Tag Archive | Retelling

Timely: A Phoenix Fiction Anthology (Review)

Today I’m excited to share a review for an excellent spec-fic anthology featuring short stories dealing with . . . time! By some really stellar authors. Read on for my mini reviews of each story!

Title: Timely: A Phoenix Fiction Writers Anthology

Author: The Phoenix Fiction Writers

Grace Crandall • E. B. Dawson • Deck Matthews

Nate Philbrick • J. E. Purrazzi • Beth Wangler

And featuring: Katelyn Buxton • Olivia Cornwell • Kyle Robert Shultz

Series: Stands alone but is the 4th PFW anthology. See my reviews for Of Myth and Monster (#3) and Strange Waters (#2)

Different genres across the different stories but they include steampunk, sci-fi, and epic fantasy • Should be enjoyed by most ages • 2021 • 295 pages

Read May 4, 2022 • 5 stars • I originally received an e-ARC from the publisher but I mostly read a paperback copy I snagged off of Amazon. *nervous laugh*

GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAmazonPhoenix Fiction Writers Website

  1. Clockwork Toymaker by Olivia Cornwell — What a lovely steampunk tale! A toymaker who makes clockwork toys, his friendship with a little girl, and coming to grips with grief and change. Touching moments, family, friendship, and feels. I may have nearly teared up at one point. The clockwork bird was so cute. ^_^ Really enjoyed this one!
  2. Bermuda’s Belly by J.E. Purrazzi — Aaahh! What a heart-pounding, suspenseful short story. :O Featuring orphans in a pirate submarine and a slowly emerging series of surprises. Pretty sure I forgot to breathe for some of that, especially at the end there! Wow. So intense and well done. Excellent!
  3. The Timekeeper’s Daughter by Katelyn Buxton — OH MY WORD. This was so whimsical and delightful and I absolutely loved the heroine’s time abilities and everything about the Clock and the kingdom! I just LOVED the setting! (Also, bonus for the winged characters! And I’ve been reading/watching lots of things that feature postal carriers so that was fun on the side. XD) Love!
  4. The Weight of Dust by Grace Crandall — *muffled shrieking* I was blown away by the creativity in this one with a robot butler character. The story was so unexpected and yet so absolutely gripping! I loved the twists, the way the past was slowly revealed, and the outcome. And just the ATMOSPHERE of it. I felt for each of the butler’s goals and it was honestly super inspiring. This one kept me on the edge of my seat and then made me smile so hard by the end!
  5. Adamant by Beth Wangler — Oh my goodness! This was a sci-fi retelling of Persuasion and it was absolutely brilliant! I never would have thought of Persuasion in a space setting, but it worked SO well. I loved Fred as an ex-member of the Human Sky Fleet (so fitting!), and how some of the side characters were unique aliens. Things were recognizably Persuasion-ish yet completely unexpected, and very much its own story, and I loved that!
  6. Daughter by E.B. Dawson — I’M HAVING A FEELING. Actually several, but that’s to be expected whenever I read an E.B. Dawson story, and this one was no exception. I’m almost stressed out about something at the end but at the same time all of the story was just so EPIC and so unexpected that I can’t really be mad. XD I don’t want to spoil this one but WOW, it was so immersive and the characters stepped right off the page and like I said I’M HAVING A FEELING. Intense but magnificent. (Also, sliiight Violet Evergarden vibe. *zips lips*)
  7. The Hundred Acre War by Kyle Robert Shultz — This is one of only a few non-Afterlands-related stories I’ve read by this author but it was SO immersive! I’m not sure I can say much about this one either, due to not wanting to spoil it (and also, disclaimer: I was a copyeditor for this short story. XD), but it’s one of those stories where you think you know what’s going on and then — BOOM! Every page or so there are new explosive reveals and twistiness and I just adored it! (There may be Winnie-the-Pooh feels but, like, epic. *zips lips again*)
  8. Into the Crimson Deep by Deck Matthews — A lot of these were steampunk or sci-fi so this one was different as a high-fantasy story, but I loved it just as much! There’s a definite richness to the world and characters, like this is just a window onto so much more. It was suspenseful and exciting and I enjoyed this one a lot, especially the characters! It was vibrant and unique!
  9. Little Lost Heart Sing by Nate Philbrick — My heart! I hardly even have words for this one, as seems to happen a lot with this author’s stories which wrap around my heart and tug me right into the story. Powerful. Mysterious. Heartfelt. And just so, so beautiful, even as it leaves you going WAIT WHAT. I guess twists are just a theme in this collection! But yeah, this one was amazing too and I’m just speechless!

