Fairy-Tales

Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) by Jen Calonita

21996359Flunked by Jen Calonita is a middle grade book full of creativity and surprises. Anyone who is a fan of fairy tales and wants to see some of the main villains reimagined is in for some fun. The Big Bad Wolf, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, the evil sea witch, and the evil queen are now newly reformed professors at Fairy Tale Reform School (FTRS). Flora, Cinderella’s reformed wicked stepmother founded and now runs FTRS, where the motto and mission is to turn wicked delinquents and former villains into future heroes. They all live in the kingdom of Enchantasia where Cinderella, Snow White, Rose (Sleeping Beauty) and Rapunzel reign.

It is here where we meet our main character, 12-year-old Gillian Cobbler, who after three repeated offenses involving petty theft must be taken to FTRS. She is the shoemaker’s oldest daughter, and only steals to help feed her family after the fairy godmother started stealing business from her father. How can she possibly be an upstanding citizen when she feels her only way to get by is by being criminally mischievous?

After meeting Kayla and Jax on her first day at school she discovers that her 3 month stint can’t be so bad when you have friends and are receiving lessons on etiquette, fencing, snake charming, and other various activities. Until she can figure out her next move it seems that she will try to endure her time there. Of course nothing is as trivial as it seems, as something strange is happening at Fairy Tale Reform School and Gillian and her friends are determined to figure it out.

I thought everything about this book was cute including the cover. There were some pleasant surprises and creative retellings throughout the story and it was fun to run into familiar characters and see them put in situations where they had to teach a bunch of middle school delinquents. I think that most middle school children will like this book and it was a joy to read.

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Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Cinder Audiobook Giveaway

I’m excited to host a giveaway of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Woot Woot! This book is all kinds of awesome, being a cyberpunk retelling of Cinderella and so Macmillan Audio is acting as your fairy godmother and offering a free audiobook copy to one of you.

In the spirit of Marissa Meyer’s recent guest post over at Bibliophilic Monologues, all you have to do to enter is name a song that fits in with one of your favorite books. An example from me would be “Give Me Strength” by Snow Patrol really fit in with The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa. That simple!

This giveaway is open to everyone. If someone outside the U.S. wins they will get a Cinder digital download instead. The giveaway will end when the clock strikes twelve on the 25th of January. I hope all of you participate!

Here’s an audio clip courtesy of Macmillan Audio and Novel Novice‘s YouTube page 🙂

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Details, Please (Publisher Description)

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

So What?
This is a fast read, and completely entertaining. It’s not so exhaustively high-tech to the point that you don’t understand what the heck is going on either.  I think this qualifies as a dystopian book, because although the world is high-tech, the world is bleak with disease threatening to kill and no antidote to be found. Plus society is against our protagonist and poor Cinder goes through more than one identity crisis.

As a character, Cinder isn’t all prim and proper or annoying; she’s realistic and not pining away for the prince. The prince knows that his duty is to his people and not about whom he loves…you just get the sense in this first installment that there are bigger issues than just Cinder and Kai. Cinder is the first of a four-book series and Scarlet comes out in 2013. Don’t worry there isn’t a horrible cliffhanger. As a side note Marissa Meyer seems pretty cool she started by writing Sailor Moon FanFiction. What’s not to like?

Oh! For those of you who joined any Sci-Fi challenges or are planning on participating in the Once Upon a Time challenge this would be a good book for both. I’m using it towards my dystopia challenge.

And just because this came to mind while reading here is a Futuristic Paso Doble from Dancing with the Stars 🙂 (nothing like this happened in the book that we saw anyway…it’s just the spirit of it I guess)

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages

Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (February 18, 2002)

Believe it or not, I had never heard the fairy tale about six brothers who are turned into swans by their evil stepmother. I failed to pick up the book sooner, because I thought the premise was silly, but Juliet Marillier makes everything seem probable, that two worlds that mirror the other exist, and that there is a link between both worlds. And we as the reader are held captivated.

This tale is about a sister who goes through much hardship to free her brothers from this curse, and yet so much more.The relationship between Sorcha and her brothers shows such devotion, and you honestly feel the love they have for each other. Every emotion is shown in its purest form. This novel is all about love, selflessness, loyalty and perseverance amidst adversity.This is by far one of the best fairy-tale retellings that I have read.

Sorcha makes difficult decisions, and you feel a bond with her. Not one character is flat, and you feel as if you know them personally. And as the reader you start to see the bigger picture that Marillier is painting. Not one character means more than another, because somehow they are all intertwined.

Daughter of the Forest was simply magical. There is something about the way Juliet Marillier tells a story. It feels like you are sitting at a campfire and she is addressing only you, just weaving her tale. Her writing is an art form. You think you know what a good book is, and then you actually read one and…wow.

Although I love happy endings, she deals with situations realistically. Realistic in a poetic way, and not jarring. It’s storytelling at its best.

Many passages were so beautiful I just had to read them again. Simply put, just read it. It’s hauntingly poetic.