Blog tours

The Goblin and the Dancer Blog Tour

Today I’m excited to spotlight The Goblin and the Dancer by Allison Tebo as part of the book launch tour. It’s a retelling of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, which was one of my favorite fairy tales as a child. I love the cover, and I can’t wait to read this retelling!

About the Book

Grik the goblin spends his days as a janitor cleaning the Metropolitan Dance Hall, drawn to the Elvish world and tired of the darkness of his underground home. He secretly pines for the ballet company’s lead dancer, Rosanna, but his own ugliness and shyness stand in the way of confessing his love. When a handsome soldier named Paul appears on the scene to make a bid for Rosanna’s affections, Grik’s jealousy bubbles over and he commits the unthinkable, plunging all of them into the river and down into the depths of the earth. Determined to redeem himself, Grik leads Rosanna and Paul through the place he calls home: but even a goblin can’t be prepared for everything that is found underground. Trapped in the dark, nightmares both within and without rise to the surface, threatening to destroy them all.


A magical and heartfelt retelling of The Steadfast Tin Soldier about finding your worth.

BUY NOW / ADD TO GOODREADS

Check out all the stops for the blog tour via the links below and don’t forget to scroll all the way down to enter the giveaway!

BLOG TOUR SECHEDULE
Sept 10 th
Guest Post With Sawyer: https://sundropgirls.wordpress.com/
Author Interview with Abigail: http://www.abigailfalangaauthor.wordpress.com
Sept 11 th
Author Interview With Kylie: http://www.kyliehuntthefilmdirectorswife.movie.blog
September 12 th
Book Review by Maegan: http://BloomingwithBooks.blogspot.com
Sept 13
Book Spotlight by Charity: http://www.charityrau.wordpress.com
Sept 14th
Book Spotlight by Julia: http://www.dropsofinspira.blogspot.com
Sept 15 th
Book Review by Merie: https://imperialscribis.wordpress.com/
Book Spotlight by Laura: https://www.lauraagrace.com/
Sept 16th
Author Interview Laurie: http://www.landsuncharted.com
Author Interview with Mae: http://www.maeheller.com
Sept 17 th
Book Review by Joellen: http://www.joellenkemper.com
Guest Post With Laura: https://www.lauraagrace.com/

About the Author

Allison Tebo is a writer committed to creating magical stories full of larger-than-life characters, a dash of grit, and plenty of laughs. She is the author of the Tales of Ambia, a series of romantic comedy retellings of popular fairy tales, and her flash fiction and short stories have been published in Splickety, Spark, Inklings Press, Rogue Blades Entertainment, Pole to Pole Publishing, and Editing Mee. Allison graduated with merit from  London Art College after studying cartooning and children’s illustration and, when not creating new worlds with words or paint, she enjoys reading, baking, and making lists. 

Websitehttps://allisonteboauthor.com/
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/allisonteboauthor/
Patreonhttps://www.patreon.com/TalesOfAmbia
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/allisonteboauthor
Newsletterhttps://mailchi.mp/d0d50e008fc2/allisontebo Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Goblin-Dancer-Retelling-Steadfast-Villains-ebook/dp/B093ZFFXDQ/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=the+goblin+and+the+dancer+allison+tebo&qid=1630421246&s=digital-text&sr=1-2
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57895701-the-goblin-and-the-dancer

Giveaway

Allison is giving away a signed paperback of the book. Here’s the link for the giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7da968f57/?G

Book Reviews

Unbirthday Book Review

This was book was my pick for January as part of the #fairytalereadingchallenge. If you missed the post about the challenge, you can check it out here.

About the Book

What if Wonderland was in peril and Alice was very, very late?

Alice is different than other eighteen-year-old ladies in Kexford, which is perfectly fine with her. She’d rather spend golden afternoons with her trusty camera or in her aunt Vivian’s lively salon, ignoring her sister’s wishes that she stop all that “nonsense” and become a “respectable” member of society. Alice is happy to meander to Miss. Yao’s teashop or to visit the children playing in the Square. She’s also interested in learning more about the young lawyer she met there, but just because she’s curious, of course, not because he was sweet and charming.

But when Alice develops photographs she has recently taken about town, familiar faces of old suddenly appear in the place of her actual subjects-the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar. There’s something eerily off about them, even for Wonderland creatures. And as Alice develops a self-portrait, she finds the most disturbing image of all-a badly-injured dark-haired girl asking for Alice’s help. Mary Ann.

