love The London Eye Mystery half as much as I had hoped, it was still a fairly enjoyable read. Let's see why!
  • I came across the second book in the series, written by a different author a decade later, and decided to give book one a chance since my library had a copy. While it was not as good as I was hoping, it was fairly interesting. I particularly enjoyed reading about Ted and the way he saw the world; that and the fluctuating relationship between him and his sister Kat. 

  • What really disappointed me with this book was the mystery. It was just so flat and predictable. For me, the clues were just too out there from the beginning; it made the mystery aspect of the book no fun at all for me. I'll tell you this, he hadn't even disappeared and I already knew what was going to happen and the outcome. Sometimes I feel like Sherlock declining a case as it's not enough to hold his interest. sadly though, this is not the first, nor likely the last, mystery that has not been, well, mysterious or hard to crack.
  • While the mystery was not very interesting, I thought the characters were better. When I say characters, I mean more than just Ted and Kat, I liked the craziness of the entire clan. Yet, the one aspect of the book that really flew off the pages was how well Siobhan Dowd captured the fear and anguish that everyone felt after Salim vanished. She really excelled at capturing the various emotions that can run through a person's mind during any kind of tragedy. 

Final Verdict: The London Eye Mystery- The mystery was lackluster, but the characters emotions were really well done. 


A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Spinning Pages (34): Hurricane Rescue


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




This week on Spinning Pages takes us to Gulfport, Mississippi where a hurricane is barring down upon them; and where a rescue to save the life of their missing friend is underway during one of the biggest storms to hit. 

Who's ready to see what song will be paired with Jennifer Li Shotz's Hurricane Rescue!! This week's song is totally out of left field for me; it was a song that one of my sisters listened to that happened to pop into my head while putting this post together!

Hero by Skillet-
I need a hero to save my life
I need a hero just in time
Save me just in time
Save me just in time

Who's gonna fight for what's right
Who's gonna help us survive
We're in the fight of our lives
(And we're not ready to die)

I warned you that the song was completely out of the norm for me, yet these lyrics fit the situation so well that I could not not use them for this book. I mentioned above that the main character and Hero, the retired rescue dog, set off to rescue their friend who is lost during the hurricane; for me, these lyrics really touch upon the feelings that went through not only their Ben's head but also the one being rescued.

You can always check out my review of Hurricane Rescue to see my thoughts on it, or read the book then listen to the song and see if you agree with the pairing!!

If you're not familiar with Hero by Skillet, then check out the music video below to listen to the entire song!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I Want to Read It (79): The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding, 1) by Alexandra Bracken, September 5, 2017. Published by Disney-Hyperion. Source: Want to Read.
Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper's great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn't exactly the forgiving type.

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.
Why

I have never, as far as I can recall, read anything by Alexandra Bracken. I've thought about trying some of her other books, but never got around to it.

Yet, The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding sounds really good. The kind of good where you want to know what will happen to the main character, Prosper Redding in the case of this book; like will he be able to break the family curse? I need to know the answers to these questions!!

Have you read The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding? If you were to recommend another book by Alexandra Bracken, which would you recommend?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Hurricane Rescue


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, November 13, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: Hurricane Rescue



Hurricane Rescue (Hero, 2) by Jennifer Li Shotz, June 20, 2017. 192 pages. published by HarperCollins. Source: Publisher.
When a dangerous hurricane strikes town and Jack and his puppy, Scout, go missing, retired search-and-rescue dog Hero is the only one who can track them down.

Hero and his human, Ben, set off into the woods, but when the storm surges out of control, the group is suddenly trapped with no way out. Now it’s up to Hero to get everyone home safe and sound. Together, Hero and Ben fight for their lives—but can Hero battle his way past alligators, mudslides, and raging floods?
First Sentence
Hero was perfect.



I contemplated not reading this book because I'm not really into books with animals as they usually end poorly...for the animal. Yet, I decided to give this one a chance because, well, there was the possibility of at least one hurricane heading our way and it just felt fitting to read it during that time. Weird reasoning, I know.

