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Tag: fairy tales

Looking forward to:

The fall of Five, Pittacus Lore (August) – for fans of the Lorien Legacies, here’s the next one! The Garde have taken refuge in Nine’s penthouse in Chicago: they don’t have enough fire power to defeat the Mogadorians… yet. When they receive a sign from Number Five – a crop circle, awesome – they know they’re close to being fully united. But is it a trap? (Book cover to be revealed!)

Gorgeous, Paul Rudnick (May/June) – “When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived. Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness. Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world.” (goodreads.com)

Isla and the happily ever after, Stephanie Perkins (September) – this book revisits Anna and Etienne, and Lola and Cricket from Stephanie Perkins’ previous two books, yay. “From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.” (goodreads.com)

The Lucy variations, Sara Zarr (May/June) – “Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain. That was all before she turned fourteen. Now, at sixteen, it’s over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano – on her own terms. But when you’re used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself?” (goodreads.com)

Fathomless, Jackson Pearce (soon) – Jackson Pearce gets back to fairytale retellings (as seen in Sisters Red and Sweetly). “Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant – until Celia meets Lo. Lo doesn’t know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea – a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid – all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she’s becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she’s tempted to embrace her dark immortality.When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude’s affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her… and steal his soul.” (goodreads.com) The Little Mermaid!

Looking forward to:

Allegiant! The title of the new book in the popular Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth was announced last week, and unhappily it is not ‘Detergent’ as suggested. They’re not as forthcoming with the book cover – this (on the right) is all we’ve got at the moment. We’ll let you know as soon as we’ve ordered it – the book is due to be published at the end of October, so watch this space. Here’s Veronica Roth’s title announcement.

In the mean time, we’ve been ordering other interesting things:

Scarlet in the snow, Sophie Masson. “A deserted mansion. Empty picture frames. A perfect red rose in a snowy garden. There is rich and powerful magic here, and a mystery to unravel… When Natasha is forced to take shelter from a sudden, terrible blizzard, she is lucky to see a mansion looming out of the snow. Inside it’s beautiful: the fire lit, the table set. But there is no one there. And on the walls, instead of paintings, are empty frames. In the garden, she finds one perfect red rose about to bloom, a vivid splash of scarlet against the snow. Dreamily she reaches out a hand… Only to have the master of the house appear – a terrifying, gigantic creature who looks like a cross between a bear and a man – and demand vengeance on her for taking his rose. So begins an extraordinary adventure that will see Natasha plunged deep into the heart of a mystery… Inspired by two beautiful Russian fairytales – The Scarlet Flower (the Russian version of Beauty and the Beast) and Fenist the Falcon, Scarlet in the Snow is a beguiling mix of magic, romance, adventure and mystery.” (goodreads.com)

Sinking, David Hill – the new novel by the New Zealand author of See Ya Simon and Duet. “A grim secret. A life in danger. When a crazy old man leaps out of the bushes at Conrad on his way to swimming training, he gets the fright of his life. And when he discovers the man’s granddaughter is that weird horse-riding girl from school, he decides to steer clear of them. But fate has other ideas… and he is drawn into a grim secret. What’s the old man’s connection to a death from long ago? And whose life is in danger now…” (Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie)

Ghostheart, Ananda Braxton-Smith – the next in the Secrets of Carrick series after Merrow and Tantony. “Her brothers and sisters are fearless, light as scuds, quick as hoppers. Not Mally. She knows too many secrets, that one. She is frighted, all right. Frozen at the edge of the shore, lonely as a cornstalk in a saltmarsh. But in Carrick things are changing and Mally needs to change too. Out of nowhere has come Dolyn Craig – a sneak and a bully but that’s not the worst of it. He’s also unexpected with it. What could he want with poor frightened Mally?” (goodreads.com) These books have fantastic covers!

Looking forward to:

Time travel (maybe?), a gritty fairy tale, and the Big Easy.

