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!

Blog tours

Fairy Tale Central Blog Tour

If you’ve been following my blog for long, then you know I love fairy tales. And when I learned about this new resource for fairy tale lovers, I knew I had to share it! It’s great for both readers and writers, so without further ado, here’s how Fairy Tale Central came to be…

Once Upon a Time two girls had a dream. A dream of a fairy tale site, an internet library, if you will, for all the fairy tale lovers of the land to gather and converse. To learn, to read, to fangirl/boy, to bask in the goodness that is fairy tales.

As this dream blossomed, the two girls recruited a third. Because, after all, all good fairy tales come in themes of three.

With the third member in place, the girls got to work. The dream began to take shape, until it was no longer just a dream. But something real.

Introducing…

FAIRY TALE CENTRAL

fairy tale central

This newly launched site run by Arielle Bailey, Faith White, and Christine Smith, is your source for all things fairy tales.

Every month a single fairy tale will be featured, and posts will include:

 

  • Reviews for retellings/shows/movies/etc.
  • Essay, origin, and discussion posts on the featured fairy tale
  • Interviews with fairy tale retelling authors
  • Galleries featuring fairy tale artists and artisans
  • And a whole lot more!

 

The FTC’s goal is to unlock the magic that is fairy tales and build a community of fellow fairy tale enthusiasts. Arielle, Faith, and Christine are thrilled to share this new fairy tale centric space and connect with all you epic fairy tale fans!

You can CLICK HERE to find the site and join the Fairy Ring! (Don’t worry, you won’t be enchanted or cursed.) And, if you want to connect even more, you can find the FTC on:

 

 

(If you’re inclined to share about the FTC in those places too, you may or may not be blessed by a fairy godmother. *smile, smile*)

Do tell a friend, or a dragon, or the fairy living in the hollow tree behind your house. All humans and mythological creatures alike are welcome!

Book Reviews

The Lunar Chronicles – In review

lunar post

I finished The Lunar Chronicles over the last year, and I loved them all!  I enjoyed these books so much, that I wanted to share a little about each book and what I loved about them. If you haven’t read them yet, maybe this will convince you to. 🙂

For those who don’t know: The Lunar Chronicles is set in a futuristic world where some people live on Earth.  Some more powerful people called Lunars, who can create glamours and control humans, live on Luna. The Lunar Queen is evil and she is determined to rule all of earth as well as Luna.

There are four main books. Each book introduces a heroine and a hero based on a fairytale. I love they way their stories intertwine and each one’s story continues until the very end of the last book.

Cinder – A retelling of Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg girl who serves as a servant to her mean stepmother and her two stepsisters, one cruel, one kind. In a nod to the original fairytale, Cinder goes to the ball and falls for the prince. When she rushes out she leaves behind her robotic foot instead of a slipper. (I lent out my copy of Cinder which is why it’s missing in the picture.)

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Cinder’s courage and resilience. When things weren’t going well, she took action to try to change them. Also, I loved Iko, Cinder’s android friend. Iko was full of personality and was incredibly entertaining.

Scarlet – A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with hints of Beauty and the Beast as well. Scarlet lives on a farm with her grandmother. She meets Wolf, a beast-like man trained to be a special operative for the Lunar army. In a nod to the original fairytale, Scarlet always wears a red hoodie.

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship. Even though he was trained to kill, Scarlet’s love for him and his love for her kept him from turning into a beast. I also enjoyed the many different locales visited in this book, a trend which continued into the next book as well.

Cress – A retelling of Rapunzel. Cress is trapped in a satellite, and has to do the Lunar Queen’s bidding. In a nod to the original fairytale, a guy named Thorne frees her from the satellite, and is blind for a period of time. (In the original story, it was a thorn that made the prince blind). Cress also has really long hair that she ends up cutting.

Some of the things I loved about this book:  This book was my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles. I could relate to Cress with her small stature and her anxiety about new things. I also loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship.

Winter – A Snow White retelling. Winter is the stepdaughter of the Lunar Queen. She is beautiful and well-loved by the people, so of course the queen hates her. Winter refuses to use her glamour to control others even though  doing this makes her see things and gives her nightmares. In a nod to the original tale, the Queen tries to kill Winter by glamouring herself as an old woman and offering Winter toxic apple candies.

Some of the things I loved about this book:

It ended happily ever after!  It tied everyone’s stories together so well. We really get to see Winter’s strength and personality. Prior to this book, she seemed to just be crazy, so I had been wondering how Meyer was going to have a whole book about her. It was the perfect ending to a great series.

lunar extras

Some companion books to the series include  a shorter book that tells the Lunar Queen’s origin story, a book of short stories, and a coloring book. There are also two graphic novels that tell about Iko’s escapades after the main books end. I just finished the first one and enjoyed it just as much as the other books.

