Sunday, March 31, 2013

{Interview} Jenni James, Author of The Faerie Tale Collection Series

Click here to go back to the Fairy Tale Fortnight Main Page, 
where you can access the schedule!
Here's what's going on at A Backwards Story!
 Or go here to get involved!

Check out today's review of the first five Faerie Tale Collection books!

There will be 25 books in the Faerie Tale Collection series!


The Faerie Tale Collection is available on nook and Kindle for $2.99 a tale.  
What a great deal!
~*~

Jenni is the mother of seven rambunctious children (including teenagers!). They currently live in New Mexico and a few years ago we moved back to the States after living nine awesome years in the Azores Islands of Portugal and England! Her kids love the USA! 

When she's not writing up a storm, she enjoys reading, acting, portrait painting, directing plays, cooking, planning eleborate parties and chasing her kids around the house.

Jenni James has written five books in the Faerie Tale Collection series, five in The Jane Austen Diaries, one middle-grade novel entitled PRINCE TENNYSON, and three adult novels in the Eternal Realm Series.


Visit Jenni on her website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter!
An interview with 
author Jenni James

Which fairy tale would you most like to spend 24 hours inside of, and which the least?

Ooh, I think sneaking down into the magical kingdom with The Twelve Dancing Princesses would be amazing! Can you imagine dancing with the princes all night? So much fun! My least favorite would be Snow White… I think. That would be some scary stuff there. Lol!

If you could merge any two fairy tales (introduce the characters, combine the worlds, etc), which would they be and what would result?

Lol! I’ve just done it! And I loved it! In my version of Hansel and Gretel, she’s a hidden princess from the enemy Larkein kingdom and Hansel saves her. They fall in love and eventually marry and have children, nestled in their cozy cottage. Their children are Jack and Jill and are the main two characters from Jack in the Beanstalk. They must go back to Larkein to meet the witch who can help them and face the giant who has Jack’s fiancé and the witch’s baby—Verity. 

Now get this: Verity has a magical gift—she can turn things into gold. So when they defeat the witch and the giant, Jack brings Verity to Hansel and Gretel to raise. They do, and her story will be a book that will come out this summer called: The Princess With the Golden Touch and then Verity’s daughter will be Little Red Riding Hood, with Gretel as the grandmother. All of them will be hidden princesses, with ties to Larkein and living in the same village of cottages. So, so much fun!


You have a fairy godmother who is granting you one perfect day: what does that entail? Perfect day?

Going on an adventure with my seven kids. We’ve done a lot of stuff together, and I think having an opportunity to see something we’ve never seen before would be awesome. Like, Sicily or Egypt or Moscow… You know… something cool!

Your favorite obscure (or less well-known) fairy tale?

King Thrushbeard is the most fascinating to me, and I’m anxious to rewrite that one. There are some definite flaws in it, that I hope to smooth over and show both the king and queen’s growth.


QUICKFIRE FUN STUFF:
This or That?


Seven League Boots or Glass Slippers? 

I’m a glass slippers girl all the way!


Castle or Cottage?

Ooh… Merk. This one is hard. I would say castle of course, just for all the lovely parties and balls I could throw, but while living in England and Portugal we saw lots of castles, and they’re just massive! Not really the most family friendly places to live… cold too! So, I would go with a nice big cottage, with higher ceilings than most cottages have.


Talking Birds or Talking Mice?

Bird definitely.


Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm?

Hans Christian Andersen all the way!
Would You Rather...
Ride in a pumpkin carriage (sticky) or climb a hair-rope (tiring) to get where you're going?

Just to say I actually did it. I mean, it’s a MAGIC pumpkin, come on! That would be fun, I don’t care how dirty you get.

Face 3 Billy Goats Gruff or 3 Bears from Goldilocks?

Eeep. Well the three bears seemed nicer. I’ll go with them.

Drink an Alice-ish "Drink Me" potion or eat part of a witch's gingerbread house?

Ooh… My Hansel and Gretel candy house weaved a spell over them and made them forget who they were, etc. I’ll go with Alice’s Drink Me potion. At least I’d always have my wits about me.


Be able to spin straw into gold or have precious gems drop from your lips when you speak?