Returning to the place of nonsense from her childhood, Alice finds herself on a mission to stop the Queen of Hearts’ tyrannical rule and to find her place in both worlds. But will she able to do so . . . before the End of Time?

My Review

While I enjoyed this book, I did not think it was as good as some of the other books in the Disney Twisted Tale Series. I liked the way it portrayed Alice – an intelligent girl not easily swayed by whatever those around her believed. I loved that she was a photographer, and I liked how the author used Alice’s photography to connect her with Wonderland.

I also like how each Wonderland character had a real world equivalent, and I especially liked Katz.

This book had a fair amount of silliness, which of course is on par with the nonsense of Wonderland, and for a minute I was afraid I was not going to like how the book ended. The ending was unexpected, but satisfactory. However, the book is quite long, right at five hundred pages, and I think some of the silly stuff could have been cut without taking away from the story.

Also, I think I had pretty high expectations for this one after reading and loving Straight on Till Morning so much. It was enjoyable, but not my favorite of the Twisted Tales.

Have you read Unbirthday? What did you think of the book? Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

Introducing the Fairytale Reading Challenge!

For 2021, I am hosting a reading challenge! Since I write and love to read fairytale retellings, I decided to make that the theme for the challenge. 🙂

The challenge is pretty simple. Each month has a fairytale assigned to it, and you can choose any retelling of that fairytale to read for that month, or read the original fairytale. If you are feeling ambitious, you can read both. 🙂

Feel free to share the graphic on social media with #fairytalereadingchallenge. I’ve also created a printable bookmark with all the prompts which you can find below.

I’ll be participating in the #unreadshelfchallenge again this year (more about this to come in another post), and I’ve selected mostly unread books I have on my shelf for this challenge. Here are my picks:

My Picks

January – Unbirthday by Liz Braswell (Alice in Wonderland)

February – A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, Rebel Rose by Emma Thieriault (Beauty and the Beast)

March – Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Peter Pan)

April – Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, The Wish Granter by CJ Redwine (Rumplestiltskin)

May – Entwined by Heather Dixon Wallwork, House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (The Twelve Dancing Princesses)

June – Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan (Sleeping Beauty)

July – Part of Your World by Liz Braswell (The Little Mermaid)

August – Hood by Jenny Elder Moke, Sherwood by Meagan Spooner (Robin Hood)

September – Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George (Red Riding Hood)

October – The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad, The Stolen Kingdom by Bethany Atazedeh (Aladdin)

November – Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (The Frog Prince)

December – Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige, Conceal, Don’t Feel by Jen Calonita (The Snow Queen)

If you’re looking for books to fill a specific prompt, check out the Epic Reads list and the Fairytale Central list for some more options.

What about you? What fairytale retellings are you planning on reading this year? Let me know in the comments!

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop (Sept. 25th)

This hop is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict.  I missed last week’s prompt, but still wanted to answer it, so I’ve included it here with this week’s prompt.

Last week’s prompt:

So, the cover has to draw me in initially, but the summary is also important. One book I recently purchased because of the beautiful cover is The Storyteller’s Daughter by Victoria McCombs, and this was a total cover buy. However, if the summary on the back had been uninteresting to me, I probably would have resisted the urge to buy the book. I love fairytale retellings, so the blurb totally convinced me to buy it.

I just love this cover! 🙂

Yes! My biggest pet peeve is when the story doesn’t match up with the blurb. You know those books where you read the blurb and you’re like, “Yes, I have to read this”, and then halfway through you’re like,”What happened to the stuff I read about on the back cover? This is not what I thought it was going to be like.” Then you go read the back blurb again because you wondering if you read it wrong.

What about you? Do you buy books just because of a beautiful cover? Do you have any pet peeves about books? Let me know in the comments!

Blog tours, Book Reviews, FFBC

The Peasant’s Dream Book Review

tour banner

I’m excited to be part of the Fantastic Flying Book Club’s blog tour for Melanie Dickerson’s new novel The Peasant’s Dream.  I’ve read several of Melanie’s book and love that many of them are fairytale retellings. So when I saw that the FFBC was doing a book tour for her new book, I knew I wanted to be part of it.

