Tuesday, May 31, 2016

New Release: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard is a new May release. This isn't a fairy tale retelling, but a faerie book. I don't track all of those on the blog, but when one gains my interest and notice, I share it here. This one reminded me a bit of Tam Lin and has an interesting premise but I haven't read it myself yet. It is also getting some considerable hype.

Book description:

Publishers Weekly Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Novel of Summer 2016

“Captivating, fiercely smart (about sisters, artists), utterly transporting. I read it so consumingly, it was more akin to swallowing it whole. Not to be missed.” —Megan Abbott, Edgar-winning author of The Fever and You Will Know Me

“Kat Howard seems to possess a magic of her own, of making characters come alive and scenery so vivid, you forget it exists only on the page. Roses and Rot is both beautiful and dark, lovely, and haunting." —Anton Bogomazov, Politics and Prose Bookstore

“A contemporary dark fantasy full of dark magic, the hidden traps of fairy tales, and painful humanity. I loved every page.” —Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Ringers

Imogen and her sister Marin escape their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, whether it be art or love in this haunting debut novel from “a remarkable young writer” (Neil Gaiman).

What would you sacrifice for everything you ever dreamed of?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

Monday, May 30, 2016

What is Hidden by Lauren Skidmore, A Cinderella Retelling

If you like masks or find them fascinating, this retelling of Cinderella--What is Hidden by Lauren Skidmore--may appeal to you. The concept is fascinating which is always refreshing with a Cinderella retelling. I just became aware of Skidmore this month when I learned of her third fairy tale inspired novel which I posted about last week, The Fairest Poison. This was her first published fairy tale novel and was published in 2014.

Book description:

In a land of masquerades and mystery, Evie is a mask maker in Venesia, where masks represent rank and identity. When a cryptic bandit strips away Evie's mask and destroys her home, she goes into hiding at the palace to find both a new identity and revenge. Fantasy lovers will be caught up by the mystique, romance, and magic of What Is Hidden.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Bargain Ebook: Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy

Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy is on sale in ebook format for $2.99. Definitely a romance novel with an unusual setting and premise for incorporating a Cinderella plot.

Book description:

Love can lead you out of the wilderness…

1851, Overland Trail to California. As a baby, Callie was left on the doorstep of an isolated farmhouse in Tennessee. The Whitaker family took her in, but have always considered her more a servant than a daughter. Scorned by her two stepsisters, Callie is forced to work long hours and denied an education. But a new world opens to her when the Whitakers join a wagon train to California—guided by rugged Luke McGraw…

A loner, haunted by a painful past, Luke plans to return to the wilderness once his work is done. But he can’t help noticing how poorly Callie is treated—or how unaware she is of her beauty and intelligence. As the two become closer over the long trek west, Callie’s confidence grows. And when disaster strikes, Callie emerges as the strong one—and the woman Luke may find the courage to love at last…

Bargain Ebook: Beauty by Robin McKinley for $1.99

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley is on sale for only $1.99 in ebook format, down from its usual $5.99+ price.

This is one of the books that changed my life and one of the reasons SurLaLune even exists. So yes, I recommend it.

Book description:

Robin McKinley’s acclaimed first novel is a brilliant reimagining of the classic French fairy tale

I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal-minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour. . . . My father still likes to tell the story of how I acquired my odd nickname: I had come to him for further information when I first discovered that our names meant something besides you-come-here. He succeeded in explaining grace and hope, but he had some difficulty trying to make the concept of honour understandable to a five-year-old. . . . I said: ‘Huh! I’d rather be Beauty.’ . . .

By the time it was evident that I was going to let the family down by being plain, I’d been called Beauty for over six years. . . . I wasn’t really very fond of my given name, Honour, either . . . as if ‘honourable’ were the best that could be said of me.

The sisters’ wealthy father loses all his money when his merchant fleet is drowned in a storm, and the family moves to a village far away. Then the old merchant hears what proves to be a false report that one of his ships had made it safe to harbor at last, and on his sad, disappointed way home again he becomes lost deep in the forest and has a terrifying encounter with a fierce Beast, who walks like a man and lives in a castle. The merchant’s life is forfeit, says the Beast, for trespass and the theft of a rose—but he will spare the old man’s life if he sends one of his daughters: “Your daughter would take no harm from me, nor from anything that lives in my lands.” When Beauty hears this story—for her father had picked the rose to bring to her—her sense of honor demands that she take up the Beast’s offer, for “cannot a Beast be tamed?”