Straw into gold. Yeesh. It would get annoying always coughing up jewels. ;)

Thank you so much, Jenni!
I love the way the next batch of fairy tales will remain "in the family" and all tie together.
I'm looking forward to them even more now!
  ~*~
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:
(series information)

Title:  BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out June 4, 2012
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Purchased
SUMMARY:

A prince by day and a wolf by night— 


Prince Alexander has been turned into a werewolf and has one year to find someone to love the beast and break the spell, or he will be a wolf forever. He has nearly given up achieving the impossible, knowing no girl would ever fall in love with such a monster. 

Just when he is about to abdicate the throne to his cousin, he meets Cecelia Hammerstein-Smythe, while a wolf, and begins to hope for the first time in months. Can he balance both worlds as a human and beast, gaining the love and trust of a girl who has every reason to despise him? 

Cecelia detests the prince. She only knows Alexander as the arrogant monarch—the tyrant who has made her life miserable—though perhaps he's changed right before her eyes. He's not as full of himself as he once was. The prince is gentle now... but then again, so is the beast.


Title:  SLEEPING BEAUTY
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out Dec. 1, 2012
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Purchased
SUMMARY:

The sleeping girl has no idea she is asleep. 


After Aleyna witnessed the cruel deaths of her family, she was put to sleep by Ezralon the unicorn. He has been keeping her safe, hidden in the forest, until her true prince could come and rescue her. 

While Aleyna is protected in the forest, her spirit walks the halls of her ruined, deserted castle in a dream-like existence, believing everything is still perfect. However, she is halted in this state—almost as if time were frozen—until the prince awakens her. 

Prince Darién of Lybrooke Court loves a challenge as much as the next man, but believes it will be a fool’s errand to rescue a ghost who is already dead! He’s convinced no one could have survived sleeping thirty years, so what is the point of rescuing a girl who is quite content to haunt on her own? 

Of course, if Darién wasn’t so afraid of ghouls, this whole thing could be much easier to fathom...


Title:  RUMPLESTILTSKIN
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out Jan. 31, 2013
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Borrowed
SUMMARY:

A young prince crippled by a witch— 


When Fredrico watches his cruel family mourn his false death and announce to the kingdom their cursed prince has died, is the day he truly embraces his new life and new name Rumplestiltskin. How could he be known by anything else? —His skin is completely rumpled and stilted now. He hides away from the king and queen and grows up as a crippled servant in the castle. 

Years later, his younger brother, Marcus, becomes king and humors Aubrynn’s father when he boasts that his daughter can turn straw into gold. Intrigued Marcus locks the distraught maiden in a tower and declares to the kingdom that if she can transform the straw, he will marry her, but if she cannot he will kill her father. 

Rumplestiltskin is determined to help Aubrynn save her father and marry the king. Now, if only he can remember to keep his real identity a secret and not fall in love with her himself…


Title:  CINDERELLA
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out Feb. 18, 2013
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Borrowed
SUMMARY:

A girl with a secret and a prince on a mission 


When Prince Anthony spies Eleanoria Woodston outside her family home dressed as a servant, he knows something is amiss. Pretending to be John, his cousin’s outrider, he decides to take matters into his own hands and figure out why Ella hasn’t been seen at court. And more importantly why the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in the kingdom dresses like a pauper. 

Ella has had her own bout of trials, including losing her beloved father and facing the wrath and jealousy of her stepmother and stepsisters. Becoming a servant doesn’t seem all that bad until the handsome John comes into her life, now he appears to be upsetting everything. Never before has she been so unsettled. Just his presence is making her dream of a life beyond this one. 

When John invites Ella to the ball and she grudgingly accepts, he wonders if he’s truly losing his mind. How would he ever pull off pretending to be John while obviously hosting the ball as Anthony? Especially when the stubborn girl has made it quite obvious she would never attend a ball with a snobbish prince.



Title:  HANSEL AND GRETEL
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out March 14, 2013
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Borrowed
SUMMARY:

A hidden princess and the boy who saves her life— 


Hansel's father finds a child lost and alone during a violent thunderstorm. After bringing her in from the tempest, he and his son are startled to discover that she is Gretel, a princess of Larkein--the enemy kingdom their own king has just destroyed. Fearful for her life, Hansel pleads with his father to save her. He believes they can make Gretel good by teaching her their ways. His kindhearted father agrees, but with great trepidation. 

Ten years later, Gretel has grown into a lovely young woman who both infuriates and drives Hansel to distraction while he attempts to not lose his heart to her. When the Larkein witch comes back in the guise of a beautiful woman and marries their father, everything is set into a tailspin. Now they must figure out their new stepmother's plans and prevent her from destroying them all before it is too late.



JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, SNOW WHITE, THE FROG PRINCESS, and THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES will be the next two published titles in the series!

{Review} The Faerie Tale Collection Series by Jenni James

Click here to go back to the Fairy Tale Fortnight Main Page, 
where you can access the schedule!
Here's what's going on at A Backwards Story!
 Or go here to get involved!

Check out today's interview with Jenni James!

There will be 25 books in the Faerie Tale Collection series!


The Faerie Tale Collection is available on nook and Kindle for $2.99 a tale.  
What a great deal!


Since I'm reviewing all five books in one go so you get my thoughts on all of them for Fairy Tale Fortnight, I'm limiting myself to two paragraphs of thoughts/summary-mix per title.  
See the Summary Wrap-Up at the bottom of this post for a full summary of each title!

All of the books so far in the Faerie Tale Collection series have had unique spins on the tales, which is something that intrigues me most about them!

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

This one is the most paranormal of the series so far, since it features a werewolf of sorts.  Only...the Beast character isn't really a werewolf, but cursed to take on the shape unless someone can fall in love with him in that form before his thirtieth birthday.  When I first heard that he was a werewolf, I groaned, too, but it really isn't like that.  I enjoyed seeing the dynamic between Cecelia (Beauty) and Prince Alexander (Beast) as it shaped and developed.

The new twist here is the fact that Cecelia and Alexander already know one another--and they mutually dislike one another, too.  Alexander comes across Cecelia in wolf form during a rough patch in her life and begins sympathizing with her.  The two begin to meet and become friends.  Cecelia doesn't realize that he's Alexander in disguise, and when Alexander becomes nicer to her, she's confused as her affections split between two different beings.  I admit that I have a soft spot for this element in fiction; you often see it in superhero stories, etc.  I liked the additional element here and feel that I  haven't seen this take on Beauty and the Beast before.
 ~*~

SLEEPING BEAUTY

Another tale with a unique spin from Jenni James.  This one is hard to talk about without spoiling things, but essentially...while Aleyna (Sleeping Beauty) sleeps, she doesn't know that she's under an enchantment.  She goes through life as though living each day anew, never realizing that everything around her is fake and that her castle was destroyed, along with everyone she loves.  When people visit her castle, they see her wandering as a ghost.  Prince Darién is dared to go to the ruins with three of his friends who know he's afraid of ghosts, and the revelations that are revealed stun everyone.

I thought the spin on this one was unique as well, and a careful blend of paranormal (ghosts) and fantasy (unicorns, etc.).   Darién grows a lot throughout the story.  His Achilles' Heel is his fear of ghosts, so the fact that he finds himself falling for the ghostly Aleyna frightens him.  Only through his relationship with her can he begin overcoming his fear.  There's also a new war coming as Aleyna begins to awaken.  At times, there's a lot going on, but there are also more characters involved than in most of the stories in the collection.  This one is really hard to give thoughts on without spoiling a lot!
 ~*~

RUMPLESTILTSKIN

My favorite in the collection so far.  Rumplestiltskin has never been my favorite fairy tale.  Until the amazingness of his character was made present in ABC's hit TV series Once Upon a Time, I never expected to like him at all, but I began feeling for him and his backstory.  I admire Rumplestiltskin even more after reading Jenni James' take on the story.  Our Rumple, whose given name is Fredrico, comes from a family of cruel rulers.  To prevent the family from continuing on this path, Fredrico is cursed into a twisted form.  He's banished from the family and hides in the castle, lurking and stealing food with the help of a sympathetic maid as his younger brother, Marcus, rises to power as a ruler as cruel as their father.  When Marcus hears it declared that a maiden named Aubrynn can turn straw into gold, he locks her away and puts her to the test. Fredrico finds himself drawn to Aubrynn and assists her in every way he can. Together, they learn magic, discover the meaning of true love, and bring down the wrath of a psychotic king.

