Review: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
4 Stars , Reviews / July 18, 2016

So the thing about real fairy tales is that they tend to have a dark side to them. The fae are not all about making dreams come true, at least not without some sort of price. Roses and Rot is no exception. Imogen and her sister Marin have not had an easy or comfortable life, growing up with an abusive mother that was bad enough they would dream of fairy tales, dark side and all. What could be worse than a mother that is cruel and potentially violent? Imogen and her sister shared a history and a family, but they were also very different. Imogen is more of an observer, introspective and finds release in creating stories (and fairy tales) of her own. Her sister Marin, with her fair looks, finds herself in the spotlight and excels at dance. Even their mother showed a preference for Marin, saving the worst of her abusive for Imogen. Because of this, Imogen saves and finds a way to go away to school, unfortunately leaving her sister behind. Years later, when fate lands them both a place at a prestigious post-grad arts school, the sisters are thrilled. They will be together and will most…

Audiobook Review: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
4 Stars , Reviews / July 13, 2015

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski surprised me, not only in the fresh, yet familiar style, but also in that it is actually a collection of short stories, all with a common character of Geralt. The Voice of Reason is the opening  and framework story, as Geralt recounts past events in the form of the other short stories. As each short story concludes, we return to The Voice of Reason which will proceed a bit and segue to the next story. Another aspect I didn’t expect was how these stories are like fairy tales. Dark and twisted (the best kind) of fairy tales. I actually enjoyed how many of the elements of the story were told in a more conversational style. It strips the story down to just the important elements, quickly getting to the meat of the story and the core of the characters. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy some good, elaborate world building and descriptive prose, but I found this to be a refreshing change of pace. In some of short stories I could recognize elements of modern, well known fairy tales, such as Beauty and the Beast. Others, I was not as quick to identify with something specific, but…

Review: Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier
5 Stars , Reviews / March 8, 2015

Dreamer’s Pool is a truly captivating fairy tale, but keep in mind, many fairy tales are really quite dark. One of the first things to surprise me is how incredibly dark the beginning of this book is. I see the pretty cover, start reading and was just really quite taken by the grimness. But this is because two of our three POVs start this story together in a really, really dark place. As they move past that place, the story becomes less dark, but that experience never leaves characters, there is always some darkness shadowing over them, especially Blackthorn. Blackthorn and Grim (the two POVs I mentioned starting in a dark place), meet in a prison, but one that is much darker and less humane that what you might imagine. Really, it’s just plain horrific, the type of place that makes people wonder if death is potentially a better option. Blackthorn is an incredibly strong women who has gone through hell. Perhaps going through and surviving hell is what made her strong. She describes losing her sense of humanity and self in that place, being reduced to a ‘thing’ that just kept living. This book is not out for shock value, the story just…

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
4 Stars , Reviews / February 2, 2015

Not all covers are created equal, in my opinion, and I have to confess to being in love with this one. Pair that with a great experience reading Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and it was just a matter of time before I broke down to read, or rather, listen to this one as well. A modern day fairy tale featuring a girl named Hazel who strives to be knight, playing with her brother Ben in what she believes to be a world of make believe with makeshift swords and attire. But what kind of fairytale would this be if everything remained pretend? We hear of a mysterious horned boy who sleeps in a glass coffin in the woods. Teenagers whose pranks and antics are unable to rouse or disturb him, unable to pierce or shatter the glass that contains him. A changeling that has been kept by the human family that discovered him. The book skips timelines, making the reader piece together the story with the bits and pieces they are given. And with Hazel as a narrator, the story may be a bit skewed. We learn about Hazel’s personality a bit, her penchant for kissing boys, her childhood spent with…

Poison by Sarah Pinborough
4 Stars , Reviews / May 26, 2013

  Poison by Sarah Pinborough will take you for a wicked ride through fairy tales as you have never before imagined them. It is a fresh, and slightly naughty twist on the stories we all know and have grown up with. It has a comfortable familiarity as many different characters, tales and settings are twisted, bent, and woven back together with Pinborough’s signature on them. A signature that brings the characters to life and makes them much more real and relatable while retaining their fantastical traits that have always defined them. No longer are the dwarves a people happy to mine all day for the benefit of others. Now they are lower class citizens, enslaved by the kingdom, taking on a rougher, dirtier appearance than we are used to. But Pinborough manages to still portray them as a people full of fun and camaraderie. And of course, their beloved friend, the princess called Snow White is still much loved by people and nature, but now she has a more carefree, reckless way to her fun in the forest. And a penchant for enjoying all of the earthy pleasures afforded her. What fairy tale could be complete without an evil, wicked witch of a stepmother?…