**spoiler alert** Cindy is cursed by a witch in an apple orchard - she turns into a pumpkin every night at midnight, but by morning, she's human again...more**spoiler alert** Cindy is cursed by a witch in an apple orchard - she turns into a pumpkin every night at midnight, but by morning, she's human again. This wreaks havoc on her love life, as you might imagine.
I really wanted to like this novella. It's based on a fairy tale (love those) with a fun twist (love those too), but it just never engaged me as a reader. I think part of it was that there was a lot of "telling" and not very much "showing." The author describes Cindy flirting (and then we flirted) and describes the kinds of conversations she had (and then we talked about this or that), but we don't actually get to see the flirting or the full conversations. Because we're just told so much of the story, I don't think we get a true feel for the characters or the chemistry between them.
I think this story has a lot of potential to be a really cute chick lit story, but I think it might have worked better for me if parts of it were expanded. Why was she in an apple orchard to begin with? It seemed kind of random. I really wanted to get more into both Cindy's and her Prince Charming's heads - to really get to know both of them.
I was also very confused for awhile about how her Prince Charming did not know she turned into a pumpkin because I thought he found her in the park as a pumpkin and recognized her from the pumpkin-smashing night! It was totally not clear to me that she was no longer a pumpkin at that point in the story.
Also, what was the purpose of Simon to the story? And that random guy from the weird bar that Cindy and her friend were watching a band at? Cindy flirted with him but he never showed up again. Are these guys supposed to be teaching Cindy something about herself? To me, they didn't seem necessary to the story, and it would have worked just fine if Prince Charming was the only guy to focus on.
All-in-all, a really cute idea with a lot of potential, but it just didn't really work for me. (less)
This short story collection is all fairy tales retold or original stories with a fairy tale feel. All of the stories were well-written, but three real...moreThis short story collection is all fairy tales retold or original stories with a fairy tale feel. All of the stories were well-written, but three really stood out to me.
"Castle of Masks" is a Beauty and the Beast story with an interesting twist. It was creepy, which isn't normally my thing, but in this case, it really drew me in and kept me reading. The other two stories which stood out to me were "The Gallows Maiden," which I'm not sure if it's based on a fairy tale or not, and "Fallen," a futuristic Rapunzel. In all three cases, I liked what I read so much that I wished the stories were fleshed out and expanded into novel-length stories. I guess at heart I'm not really a short fiction type of person. Still, this was an overall enjoyable collection, and I'm glad that I read it.
Technical notes: I bought the .epub version of this book directly from Drollerie Press, and I have to say I am impressed with how nice it looked on my Nook. The text formatting was nice, and there were little flower/leaf decorative images between sections that were very faint on the regular page, but on page turn, when the screen image reverses, you get a lovely white on black outline of the flower/leaf (I'm not sure which it was, but it was cool-looking). The only problem I had was that the book took a *really* long time to open in the first place, and then, when I would try to turn to the next page between stories, it also took a long time. Sometimes it took so long that I sometimes wasn't sure if the Nook registered my button click or finger swipe on the touch screen, so I'd try again. This meant at the beginning of each story, I usually ended up turning a couple of pages without meaning to and having to go back.(less)
It turns out I'd already read a bunch of the stories in this collection and just didn't remember them. I guess that tells you that a bunch of them are...moreIt turns out I'd already read a bunch of the stories in this collection and just didn't remember them. I guess that tells you that a bunch of them are not very memorable. They're pleasant enough to read, but don't really stand out.
Two stories did really stand out for me though, and I really enjoyed them.
First was the story "Paper Cuts Scissors." It's about a library science student (gee...I wonder why I liked this one!) who gets a job cataloging books for an eccentric man with a huge personal library. At night, the characters in the books come out and party together... The story has its flaws, and the brief description of what it's like to be a library student doesn't match up with my personal experience, but I can look beyond that, because it's a fun idea.
Second was the title story, "The Poison Eaters." It read very much like a fairy tale and is the story of three girls who are raised by their father for the sole purpose of being poison to all those they touch. It's creepy yet kind of lovely at the same time.
Those who are fans of Kaye and Roiben from Tithe, there's a short story about Kaye's friend, Corny, and Roiben. Didn't really stand out that much to me, but I wasn't overly fond of Tithe either.
Technical notes: I bought the DRM-free PDF e-book of this directly from the publisher. It doesn't look that great on my Nook. The images overlap/aren't positioned well, the font is very small, and there are a lot of half-pages and blank pages, but it's readable, and it's DRM-free, so I'm not complaining too much.(less)
**spoiler alert** Two things attracted me to this book. 1) The gorgeous cover. 2) The fact that I was looking for fairy tale inspired romance novels.