Back to Blackbrick, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (February/March). “Cosmo’s brother Brian died when he was ten years old. His mum hides her grief by working all the hours God sends and Cosmo lives with his grandparents. They’ve been carefree days as Granddad buys him a horse called John and teaches him all he knows about horses. But the good times have to come to an end and although he doesn’t want to admit it, Cosmo knows his Granddad is losing his mind. So on one of the rare occasions when Granddad seems to recognise him, Cosmo is bemused that he gives him a key to Blackbrick Abbey and urges him to go there. Cosmo shrugs it off, but gradually Blackbrick draws him in… Cosmo arrives there, scared and lonely, and is dropped off at the crumbling gates of a huge house. As he goes in, the gates close, and when he turns to look, they’re rusty and padlocked as if they haven’t been opened in years. Cosmo finds himself face to face with his grandfather as a young man, and questions begin to form in his mind: can Cosmo change the course of his family’s future?” (goodreads.com

Teeth, Hannah Moskowitz (February). “Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house. Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.” (goodreads.com) This is described as a “gritty, romantic modern fairytale”.

Out of The Easy, Ruta Sepetys (February/March). Ruta Sepetys wrote the best-selling and award-winning Between Shades of Gray, about a Lithuanian teenager’s struggle for life during World War II. Here she turns her attention to the French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1950s. “Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.” (goodreads.com)

New Books

A couple of angels, fairies (perhaps!), a shade, a troubled teen, and twins.

Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce (414 pages) – One day (Christmas, to be exact), Peter gets a phone call from his parents to say that his sister, Tara, has arrived home. Tara has been gone for twenty years, and she’s back with incredible tales of adventure. But Tara looks the same as she did when she disappeared, and Peter wonders if there’s something a bit different about her (and do the woods around their parents’ home have something to do with it?).

First sentence: In the deepest heart of England there is a place where everything is at fault.

Fury, Rebecca Lim (368 pages) – the fourth book in the Mercy series. “Heartbreak. Vengeance. Fury. Mercy is an exiled angel cast down to earth and forced to live out thousands of different lives for her own protection. Betrayed by her eternal love, Luc, Mercy burns with fury. The time of reckoning is here and now she must wage open war with Luc and his demons. Ryan’s love for Mercy is more powerful than ever, but loving an angel is mortally dangerous. As their two worlds collide, Mercy approaches her ultimate breathtaking choice.” (catalogue)

First sentence: Picture, if you can, the ancient city of Milan in the dead of night, lashed by an unimaginable storm.

Shift, Jeri Smith-Ready (367 pages) – this is the second in the Shade trilogy. “Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to. Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past – the mystery of the Shift. As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets… and her heart” (cover).

First sentence: I held my breath as it began, the last verse of the last song.

Happy Families, Tanita S Davis (234 pages) – Twins Ysabel and Justin have a perfect life and a happy family, and are preparing for life after school (Ysabel as an aspiring jewellery designer, Justin as a college student), when their father makes an announcement that will turn their world on its end.

First sentence: The surge of chattering, pointing, gawking people pours into the massive auditorium, and I feel a shiver crawl up my arms.

Heaven, Alexandra Adornetto (417 pages) – the conclusion to the Halo trilogy. In which Bethany and Xavier take a rather important step in their relationship – a forbidden marriage – and come up against the Sevens, who are (I think) like the angel equivalent of the SAS, and who are bent on keeping Bethany and Xavier apart. Will true love conquer?

First sentence(s): Everything began to rattle. I clutched the edge of the table and watched my engagement ring tumble onto the checkered floor of Sweethearts Cafe.

Trapped Outside a Cage, Ken Benn (237 pages, New Zealand author) – “Rochelle’s brother, Jack, is in prison for the murder of Methsy, and Rochelle is convinced he didn’t do it. But if Jack is innocent, then why has he confessed to the crime? Rochelle is about to find out that something or someone with sinister intentions is behind Jack’s actions” (summary from the publisher – thanks!).

New Books

This week’s cornucopia of new books contains epic adventures, dark fairy tales, sky pirates, unforgettable, kickass characters, a shipwreck, and Joan of Arc!

