Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Book: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress) by Julie C. Dao

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress) by Julie C. Dao was released late last year. This is a Snow White retelling with an unusual protagonist and setting. I had the opportunity to hear Dao discuss the book at last year's Southern Festival of Books here in Nashville, TN. It was a great session and I was intrigued by her vision for the novel fueled by her personal experiences in becoming a published author. The book has received great reviews since then so I'm not the only one fascinated with this one.

Book description:

The Wrath and the Dawn meets Snow White and the Huntsman in this dark and mystical East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress.

"A richly developed fantasy world . . . Julie C. Dao is a talent to watch."—Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her.

Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance. Fans of Heartless, Stealing Snow, and Red Queen will devour this stunning debut.

Praise for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

A Junior Library Guild Selection

"A richly developed fantasy world coupled with an ambitious anti-heroine of complex agency, this story shines and surprises at every turn. Julie C. Dao is a talent to watch."—Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites

★ "A masterful reimagining of the early life of Snow White’s Evil Queen."—Booklist, starred review

★ "Lushly written . . . tantalizing reading."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Rich in detail and full of gore and blood, this dark novel will satisfy ‘Game of Thrones’ fans."—School Library Journal

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bargain Ebook Collection: Bernard Evslin's Greek Mythology

Bernard Evslin's Greek Mythology by Bernard Evslin is on sale for $3.99 today only. It's a bundle of several of Evslin's mythology books.

Book description:

With over ten million copies of his books sold worldwide, Bernard Evslin’s modern takes on Greek myths have captured the imaginations of countless readers.

Collected here in one volume are nine books of timeless action and adventure surrounding such legendary figures as Zeus and the Olympians; heroes such as Perseus, who slew the hideous Medusa; the epic struggles of the Trojan War; and much, much more . . .

This ebook includes Gods, Demigods and Demons; Hercules; Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths; Jason and the Argonauts; Monsters of Greek Mythology Volume One; Monsters of Greek Mythology Volume Two; The Adventures of Ulysses; The Dolphin Rider; and The Trojan War.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Folklore Bargain Books Today Only!

SurLaLune is not dead, it's just been hibernating. To get the new year--SurLaLune's 20th!--started, I am sharing some bargain ebooks that are available today only.

Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters by Donna Jo Napoli (Author) and‎ Christina Balit (Illustrator) is on sale for $1.99 today and Celtic Tales: Fairy Tales and Stories of Enchantment from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales by Kate Forrester is on sale for $3.99.

Book description for Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters by Donna Jo Napoli (Author) and‎ Christina Balit (Illustrator):

School Library Journal Best Books of 2011

Eureka! Silver Honor Books—California Reading Association

Capitol Choices 2012 list of Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens

2012 Notable Children's Books—ALSC

The new National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology offers timeless stories of Greek myths in a beautiful new volume. Brought to life with lyrical text by award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli and stunning artwork by award-winning illustrator Christina Balit, the tales of gods and goddesses such as Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo, and Athena and heroes and monsters such as Helen of Troy, Perseus, and Medusa will fascinate and engage children’s imaginations.

National Geographic completes the book with embellishments of each story: sidebars for each god, goddess, hero, and monster link the myths to constellations, geography, history, and culture to help young readers connect the stories to real life events, people, and places. A family tree and a “cast of characters” profile page help make relationships between the characters clear, and a mapping feature adds to the fun and fascination. Resource notes and ample back matter directing readers to more information round out this luminous book. Sure to dazzle all those intrigued with the fantastic tales of Greek mythology and enchant new readers, this vibrant book will soon become a family keepsake.

National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.

Book description for Celtic Tales: Fairy Tales and Stories of Enchantment from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales by Kate Forrester:

The traditional stories of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales transport us to the fantastical world of Celtic folklore. Translated and transcribed by folklorists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the 16 stories in this compilation conjure forgotten realms and rare magical creatures in vivid prose. These timeless tales brim with wit and magic, and each one is brought to life with elegant silhouette art by Kate Forrester in this special illustrated edition.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Bargain Ebook: Hunted by Meagan Spooner for $1.99

Hunted by Meagan Spooner is on sale for $1.99 in digital edition. This is one of many Cyber Monday deals. This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, reading catnip for many SurLaLune readers.

Book description:

New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner spins a thoroughly thrilling Beauty and the Beast story for the modern age, expertly woven with spellbinding romance, intrigue, and suspense that readers won’t soon be able to forget.