There is so much new stuff going on in RUMPLESTILTSKIN! I love that Rumple is related to the royal family, that's he cursed, that the magic behind the spinning is part of the enchantment. There's a sort of Beauty and the Beast twist going on, which adds another layer to the story for me. Because of the mix of elements both new and strange, old and familar introduced to the story, I was completely intrigued and blew right through this one. My favorite by far!
 ~*~

CINDERELLA

This version of Cinderella continues the tradition set up by two of my favorite retellings, ELLA ENCHANTED and the movie Ever After.  Our Cinderella, Eleanoria (or Ella for short) knows Prince Anthony before the ball.  It steers closer to Ever After in the fact that there is a secret identity, only this time, it's Ella that doesn't know that she's hanging out with a prince.  She just knows him as John, the village boy she always beat at horse raising.  Anthony, of course, remembers Ella, and doesn't understand why she's wearing servant's clothing and so downtrodden now considering the family she comes from.  He befriends her initially to discover the truth behind what's happened to her, but their friendship evolves into something deeper and longer-lasting.  Another Ever After spin is the way one of the stepsisters isn't evil, but able to help make Ella's life slightly easier.  This time around, Ella helps her out as well.

There's good chemistry between Ella and Anthony, even as lurking secrets fester.  I also enjoyed the inclusion of Anthony's mother, who has a good, kind soul.  I like the fact that in this retelling, the prince's parents aren't gung-ho about him marrying and trying to form an alliance with another country.  Instead, the queen genuinely wants the best for her son, which was an element I liked a lot.  There's no magic pumpkin, no fairy godmother, no secret dress.  Everything is known, at least in some capacity, which changes the dynamic with Cinderella's stepmother, with our Cinderella's outlook on the ball, with the way our Prince must juggle his two identities from the girl he's rapidly falling for... It's a fresh spin on a very played-out tale.
 ~*~

HANSEL AND GRETEL

This fairy tale is the first to twine together another fairy tale, which will have repercussions on future tales today.  Check out today's interview with author Jenni James for more secrets about this interesting turn of events.  Hansel and Gretel are older in this tale, no longer children tossed out by their parents due to a lack of food, etc.  Instead, Gretel is the long-lost princess from a war-torn kingdom, discovered as a lost child and taken in by Hansel's family.  Over the last year, Hansel has found himself with feelings that are no longer brother-like, much as he tries to stamp them out.  When his father brings home a new wife, everything changes.  There's something off about her, something wrong.  She hates Gretel and wants to toss her out, but Hansel will do anything to save but her and his father before it's too late.

When I saw the age of the characters and the inclusion of a princess in hiding, I wondered where Jenni James was going with this retelling.  There are, once again, the inclusion of new, original elements to the tale.  And the gingerbread house...I haven't seen anything quite like this one!  The creepiness reminds me of the sticky candy sweetness from Jackson Pearce's SWEETLY (my review).  I don't want to spoil things here, but the way things connect in this version intrigue me.  This is also the first time I've seen this retold where Hansel and Gretel aren't from the same family, where Gretel is a princess in  hiding.  All of these elements added a new factor to the tell.  The fact that the father is enchanted by the new wife he brings home is a very familiar twist to many fairy tale fans, but not a twist often seen in Hansel and Gretel.  All these new additions help bring an old tale alive again, while still retaining the flavor of a traditional fairy tale.

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, SNOW WHITE, THE FROG PRINCESS, and THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES  will be the next four published titles in the series!



 COVER FLASH: 

I really like all of the covers in this collection!  They look very fairy tale-esque and you can clearly tell, for the most part, what tale they're from without ever seeing the title.  
I like the way the series logo appears on each cover, too.
These covers get better as the series progresses.  
My favorite "current covers" are CINDERELLA, and HANSEL AND GRETEL.
From the upcoming releases, I adore SNOW WHITE, THE FROG PRINCE, and THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES.
Which are your favorite covers?

 ~*~
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:
(series information)

Title:  BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out June 4, 2012
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Purchased
SUMMARY:

A prince by day and a wolf by night— 


Prince Alexander has been turned into a werewolf and has one year to find someone to love the beast and break the spell, or he will be a wolf forever. He has nearly given up achieving the impossible, knowing no girl would ever fall in love with such a monster. 

Just when he is about to abdicate the throne to his cousin, he meets Cecelia Hammerstein-Smythe, while a wolf, and begins to hope for the first time in months. Can he balance both worlds as a human and beast, gaining the love and trust of a girl who has every reason to despise him? 

Cecelia detests the prince. She only knows Alexander as the arrogant monarch—the tyrant who has made her life miserable—though perhaps he's changed right before her eyes. He's not as full of himself as he once was. The prince is gentle now... but then again, so is the beast.


Title:  SLEEPING BEAUTY
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out Dec. 1, 2012
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Purchased
SUMMARY:

The sleeping girl has no idea she is asleep. 