The Lunar Chronicles has made Marissa Meyer an autobuy author for me. 🙂

If you’ve read the series, which book is your fave? What’s your favorite thing about the Lunar world? If you haven’t read the series, why not?! Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

Reading Challenges for 2019

Happy New Year! I can’t believe 2019 is here. It seems like 2018 just flew by.  I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! I know I did. I was able to spend some quality time with family, as well as welcome a new nephew to the world. 🙂

Now I’m focusing on my goals for the New Year. Part of that includes my reading goals. I’ve set my Goodreads challenge at 175 books. I read 160 in 2018, so I wanted to up it a little. Besides that, I ‘ve also chosen four other challenges to participate in.

First, I’m participating in my library’s challenge – they provide a theme for one book per month. I’ve already finished the book for January. I read Mother Knows Best by Serena Valentino.

aacpl challenge

I’m also participating in the #grimmreads2019. The goal is to read all the way through Grimm’s Fairy Tales, by reading a few stories each week. I have an abridged version of the fairy tales, so I may also do an abridged version of the challenge where I just read through the book I have. I’m starting with “The Frog King”.

grimm reads challenge

I’m also participating in the #YearofEpicReads challenge sponsored by Epic Reads. They have three tracks – monthly, quarterly, and weekly. I’m going to try the weekly challenge. Each week Epic Reads posts a theme for your read. The first theme is “Read a Book with Your Favorite Color on the Cover”.  I’m reading The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser.

epicreads challenge

The last challenge is one I did last year as well – Unread Shelf Challenge. I’m going to focus on reading mostly my own books (ones I haven’t read yet), try not to buy very many more books this year, and not go crazy checking stuff out at the library. 🙂

There’s a prompt for each month for this challenge. The Book Jumper will also fulfill my requirement for January’s theme. 🙂

January – any unread book
February – a book gifted to you
March – the book that’s been on your shelf the longest
April – the book you most recently acquired
May – a book you bought because of the movie/TV/theater adaptation
June – a book about travel or set in a country you’ve never been to
July – a book from a series on your shelf
August – a book voted for you to read by Bookstagram
September – a book you can buddy read with someone
October – a book that scares you, whether because of length, content, or actual horror level!
November – a book from your favorite genre
December – the shortest book on your shelf

unread shelf 2019

How about you? What reading challenges are you doing this year? Let me know in the comments.

Mermaid Read-a-thon

Little Mermaid Retellings

Today’s blog challenge for the Let’s Be Mermaid’s Read-a-thon (details about read-a-thon here) is hosted by Ashten at wonderlandianbooks. The challenge for today is to recommend some Little Mermaid retellings.

I haven’t read as many Little Mermaid retellings as some other retellings, but here are some I really enjoyed:

I’ve read a lot of  mermaid books, but many of them were not actual little mermaid retellings. To Kill a Kingdom was my favorite of these three.

What Little Mermaid retellings have you read? Which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge Check-in – #unreadshelfproject2018

shelf update

So since we are halfway through the year (hard to believe, isn’t it?) I decided to do a check-in to see how I’m doing with the #unreadshelfproject2018. If you haven’t heard about this challenge or missed my first post about it, you can check it out here.

I have read 86 books this year, and 23 of them were my own unread books. My original goal was to read 120 of my unread books, so I have a lot of work left to get to that goal. I love my local library, and every time I go, I find more books to read. I’m going to have to limit library visits so I can finish more of my own unread books! 🙂

These are the 23 books of mine I’ve read so far:

  1. Dead to Me by Mary McCoy
  2. Finding my Edge by Karen Chen
  3. Winter by Marissa Meyer
  4. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
  5. In Her Skin by Kim Savage
  6. Veronica Mars: The Ten Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
  7. Fall of Night by Rachel Caine
  8. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  9. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
  10. Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine
  11. Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
  12. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  13. Black Dawn by Rachel Caine
  14. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  15. The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
  16. Private by James Patterson
  17. War of the Cards by Colleen Oakes
  18. Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  19. Ferdinand and the Bullies by Walt Disney Company
  20. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  21. Cress by Marissa Meyer
  22. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  23. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

How about you? How are you doing on your challenges for this year? Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Worlds I Want to Visit/Not Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

Today’s theme is bookish worlds you want to live in/not live in. It’s hard for me to say I’d actually want to live in another world, but there are some I’d certainly want to visit, as well as some I’d want to avoid. 🙂

book worlds

Here are my picks:

1. Narnia (The Chronicles of  Narnia) – This is one place I’d love to visit! Aslan and magical creatures – need I say more?

