Another tale for lovers of Fairy Tales with a fresh twist.
Zita works in the kitchen with the palace cook and is known for baking delicious pastries buAnother tale for lovers of Fairy Tales with a fresh twist.
Zita works in the kitchen with the palace cook and is known for baking delicious pastries but anyone who'd look at her would not consider her more than a palace maid. With flaming curly hair and green eyes, you wouldn't think she was related to the pale blond & blue eyed beauties, the princesses of King Arician & Queen Amara. Being the 13th and last born girl in a long line of daughters of a king who only wanted sons, she was named Zita after the patron Saint of Servants. Blamed for the death of her mother in child birth, Zita was disowned and banished to the servant quarters, away from the sight of the King.
As Zita grows older and learns of her past, she is secretly welcomed among her sisters with open arms and for one night a week, with the help of a forgotten dumbwaiter, can spend time in the company of her sisters freely. Shortly after Zita's birthday her all of her sisters are suddenly stricken down with a strange sickness. Weak and sickly pale, the princesses do not eat & sleep away the day. Only Zita has noticed their dancing slippers worn away each morning.
With the help of Babette the witch, the stable boy Breckin & Milek the soldier, Zita must face her fears & find away to save her sisters from a strong mysterious enchantment that is killing them.
Not a bad re-telling of an old Brothers Grimm fairy tale The 12 Dancing Princesses from author Diane Zahler. It has magic, romance, revenge & redemption. A good read for children, with a surprising unexpected climax....more
**spoiler alert** The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric is unlike any other book I have previously read. It is a book full of historically interestin**spoiler alert** The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric is unlike any other book I have previously read. It is a book full of historically interesting facts about Venice with a fantastical twists but also includes a wide variety of colourful characters, human and not human.
The story is set in 1899 & is told from the viewpoint of the two main characters; Teodora (aka Teo) a girl from Naples & Lorenzo (aka Renzo) a local boy of Venice. My first impression is that the story is very heavy for a child. The book covers everything from death to betrayal to racial discrimination to violent/bloody battle scenes to evil revenge centuries old. It's definitely not a lighthearted fairy tale.
The book begins with tragedy as generations of a single family drown in the Venice lagoon one fog filled night under mysterious-magical circumstances and of the baby whose body was never found...
Fast forward to "present day" and Venice is under threat of destruction. The best scientists from around the world are being sent to Venice in the hope they can figure out way to save the drowning city scientifically. Teo is the bookish daughter of two such scientists and a visit to Venice seems like a dream come true but it all turns into nightmare from the moment a book called The Key to the Secret City falls on her head.
As the lines of an old prophecy begin to come true, Teo, with the help of Renzo, must find a way to save the city from an ancient enemy and travel throughout Venice encountering many strange/wonderful creatures. One of which are mermaids who talk like sailors & have a love of spices. The mermaids were one of my favourites and often gave comedic relief in this dark story.
If you want to read something new and unlike any other story you have read before, give this dark tale a go.
P.S. At the end of the story the author has included facts about the history of Venice and advises where you can find places you have read of in the book. It might surprise you to learn what was actually true......more
The fourth book set in the magical world of Bayern, this story is about Rinna, Razo's younger sister & a true forest girl at heart.
Rinna (aka Rin)The fourth book set in the magical world of Bayern, this story is about Rinna, Razo's younger sister & a true forest girl at heart.
Rinna (aka Rin) is haunted by a selfish act she committed in the past. Petrified of the person she could become Rin has buried a special power she barely understands deep within herself and tries hard to be the perfect daughter. But since that incident Rin has lost her special calming bond with the trees of the forest and feels alienated within her own family. When Razo offers to let Rin to join him in the palace, she jumps at the chance to escape from the Forest.
Welcomed as part of the palace household Rin is initially intrigued by the "Fire Sisters" Dasha, Enna & Isi and finds friendship/acceptance where she least expects it. But when an enemy from Bayern's past threatens her new friends, is Rin strong enough to face the evil that could destroy the people she loves? Can Rin resist temptation of her darker self?
The story itself is not a bad read and is a good adventure/coming into your own story but if you're expecting the same romance you found in the previous books in the series you might be disappointed......more
**spoiler alert** We find our heroine Nimira (Nim) dancing & singing as a "trouser girl" on a dank music hall for a living in New Sweeling. Nim wa**spoiler alert** We find our heroine Nimira (Nim) dancing & singing as a "trouser girl" on a dank music hall for a living in New Sweeling. Nim was once the daughter of a privileged family in the court of Tiansher but after her mother, a favourite in the Royal Court Troupe, died everything changed for the worst and Nimira set sail leaving everything behind to seek her fortune. When she catches the eye of dashing sorcerer Hollin Parry, he offers her an escape from her dreary existence but at what cost?
In return for a home, new clothes & food in her belly Nim must sing in accompaniment to an Automan, a fairy-made clockwork man who plays a pianoforte when wound up with a key...
Sounds easy right? As the story continues you find that the Automan is infamous in the Parry household for being haunted and that previously hired female singers have often not lasted longer than a day or two in its presence. If a haunted Automan wasn't enough, she also has to contend with Miss Rashten, a keeper of dark secrets hidden in the manor that makes her disapproval of Nim very clear and Mr Smollings, the new creepy Ambassador of Magic, who has more than keen interest in the Automan & Parry household. Does Nim have the courage to discover the truth?
