Tag Archives: Fairytale

The Golden Braid

_225_350_Book.1770.coverBook Review: The Golden Braid

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Book Look Bloggers’ website description of The Golden Braid:

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.

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I have been a huge fan of Melanie Dickerson and her books since I first read The Healer’s Apprentice when I was a teenager. I have always loved fairytales, and Melanie has a way of taking well-known stories and twisting them into a new, beautiful tale.

The Golden Braid was so much fun to read, from the somewhat arrogant Sir Gerek, to the overbearing and slightly insane Mother Gothel, to Rapunzel herself, in all her misconceptions and quiet strength. The characters in this book were just as interesting and infuriating as in Melanie’s other books. And, as always, the setting is crafted in such a way that it shines through as almost a character unto itself. I enjoyed how the plot touched on those from previous books, allowing us to see beloved characters from another angle.

As usual, I loved Melanie’s latest book, and I eagerly anticipate her next release. She has one more book in the same medieval fairytale vein as The Golden Braid, but she has a new book releasing in February that is a Regency novel, which I am beyond excited to read! What I love about Melanie’s books, is that they are perfect for a teen reader, but they are also well-suited and interesting for an older reader as well. If you’ve never read anything by Melanie, but enjoy books that retell old stories, with romance, adventure, and mystery, then you have got to pick up one of her books!

About the Author

Biography from Book Look Bloggers’ website: Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on line at melaniedickerson.com, Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks, and Twitter @melanieauthor.

I was given a review copy of The Golden Braid from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Five Enchanted Roses

FiveEnchantedRosesFinalCoverBook Review: Five Enchanted Roses

Authors: Kaycee Browning, Savannah Jezowski, Jenelle Schmidt, Dorian Tsukioka, and Hayden Wand

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Amazon’s website description of Five Enchanted Roses:

Rediscover the Enchantment!

A ship bearing the souls of sinful sailors drifts upon a ghostly sea. An abbey looms as the final defense between mortals and ghouls of the underworld. In the stillness of a throne room, statues stand forever frozen in a moment of terror. Monsters and men stalk their prey deep in the jungle’s shadows. A rose blooms in the dead of winter, sheltered in the ruins of an ancient Scottish castle.

And only true love can free the Beast from his prison.

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I try to read two or three novella collections every year, simply because I love the flow of a shorter story and the creativity that can be used in such a collection. After reading the Five Glass Slippers collection from last year, I knew that Five Enchanted Roses would need to be on my to be read list. Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite fairy tale, though I know it is also one of the most debated. So, let’s get right into it and I’ll tell you what I thought of this collection.

Esprit De La Rose was fascinating and confusing as I scrambled to keep up with what was going on, just like Cecilia, the heroine had to do. I loved the element of pirates and the amazing creativity the author had to come up with to form the unique story world for the novella. It’s a great start to the collection, one that will press you to keep reading until the end.

Wither was…spell bounding. I couldn’t predict a single thing that would happen in this novella. The Beast of this tale was complicated and who he ends up being was a surprise for me. I liked the heroine’s spunk and the hero’s noble cause. It’s a story that will give you chills, yet also manages to attain the elements of Beauty and the Beast.

Stone Curse twists the original tale on its side and views the story from a new angle, one that kept me guessing and had me intrigued. Rather than have the ‘beauty’ come to the castle, we see that character already there and the beast is not entirely expected. Redemption would be the key word for this tale, for more than one character.

Rosara and the Jungle King was so much fun to read! The setting of the Amazon rainforest was awesome, the villain was truly terrible, and the beast intriguing. I wasn’t quite sure how a happy ending would be attained, or if it would be, but the ending is satisfying and definitely worth the read.

The Wulver’s Rose, the final novella in the collection, sticks closest to the original story yet still has its own unique elements to make it a good read. The use of the prologue and epilogue was excellent, and the motivation of Bonnie was well-done. I felt for the poor girl, as well as for the beast. In all, a good ending to the collection.

Rooglewood Press puts out another great fairy tale retelling collection, again bringing stories bursting with creativity that will keep the reader delighted and entertained, challenged and satisfied. I highly recommend this collection to lovers of fairy tales and the Beauty and the Beast story. In this collection, you’ll find the story as you’ve never read it before.

About the Authors

Biography from Rooglewood Press’s Website: Kaycee Browning is a homeschooled teenager living in North Carolina. She wrote her first novel when she was thirteen and published a novel at age fifteen. When not writing, she is most likely amusing herself by reading, fangirling, hanging out with friends, or (occasionally) doing her schoolwork. She resides with her two amazing parents, her three awesome siblings, and her two bossy dachshunds.To find out more about Kaycee and her work, visit: www.KayceeBrowning.com

Savannah Jezowski lives in a drafty farmhouse in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor, who is no less shiny after eight years of matrimony, and a loyal brigade of kitties, who may or may not sleep on the job. Her work has been published in Ray Gun Revival, Mindflights, and in the student publication of Fountains at Pensacola Christian College. She likes books, faeries, writing hats, and having tea with her imaginary friends. To learn more about Savannah and her work, visit: www.SavannahJaysWorkshop.blogspot.com

Jenelle Schmidt grew up in the northern-midwest. She now resides with her husband and their three adorable children in North Carolina where the summers are too hot and there is never enough snow. Jenelle fell in love with reading at a young age during family storytimes. To this day she enjoys creating exciting adventure tales filled with poignant themes and compelling characters in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.To learn more about Jenelle and her work, visit: www.JenelleSchmidt.com

Dorian Tsukioka writes fairy tale retellings, young adult fantasy, and science fiction with just a dash of romance thrown in to keep things spicy. When she’s not writing, Dorian teaches 5th graders in Kansas City, MO, or she can be found chasing after her two, pixie-esque daughters. She has a love of learning and teaching, and loves to talk about books with anyone who will listen, especially if the conversation includes cinnamon-chip scones and caramel lattes.To learn more about Dorian and her work, visit: www.DorianWrites.blogspot.com

Hayden Wand is a Christian and a homeschool graduate who has loved the classic story of Beauty and the Beast since the age of three, when she saw the Disney movie for the first time. When she’s not writing, reading, or bribing her siblings to read the classics, you can find her baking, crafting, practicing her archery skills, or watching her favorite shows on the BBC. She lives in South Carolina with her parents and four energetic younger siblings. To learn more about Hayden and her work, visit: www.everystory-storygirl.blogspot.com

I was given a review copy of Five Enchanted Roses from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.