2. Hogwarts (Harry Potter) – Who wouldn’t want to learn how to do magic? 🙂

3. The Lunar Chronicles World – A futuristic world with lots of cool tech? Yes, please!

4. Wonderland – There are so many versions of this world (Heartless, Queen of Hearts, Alice and Wonderland, Once Upon A Time, to name a few.) All of them seem like interesting places, and it would be pretty fun to attend a mad tea party.

5. Neverland – Again a lot of versions of this world – Wendy Darling, Never Ever, Once Upon A Time, Peter Pan – and they all have a few things in common: flying capability, mermaids and pirates. Anyone who loves fairytales would love to visit such a place.

And a few worlds I wouldn’t want to visit….

6.The world of The Winner’s Kiss – While I enjoyed the story, I certainly wouldn’t want to visit. All that war, prejudice, and slavery – No thank-you!

7. The world of The Selection – Another read I really enjoyed, but not a place I’d want to visit. Too much poverty and uncertainty. Although the lavish dresses would be cool to see.

8. The world of The Hunger Games – I think it’s obvious to anyone who’s read the book why you wouldn’t want to live here. You might literally have to fight for your life by killing your friends.

9. The World of Divergent – Too much conformity in this world. I wouldn’t appreciate being lumped into a specific group and destined to do the same thing for the rest of my life.

10. Morganville (The Morganville Vampires) While interesting to read about, this is another place where you have to do too much fighting to stay alive. And if you manage to stay alive, you could end up enslaved to a vampire. I don’t think so!

What about you? Is there a bookish world you’d like to visit? How about one you wouldn’t want to visit? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – “Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early”

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

Tope Ten Tuesday (1)

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Books I’d slay a lion to get early.”

I hate waiting to read books, so typically I wait to start a big series until several of the books have already been released. Sometimes though, I read a book I didn’t realize was part of a series. Also, if a book is by a favorite author, I go ahead and read it. So I only came up with seven instead of ten:

1. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – this is the second book in the Truly Devious series. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

2. Part of Your World by Liz Braswell – This is a Disney book, part of the Twisted Tales series. So far they’ve done Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and Mulan (which was just released and is on my TBR list for this month). This one is The Little Mermaid and as I love the movie, I can hardly wait for this one!

3. Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco – I love the Stalking Jack the Ripper books and am psyched to read this next one.

4. Last Seen by Sara Shepherd – This is part on The Amateurs series and the books always end on a cliffhanger. Anything by Sara Shepherd pretty much leaves you wanting more.

5. Black Coats by Colleen Oakes – This doesn’t come out until next year, but anything by Colleen Oakes is an automatic TBR for me.

6. The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine – This is book 4 in the Ravenspire series. Each book can stand alone, but they’re all set in the same world. Each one is also a fairtytale retelling.

7. The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead –  This is part of The Glittering Court series. A bit different from Mead’s other YA books, but I still really enjoy them and can’t wait to read this last one.

What books can you hardly wait to get your hands on? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Fairytale retellings

 

ttt fairytales

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

Today’s topic is a freebie, so I decided to go with my top ten fairytale retellings, because I love a good retelling. 🙂

1. The Lunar Chronicles – by Marissa Meyer. If you aren’t familiar with the Lunar Chronicles, you need to check this series out now! There are four books – Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White).

2. Wendy Darling – by Colleen Oakes. This is also a series – three books: Stars, Seas, and Shadow. And as implied by the title, it’s a retelling of Peter Pan from Wendy’s perspective.

3. Heartless – by Marissa Meyer. This is not a happily ever after tale. This is the story of how the Queen of Hearts became the queen of hearts. I could’nt put it down, and I loved all the nods to the original Alice in Wonderland story.

4. Queen of Hearts series – by Colleen Oakes. Another origin story about the Queen of Hearts, with three books: Queen of Hearts, Blood of Wonderland, and War of the Cards.

5. The Forbidden Wish – by Jessica Khoury. This is an Aladdin retelling with a twist – the genie is a girl.

6. A Whole New World – by Liz Braswell. Another Aladdin retelling. This is a Disney book, so it starts out just like the Disney movie, but then veers off into it’s own story. Loved it!

7. Princess at The Midnight Ball – by Jessica Day George. A retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses.

8. Beauty – by Robin McKinley. This is one of my favorites and it’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

9. Cloaked – by Alex Flinn. A retelling of The Princess and the Frog.

10. Sweetly – by Jackson Pearce. A retelling of Hansel and Gretel.

I made a shelf with all these books on Goodreads and you can check it out here. Also, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads. 🙂

What’s your favorite fairytale retelling? Let me know in the comments!