  • For me, the story itself was interesting as was the characters. Though not necessarily a story that will leave a long-lasting impression on my mind. It was just one of those books that you read and enjoy in the moment, but don't necessarily love with a plan on ever rereading. You know. 
  •  My intention is not to be rude with the above statement, that's just how some books leave me feeling. Though I did really enjoy the close relationship Ben had with his dog, the retired police/rescue dog, Hero. The trust and teamwork that they used during the book were really well written. I guess you could say Ben and Hero were my favorite aspect of this book; that and the way they were written.
  • You know what, the circumstances that lead Ben and Hero out into the hurricane to search for their friend made me incredibly sad. I just felt so badly for his friend that was hurting so much and missing his father that he would do something as stupid as not heading the warnings. Though the whole situation definitely improved the friendship between Ben's two friends. 
  • For being such a short book. Jennifer Li Shotz did a great job creating tension during the rescue and showcasing how well the characters, dog included, could work together to weather the storm. 
Final Verdict: Hero: Hurricane Rescue- An entertaining way to talk about the dangers of being out during a hurricane and to show the skills that rescue dogs are capable of. 

Hurricane Rescue earns
A copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Spinning Pages (33): Blueberry Pancakes Forever


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




This week on Spinning Pages takes us into the frozen-over world of story. Where things are not just frozen, but the worse they have ever been. Can Tuesday and Serendipity save this world they created?

Have I used this song before, I don't know nor do I care. All that matters is that I have finally found a song that I want to pair with Blueberry Pancakes Forever!! Are you ready???

Shadow by Highlight (formerly known as Beast)-
Hurry and erase the goodbyes
that have smeared black onto the sky
I want to stay by your side
so I can’t get any closer,
so I can’t even look at you
Because I’m a shadow, shadow, shadow




When you really get down to it, this song is perfect for the emotional aspect of Blueberry Pancakes Forever. To me, it just really captures the raw feelings that Tuesday and her mother are experiencing at the beginning of the book. It also really fits the book when you look at the antagonist of the book; I would explain further, but that would be a huge spoiler...so, you're just going to have to take my word and wait till you read the book, which is out (actually the entire series is), and see if you can see the connection my brain is creating with the lyrics and characters.

Curious to know my thoughts on the final Finding Serendipity/Tuesday McGillycuddy book, Blueberry Pancakes Forever, then check out my review!!

Don't forget, you can listen to all of Shadow by Highlight/Beast below whilst checking out the music video!! It's a great song, and when paired with the music video, it is even better!!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

I Want to Read It (78): Icebreaker



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Icebreaker (The Hidden, 1) by Lian Tanner, August 18, 2015. Published by Feiwel & Friends. Source: Want to read.
Twelve-year-old Petrel is an outcast, the lowest of the low on the Oyster, an ancient icebreaker that has been following the same course for three hundred years. In that time, the ship's crew has forgotten its original purpose and broken into three warring tribes. Everyone has a tribe except Petrel, whose parents committed such a terrible crime that they were thrown overboard, and their daughter ostracized.

But Petrel is a survivor. She lives in the dark corners of the ship, speaking to no one except two large grey rats, Mister Smoke and Missus Slink. Then a boy is discovered, frozen on an iceberg, and Petrel saves him, hoping he'll be her friend. What she doesn't know is that for the last three hundred years, the Oyster has been guarding a secret. A secret that could change the world.

A secret that the boy has been sent to destroy, along with the ship and everyone on it...
Why

I just really want to know what 'secret' it is they're supposed to be protecting and what it was that caused Petrel's parents to be cast overboard. I have too many questions and I need answers to them!! Hence why I want to read it. 

Though the cover threw me ff at first as I thought it was going to be about the Titanic....just me, okay.

Have you read Icebreaker? If so, what did you think of it?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Blueberry Pancakes Forever


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, November 6, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: Blueberry Pancakes Forever

 

Blueberry Pancakes Forever (Finding Serendipity, 3) by Angelica Banks, February 7, 2017. 320 pages. Published by Henry Holt and Co. Source: Publisher.
Winter has fallen in the world of story, and at Brown Street, Tuesday's typewriter lies silent. Far away in the Peppermint Forest, Vivienne Small fears that she will never again feel the touch of the sun...But when the mysterious Loddon appears in Vivienne's treehouse, he brings with him terrible danger. Without warning, Tuesday is swept up into the world of story as she has never seen it before. In this forbidding and unfamiliar place - and without her beloved dog Baxterr at her side - Tuesday becomes Loddon's captive. But who exactly is this strange boy? And will she find a way to defeat him?..Blueberry Pancakes Forever will capture the hearts of everyone who is entranced by the power of story.
First Sentence
This is how it is when winter falls.