They’re all just SO GOOD, oh my word! Collections can be so hit-or-miss for me, but I enjoyed each and every one of these stories so much, and would give them all five stars, and they’re all so DIFFERENT while still exploring themes of time. Excellent stories and a great way to try out the styles of these wonderful authors. I just so enjoyed reading these. ^_^ This collection is phenomenal!

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Looking for more of my book reviews? Check them out here!

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Madness Solver in Wonderland Cover Reveal!

Y’all, I’m so excited to be sharing the cover reveal for a Wonderland retelling duology by E.E. Rawls! I loved her books Strayborn and Beast of the Night (click the titles to check out my reviews for those), so I can only imagine how neat this one’s going to be — and the cover is AMAZING!!! I could stare at it all day!

Read on for all the info!

Book Blurb:

Teenage Madnes Hatter wants more to life than what his island hometown has to offer—and he definitely doesn’t want a boring future in hat-making, like his parents. But he sure doesn’t expect a well-dressed cat named Cheshire to suddenly pop into his life and make everything worse—giving him the power of the Madness Solver and making him the guardian and peacekeeper between Wonderland and Earth.

What the heck? When he said he wanted more to life, this wasn’t what he meant! Now, he’s the only one who can see Wonderland creatures as they walk the streets, and when there’s trouble, it’s his job to solve it. His friends, Alice and Harrey, think he’s going crazy.

But when a problem arises with the portals linking Wonderland to Earth, an old mystery is brought to light—the case of the death of the previous Madness Solver. Will Madnes meet the same fate, with the guardian power sapping away at his life? Wonderland’s ruler, the Red King, has cast a dangerous spell, and an ancient evil is rising. Madnes may not have long to save his friends and both worlds before it’s too late…

Book Links

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

Book Tour Opportunity

The Book Release Tour begins June 1st! If you would like to help promote this book on your social media or blog, please sign up HERE.

Author Bio

The product of a traveling family, who even lived in Italy for 6 years, Rawls loves to explore the unknown, whether it be in a forest, inside a forgotten castle, or within the pages of a book. She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind turning as she crafts tales that will both entertain and inspire, creating worlds one can explore and quickly become lost within. Beware, you might not find your way back out again. Visit her online at:

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM

Eeep! Doesn’t it sound so fun? And isn’t that cover amazing?? Any Wonderland fans out there? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer (Review)

I’m so excited to be reviewing this new release from Joanna Ruth Meyer! *flails around* Read on for all my thoughts!

And shoutout to this huge tree for being a part of my photoshoot. *grins*

(The scheduling didn’t work properly for this post, and I don’t have internet right now, so I’m trying to fix it from my phone. Hopefully there’s no weird formatting or anything due to this, but please forgive any wonkiness if there is!)

Title: Into the Heartless Wood

Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer

  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Publication date: January 12, 2021
  • Pages: 368 (e-book)
  • Series: No
  • Fave character: Owen!
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received an e-ARC of this book from the author and was under no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Whenever I dive into a Joanna Ruth Meyer novel, I prepare to be enchanted, but somehow I never prepare quite enough!

INTO THE HEARTLESS WOOD is a stunning and unique tale, with touches of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (both of which I got so happy about when I noticed nods to them) but simultaneously its own story. I stayed on the edge of my seat the whole time, never knowing what was going to happen next, and utterly enthralled the whole time. I couldn’t put it down! With brilliant twists, expertly-woven threads criss-crossing in a dazzling pattern through this skillful tapestry of story, this book enchanted me.

Can we talk about Owen? OWEN. This cinnamon roll character is amazing and must be protected at all costs. ‘Scuse me while I steal him from his author and wrap him in bubblewrap. His heart and stargazing and rashness and love and heartbreak. He’s just awesome, I can’t! And Seren too! I feel like I can’t talk much about her without spoilers but her arc was incredible and I love her too. Awk! I adore them and their story so, so much, and they give me all of the feels. They go through so much and grow so much and the way they improve each other and just — ! I’m blown away. Go meet them!

The world is amazing and I love it — the woods and castle mixed with slight technology like trains was perfection. (And for some reason I really loved the bits at the palace.) The writing was superb and so immersive, and the way Seren’s chapters were almost like poetry was so unique! Oh, and the side characters were awesome, and I especially like Owen’s two buddies later in the book. 😀

I love how this was a story about people — Owen and Seren and Owen’s little sister (aaahh she’s adorable!) and aaall the people they meet — but at the same time there’s this vast mass of plot building behind them with far-reaching tendrils until it explodes into the forefront at the end. It just felt so well-done, being a story about two people but also what they come up against on both sides (which was…also unique). Sooo fascinating and mythic and amazing!