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What Is Lost by Lauren Skidmore, A Little Red Riding Hood Inspired Novel

What Is Lost  by Lauren Skidmore is a rare novel length retelling of Little Red Riding Hood that was published in 2015. The red hood is an assassin's cloak in this one which I imagine is a form of catnip for some of the readers here!

Book description:

Angry at his failure to exact vengeance on the prince, mask maker Joch flees Venesia to find his lost love. When a red-cloaked assassin promises answers, he has little choice but to trust her though he maybe walking into a trap. Unravel the deception in this dazzling story of second chances that will keep you guessing to the last page.

"The plot's twists, turns, and lurking dangers will keep Skidmore's fans engaged all the way to an ending that will take even the most astute reader by surprise." --Booklist

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

New Book: Artifacts by Pete Catalano

Artifacts by Pete Catalano is a new release this month and Catalano's debut novel. This is being marketed as a cross between Goonies, Peter Pan's Lost Boys and fairy tales for middle readers. I'd add it has a touch of The Librarians and Warehouse 13 for inspiration, too. The reader reviews are praising it for its fun for adult readers as well as middle reader boys who don't have as many fairy tale themed books marketed at them. I am considering it for a read together book with my nephew this summer.

Book description:

It's funny how one little letter can change a person's life. Jax and his friends have been planning the summer of a lifetime at Camp Runamuck. However, when one of them is facing summer at a school desk for failing English, they watch those plans crash and burn!

At the last moment they're given a way out.

An extra credit assignment to find several fake artifacts for a fairy tale display their teacher is presenting at the local library.

Thinking they've hit the easiest-extra-credit-ever jackpot, they begin rummaging through any piles of junk they can find. As they start putting the clues together, they realize that what they're really searching for is one authentic artifact that can rewrite fairy tales!

Enlisting the aid of the Lost Boys, Jax and his friends battle fairy tale villains to see who can get their hand, or their hook, on it first.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New Book: The Fairest Poison by Lauren Skidmore

The Fairest Poison by Lauren Skidmore was released earlier this month. A Snow White retelling, it is being marketed as a YA novel. Skidmore has previously written two other fairy tale novels inspired by What Is Hidden (Cinderella) and What Is Lost (Little Red Riding Hood) which I haven't shared on the blog so I will give them their own posts this week.

Book description:

Princess Bianca returns to her court to find it poisoned from the inside out. Faced with mysterious sicknesses, power disputes, and whispers of impending death, Bianca turns to an unlikely ally--a former assassin--to find the antidote that will save her kingdom. But Bianca quickly realizes that she might not even be able to save her own life in this Snow White story.

Disney's First Trailer for 2017 Release of "Beauty and the Beast"

And here is the first trailer, first look at Disney's live action version of "Beauty and the Beast" slated for release on 3/17/17. What do you think?

I am very curious as to the portrayal of the Beast, I admit. It's more about how violent he may be than anything else. I like Dan Stevens and am not worried about his portrayal but more of what is written for him...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli

Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli was released last fall but I missed it while I was traveling. This is Snow White as only Napoli can tell it. The setting and twists to the story are fascinating and made me think a few times, "Why didn't I consider that before?" I still remember the first time I read her The Magic Circle almost two decades ago now which helped to reinvent Hansel and Gretel for me. I've been a fan ever since and remember her very lightly hinting at this book when I heard her speak several years ago. If you are a Napoli fan or Snow White fan, be sure this makes it to your reading list if it hasn't already.

Book description:

Set in medieval Venice, this captivating fairy tale retelling by award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli explores belonging, beauty, and the transformative power of love through the eyes of a teenage girl. Dolce has grown up hidden away on an island in a lagoon. She is a giant, a freak, tormented by everyone but her loving mother. She spends her time learning the valuable secret of making mirrors. Following a tragedy, Dolce swims away and lands on an island where people see her as normal, even beautiful. Marin, a kind widower, and his little daughter bring Dolce to live with them in their grand palazzo. Eventually, Dolce and Marin marry. She secretly continues to make mirrors, not realizing that quicksilver endangers her . . . and so evil begins in innocence.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bargain Ebook: Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip for $1.99 TODAY ONLY

Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip is $1.99 today only in ebook format as a Kindle Daily Deal. This is a collection of McKillip's short stories, gathered from previously published sources. While McKillip usually lets folklore and fairy tales influence her work, some of the stories are specifically fairy tale and folklore driven, like "Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "Undine."

One Amazon review by Arthur W. Jordin provides an excellent summary of the table of contents:

"Introduction" (2012) by Charles de Lint describes his experiences with the author.