Kill Me Softly, Sarah Cross (331 pages) – If you like the TV series Once Upon a Time and Grimm then you might like to read this! Mirabelle sneaks back to her birth town just before her sixteenth birthday, to find it’s a place where fairy tales are real. Trouble is (as you know) fairy tales aren’t lovely and sweet, and Mirabelle is drawn into one in particular, involving two brothers with fairy tale curses and “a dark secret”.

First sentence: Birthdays were wretched, delicious things when you lived in Beau Rivage.

Where It Began, Ann Redisch Stampler (369 pages) – This one reminded me of the Jenny Han books (e.g. The Summer I Turned Pretty) and then I saw that she’s written “unputdownable!” on the cover! Gabby has reinvented herself for her senior year, with some success, as she has a perfect boyfriend in Billy. But eight months in, she wakes up on the ground next to Billy’s wrecked BMW with no memory, with no sign of Billy. Putting her life back together may mean facing some unpleasant truths.

First sentence: This is how it starts: some hapless girl in a skanky tank top lying on her back in the wet grass somewhere in Hidden Hills.

Once Upon a River, Bonnie Jo Campbell (348 pages) – “Margo Crane, a beautiful and uncanny markswoman, takes to the Stark River after being complicit in the death of her father and embarks on an odyssey in search of her vanished mother.” (catalogue) This sounds intriguing! And the cover calls Margo “an unforgettable heroine”.

First sentence: The stark river flowed around the oxbow at Murrayville the way blood flowed through Margo Crane’s heart.

The Maid, Kimberly Cutter (287 pages) – The story of Joan of Arc! Jehanne d’Arc was a peasant girl, “whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from a violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride and fight, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to persuade first one, then two, then thousands to follow her” (catalogue), in other words, she was awesome! Also, the cover painting is Joan of Arc, by Sir John Everett Millais.

First sentence: She awakes in darkness, curled on the cold stone floor of the tower.

Blind Sight, Meg Howrey (289 pages) – Luke Prescott has “spent a short lifetime swinging agreeably between the poles of Eastern mysticism and New England Puritanism” (cover), thanks to his mother and grandmother. You couldn’t blame him for being confused! But wait, there’s more: his father, a famous TV star, invites him to Los Angeles to spend time, so Luke finds himself in the elite world of celebrity, trying to figure out the difference between truth and belief.

First sentence: Names are just what we all agree to call things.

Losers in Space, John Barnes (433 pages) – “In 2129, hoping to bypass the exams and training that might lead to a comfortable life, Susan, her almost-boyfriend Derlock, and seven fellow students stow away on a ship to Mars, unaware that Derlock is a sociopath with bigger plans” (catalogue). They say that Susan is “kickass” though, so I have some hope for her against a sociopath!

First sentence: “This collection of losers and misfits will now come to order for a report from your activities chairman”.

There is no long distance now (very short stories), Naomi Shihab Nye (201 pages) – There are 40 stories in here! 40! The dust jacket says: “”In these forty life-altering, life-affirming, and extremely short short stories, the award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye proposes that no matter how great the divide between friends, siblings, life and death, classmates, enemies, happiness and misery, war and peace, breakfast and lunch, parent and child, country and city, there is, in fact, no long distance. Not anymore.”

First sentence: Jane’s father announced their moves as if they were dinner menus.

Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding (461 pages) – This is sky pirates, with steampunk. Darian Frey is the captain of Ketty Jay. When an attempt to steal a chest of gems goes horribly wrong, he finds himself the most wanted person in Vardia, on the run from bounty hunters, the Century Knights, and the “queen of the skies”, Trinica Dracken. The punishment seems to outweigh the crime: Frey and his crew must flee to the pirate town of Retribution Falls, and find out what’s really going on. It’s like Stardust meets Firefly!

First sentence: The smuggler held the bullet between thumb and forefinger, studying it in the weak light of the storeroom.

Thief’s Covenant, Ari Marmell (272 pages) – “Once she was Adrienne Sati, an orphan with a rags-to-riches story until a conspiracy of human and other forces stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder. Now she is Widdershins, a thief with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and help from the mystical god Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdenshins. But now something horrid, something dark, is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go.” (catalogue)

First sentence: The girl watched, helpless, as the world turned red beneath her.

