Archive | December 2016

Christmas Gift Ideas for Fairy Tale Lovers

I know it’s been waaaaay too long since I blogged, but I’ve been busy writing! I wanted to take some time today, however, to suggest some Christmas gift ideas for those fellow fairy tale lovers in your life (or you … if you’re not sure what to do with future gift cards… Mwahahaha!) Let’s face it: some people are just hard to buy for. Sometimes money is tight. You want to give your loved ones the gifts they deserve, but you don’t want to break that bank. I mean, that’s not even healthy for anyone. I’ve come to discover that books are one of my favorite presents. My husband and I have just started buying one another books and B&N gift cards because we would prefer those over the newest electronics. Books are inexpensive compared to the newest electronics, and they’re good for the brain as well as the heart. So this Christmas, I suggest you give someone a book. I suggest you give them one of these…

 

 

 

 

  1. Eleanor and the Iron King – Julie Daines

Eleanor de Lacy is forced into an arranged marriage with her father’s greatest enemy, Brac Goch, the Welsh king. All Eleanor knows of Brac is that he is a ruthless, war hungry man.

Eleanor arrives at the Welsh castle of Bryn Du already expecting the worst. When the ghost of Brac Goch’s first wife appears and warns her that the Welsh king is not to be trusted, all of Eleanor’s fears are confirmed.

As the countdown to her wedding day approaches, Eleanor must figure out who is lying, who is telling the truth, who is loyal, and who is the traitor–and most of all, if she can love an enemy king.

I was captivated by this book. It’s clean, but there are some references to what happens between spouses in a marriage, so if you’re giving this to a younger reader, you might want to read it first. There is also some witchcraft involved, but the witchcraft isn’t glorified, and good must defeat evil. (I don’t read anything else!) For adult readers, however, it’s a beautiful love story full of personal change, hope, and redemption. I ate this book up.

2. Glass Roses: A Victorian Fairy Tale – Britain Soderquist

After Eleanor rescues her stepsister Fanny from an attempted elopement, their father decides to remove the family to the Continent before Fanny’s indiscretion can be discovered. Eleanor finds the opportunity a welcome relief after a disastrous London Season, and is determined to set herself apart from her vain and scheming stepfamily. A chance meeting at a ball earns her the attentions of the handsome Baron Rupert von Schönfeld, a cousin to the Imperial Family of Austria. He is enchanted by Eleanor’s beauty, talent, and kindness, and Eleanor feels certain that she will soon leave her stepfamily behind for good. But Fanny is angry over Eleanor’s interference in her elopement, and gossip is a powerful engine for revenge. As rumors begin to fly, Eleanor’s only comfort is writing about her troubles to her cousin, Isabella.

Isabella, meanwhile, has an adventure of her own to share. Her father has formed a friendship with the surly Duke William of Stirling. His rough manners and intentional slights are irritating, especially to a proper young lady, but Isabella is more than a match with a fiery wit of her own. Then the Duke invites her father to visit his castle in the wilds of the Scottish countryside, and Isabella soon realizes that the Duke’s prickly demeanor hides a kind heart and a mysterious accident from his past. Her heart tells her to let the past rest, but her mind is not ready to give up on discovering the Duke’s secrets, and her curiosity might keep her from the happy ending she desires.

This book is Jane Austin meets Cinderella / Beauty and the Beast. It’s the perfect escape! Britain is a personal friend of mine, but that doesn’t make my opinion of this book biased. I read Glass Roses before it was in its published form and knew immediately that it needed to be made public. The version that now sits on my bookshelf is even better! This fairy tale is perfectly clean in every way while including sweet romance and even some adventure.

3. Ella – Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee

Reserved yet resilient, Ella Blakeley lives with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, without hope of escape—until the day Prince Kenton announces a ball that changes everything. Even without mice, magic, or fairy godmothers, Ella might discover a life that’s better than she ever dreamed. This intricately woven twist on Cinderella is an enchanting book you won’t be able to put down.

This retelling of Cinderella is clean and has one of the most beautiful romances I’ve read to date. I will say that the ending took me a bit by surprise and strayed a bit from the usual Cinderella, but the love story was so heartfelt that I was okay with that.

 

 

 

4. A Spy’s Devotion – Melanie Dickerson

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

I love all of Melanie Dickerson’s work, but this one particularly pulled at my heartstrings. It’s not a fairy tale, per se, but it has the feel of one, and the love is sweet and clean. And there’s a man in uniform … something I have a particular weakness to. 😉 #AirForceWife Anywho, this story has chivalry, romance, and feels like Jane Austin with some pretty awesome action scenes.