Beauty knows the Beast's forest in her bones—and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering its secrets. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. The Beast.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

New Book: Red Riding Hood and the Big Sad Wolf Vol. 2

Red Riding Hood and the Big Sad Wolf Vol. 2 was officially released this week. It follows Red Riding Hood and the Big Sad Wolf Vol. 1 by Hachijou Shin that was released this past June.

Book description:

But one day the Wolf encountered a girl in a red hood. She delighted in making the Wolf cry, and immediately fell in love with his sorrowful face. Now she brings her colourful friends to torment him every day! What is the story behind all the strange characters populating the deep dark wood, and what is a big, sad wolf to do.

More helpful I think, I found the following description about the series on Crunchy Roll when they announced the publication plans for this series:

Red Riding Hood and the Big Sad Wolf is a cheeky take on the Red Riding Hood story for fans of Alice in the Country of... and Dictatorial Grimoire, and includes plenty of familiar faces from Grimm fairy tales. This clever reinvention of the classic tale reverses the roles of the original, giving readers a lovable, cry-baby Wolf and an outgoing Red Riding Hood who just can’t help but want to tease him.

Once upon a time there lived a kind, sensitive Wolf. He loved the warm sun, the beautiful flowers, and the song of the birds. But one day the Wolf encountered a girl in a red hood. She delighted in making the Wolf cry, and immediately fell in love with his sorrowful face. Now she brings her colorful friends to torment him every day! What is the story behind all the strange characters populating the deep dark wood, and what is a big, sad wolf to do?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tales of Wonder: Retelling Fairy Tales through Picture Postcards by Jack Zipes

Tales of Wonder: Retelling Fairy Tales through Picture Postcards by Jack Zipes with a foreword by Marina Warner was released this month.

So most of you dear readers are not going to be familiar with an old, out of print series of fairy tale books that used assorted classic illustrations by various artists instead of just one new illustrator to illustrated beloved fairy tales. The books were edited by Cooper Edens who owns a robust collection of Golden Age and even earlier fairy tale books. I learned about many obscure fairy tale illustrators with the help of those books, so I have great affection for them.

This new release takes that concept and puts a new spin on it with many supplemental resources included beyond the tales themselves. Check out the table of contents to see what I mean.

In this coffee table sized book--it's big!--familiar fairy tales are illustrated with classic postcards collected by Jack Zipes, renowned fairy tale expert. In his acknowledgements he dedicates the book to his wife and daughter for their decades of patience with his search for fairy tale postcards (and I imagine other fairy tale materials). I smiled since I have enjoyed the same patience of family and friends as I've hunted for fairy tale materials.

As an enthusiast of fairy tale illustration, this book is a veritable treasure trove of new imagery for me. This book represents the most new materials I've seen in one place in years--not really since I first started my own studies and happened upon a library of original Golden Age books illustrated by Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen, Edmund Dulac, etc. in the Burbank Public Library system where I worked at the time. That discovery inspired the creation of the art gallery on my SurLaLune site. With this book, I was more challenged to find illustrations I HAVE seen before since most I have not. It is a visual feast I will be returning to over and over again.

But it's not just images here to treasure. Zipes offers us the text for several tales as well as other sections about the history of fairy tale postcards, the actual tales, the tale's authors, some of the postcard creators, etc. There is much to be read and absorbed here, too. Never fear, it's all presented in a tone that is fun for more casual fairy tale fans, so they aren't overwhelmed. This is very much a coffee table book format as I mentioned earlier, but with meatier text, not just images. The book design is beautiful and there are never too many images on a page but also plenty to make you feel like you are seeing representation of a true collector's collection, not just the veriest of highlights. Every time I sit down to read--and I am an avid reader--I get caught up in the illustrations instead. The text I have read is excellent but I still haven't finished it because I keep getting caught in the grasp of the visuals instead, a rather rare occurrence for me since I even read cereal boxes if they are nearby.

Book description:

The most familiar fairy tales call to mind certain images: Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty. Yet these visions often merely reflect illustrations encountered in classic tellings of the tales. The postcards gathered here by one of the world’s foremost scholars of folk and fairy tales tell another story—of the remarkable range of interpretations and reimaginings these tales have inspired, captured, and conveyed picture by picture in this singular form. A pictorial history of fairy-tale postcards from the late nineteenth century to the present, Tales of Wonder presents a fascinating look at how key scenes of fairy tales have been rendered over time, suggesting a rethinking and reliving of the tales through the years.

Drawn from the author’s collection of more than three thousand fairy-tale postcards from around the world, these five hundred beautiful illustrations reproduce oil paintings, watercolors, photographs, ink drawings, and silhouettes—all evincing the myriad ways popular artists and their audiences have reimagined these tales. After an introduction and general history of fairy tales in postcards, the book features Jack Zipes’s own translations of the most classical fairy tales in Europe and the United States, including versions by Charles Perrault and by Brothers Grimm.