Jamrach’s Menagerie, Carol Birch (295 pages) – In 19th Century London, Jaffy, a street urchin, is taken under the wing of the great Charles Jamrach, famed owner of exotic creatures (including the tiger that tried to kill Jaffy). Jaffy is recruited by Jamrach on a trip to the Dutch East Indies to catch a “fabled dragonlike creature”. The creature is caught, but is it bad luck? The fierce storm and resulting shipwreck seem to suggest so.

First sentences: I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.

New Books

Try Not to Breathe, by Jennifer R. Hubbard (233 pages) – Ryan, sixteen-years-old and back home from a mental hospital after a suicide attempt, meets Nicki. She isn’t afraid to ask him about his depression and his secrets, and ‘trusting Nicki just might be the catalyst Ryan desperately needs to start living again.’ A bit grim! But happy all the same.

First line: ‘It was dangerous to stand under the waterfall, but some kids did it anyway, and I was one of them.

Pink Smog : Becoming Weetzie Bat, is Francesca Lia Block (185 pages) – This is a prequel to Weetzie Bat, a fairly controversial book in some parts of America. Which is usually an indication of quality when it comes to YA literature! Well, that’s my opinion. Anyhoo, if you’re familiar with that book you will want to read this, the prequel. I have trouble with prequels since I already know how they end, you know? But that’s just me and my problem with the third Underworld movie really.

First: ‘The day after my dad, Charlie, the love of my life, left, and an angel saved my mom from drowning, I woke up with a slamming headache and a wicked sunburn.

Torn, by Cat Clarke (374 pages) – Four girls – Alice and Cass, and Polly, and Rae – are stuck in a cabin in the Scottish Highlands with Tara, the ‘queen of mean’. She’s a real bully, so Cass decides to teach her a lesson. Aaaaaaand so shortly there are four girls and one dead body. ‘A compelling story of guilty secrets, troubled friendship and burgeoning love.’

First line: ‘A funeral without a body is like a wedding without a bride. Or a groom.

Double, by Jenny Valentine (246 pages) – Chap is mistaken for Cassiel, a missing boy, and subsequently takes on this new identity. He moves in with Cassiel’s family, but soon discovers that they have some pretty dark secrets. Thrills, mystery, and unputdownableishness.

First lines: ‘I didn’t choose to be him. I didn’t pick Cassiel Roadnight out of a lineup of possible people who looked just like me.

Velvet, by Mary Hooper (323 pages) – It is Victorian England, and not a time to be poor! So Velvet is pleased when the glamorous psychic, Madame Savoya, plucks her from the steam laundry to become a lady’s maid. She gets to wear nice clothes and live in a grand house. But the more she learns about Madame Savoya’s spiritual medium shenanigans, the less ideal her new life seems.

First line: ‘Velvet had fainted too many time, according to Mrs Sloane, and was liable to be dismissed from Ruffold’s Steam Laundry.

The Wrong Grave, by Kelly Link (183 pages) – A collection of short stories about the supernatural, blended with humour. And some pretty neat sketches by Sean Tan.

Dark Eyes, by William Richter (373 pages) – Wallis “Wally” Stoneman was born to Russian parents but adopted by a wealthy New York couple. Now she’s a rebellious teen, out to find her birth mother, who stole a fortune from her birth father, a Russian gangster who has just escaped from prison. He is out for revenge and the fortune. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for teens, a reviewer suggests!

First line: ‘Valentina stirred awake and found Mrs Ivanova leaning over her bed, gently squeezing her shoulder.

Wisdom’s Kiss, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (284 pages) – Via the catalogue: ‘Princess Wisdom, who yearns for a life of adventure beyond the kingdom of Montagne, Tips, a soldier keeping his true life secret from his family, Fortitude, an orphaned maid who longs for Tips, and Magic the cat form an uneasy alliance as they try to save the kingdom from certain destruction. Told through diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biographies, and a stage play.’

First line: ‘Trudy’s sight revealed itself one warm summer night when the child was older that three.