 

About the Book

book cover (1)The Peasant’s Dream (Hagenheim #11)

by Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: July 7th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Fairy Tale, Retellings
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Synopsis:
In this reverse Cinderella story, a poor farmer’s son, who dreams of using his talent as a woodcarver to make a better life for himself, falls in love with a duke’s daughter and must fight for a chance to win her heart.
Adela is the youngest daughter of Duke Wilhelm of Hagenheim and is never allowed outside of the castle walls. She loves her family, but she sneaks away one day to the market in the town center. There she meets a handsome young man and wonders what it might be like to fall in love with a poor farmer with a kind heart instead of marrying the man her family is suggesting for her.
Frederick earns the income for his family and defends his mother from his father’s drunken rages. He also uses his talent and creativity to carve figures, animals, and scenes into wood, and he’s asked to carve these scenes into cathedral doors when his talent is noticed. Frederick is inspired by the sweet and beautiful Adela, but he has no knowledge of her true identity. When he gets swept up into a plan to kidnap the duke’s daughter, both are shaken by what they learn about the other.
With the heartbroken Adela resigned to an arranged marriage with her noble suitor, Frederick must decide what he’s willing to risk for love.

My Review

First off, I like the characters. I connected with Adela on a couple of levels. Like her, I grew up in a big family (though I was the oldest rather than the youngest), my parents were fairly strict so I was somewhat sheltered,  and I always had to urge to go off on my own to do things. I connected with Frederick, because growing up, my family was also poor. I appreciated all the good qualities Frederick had – he was loyal, dependable, and trustworthy, and this is not always the case for YA heroes.

There was a little bit of insta-love or at least insta-attraction, as both Adela and Frederick couldn’t stop thinking about one another after having only met once, and with hardly any conversation between them.

I enjoyed the way Melanie seamlessly weaves her faith into this story, as she is able to do with all of her stories. I liked the gender reverse fairytale spin, and of course, I’m always  a sucker for happy endings! This is a clean YA, so it’s suitable for younger teens and even pre-teens. Fans of Jessica Day George’s books and of the movie Ever After will enjoy this book (there’s no magic, but there’s a lot of interesting historical tidbits included).

About the Author

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for history, adventure, and romance. Her books have won a Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader’s Choice Award, the Christian Retailing’s Best Award, the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Golden Quill, and the Carol Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in the U.S., Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama.
SIDENOTE: If you’re interested, several years ago I did an interview with Melanie along with a review of The Captive Maiden.
Book Reviews

Straight On Till Morning Book Review

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Straight on Till Morning, by Liz Braswell, is part of the Twisted Tale series, a series of Disney books that retell the classic Disney stories with some kind of twist. This one is a retelling of Peter Pan.

Wendy’s brothers have grown up enough that they are now away at school. Wendy loves to tell stories about Neverland, but no on wants to listen to them anymore. After her parents tell her that she’s to be sent away to become a governess, she decides it’s time to escape her life by going to Neverland.

The twist in this book – Peter doesn’t bring Wendy to Neverland, instead she makes a bargain with Captain Hook to get there. Once there, she finds out it’s not quite the Neverland of her dreams.

I loved this book! In fact, it might be my favorite book of the Twisted Tales series. There are many reasons I enjoyed this book.

First, I really connected with Wendy. She loves to tell stories, even though others think she’s strange to still be telling stories at her age. She’s a dreamer who isn’t afraid to think outside of the box.

I loved seeing how she grew throughout the story. I liked how she developed a great friendship with Tinker Bell. Peter, while not the villain, is accurately portrayed as the immature, selfish boy he is, and Wendy realizes that he is not worthy of the ardent admiration she held for him. She also realizes that she can make choices that do make a difference in the world, and returns home with a new mindset.

I also loved all the nuances in this book. The were metaphors for the passage of time, and the reality that everyone gets older and sometimes dreams change because of that was a prevalent and relatable theme throughout the book.

Overall, it was a good read and a great addition to the Twisted Tale series!

Have you read Straight on Till Morning or any of the other Twisted Tales? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

My Stories

Once Upon A Time… (Part 3)

And here is the final installment in my fairy tale for Fairy Tale Day. If you missed the first two parts, you can find them here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 3

The next morning, Maria reached into the SATCHEL she had packed and pulled out the lovely new dress the medicine woman had given her. A deep purple with golden roses embroidered across the dress, it was finer than any anything Maria had ever owned.

“We can’t have our princess looking like a peasant,” the old woman had said.

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After she was dressed, Maria went out and found the medicine woman. Today they were going to find Edward’s real parents. They rode out to the very edge of the castle grounds where a tiny cottage stood up against the wall.

At first, Maria thought there was no way in, for all she could see where great GREEN bushes. But when they got a little closer, she could see a simple wooden DOOR. Once they reached the door, the medicine woman dismounted.

“Wait here,” she told Maria. She went and knocked on the door. It opened just a crack, and then the medicine woman disappeared behind it.

After what seemed like forever, the medicine woman came out. She smiled and nodded at Maria before climbing onto her horse.