The fairy tale is not just once upon a time: it is, as fairy-tale postcard, a particular if not peculiar expression of a time, created by talented artists and innovative publishing companies. Tales of Wonder tells this intriguing history of the postcards as well as providing new perspectives on familiar stories.

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Marina Warner

Introduction: Telling an Unknown History of the Fairy Tale Postcard

Early Fairy Tale Postcards and the Art of Storytelling

The Tales

Classical Tales

  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Little Tom Thumb/Hansel and Gretel
  • Cinderella
  • Snow White
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Puss in Boots
  • The Pied Piper
  • Rip Van Winkle

A Mélange of the Brothers Grimms

Stories by Hans Christian Andersen

Russian Fairy Tales

Fairy Tale Novels

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Pinocchio
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Peter Pan

A Global Cornucopia of Fairy Tale Postcards

The Art

Photography Series

Fairy-Tale Art Series

Epilogue: The Art of Retelling Tales


Monday, September 25, 2017

Bargain Ebook: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman for $1.99

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Philip Pullman is on sale in ebook format for $1.99, down from $11.99, the first time I've seen it discounted this low.

Book description:

#1 New York Times bestseller Philip Pullman retells the world’s best-loved fairy tales on their 200th anniversary

Two centuries ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now Philip Pullman, one of the most accomplished authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

Pullman retells his fifty favorites, from much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “The Three Snake Leaves," "Godfather Death" and "The Girl with No Hands." At the end of each tale he offers a brief personal commentary, opening a window on the sources of the tales, the various forms they've taken over the centuries and their everlasting appeal.

Suffused with romance and villainy, danger and wit, the Grimms' fairy tales have inspired Pullman's unique creative vision—and his beguiling retellings will draw you back into a world that has long cast a spell on the Western imagination.

New Book: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo (Author), Sara Kipin (Illustrator) is officially released this week. This is for Bardugo's fans as well as those interested in what an author writes when she creates fairy tales for her fictional world. Intriguing.

According to an LA Times article about the book (the article by Tracy Brown is much longer and interesting, so do read it all by following the link!):

Fans of Bardugo can continue to visit the dark fantasy universe in the writer’s next work, “The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic.” And yes, it’s set in the world of Grisha.

“It’s a collection of stories,” Bardugo said. “The kind of stories that the characters in the books might have heard growing up. They’re basically the fairy tales and folk tales of the Grisha world.”

Book description:

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Enter the Grishaverse...

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, each of them lavishly illustrated and culminating in stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Book: Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale by Corey Rosen Schwartz

Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale by Corey Rosen Schwartz (Author) and Deborah Marcero (Illustrator) was released earlier this month and promptly entered a small, small subgenre of books that use fairy tales to teach math concepts. If you were paying attention, you noticed that this book is not subtitled a "Fractured Fairy Tale" but actually a "Fractioned Fairy Tale." Got ya, didn't they?

I've only been able to preview the book so I don't know the ending, but the reviews are positive and I am rather insanely curious to know how the story is resolved with two sisters and one prince! And this is a kid's book so keep in mind it will be clever and innocent, not something needing a brown paper wrapper.

Be sure to page down to preview the first pages of the book yourself.

Book description:

Have you heard the story of Cinderella? Well, you don't know the half of it.

Cinderella had a twin sister, Tinderella. They each did half the housework, half the mending, and half the mean step-sister tending. But when they meet only one prince, what will they do?

The whole story has twice the magic and double the fun!

From the author The Three Ninja Pigs comes the fractioned fairy tale of Cinderella and her less-famous sister.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

TODAY ONLY: Bargain Ebook: Dreams of Distant Shores by Patricia A. McKillip

Dreams of Distant Shores by Patricia A. McKillip is on sale in ebook format TODAY ONLY for $1.99. McKillip uses many folklore themes to create her stories.

Book description:

Featuring three brand-new stories and an original introduction by Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn.

Bestselling author Patricia A. McKillip (The Riddle-Master of Hed) is one of the most lyrical writers gracing the fantasy genre. With the debut of her newest work, Dreams of Distant Shores is a true ode to her many talents. Within these pages you will find a youthful artist possessed by both his painting and his muse and seductive travelers from the sea enrapturing distant lovers. The statue of a mermaid comes suddenly to life, and two friends are transfixed by a haunted estate.