- "Wonders of the Invisible World" (Full Spectrum, 1995) takes a researcher to meet and record fanatics.

- "Out of the Woods" (Flights, 2004) follows a woman who becomes aware of faery.

- "The Kelpie" (The Fair Folk, 2005) draws a talented -- but self-centered -- artist into one final imposition.

- "Hunter's Moon" (Green Man Tales, 2002) exposes the Chase family to a surprise.

- "Oak Hill" (The Essential Borderlands, 1998) teaches a girl that her mother is right.

- "The Fortune Teller" (The Coyote Road, 2007) convinces a thief to change her ways.

- "Jack O'Lantern" (Firebirds Rising, 2006) presents questions on the nature of fox fire.

- "Knight of the Well" (Book of Wizards, 2012) brings a knight to Luminum for the dedication of a foundation.

- "Naming Day" (Wizards, 2007) takes a young magician out chasing an imp on her special day.

- "Byndley" (Firebirds, 2003) returns a wizard to the boundaries of Faery with a task.

- "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (Wolf at the Door, 2000) solves a problem for the king.

- "Undine" (Faery Reel, 2004) inserts a water sprite into an ecological conflict.

- "Xmas Cruise" (Christmas Forever, 1993) involves two couples in an ecology themed cruise to Antarctic waters.

- "A Gift To Be Simple" (Not of Woman Born, 1999) divulges the innovative way a Shaker community recovers their energy.

- "The Old Woman and the Storm" (Imaginary Lands, 1990) traces the thoughts of a man taking a walk.

- "The Doorkeeper of Khaat" (Full Spectrum, 1990) concerns a man looking for a means to relieve his father's pain.

- "What Inspires Me" (2004) is the Guest of Honor Speech at WinCon 28. It spends most of the time answering another question.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New Book: A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham

A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham was released in November 2015 but just now entered my radar. It is chock full of short, dark retellings of classic fairy tales from Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin. Of course, the title story is drawn from The Wild Swans, Hans Christian Andersen's version of The Six Swans.

Book description:

Fairy tales for our times from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hours

A poisoned apple and a monkey's paw with the power to change fate; a girl whose extraordinarily long hair causes catastrophe; a man with one human arm and one swan's wing; and a house deep in the forest, constructed of gumdrops and gingerbread, vanilla frosting and boiled sugar. In A Wild Swan and Other Tales, the people and the talismans of lands far, far away―the mythic figures of our childhoods and the source of so much of our wonder―are transformed by Michael Cunningham into stories of sublime revelation.

Here are the moments that our fairy tales forgot or deliberately concealed: the years after a spell is broken, the rapturous instant of a miracle unexpectedly realized, or the fate of a prince only half cured of a curse. The Beast stands ahead of you in line at the convenience store, buying smokes and a Slim Jim, his devouring smile aimed at the cashier. A malformed little man with a knack for minor acts of wizardry goes to disastrous lengths to procure a child. A loutish and lazy Jack prefers living in his mother's basement to getting a job, until the day he trades a cow for a handful of magic beans.

Reimagined by one of the most gifted storytellers of his generation, and exquisitely illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, rarely have our bedtime stories been this dark, this perverse, or this true.

Monday, May 9, 2016

New Book: Hold Me Like a Breath: Once Upon a Crime Family by Tiffany Schmidt

Hold Me Like a Breath: Once Upon a Crime Family by Tiffany Schmidt is slated with a May 19, 2015 release date but it is already available in both print and digital editions for immediate shipping or downloads.

I haven't read this one yet but it intrigues me since it is a rare novel-length retelling of Princess and the Pea. There is also organized crime and illegal organ harvesting, so if dark mob plots are your catnip, this may be a double whammy for you. I don't find mob stories very fascinating--they are too depressing to me, but this is an interesting twist.

This is also the first in a series--it will be interesting to see where it goes and if more fairy tales are included in future books.

Book description:

In Penelope Landlow's world, almost anything can be bought or sold. She's the daughter of one of the three crime families controlling the black market for organ transplants. Because of an autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise easily, Penny is considered too "delicate" to handle the family business, or even to step foot outside their estate.

All Penelope has ever wanted is independence--until she's suddenly thrust into the dangerous world all alone, forced to stay one step ahead of her family's enemies. As she struggles to survive the power plays of rival crime families, she learns dreams come with casualties, betrayal hurts worse than bruises, and there's nothing she won't risk for the people she loves.

Perfect for fans of Holly Black and Kimberly Derting, this first book in the stunning new Once Upon a Crime Family series from acclaimed author Tiffany Schmidt will leave readers breathless.