Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bargain Ebook: A Knot in the Grain: and Other Stories by Robin McKinley

A Knot in the Grain: and Other Stories by Robin McKinley is on sale in ebook format for $1.99. It is usually in the $6-7 range.

Book description:

Magical stories set in alternate universes . . . tales of curses and gifts of healing . . . a wizard who has lost his powers . . . and a princess, a troll, and a teenage girl are featured in this diverse collection from Newbery Medalist Robin McKinley

In “The Healer,” Lily was born mute, but she has so great a natural gift for healing that the local midwife and healer takes her as an apprentice. One evening, riding home, she meets a stranger on the road who can speak to her silently, mind to mind. Overjoyed, she takes him home to Jolin—but Jolin can read the mage-mark on him and fears for Lily’s safety, for mages are not to be trusted.

In “The Stagman,” Ruen is a princess and will become queen on her name day—if her uncle, the Regent, greedy for the power that should belong to his niece, cannot think of a way to prevent it. And so he invents portents and a purifying ritual that involves chaining Ruen to a rock in an old place of sacrifice, not used since her great-grandfather’s day, and leaving her there alone. Night falls on her despair and in the flickering torchlight she sees the shadow of a man—or of a man with a stag’s antlers—or perhaps of a great stag.

In “Touk’s House,” a witch adopts a woodcutter’s baby daughter and raises her along with her own son, whose father was a troll. Erana grows up knowing she is loved, and loving in return—but on her seventeenth birthday she realizes she must leave her foster mother and her best friend and find where in the world she belongs.

In “Buttercups,” an old man marries a young wife and takes her home, but he feels unworthy of her vivid youth and risks all for a tremendous prize, in an act of what in his heart he knows is a betrayal of the wild magic that lives on his farm.

In “A Knot in the Grain,” Annabelle has no choice when her parents decide they will move to a small town upstate, the summer before Annabelle’s junior year of high school. She spends the summer reclaiming the neglected garden of their new house and reading books from the local library. She also finds a mysterious wooden box in a tiny hidden study above her attic bedroom: a box containing smallish, roundish, nobbly things Annabelle can’t identify, but which are faintly warm to the touch—and which seem to be curiously aware of Annabelle, her loneliness, and her longings.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bargain Ebook: Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon for $1.99

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon is on sale in ebook format for $1.99. This one is a Cinderella retelling, one of many fairy tale novels by Turgeon.

Book description:

A new take on Cinderella, told from the perspective of the fairy godmother living in modern-day Manhattan

Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings--the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming.

But on that fateful night, something went terribly and beautifully wrong. Lil allowed herself the unthinkable: to feel the emotions of human beings and fall in love with the prince herself, going to the ball in place of Cinderella in her exquisitely gorgeous human guise. For her unforgivable mistake, she was banished to live among humans, far from her fairy sisters and their magical underwater world. But then one day she meets Veronica--a young, fair-skinned, flame-haired East Village beauty with a love of all things vintage and a penchant for falling in love with the wrong men--and suddenly it becomes clear to Lil that she’s been given a chance at redemption. If she can find a soul mate for Veronica, she may be able to right her wrong and return to the fairy world she so deeply longs for.

Bargain Ebook: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino for $1.99

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino is on sale in ebook format for a limited time for $1.99. Price could go up any time so don't hesitate if you're interested. (The sale was supposed to only yesterday!)

Book description:

Why exactly is the wicked Queen so nasty, particularly to Snow White? Perhaps it has something to do with the creepy-looking man in the magic mirror who's not just some random spooky visage...

Monday, April 10, 2017

New Book: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer is officially released tomorrow. This one is a Sleeping Beauty inspired novel. It features two sisters, an unusual construct in Sleeping Beauty tales, but a fascinating way to deal with the sleep curse.

Book description:

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king's headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes with a single drop of Aurora's blood--and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken. As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls: and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.