Fans of McKillip’s ethereal fiction will find much to delight them; those lucky enough to be discovering her work will find much to enchant them.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Bargain Ebook: Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon for $1.99

Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon is on sale in ebook format for $1.99. It is usually in the $9 or more range.

Book description:

Two sheltered princesses, one wounded warrior; who will live happily ever after?

Princess Margrethe has been hidden away while her kingdom is at war. One gloomy, windswept morning as she stands in a convent garden overlooking the icy sea, she witnesses a miracle: a glittering mermaid emerging from the waves, a nearly drowned man in her arms. By the time Margrethe reaches the shore, the mermaid has disappeared into the sea. As Margrethe nurses the handsome stranger back to health, she learns that not only is he a prince, he is also the son of her father's greatest rival. Sure that the mermaid brought this man to her for a reason, Margrethe devises a plan to bring peace to her kingdom.

Meanwhile, the mermaid princess Lenia longs to return to the human man she carried to safety. She is willing to trade her home, her voice, and even her health for legs and the chance to win his heart….

A surprising take on the classic tale, Mermaid is the story of two women with everything to lose. Beautifully written and compulsively readable, it will make you think twice about the fairytale you heard as a child, keeping you in suspense until the very last page.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

New Book: Relief after Hardship: The Ottoman Turkish Model for The Thousand and One Days by Ulrich Marzolph

Relief after Hardship: The Ottoman Turkish Model for The Thousand and One Days (Series in Fairy-Tale Studies) by Ulrich Marzolph was released earlier this year, another entry in Wayne State University Press's Series in Fairy-Tale Studies.

Marzolph is a scholar of Islamic studies and has previously published books about the Arabian Nights (Thousand and One Nights), not to be confused with this book's topic, The Thousand and One Days, of which I admit to not having been very familiar when I read this--mostly because reliable English translations are not really around. One public domain version can be found at The thousand and one days; a companion to the "Arabian nights" by Miss (Julia) Pardoe at, a version that is much abbreviated and intended for a "safe" audience.

You can also find early editions (in two volumes) at The Persian and Turkish tales, compleat, Volume 1 By François Pétis de La Croix and The Thousand and One Days: Persian Tales compleat, Volume 1 By François Pétis de La Croix at Google Books.

Anyway, this is a fascinating volume about a relatively forgotten book of folk tales with a discussion of their sources, their influences, as well as summaries and discussions of the tales. If this area of folklore interests you, this is a must read.

Book description:

The Thousand and One Days, a companion collection to The Thousand and One Nights, was published in 1710-1712 by French Orientalist scholar François Pétis de la Croix who advertised it as the faithful, albeit selective translation of a Persian work. Subsequent research has found that The Thousand and One Days is actually the adapted translation of a fifteenth-century anonymous Ottoman Turkish compilation titled Relief after Hardship. This compilation, in turn, is the enlarged translation of an equally anonymous Persian collection of tales that likely dates back to as early as the thirteenth century. The tales in both the Ottoman Turkish and the Persian collections are mostly tales of the marvelous and the strange, a genre that dominated much of the narrative literatures of the pre-modern Muslim world.

Ulrich Marzolph's Relief after Hardship: The Ottoman Turkish Model for The Thousand and One Days is a detailed assessment of the Ottoman Turkish compilation and its Persian precursor. Based upon Andreas Tietze's unpublished German translation of the Ottoman Turkish Ferec ba'd es-sidde, it traces the origins of the collection's various tales in the pre-modern Persian and Arabic literatures and its impact on Middle Eastern and world tradition and folklore. Ottoman Turkish literature proves to be a suitable candidate for the transmission of tales from East to West long before the European translation of The Thousand and One Nights. Additionally, the concept of "relief after hardship" has the same basic structure as the European fairy tale, wherein the protagonist undergoes a series of trials and tribulations before he attains a betterment of his status. Marzolph contends that the early reception of these tales from Muslim narrative tradition might well have had an inspiring impact on the nascent genre of the European fairy tale that has come to know international success today.

This fascinating compilation of tales is being presented for the first time to an English language audience along with a comprehensive survey of its history, as well as detailed summaries and extensive comparative annotations to the tales that will be of interest to literature and folklore scholars.

About the Author

Ulrich Marzolph is a professor of Islamic studies at the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany. Having served on the editorial board of the Enzyklopädie des Märchens (1986-2015), he is now conducting a research project studying the impact of narratives from the Muslim Middle East on Western tradition. He is the editor of The Arabian Nights Reader (Wayne State University Press, 2006) and The Arabian Nights in Transnational Perspective (Wayne State University Press, 2007).