F...more**spoiler alert** Two things attracted me to this book. 1) The gorgeous cover. 2) The fact that I was looking for fairy tale inspired romance novels.
First, I really loved the idea of the book. A gothic romance with raven shifters woven into the story of Bluebeard. Really loved the idea. Based on the cover and the blurb, I could just picture Lord Ruhk Hayle and his mysterious secret being related to being a raven shifter as opposed to being related to dead wives in the closet.
Unfortunately, what I was hoping for isn't what this book turned out to be. The fact that he is a raven shifter is revealed to his bride on their wedding night, and there actually are dead wives in the closet. The story also lacked the creepy mood that a Bluebeard-inspired tale should have.
It was kind of short, more novella-length than novel-length, and despite the fact that Samhain has it labeled as Historical Romance and Paranormal Romance, the proportion of sex to story was far more than I was hoping or expecting would be there. The majority of the book was steamy as opposed to story-related. Had the story been labeled with Samhain's "Red Hots!" label, I would have expected that, but it wasn't. Granted, for the most part the author does not use crude language and uses more...historical appropriate descriptions, and maybe that's why it wasn't labeled in that way, but come on. When the major plot point is that Lord Hayle's family made a deal with a lusty demon named Bluebeard in order to be immortal and be able to shift into raven form, the price is that the Alpha of the family sacrifice his wife to the demon's lust (so he can basically fuck her to death) once she's conceived an heir, the demon lures the wife into his secret door through lust compulsions, and the only way to keep the demon contained behind his door is for the Alpha of the family to have regular sex in the same room with the door, I don't personally consider that a romance novel because it leaves no time for relationship development or, you know, romance.
Sadly, a disappointment for me, but others who are looking for a more erotic romance may enjoy it. There's a free short story on the author's website that is a follow-up to this story that anyone interested may want to try out first.
Technical notes: I bought the e-book from MyBookStoreAndMore and downloaded the .epub version. The formatting was just fine, and I didn't notice any typos or formatting issues.
I have to say, this anthology of Little Red riding hood re-tellings was just OK. The individual stories merged together so much, that few stood out to...moreI have to say, this anthology of Little Red riding hood re-tellings was just OK. The individual stories merged together so much, that few stood out to me as memorable. One story that did stand out and that I particularly enjoyed was Imogen Howson's "Scented Danger." It's a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood with a sci-fi/futuristic feel, much like Howson's Rapunzel re-telling, "Falling," that I enjoyed from Drollerie Press's SteroOpticon. I'm not sure if both stories take place in the same world, but both were stand outs in their respective collections, and I'd love to see Howson would come up with in an entire fairy tale collection all on her own.
Technical Notes: As with the other Drollerie Press book I've read, this was *mostly* well-formatted, it had nice little pictures between stories, and the problem I had with the last book (really, really long page turns between short stories), is non-existent with this one. There are a couple of formatting issues, but far less than a lot of e-books I read these days.(less)
**spoiler alert** After being mostly disappointed in the books I've read from Samhain so far, I was pleasantly surprised in this steampunk/fairy tale...more**spoiler alert** After being mostly disappointed in the books I've read from Samhain so far, I was pleasantly surprised in this steampunk/fairy tale novella. Other than wishing for a longer, more fleshed-out story, I really enjoyed this Bluebeard-inspired tale.
First, Bluebeard is a creepy fairy tale, and the prologue of this book captured that creepiness perfectly. Annette finds the key to her husband's study. Determined to find out what occupies so much of her husband's time in there, she investigates, only to discover she's not who she thinks she is. Annette Parker died years ago and her husband has been trying to bring her back since through cloning. On a shelf she finds the skulls of her four predecessors. In her husband's diary she discovers that he considers her a failed experiment, and he plans to try again soon, which means he plans to get rid of her soon as well.
Determined to not share the same fate as the previous four "specimens," she leaves, intent on making her way to Australia, somewhere she believes her "husband" will never find her. However, she needs help, mostly money, to get there. She chooses the name Ada, poses as Annette Parker's cousin, and goes to Isaac Ward for help, a naturalist who once asked for Annette's hand in marriage.
Being a novella, the relationship between Isaac and Ada is a bit rushed for my taste, but I liked both of them, and I cared about whether they ended up together or not. (Which, of course, they do...but not until they defeat her "husband" who comes after Ada after she ran away).
Technical notes: I purchased this e-book from MyBookstoreAndMore and downloaded the .epub version on to my Nook. For some reason the font was super tiny, and I had to increase font size on my Nook to Extra Large in order to bring it up to a readable size. I'm not really sure why because Medium is my normal setting for all other e-books I read on there. Annoying, but not the end of the world since the Nook does let me resize fonts, but it was strange. (less)