There was a specific reason that I had put off reading the final adventure in the Finding Serendipity or Tuesday McGilllycuddy series (I've seen it both ways). Not only was I not ready to see this delightful series draw to an end, but there was this thing, from the last book, that happens in the beginning and my poor heart. 
  • As much as the beginning of the book hurt my heart, I'm glad that I finally read the end of the series. It was a good way to send off to the series. Sure, it started off quite sad as the world of Vivienne Small had frosted over, due to what was happening in the mind of Serendipity from the end of the previous book, but the end leaves you with a warm feeling. 
  • There are almost too many aspects of Blueberry Pancakes Forever to discuss, especially when attempting to not spoil the end of the series. As a reader, you will be taken on the rollercoaster of emotions that both Serendipity and Tuesday are facing, one that they need to see through to the end in order to keep moving forward. As sad as it was to see the characters suffering, it was really well written the way they had to work through their pain; it also opened to the story to see more of Serendipity's past that shaped her without taking away from Tuesday role in the book. I just really enjoyed the way their stories tied together.
  • When I mentioned that you get to learn more about Serendipity's past, I should have been a little more clear. Her past has just as much to do with the book as the sorrow that befell them. It was nice to see a certain someone, who was mentioned briefly in the first book (I believe), waltz into the story. They made a nice addition to the cast and brought some life back into their lives. 
  • In short, the ending was really well done. I enjoyed how well the plot was tied up and the journey that the characters took during the series. Sure, it was painful at times but not pointless. Overall, the entire series is really imaginative and well worth checking out. 
Final Verdict: Blueberry Pancakes Forever- A rollercoaster worthy ending to a fascinating series. 



An advanced copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Spinning Pages (32): The Step-Spinsters


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




This week on Spinning Pages takes us to medieval France where Cinderella and her stepsisters are in search of not only love but security in life. A spin on the classic story that brings to light the life and struggles of Cinderella's stepsisters and the path they walk. 

 I cannot even tell you how perfectly perfect this song is for The Step-Spinsters!! Not just based on the song title!! Keep reading to see which song I'm using this week and why I chose it!!

Hey Cinderella by Suzy Bogguss-
Hey hey, Cinderella, what's the story all about
I got a funny feeling we missed a page or two somehow
Ohh-ohhhh, Cinderella, maybe you could help us out

Does the shoe fit you now
We're older but no more the wise
We've learned the art of compromise
Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry
And sometimes we just break down

We're good now 'cause we have to be
Come to terms with our vanity
Sometimes we still curse gravity
When no one is around
First off, Suzy Bogguss has a beautiful voice!!! This is also, not only a favorite of mine, but one where even years later I can still sing all the words!!

I chose this song because The Step-Spinsters gives an entirely new, at least to me, look at the story of Cinderella and her stepsisters. One that I really enjoyed because it asks some of the questions that one is left wondering over after, say, the Disney version.  It was interesting to see a motivation behind the moves the stepsisters made to improve their lives, especially when taken in context with the historical setting of the story. 

Curious about the rest of my thoughts on Madina Papadopoulos' The Step-Spinsters, then be sure to check out my review!!  

You should most definitely check out the music video for Suzy Bogguss' Hey Cinderella, if for no other reason than to hear the entire song as well as her lovely voice!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Author Guest Post: The Eye of the Beholder (Madina Papadopoulos)



Today, I am so excited to be welcoming Madina Papadopoulos, author of The Step-Spinsters (which you should most definitely read!), to the blog with a guest post!! Please give Madina a warm welcome!! I hope you'll enjoy reading her guest post The Eye of the Beholder as much as I did!!

About the Author
Madina Papadopoulos is a New Orleans–born, New York–based freelance writer and author. She studied French and Italian at Tulane University and went on to pursue her MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. After graduating, she taught French and Italian to children in early childhood and elementary school programs. Her nonfiction freelance writing focuses on food, drink, and entertainment. She will probably be friends with you if you have a dog. If you’d like to keep tabs on The Step-Spinsters, you can find them on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