Once I picked up and started reading the book I got sucked right in. Lovers of enchantments, fairies & hidden secrets will love this book. You can't help but admire Nim for her determination & courage through the course of the story. The ending left it open to the possibility of a further adventure.
**spoiler alert** When I saw this in the book store I was intrigued by the story... but apart from what it could have been, the author of this book ha**spoiler alert** When I saw this in the book store I was intrigued by the story... but apart from what it could have been, the author of this book has all but butchered it's possibilities.
The main character is called Rae Seddon (a.k.a Sunshine) who, needing to get away from her life for a little, decides to take a break by driving to the local lake for a respite. Before she knows it she is kidnapped by a gang of vampires who makes her strip, put on a red dress & shackles her to a wall in an abandoned mansion. Did I forget to mention that also shackled in the same room is another vampire who has been starved for a very, very long time? Interesting development, no?
Now Robin McKinley has created a very interesting world where the present is the after days of the Voodoo Wars, where humans along side demons, were-animals fought against the villainous vampires who now control most of the wealth of the world. A sort of uneasy peace governed by the SOF (considered the Vampire Police) has settled in Old Town where Sunshine lives, as humans know but ignore the fact that a lot of the population contains part bloods, humans who have half demon, fairy or were-animal in them. Sometimes it's appears harmlessly, like Mary who always pours hot coffee every time... but sometimes it can twist a person and make them psychotic, which is Sunshine greatest fear.
Sunshine considers herself a small changer, a person with the magic ability to change objects from one thing to another, like flowers into feathers but since meeting Constantine (Con) the vampire and during the course of following events Sunshine ends up finding out a lot more about herself, her mysterious family, her magical ability & vampires, more so than she ever wanted to know as she is quite happy pretending to be normal & to go along baking cinnamon rolls for the local coffee house for the rest of her life... yes, I know, how dull...
As I read the book I couldn't help but notice that Sunshine is one of 4 things during the course of the story: Fearful, Angry, Insanely Hysterical or Numb... and it's very hard to like her as a character. Sunshine's new acquaintance Con has the personality of statue but he's an old vampire, so it's a little easier to understand, though even he seems to have more depth to his character than Sunshine.
Now the author seems to overcompensate for Sunshine's lack of character by making her over explain everything in her thoughts. Most of the book is just paragraphs and paragraphs of Sunshine blathering on in an attempt to explain things that exist in her world that sometimes don't need explaining. What happened to leaving somethings out so the reader gets a chance to use their imagination. If you give use bits of information here and there I'm sure readers can connect the dots but no, the author seems to want to spoon feeds us, so the story often feels like it's taking painfully forever to get to the point.
I was often tempted to just skip to the end just to see if this Beauty & the Beast vs the Vampire World-esque story was worth reading but my need to know if Sunshine & Con would get beyond casual, if not painfully blase, friendship spurred me on.... Apart from an almost raunchy scene, I repeat almost raunchy, nothing happens between them besides the invisible bond they share since their time spent together as prisoners... somewhat disappointing, considering on the book's front cover is says "....A mesmerizing SF horror romance..." False advertising anyone?
If anything McKinley has managed to create something unlike any vampire book before and then gently smothered all it's possibilities while drowning it in her need to overspeak. Again, so disappointing.
Don't read this unless it's your absolute last resort and your very, very desperate....more
**spoiler alert** "What is the point of falling in love with a man if he turns back into a ferret when the moon goes down?"
Brugel is a country where t**spoiler alert** "What is the point of falling in love with a man if he turns back into a ferret when the moon goes down?"
Brugel is a country where the strange and unusual are not only tolerated, they are encouraged. So when Ondine finds was appears to be cute little ferret in her secret stash of food at Psychic Summer Camp, she unwittingly adopts him & doesn't bat an eyelash. When Shambles the Ferret turns out to be seriously hot Hamish McPhee the Laird of Glen Logan, a dark haired boy with roguish twinkle in his green eyes & a scottish brogue, cursed into the shape of a ferret for 80 years, things get a bit complicated.
Throw in a secret long-lost treasure, a historical mystery, secret romances, witchy aunt Col, an assassination attempt & handsome Lord Vincent, Ondine is having seriously difficult time keeping herself out of trouble, let alone finding the time to break the spell, with or without Shambles' help.
When I first started reading it I thought maybe this is a just another book aimed at the pre-teen to mid teen audience but as the story progressed I couldn't help but be sucked into the fairy tale and the hilarious witty banter, not to mention being educated in scottish brogue or entertained with fun facts by the author's footnotes that can be found on pages every so often.
"Ye canty wrassler, A'll dun't ye!"(1) His accent came back thick & strong. "A'll gar claw whaur it's no yeukie!(2) A'll saut brose, Old Col!(3) Ma tongue isna unner yer belt!(4)"
(1) You liar, I'm going to bash you. (2) I'll put my fist where it's not welcome. (3) I'll get my revenge. (4) And don't think about trying to silence me.
I don't want to ruin it for you, so I'll just say Shambles is guaranteed to give you a few chuckles, it definitely did have me giggling on the bus.
One Girl. One Boy. One Spell to be Broken...
One Seriously Entertaining Book to be Read!!!...more