Spindle Fire is a lush fantasy set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

New Book: The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins

The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins, a sequel to The Great Hunt and final proclaimed book of a duology, was released earlier this month. The first novel, and thus this one, is inspired by a lesser known Grimms tale, The Singing Bone. That's always fun when we get a lesser know tale. I have a wishlist of tales that I would love to see inspire modern novels. The reviews are not many yet, but the ones that are there are all enthusiastic.

Book description:

In The Great Pursuit, the dramatic sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Great Hunt, Wendy Higgins delivers another thrilling fantasy filled with dangerous enemies, political intrigue, searing romance, and a princess who is willing to do everything to protect her kingdom.

One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continues.

The kingdom of Lochlanach has traded the great beast that once terrorized the realm of Eurona for something far more dangerous: the ire of powerful Lashed woman Rosaria Rocato. Rosaria demands that Eurona overturn the laws prohibiting magic, or an innocent will be killed each day.

Despite the king’s resistance, Princess Aerity believes they must make peace with the Lashed, and though she’s accepted a betrothal to the man who took down the beast, she cannot help thinking about Paxton, the Lashed man who stole her heart and disappeared.

Aerity soon discovers that Paxton has joined Rosaria’s army in the war against her family. Though her feelings for him are still strong, her duty to her kingdom and her family is stronger—especially when her parents are kidnapped and she has to step up to the throne and once again put aside what’s best for her in order to do what’s best for her people. Paxton and Princess Aerity must fight to see what is more powerful: their love or the impending war between the magical Lashed and the non-magic humans.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Book: Wintersong: A Novel by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong: A Novel by S. Jae-Jones was released in February. This was uses Beauty and the Beast in its promotional plan, but that appears to be more subtle in reality with the Goblin King as the true inspiration, especially the Goblin King as seen in the cult classic film, Labyrinth. And that's a movie I haven't seen in decades. The book description invokes a bit of ATU 311: Rescue by the Sister, too, a Bluebeard tale type. Since Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast can be easily connected in storytelling--think no further than Jane Eyre!--that is always fun for me!

Book description:

“Wintersong is a maze of beauty and darkness, of music and magic and glittering things, all tied together with exquisite writing. This is a world you will want to stay lost in.” ―Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Dark, romantic, and unforgettable, Wintersong is an enchanting coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and Beauty and the Beast.

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds―and the mysterious man who rules it―she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Rich with music and magic, S. Jae-Jones's Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget.

"This was Labyrinth by way of Angela Carter. Deliciously romantic, with a nuanced Goblin King and a strong heroine, this story was rife with fairy tales, music, and enchantment." ―Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen

Sunday, April 2, 2017

New Book: The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel by Katherine Arden is a debut novel published earlier this year that has received rave reviews from both professional and reader reviewers. This one offers up Vasilisa, often considered a Russian Cinderella character. Remember that trend of Russian inspired fairy tale novels. Well, here's another one. And this looks to be a strong, popular entry in that subgenre. I haven't read it yet--but I have a ARC sitting on my TBA shelf. I need to move it up the queue because the description here does intrigue me.

Book description:

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Advance praise for The Bear and the Nightingale

“Stunning . . . will enchant readers from the first page. . . . with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate.”—Publishers Weekly(starred review)

“Utterly bewitching . . . a lush narrative . . . an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Arden’s supple, sumptuous first novel transports the reader to a version of medieval Russia where history and myth coexist.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Radiant . . . a darkly magical fairy tale for adults, [but] not just for those who love magic.”—Library Journal

“An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . A Russian setting adds unfamiliar spice to the story of a young woman who does not rebel against the limits of her role in her culture so much as transcend them. The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.”—Robin Hobb

“A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik

“Haunting and lyrical, The Bear and the Nightingale tugs at the heart and quickens the pulse. I can’t wait for her next book.”—Terry Brooks

“The Bear and the Nightingale is a marvelous trip into an ancient Russia where magic is a part of everyday life.”—Todd McCaffrey

“Enthralling and enchanting—I literally couldn’t put it down. A wondrous book!”—Tamora Pierce