You can haunt Madina at
Website | Instagram | @madinapaola | Amazon | Goodreads 


The Eye of the Beholder By Madina Papadopoulos-
When I began writing The Step-Spinsters, I didn’t have many developed ideas beyond focusing on the characters of Cinderella’s ‘ugly’ stepsisters, Fredegonde and Javotte. I also knew that I wanted to base the story in a real and historical setting, rather than a fantastical, fairytale world. If I was going to flesh out who these two characters were, their daily life was also going to have to be developed accordingly, otherwise they would have remained just two-dimensional, fairytale villains.I originally wanted to place the setting in the 1600s, when writer Charles Perrault wrote down the oral fairy tales, because I love the aesthetic of this time period—the glamorous world of Louis XIV and his court at Versailles, complete with frilly dresses, shimmery pastels, and opulent castles. However, my mother urged me to set it in the earlier period from which these folktales originated—the Middle Ages. My mother is almost always right, so after some resistance, I took her advice to heart.            The biggest hurdle to setting it in the Middle Ages was that I knew absolutely nothing about this vast and complicated time period. I had studied modern European history, as well as some Ancient Greek and Roman history. But the period from 5th to 15th century that was smashed in between ancient and modern was a total void to me.
I started off slowly, first by looking at Google images of medieval paintings. The paintings looked so flat and distant, as did their sense of aesthetics. With their high foreheads, their deathly pale glances, and their missing eyebrows, the women of the Middle Ages did not look appealing. Their dresses were somber and heavy, the head pieces made them look like they were wearing antlers. The castles were drafty and hard, nothing inviting about them. I started laughing—who could ever think to wear such clothing? Who would want to live in such discomfort? And did I really want to inflict the torment of having to follow such questionable beauty standards upon my characters?
It was fascinating and entertaining to see how, centuries ago standards of beauty differ so much from our contemporary views. Instead of putting on mascara to highlight eyelashes, sparse eyelashes were preferred. Lash extension aestheticians and Latisse would be, back then, out of business, if not considered witches. When it came to their male counterparts, even there one could find some peculiar inklings, such as men with long, skinny legs flaunting them in tights. Cargo pants or baggy jeans would be the height of bad taste. I once again in my life realized that beauty is indeed ‘in the eye of the beholder,’ and that standards were fluid and fickle. The mirror on the wall provides a perception of reality that is sometimes an illusion or a delusion. Once I started learning the odd beauty habits medieval women submitted themselves to, there was no turning back. This bizarre world was the only possible time period in which to set my fairytale retelling. After all, I would be retelling the tale of the two ‘ugly’ stepsisters—and if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then so is ugliness.

If you have not read Madina Papadopoulos' The Step-Spinsters, then you really must! I cannot recommend this book enough as I really enjoyed how she reimagined the story of Cinderella, with the focus being on the stepsisters, and the historical setting!! You can see my review of it if you need further convincing!!

I want to thank Madina for stopping by and sharing such a great post on Medieval beauty and how beauty is in The Eye of the Beholder!! 

The Step-Spinsters by Madina Papadopoulos, July 18, 2017. Published by Kindle Press (for ebook)/Self-published.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away... ...(actually, in Medieval France, to be exact) there lived Cinderella's stepsisters, Fredegonde the tall and Javotte the small. They wake up the morning after the legendary ball to learn that they each still have a chance to be the bride-all they have to do is make their feet fit into that tricky slipper. Alas, these two damsels under stress never quite seem to fit in anywhere. But that doesn't stop them from wishing and hoping as they set upon a quest for grooms and grandeur of their own.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

I Want to Read It (77): Fairy Godmothers, Inc



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Fairy Godmothers, Inc by Jennifer Wardell, April 27, 2013. Published by Jolly Fish Press.
In a world where fairy tale situations are as much a fact of life as death and taxes, everyone knows hiring Fairy Godmothers, Inc. is the best way to assure that your beautiful daughter or enchanted frog of a grandson will get the happily-ever-after he or she deserves. Sure, sometimes a little love potion is required to make sure those quotas stay up, but what Prince Charming doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Kate, an experienced Fairy Godmother, who’s enough of a romantic to frustrate her rigidly rule-bound boss, has just received a specialty assignment from one of the company’s board of directors. Cinderella—Rellie for short—was placed with an appropriately wicked step-family years before, and now needs the dress, ball, and handsome prince to complete her happily-ever-after. The fact that Rellie isn’t sure this is her dream come true—balls are fun, but princes tend to be less interesting than fluffy bunnies—isn’t something management considers a problem.
Why

The Step-Spinsters, which I reviewed yesterday, has put me in the mood for a fairy tale retelling. Which leads me to why, or should I say "how", I happened across Jennifer Wardell's Fairy Godmothers, Inc. This sounds like it could be very interesting...or that it could (unfortunately) go so very wrong. Either way, I am intrigued as to what will happen when the story of Cinderella is told from the viewpoint of the fairy godmother. 

Have you read this one? Any Cinderella retrellings I should add to my (ever-growing) TBR list? 

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