Ticket to Love, by Marilyn Kaye (305 pages) – Four young women head to New York for the ‘mini-break adventure of a lifetime’. Megan’s a shopaholic, Erica is meeting an online boyfriend, Jen wants to meet a celebrity, and Serena’s in it for the museums. But! Can they all find love/form relationships/retain their illusions in the face of a stark and indifferent reality?

First lines: ‘Megan could her her mobile ringing as she twisted the key in the lock. Entering her flat, she dropped her shopping and fumbled in her bag for the phone.’

My Very Unfairy Tale, by Anna Staniszewski (198 pages) – Jenny is twelve, and for the last three years has been the designated adventurer whose job is to protect magical kingdoms ‘far and wide’ from all sorts of unsavoury things. She also lives in the real world, but her adventuring is taking her away from her friends and family. SO when she get given one final impossible task, she takes it. “Speedy and amusing,” wrote a reviewer.

First lines: ‘You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They’re lies. All lies.

New Books Again

The Power of Six, Pittacus Lore (406 pages) – from the perspective of Number Seven as well as Number Four, this is the continuing story of the nine chosen Lorien teenagers sent to earth to escape the Mogadorians, those of the really bad teeth. Number Seven is in hiding in a convent with her minder, and they are at odds about the possibility of a Lorien uprising. Number Seven is keen to track down the now-famous Number Four, and leaves the convent, the Mogadorians in hot pursuit. Bernie Kosar most likely makes an appearance, you will be pleased to hear.

First sentence: My name is Marina, as of the sea, but I wasn’t called that until much later.

Sweetly, Jackson Pearce (310 pages) – based on Hansel and Gretel. Gretchen’s twin sister disappeared several years ago while they were hunting a witch in the woods. Now Gretchen and her brother Ansel live with Sophia, a chocolatier, in South Carolina, and life does seem to be sweet, literally and metaphorically, until a handsome stranger arrives saying the witch is still around and Gretchen’s the next target. Gretchen decides to face the witch story head on, and her investigations dig up disturbing secrets.

First sentence: The book said there was a witch in the woods.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M Valente (247 pages) – it’s arrived! Mentioned in this post here.

First sentence: Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog.

Sometimes It Happens, Lauren Barnholdt (312 pages) – It’s the first day of senior year, and Hannah gets to start fresh after her boyfriend dumped her on the last day of junior year. But things are going to go really awry because over summer Hannah has fallen for her friend Ava’s boyfriend, and Ava knows.

First sentence: I really should not be so scared.

Dreams of Significant Girls, Cristina Garcia (238 pages) – Set in the 1970s. Shirin is an Iranian princess, Ingrid is German-Canadian, and Vivien is a Cuban-Jewish girl from New York City. The three girls meet at a Swiss boarding school where they spend three consecutive summers becoming friends. It sounds idyllic, but they all have challenges to face and things to learn about love, hate, friends, and family expectations.

First sentence: Sometime I think my parents sent me to Switzerland because they didn’t want me around.

Bloodlines, Richelle Mead (421 pages) – the first in a new series set in the Vampire Academy world, promising new and more familiar characters. Read about the new series here.

First sentences: I couldn’t breathe. There was a hand covering my mouth and another shaking my shoulder, startling me out of a heavy sleep.

The Deserter, Peadar O Guilin (441 pages) – the second in the Bone World trilogy, after The Inferior. There are two worlds, the stone-age Surface, and the hi-tech Roof above. Stopmouth, cannibal, and resident of the Surface must leave his world in search of Indrani, the woman he loves, as she’s the only one who knows how to save Surface. But he’s hunted by Roof agents, with their gadgetry and technology: can he prevail and save his world?

First sentence: They’re hunting for Indrani, combing the Roof, projecting her picture everywhere.

Blood Magic, Tessa Gratton (405 pages) – “Silla is damaged and lost since the death of her parents. Nick is the new boy in town with a chilling past of his own. A mysterious spell book steeped in blood magic will bind Silla and Nick together. But at what cost?” (Book cover).

First sentence: It is impossible to know who you really are until you spend time alone in a cemetery.

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