As they headed back to the castle, Maria admired the beautiful LANDSCAPE, all green and bright, with the castle rising up from it like a shimmering jewel. She couldn’t believe she was the true heir to it all.

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That night the king held a grand party. All the nobles of the land were there. The villagers gathered their instruments and entered the ballroom to play. They had only finished one song when Will stepped forward.

“And now we present to you the true heir, the Princess Maria!” Gasps and whispers filled the ballroom.

The medicine woman came forward and told what the king had done all those years ago. When she had finished, a CLOAKED FIGURE stepped out of the SHADOWS and pushed through the crowd. He stopped before the king.

“Is this true?” he asked.

The king tried to speak, but his throat closed up and he could only nod. The figure threw back his hood and everyone knew why the king couldn’t speak. The cloaked man was the great wizard Griffin. No one dared question him.

Griffin reached out his HAND to Maria. “Come, Princess. It is time to reclaim your throne.” Cheers filled the ballroom, and the party resumed.

The next day the king sent out a royal proclamation stating that Maria was his true heir and would be treated as such. The punishment for rising up against Princess Maria would be DEATH. Edward was reunited with his real parents, and the king was reprimanded for his lies. A council was formed to keep him in line. And Princess Maria had a life she’d never dreamed possible. Eventually she married Will, and they lived happily ever after.

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My Stories

Once Upon a Time… (Part 2)

This is the second part of my fairy tale for National Fairy Tale Day. If you missed the first part you can check it out here: here.

Part 2

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They went deep into the forest and Will instructed them to HIDE. After what seemed like hours, the sound of dragons and soldiers fighting faded. Will rounded everyone back up and they trudged on through the forest.

Soon joyful MUSIC drifted toward them. Will guided the travelers closer to the sound. They broke through the trees and entered the very village where Will had left the princess. The villagers were celebrating the discovery of the princess. They were pleased to see that the king’s spoiled son wasn’t the only choice to rule the kingdom.

Will found Maria in the medicine woman’s cottage packing a bag.

“What are you doing?” he asked her.

“I’ve spent long enough doing nothing. Now I have chance to do something, and I’m taking it,” she replied.

“What exactly are you going to do?” 

“I’m going to face my father and ask him why he abandoned me and my mother in a tower for all these years.” She brushed past Will and yanked open the cottage door.

Will grabbed her arm halting her exit. “While I love your ADVENTUROUS spirit, you can’t just go charging into the palace. It was chaos when we left. You’re going to have to have a plan, and some help.”

Maria stopped. She sighed and dropped her bag to the floor. “I suppose you’re right,” she said. She crossed her arms. “And I suppose you have such a plan?” she asked.

Will nodded and explained his plan.

The villagers helped the visitors gather all the musical instruments to be found. They crammed themselves and the instruments into the five wagons the little village owned. The few people who wouldn’t fit in the wagons rode horses and mules. It was nearly sunset by the time they reached the capital.

CAPTIVATED by the castle stretching up into the sky, Maria pulled her mount to a stop and stared. Will pulled her forward, not wanting to draw unwanted attention to their caravan. He didn’t stop until they reached the castle guards.

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“We’re here to play for the king. We’re the largest musical group in the land.” Will told the guards.

The biggest guard gave an EVIL laugh. “And you think you can just waltz in through the main entrance? Because you’re the ‘largest musical group in the land’?”

The rest of the guards roared with laughter. Maria clutched Will’s arm, afraid they wouldn’t even gain entrance to the palace.

“You’ve got to go the back entrance like the rest of the kings servants.” The guard jerked his thumb in the general direction of the back of the castle. The caravan started that way as the guard muttered, “Morons.”

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At the back entrance, a guard motioned them in. He directed them to a stable where they would spend the night. Once everyone had settled in, Maria turned to Will.

“So this is good, right? We’re in.”

“Yeah, it worked great. They certainly didn’t suspect a thing. It was almost like we were protected by an invisible MAGICAL SHIELD.”

Even though his words were convincing, his face wasn’t. He stared into the FLAMES as he stirred the fire.

“You’d better get some sleep, Maria. You have a big day tomorrow. I’ll keep watch out here.”

Maria didn’t want to leave him there, but what could she do? Sitting up all night wouldn’t prepare her for tomorrow, so she got up and went into the stable to sleep.

I apologize to those who were waiting to see this yesterday. I’ve been ill and was unable to post. Part 3 will go up tomorrow.