Quick warning, for anyone who’s squeamish, that there’s quite a bit of blood and death and darkness here and there, but that’s literally the only downside and the book is just amazing. I adore this author’s writing and I love how… at home… I felt reading this book. I loved the Welsh-like names and the Maleficent-ish feel.

It’s a quintessential fairytale of dark beauty and love and sorrow and redemption. A story of a boy and a tree siren girl who meet against a backdrop of trees and stars. A story that’s grown tight around my heart and that I recommend to anyone who needs a dark fairytale and amazing writing in their life. A blazing star against the dark woods. Magnificent.


Also by this author:


Thanks for reading! 🙂

Ahab by E.B. Dawson (Book Review)

Sooo, I’ve got a review for a scifi Moby Dick retelling today! (I also posted it on my Instagram so this post is about the same as that, if you’ve already seen that, just with other info. :))

Title: Ahab

Author: E.B. Dawson

  • Date read: November 14, 2020
  • Rating: 4 stars? I don’t even know how to star this because most of it’s, like, 6 out of 5 stars. XD And then the ending is not okay. T_T So. ???
  • Genre: Sci-fi / Space Opera / Retelling
  • Age: YA/NA?
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 191 (ebook)
  • Series: No
  • Fave character: Don’t make me choose between Ahab and Starbuck. They are both amazing in different ways and are the best working together.
  • Source: The author (e-ARC) and Amazon (finished ebook I preordered)
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

I physically can’t properly review this. I couldn’t handle that ending but otherwise AHAB was amazing and until then I loved every second of it!

E.B. Dawson’s scifi is my favorite, and this one blended old and new, a wonderful Moby Dick retelling set in space, chilling and charming at turns. And Ahab and Starbuck are everything. Buddy stories are the BEST. This came SO close to being one of my top fave books of the year. 1800s-ish feeling but IN SPACE?? So amazing. 💚

I need happy endings, though. I NEED them.

I saw this sad ending coming but foolishly held out hope. Heh. So yeah, while I hated the ending and will not apologize for that (#happyendingsadvocate because #hope), the rest of the book was AMAZING and if you like buddy stories and don’t mind some feels/tragic-to-bittersweet endings, you will LOVE this.

(It also says something about the sheer quality of this book that I don’t hate the book, only the ending–which often makes me write a book off completely. It was utterly entrancing, overall.)

So yes. Good book. Sad ending. Like, couldn’t fall asleep, type sad. 😭 (If you need even MORE feels while reading, you can listen to In the Embers by Sleeping At Last, Brother by Kodaline, and Burn the Ships by For King and Country, which is what I did accidentally. Um. Yeah. Some awesome songs I’ve been listening to lately and a very feelzy combination with this book. It felt quite…ironic.)

The book was amazing while I was reading it, though. Just. Wow. Every word was just–on point. And, again, that 1800s feel? But scifi at the same time? It was perfection. How often do you get a buddy story with intense space voyages but also a gorgeous ball/party and walking 1800s-type streets. I could read this foreverrrr. All of it was incredible until the last chapter or so.

Now excuse me while I go lowkey imagine a (non-heartrending) alternate ending and also flail about how spectacular the rest of the book was.

Aaand I’ll just go cry now, thx. 😭

(Confession: I’ve never actually read the original, and the Moby Dick “book” in this picture is actually a wooden bookend. 😂 Maybe the original prepares you for the ending? 😬 I wouldn’t know. 😅 Also, I adored getting to the part near the end which is basically the Voyage of the Pequod short story, just a little different. I reread it along with the book and enjoyed it immensely. And hey, if AHAB sounds amazing but like me you can’t handle tragicness, do pick up VOYAGE OF THE PEQUOD.)

Thanks to the author for the e-ARC even though I ended up reading the final ebook I ordered since I read it after release because I’m so behind on my reading. 😂


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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dust by Kara Swanson: Cover Reveal!

Guys! There’s a Peter Pan retelling by Kara Swanson releasing this summer and I am SO excited to share the cover with y’all today! It’s the absolute most gorgeous thing and I’m super stoked for this book!

Releasing in July 2020, Dust is a Peter Pan retelling/sequel, and book one of the Heirs of Neverland duology. Dust will release in limited edition hardcover first, and preorders are open now!

(Also, there are digital preorder incentives available which I will share about at the end of the post.)

First, a bit about the book!


