Quite honestly, I liked the idea of this collection more than I liked the stories. I did appreciate the humor and the fact that Velde did address theQuite honestly, I liked the idea of this collection more than I liked the stories. I did appreciate the humor and the fact that Velde did address the issues she'd always had with the Little Red Ridinghood story in its varied incarnations. I actually agree with her on many points. However, I think a few of the stories took a bit too much of a left turn. One even goes into a direction that makes the Woodsman into a foil who complicates the storylines of several other fairy tale protagonists. Clever touch, but I was annoyed with the man, honestly. I really liked the story from the viewpoint of Red's grandmother who makes friends with the wolf in an intriguing way. I have a soft spot for wolves, so I rather liked that the wolf wasn't necessarily the villain in most of the stories. The last story was a fun touch about Red's cloak being sentient. Overall, Red doesn't come off in a very flattering way. But I think that's kind of the point of things. Clearly Velde doesn't think the traditional fairy tale treats Red as the smartest or most interesting character anyway.
The narrator really kicks this up a notch. She makes the story fun with her different voices and intonations. I felt like she had fun reading this book. That's always a good thing.
Overall, this was a fun audiobook, but it isn't nearly my favorite when it comes to fairy tale retellings. However, if you are a fairy tale freak like me, you'd probably want to check it out....more
I'd better finally write my review for this before it disappears into my mind forever.
This was a surprise find on my library's trade shelves, and I grI'd better finally write my review for this before it disappears into my mind forever.
This was a surprise find on my library's trade shelves, and I grabbed it because it had stories by Lynne Graham and Carole Mortimer. To my surprise, my favorite story was by Marion Lennox, who I had not read before.
The Lynne Graham story is very much in the vein of her full-length romances. The heroine who is young and bubbly, and becomes an unwitting sex toy for the hero (granted he fell in love with her, but he treated her like a sex object). He dumps her because he thinks she spills the goods on his sex life to a tabloid, and it turns out she got pregnant. Now she's working as a landscaper on the estate of a business associate and Rocco sees her and is reminded that he's not over her, despite his contempt. This story rubbed me the wrong way. I felt the heroine allowed the hero to treat her with minimal respect. She didn't stand up for herself enough and was willing to go back to him because she loved him and because he was her baby's father. I think he owed her a lot more than she was willing to accept from him. I don't like that in a relationship when the hero doesn't respect the heroine as his equal. In my mind, I don't see Rocco treating Amber as an equal. Graham is a good writer even when she's not at her best. But this one just offended my sensibilities too much. I couldn't give it more than three stars.
Carole Mortimer's story is a bit ho-hum in the sense that it's almost drama free (I admit that I am a drama hound, so I missed it). It's a decent Christmas romance, and the hero was a nice guy. He palliated my senses after the first arrogant, and in my mind, sexist hero. He was more of an everyday kind of guy (although wealthy). Cally has the wrong idea about Noel, and she comes to realize that he's actually a good guy. Cally has some issues in her past that made her reluctant to trust, but I liked how Noel earns her trust by being a straightforward decent guy and showing his love for her and her daughter. The family interactions (since Noel's family descends on them en masse) were good and what you'd want in a Christmas story. This was more of a 3.5 star read.
Lastly, Marion Lennox was a pleasant surprise. There is something very fresh about this story. I admit I was really impressed with the fact that the hero is a wedding planner. And no, he's not gay. Yay to bursting stereotypes. Guy's cold and precise and a bit snooty, but it's clear that he has a heart underneath that he buried due to tragedy in his past. The heroine was also refreshing in that she was a very down to earth girl who likes her quiet, small town life and embraces family obligations. She's a widow who has dedicated her life to taking care of her son who was burned badly in the accident that killed her hubsand and is recovering slowly from that debilitating accident. I loved her bond with her family-in-law and that she happily embraces their eccentricities. Her son made me cry, I mean big time. I can't believe how mean people are to people with disabilities and physical differences, but I could see what a good man (and a potential family man in the making) Guy was in how he interacted with Henry. I just plain liked this story, maybe because it taps into my fascination with wedding planning and my love for kooky people who don't read the book as far as being trendy and fitting in. Lennox also touches on the phenomenon of celebrity, since Guy is a celebrity wedding planner. Although this couple falls in love over a short time period, I believe in their happy ending. I have to give this four stars.