My Stories

Once Upon A Time…

In honor of National Fairy Tale Day, I am posting one of my own fairy tales. 🙂 This tale was created last summer when I participated in an instagram writing challenge – #onceuponyourstory. It was so much fun! There was a prompt for each day, and you added to your story using these prompts.

I had so many ideas while I created this story – ways to turn it into a novel and even ideas for other novels. It was a great writing exercise.

Since it’s a bit longer than an ordinary blog post, I’ve split it into three parts, and the next two parts I’ll post tomorrow and Wednesday. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Also, if you’re on Instagram, (I’m @charityrau), today is the last chance to enter my giveaway there for a copy of Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton as well as some other goodies.

Part 1

Once upon a time, a servant girl bore the king a child. Angry that the child was a daughter and not a son, the king banished the servant and the baby to the TALLEST TOWER in the kingdom.

The same night, another BABY WAS BORN in the cottage of the castle’s groundskeeper. The groundskeeper and his wife were thrilled as they had given up all hope of ever having a child. When the king heard that this child was a boy, he sent his soldiers to seize the baby, for he had proclaimed to the entire kingdom that his barren wife was going to have a child. Having banished the baby girl that was to be the “queen’s child”, he needed a baby to present to the kingdom.

He demanded that the baby’s parents and everyone else involved in his plotting keep their silence. Death would be the penalty for a wagging tongue. But even the threat of death can’t keep some secrets.

The next morning, the king declared there would be a three day FEAST to celebrate his son’s birth. He invited everyone in the land, and the party was a great success. No one suspected that the baby wasn’t truly a prince.

The king named his stolen child Edward, and on Edward’s eighteenth birthday the king threw a massive party. RED, WHITE AND BLUE flags flew throughout the entire kingdom. All MEN OF ELIGIBLE age were invited to come and compete for a chance to become a knight.

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Meanwhile, in the tower, the servant girl still lived with her daughter. Even more misfortune had befallen the servant, for she had become gravely ill. Her daughter pleaded with the guards to bring help. Most ignored her pleas, but the new guard on the night watch, Will, took mercy upon her and went for help. By the time he brought the old medicine woman to the tower, it was too late.

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The medicine woman recognized the girl’s mother for she had been the one who had delivered the girl so many years ago at the palace.

“You’re the true heir -the only offspring of the king. What is your name, child?” 

“Maria, ma’am. But what am I to do now? No one would ever believe that I’m heir to the throne.” Tears trickled down her face as she looked down at her worn dress. “I can’t stay in this tower any longer. Without my mother, I’ll go crazy.”

“Don’t worry, dear. You can come with me,” the medicine woman said.
Then the medicine woman and Will formed a plan. They would spread Maria’s story throughout the kingdom in hopes of rallying the people to her side.

Will headed for the palace to compete in the knights competition and to gather some knights willing to fight for Maria.

He reached the castle just in time for the sword fights. All participants were divided into two teams and were lined up facing each other. Will took his position in line. SWORDS CLASHED as the two lines charged one another.

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BLOOD spilled as the fights raged on, but when it was over, Will was still standing. He passed through the rest of the soldiers and found some willing to fight for Maria. The king was often unfair, so it wasn’t hard to find those willing to stand against him. The willing ones would all meet together under the cover of night to make a plan.

Word had spread quickly and people were already questioning Edward’s right to the CROWN. The king was furious. He called for all his soldiers and commanded them to seize anyone who said his son wasn’t the true heir. With soldiers searching everywhere, Will knew they had to MOVE QUICKLY.

The people were all ready and waiting at the inn where Will had asked them to meet.

“The king is searching for us. We have to leave town now! ” He explained as gathered everyone up and led them out into the streets. He cleared a narrow path through a SEA OF PEOPLE, hoping they could leave the city gates before the guards found them. They reached the gates and just made it through, when there was a shout behind them.

“That’s them! The people that was speaking against the kings son!”

Will looked back. A weathered old man in rags was yanking on a soldier”s arm and pointing at them. The soldier yelled for his comrades and they all charged out of the gates.

Will scrambled onward trying to think of how they could escape capture. It seemed impossible. Then a sudden BURST OF LIGHT shot across the sky. There was a roar like thunder. Will looked up.

A herd of DRAGONS filled the SKY. Their scales sparkled in the sunlight, a rainbow of blue, green and gold. Will had never seen anything so beautiful or so fearsome. He stumbled BACKWARDS, keeping his eyes on the dragons. They swooped down.

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Their targets were the king’s soldiers. Will realized this was his chance.

“INTO THE WOODS!” He yelled as he turned and led the way.