Dust by Kara Swanson

The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.

Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London… and a boy who shouldn’t exist.

Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.

The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.


And now the coverrrr!

Excuse me while I make incoherent pterydactyl shrieks and stare at it forever! ❤ I mean, just look at it!

(Also, I may have a small Peter Pan obsession, so there’s that.)

Bigger version so you can join me in staring at it for a thousand years.

LINKS

Preorder (Limited edition hardcover)Preorder Incentives (from the author)


Talk to me! What do you think of the cover? Does it sound exciting? Thanks for reading!

The Road to Bremen! (by Kelsey Bryant)

The winner for the giveaway of a signed paperback of Common is . . . Raechel L.! Congrats, Raechel! The winner has been contacted. Thanks so much to everyone who entered! Stay tuned for more giveaways because I love sharing the bookish love! ^_^

Speaking of bookish love, I’m here with a review of a lovely novella/children’s book which released TODAY, and is a retelling of The Bremen Town Musicians! GUYS. I LOVED THIS LITTLE BOOK. ❤

The Road to Bremen by Kelsey Bryant

Utterly charming! A tale full of heart. ❤

I’ve always loved the fairytale of the Bremen Town Musicians, the old donkey and dog and cat and rooster on the road to become musicians in Bremen. I have fond memories of hearing an audio version of the story, and a particular picture book I found fascinating with pictures I remember vividly.

So when I heard Kelsey Bryant was writing a retelling of it, I was ecstatic! Her pen skillfully brought this story to life in this novella-sized children’s book, complete with charming illustrations by E. Kaiser Writes.

I loved how it felt true to the original tale but brought out new and unexpected things too, with some excellent twists and turns! It has its own share of excitement and adventure and, yes, peril at times! But it still feels so absolutely cozy at the same time, which made me happy. 🙂

The Road to Bremen is like a golden sunbeam across a field of wheat on a quiet summer day. It just FEELS lovely. You want to bask in it as you read. It’s rich and well-written and draws you along like a breeze calling you to the shade of the forest. You can feel the dust of the road and you’ll smile or laugh at the quiet humor or the banter between these larger-than-life (but so REAL!) animal characters as they go on their adventure.

The characters are so loveable! Etzel the donkey, from whose perspective the story is told, absolutely stole my heart. I just love this donkey and his voice! He has so much character. Jager the dog is sort of mournful but funny. XD Katarina is so CAT-like and prim, and I loved the dog-vs.-cat references. And then Rudiger is so extremely vain and always quoting Aesop and it’s great. XD I just love them all! You have to read this to meet them! There are a couple of human characters, of course, who add to the story, but I won’t spoil anything by talking about them. 😉

Also, I love that it’s set in Germany and how there are German words thrown in here and there. I felt so immersed in the forest and town and roads and setting. It made me think a little of Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings and made me feel at home. 🙂

I totally recommend this if you enjoy retellings and need a quick, novella-sized read, or if you have children in your life. I feel like it would be a wonderful book to read aloud!

Just— *hugs book* It feels totally classic and makes me happy! ^_^

Disclaimer: I beta-read this book. I was not required to write a review and the opinions are my own.


About the Book

Their lives are saved by a dream. But only friendship can make that dream a reality.

Once upon a time…

Etzel the donkey is getting old, but he works hard on his farm—until the day Herr Hoffman decides he is no longer worth keeping. With no choice but to escape, Etzel sets off on the road to Bremen to seek his fortune as a musician. On the way, he rescues three other animals—a dog, a cat, and a rooster—who are also old and destined for death.

Will these four new friends find their success and worth as musicians in Bremen? Or does the road hold something better?

Based on “The Bremen Town Musicians” from the Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Ideal for kids from 7 to 11 years old, but great for all those young at heart.


About the Author

Kelsey Bryant lives in Central Texas, but being one-quarter German, she’s always wanted to visit Germany. Bogged down during the crafting of a much longer book, Kelsey started writing a retelling of one of her favorite fairy tales, “The Bremen Town Musicians,” to resuscitate her creativity. She rather liked the result.

Kelsey is the author of the Six Cousins series and Suit and Suitability, part of the Vintage Jane Austen series. The Road to Bremen is her first book for children. Besides writing fiction, Kelsey is a copyeditor, a martial arts instructor, and an avid student of the Bible. Visit her at kelseybryantauthor.com or on her blog, Kelsey’s Notebook.


Links

Purchase on Amazon (paperback or ebook)

Add on Goodreads

Announcement Post on the author’s blog!


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Thanks for reading! 🙂