Because the first two stories weren't as satisfying, I'd have to give this one 3.5 stars. ...more
This was such an exciting free book deal on Amazon Kindle. I am an admitted huge fan of Anna Campbell, so I ran to get it when she said it was free inThis was such an exciting free book deal on Amazon Kindle. I am an admitted huge fan of Anna Campbell, so I ran to get it when she said it was free in her newsletter. What a pleasant surprise that I enjoyed all the stories more or less equally. One caveat, if you don't care for very short romance stories at all, give this one a miss.
The premise was quite pleasing. This collection of stories revolve around the concept of a ball held by a particular doyenne of the ton known for throwing a Christmas ball where a particular couple finds their true love match. You would think the stories would be samey with this idea. In fact, quite the contrary. Each story had a different feel. In fact, you could go down the list and suggest themes for historical romance and this short collection more or less covers the gamut.
I liked the fact that an older heroine finds a second chance at love in Shana Galen's story. The inclusion of a Scarlet Pimpernel-type hero who rescued her and her son from the bloodthirsty French revolution and the fact that that same man has been in love with her for many years made this a delightfully romantic story. I didn't think I would enjoy having a heroine with grown sons as the main character, but it didn't bother me at all. I liked it, in fact.
Anna Campbell's story was the most passionate. I am not much of a fan of forbidden lovers, but she makes the desperate, illicit passion work in this story. Plus the hero is delightfully Scottish. The heroine is of the Cinderella variety, so you have to be in the mood for a downtrodden heroine. However, the romantic in me loves how the hero makes her long-cherished wish come true at the end.
Vanessa Kelly has a nice guy hero who is sorely lacking in historical romance. Thanks to her for that. While I love bad boy, dangerous heroes, I also love sweet, kind heroes and I like the idea that the hero can be that really adorable guy that always has a kind word for a wallflower and is a really good friend. This story hit my 'aww' button.
Readers who like friends to lovers stories will enjoy Kate Noble's offering. Our hero realizes that he took his next door neighbor and boon companion for granted when he returns to find her a diamond of the first water who has no time for him, despite her tomboy past. I liked the turnabout is fair play aspect of this story. It also reminded me of movies like Sabrina, where the hero realizes that his heroine has been there waiting for him all the time when he is about to lose her.
All in all, a very enjoyable, and quick read that this reader enjoyed when she collapsed exhausted on her bed on Christmas evening. I am so grateful that this was a free Christmas present on Amazon. Thumbs up!...more
A good tertiary addition to the Baltimore graphic novel series. Readers who love classic horror fiction can't help but enjoy this series, and this oneA good tertiary addition to the Baltimore graphic novel series. Readers who love classic horror fiction can't help but enjoy this series, and this one just cements the classic horror sensibility of the work by Mignola and Golden. Forgive the pun, but they are a bit of a Golden Team for me. I think their writing is seamless where I can't figure out which part Mignola wrote and what was written by Golden. The artwork is sober and dark in color, matching the unrelenting darkness of the literary tone of the stories. Baltimore is a lone hunter who travels with one goal in mind: finding Haigus, the vampire who turned him and destroyed his family. Along the way, he will destroy evil he encounters. His relationship with God is complicated. He still calls him Lord, but he has a palpable anger towards Him. Baltimore seethes with it. He shakes his fists at God, but doesn't curse him. He only asks that he be left alone to seek his vengeance. To my mind, God manages for him to be in the right place at the right time, a fierce warrior against darkness and evil creatures of all kinds. I am not saying I like an invincible hero all the time, but I appreciate how Baltimore always ends up in tight spots where I would expect him to be a goner, but he manages to survive, even if he adds a few more scars to the landscape of his body and face.
It's hard to rate this as a good book, in the sense that it's not at all feel-good. It's very depressing in a lot of ways. The vampire plague has left destruction in every place, and all manner of foul creatures prey on the humans who manage to survive the plague and aren't turned into vampires. So, no, it's not an uplifting read. However, the writing and the artwork are beautiful and has a penetrating effect on me as I read. An excellent example of how successful the graphic novel medium can be for storytelling. And since I don't get to read much Gothic/classic horror, lately, it satisfies my palate for the stories in a quick reading format, and the art-lover/artist in me.