5. The Captive Maiden – Melanie Dickerson

Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke’s son, Valten–the boy she has daydreamed about for years–and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

Again, my love for Melanie Dickerson’s work shows, but this is an actual retelling of Cinderella. Her entire retelling series (The Haigenheim series) brings to life all the beloved fairy tales without the regular use of magic. Rather, magic is a dark force, and faith in God is the only way to defeat it. I chose to recommend the fourth book in the series, however, because I ADORE it. Gisela’s love for horses and Valten’s chivalrous charm just takes a girl’s breath away … and a few hours of productivity. It’s an easy read and a lovely escape.

 

 

6. The Little Selkie – K.M. Shea

Dylan—a selkie—makes a terrible mistake when she brashly chases an evil sea witch onto land. Captured and stripped of her pelt—leaving her unable to return to the sea in her sea lion body—Dylan’s only chance of survival is to serve as the sea witch’s tool. Instead of allowing the sea witch to use her selkie ability to control water, Dylan asks a wandering enchantress to seal her voice, rendering her unable to use her selkie magic. Stranded—with no allies and no way to contact her family—Dylan fears she will never successfully steal her pelt back.

Luckily, Dylan is not alone. She is befriended by Prince Callan, a kind, human prince whose country is being pulverized by the sea witch. Combining the strength of humans and the intelligence of the selkies, the pair unites to save their people.

But when the storm is over will Dylan choose to stay with Callan, or return to the sea and leave him behind…forever?

I’m sure most of you have read K.M. Shea’s books. They’re always playful, fun, and clean! This retelling of The Little Mermaid was adorable and kept me hanging on till the end. As I’m currently working on my own retelling of The Little Mermaid, I found this one of my most enjoyable forms of “research.” (Meaning, I read this book while I ate and tried to put away clean dishes because I literally couldn’t put it down.)

7. Pieces of Jade – Lani Woodland and Melanie Piper

Sentenced to death by the man she loves . . .

Jade has no control over her future. She is the Emmía, the girl whose magical blood keeps her kingdom’s cursed soil fertile and ensures the survival of her people. But her destiny is ruined when pirates take her magical medallion, the loss of which is treasonous, and the prince she loves is honor-bound to sentence her to death.

Forced to flee to the pirate she hates . . .

Jade escapes from prison, but her sister is captured and will die in her place unless Jade returns with the medallion still on the pirates’ ship. In disguise, she joins the pirate crew where she finds herself drawn to the first officer, William, and his claims of the crown’s hidden brutality in the kingdom. But when Jade learns the fate of every Emmía before her, she is finally forced to choose her own destiny: die a martyr or live a rebel.

Again, this isn’t a fairy tale from Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm, but it has all the feel to it that a fairy tale could offer. With self-sacrificing love, sweet chivalry, and a daring girl willing to risk it all for her people, this book is a true gem. I’m dying to get my paws on the second book in the series.

8. Cinders: The Untold Story of Cinderella – Finley Aaron

Everything you’ve been told is wrong.
Oh, not everything, I suppose. Yes, I turned a pumpkin into a coach and mice into horses. The stroke of midnight, the glass slippers, and the prince searching for a girl whose foot fit the shoe…those were all part of the story.
And yet, the prince didn’t just fall in love with Cinderella because she looked good at the ball. Pigeon feathers and pollywogs! Could you respect him if he did?
I most certainly could not.
No, no, there was vastly more that happened before the night of the ball, and a great deal of international intrigue after. Cinderella was a warrior who saved the life of the prince and defended her kingdom from oppressors who were plotting to overthrow the king.
They didn’t tell you that part?
It’s time, past time, for you to know the true story of the real Cinderella.

This is Cinderella with more than a little action! Told from the point of view of the fairy godmother, this book had me hooked. Aside from the gorgeous cover, Cinders offers a Cinderella who can wield a sword, do tricks on horseback, and still make the prince fall head over heals.

9. Through Waters Deep – Sarah Sundin

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

You might not believe it, seeing as I spend much of my time with my head in the clouds, imagining up worlds that could only exist in fairy tales, I love to study American history … particularly World War II. This isn’t a fairy tale, but the love story is so beautiful and clean. The hero and heroine both have battles they must fight, and there’s a delicious mystery that will keep you up at night. Besides, what is there not to love about a man in uniform and a woman who not only keeps up with him but knows how to fight her own battles as well? I would love to have eight more books written about this couple alone, I’m so in love with them.

 

 

There you have it. Whether you’re in need of book suggestions for others or you’re looking for some new reads yourself, I hope this list can help you on your way. Books are one of the best gifts we can give one another. We all need to escape and we all need hope. And every single one of these books will bring you both. Have more suggestions? Please share in the comment section below!