I'm ever so grateful that I am able to get this from my library. These volumes would cost a pretty penny to buy new.
So, yes, I do recommend it to readers who aren't averse to a dark read. It's violent and at times visceral, but not at all over the top or graphic. As I said earlier in the review, it has the Gothic and Classic horror sensibility that any fans of 18th-early 20th century horror will appreciate.
I decided to return this to the library for now. It's not a quick read, since the author uses some archaic dialect in some of the stories, and due toI decided to return this to the library for now. It's not a quick read, since the author uses some archaic dialect in some of the stories, and due to her writing style. I am sure I will enjoy finishing this one day, but I just don't have the time right now.
Spending Christmas with three generations of the same family written by Carla Kelly was an enriching experience. Ms. Kelly explored the way that war aSpending Christmas with three generations of the same family written by Carla Kelly was an enriching experience. Ms. Kelly explored the way that war affects families during wartimes. In the case of the Wilkie-Warton family, all three generations of the family have met during a war and married. I liked how Ms. Kelly took the very depressing concept of war and loss and used it as a backdrop to romances in development, and in a way that felt realistic and involved me emotionally. I especially appreciated how each story read differently, but was no less enthralling.
My thoughts on each story:
1812: A Christmas in Paradise: This story resonated personally with me because I lived in San Diego for six years, and it did feel a bit like being in paradise, although there were also some less desirable aspects about it. No, I wasn't shipwrecked there, a Scot in a strange land of perpetual warm weather, fish galore, and lots of Spanish/Mexican culture. But I think that I can identify with most of those things I listed. What I loved the most about this story was the earnest good-heartedness of the hero, Thomas. He is a Navy surgeon who genuinely cares about people. While human, that caring part of him motivated him to do the right thing and offer marriage to Laura Ortiz, who was truly in desperate straits. That marriage works out very well for them both, as they find true love. I admit one part made me cry like a baby. I'm sappy like that.
1855: O Christmas Tree : I don't have the pleasure of reading too many books set during the Crimean War, but this is one of them. That alone was one more advantage of this story. Added to this was the beautiful friends-to-lovers story between widowed Lilian, the daughter of Laura and Thomas from the first story, and an American Army Corps of Engineers officer, Trey Wharton. I loved how shy Trey was. He was constantly blushing, although he had a good sense of humor and a warm way about him. I wanted to give him a hug. I was glad that these two people found each other in a war-torn landscape where they saw too many bad things that weighed on their souls. I also like the unique way that they were able to bring and celebrate Christmas with the wounded soldiers and the Sisters who worked in the hospital. It had a bit of the "Gift of the Magi" by O Henry vibe to it. This one made me tear up as well. Yes, sap here!
1877: No Crib for a Bed: Ms. Kelly takes the reader and Captain Wilkie Wharton, Lilian's son to the Old West, where this Army surgeon sees the aftermath of the Indian Wars in a very personal way. He's asked to escort a regained Indian captive white woman back to her people in Iowa. Only Nora doesn't want to go, because she has to leave her children behind, since their father was Indian. His heart hurts for her, but he doesn't have a choice otherwise. Along with Wilkie is Frannie Coughlin, a cheerful teacher in Fort Laramie, who is also traveling back East. They find a companionship together that is problematic, considering that Wilkie has a fiancee' waiting for him back home. When Wilkie delivers a baby from a dying mother with Frannie's assistance, both realize there is no going back when that strong a bond forms between two people. Yes, again this one made me cry. I felt so bad for Nora. To think that they were forcibly separating her from her own children because they were half-Indian and she wasn't. I couldn't imagine the pain she was in. Also the newborn baby was so cute. Yes, my sap quotient goes up even more. The romance part was good too.
Overall Thoughts: Carla Kelly successfully writes a trio of books that are interconnected in an ingenious way, all around the theme of wartime, medicine and Christmas away from home. Each one touched me in different ways, and I just plain like and respect her characters. They are all grounded and realistic people in the best of ways. While I didn't finish this one before or during Christmas, but in fact, three days afterwards, I still love immersing myself in the Christmas spirit, and this book provides that feeling in spades, along with a great romance.