After Aleyna witnessed the cruel deaths of her family, she was put to sleep by Ezralon the unicorn. He has been keeping her safe, hidden in the forest, until her true prince could come and rescue her. 

While Aleyna is protected in the forest, her spirit walks the halls of her ruined, deserted castle in a dream-like existence, believing everything is still perfect. However, she is halted in this state—almost as if time were frozen—until the prince awakens her. 

Prince Darién of Lybrooke Court loves a challenge as much as the next man, but believes it will be a fool’s errand to rescue a ghost who is already dead! He’s convinced no one could have survived sleeping thirty years, so what is the point of rescuing a girl who is quite content to haunt on her own? 

Of course, if Darién wasn’t so afraid of ghouls, this whole thing could be much easier to fathom...


Title:  RUMPLESTILTSKIN
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out Jan. 31, 2013
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Borrowed
SUMMARY:

A young prince crippled by a witch— 


When Fredrico watches his cruel family mourn his false death and announce to the kingdom their cursed prince has died, is the day he truly embraces his new life and new name Rumplestiltskin. How could he be known by anything else? —His skin is completely rumpled and stilted now. He hides away from the king and queen and grows up as a crippled servant in the castle. 

Years later, his younger brother, Marcus, becomes king and humors Aubrynn’s father when he boasts that his daughter can turn straw into gold. Intrigued Marcus locks the distraught maiden in a tower and declares to the kingdom that if she can transform the straw, he will marry her, but if she cannot he will kill her father. 

Rumplestiltskin is determined to help Aubrynn save her father and marry the king. Now, if only he can remember to keep his real identity a secret and not fall in love with her himself…


Title:  CINDERELLA
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out Feb. 18, 2013
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Borrowed
SUMMARY:

A girl with a secret and a prince on a mission 


When Prince Anthony spies Eleanoria Woodston outside her family home dressed as a servant, he knows something is amiss. Pretending to be John, his cousin’s outrider, he decides to take matters into his own hands and figure out why Ella hasn’t been seen at court. And more importantly why the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in the kingdom dresses like a pauper. 

Ella has had her own bout of trials, including losing her beloved father and facing the wrath and jealousy of her stepmother and stepsisters. Becoming a servant doesn’t seem all that bad until the handsome John comes into her life, now he appears to be upsetting everything. Never before has she been so unsettled. Just his presence is making her dream of a life beyond this one. 

When John invites Ella to the ball and she grudgingly accepts, he wonders if he’s truly losing his mind. How would he ever pull off pretending to be John while obviously hosting the ball as Anthony? Especially when the stubborn girl has made it quite obvious she would never attend a ball with a snobbish prince.



Title:  HANSEL AND GRETEL
Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out March 14, 2013
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Borrowed
SUMMARY:

A hidden princess and the boy who saves her life— 


Hansel's father finds a child lost and alone during a violent thunderstorm. After bringing her in from the tempest, he and his son are startled to discover that she is Gretel, a princess of Larkein--the enemy kingdom their own king has just destroyed. Fearful for her life, Hansel pleads with his father to save her. He believes they can make Gretel good by teaching her their ways. His kindhearted father agrees, but with great trepidation. 

Ten years later, Gretel has grown into a lovely young woman who both infuriates and drives Hansel to distraction while he attempts to not lose his heart to her. When the Larkein witch comes back in the guise of a beautiful woman and marries their father, everything is set into a tailspin. Now they must figure out their new stepmother's plans and prevent her from destroying them all before it is too late.



JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, SNOW WHITE, THE FROG PRINCESS, and THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES  will be the next two published titles in the series!

{Interview} Michelle Davidson Argyle, Author of BONDED: Three Fairy Tales

Click here to go back to the Fairy Tale Fortnight Main Page, 
where you can access the schedule!
Here's what's going on at A Backwards Story!
 Or go here to get involved!

Check out my review of BONDED: Three Fairy Tales!


Michelle Davidson Argyle has previously stopped by A Backwards Story twice with guest posts about BONDED! 

The first, "A Different Sort of Fairy Tale," talks about how she came up with the idea for CINDERS, the Cinderella tale in her collection that was first self-published before making its way into the BONDED collection.

The second, "A Darker Collection of Fairy Tales," gives readers a sneak peek at the three tales used for the BONDED anthology!

I've also reviewed two of Michelle's non-fairy tale contemporary novels,

~*~

Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life. 

Visit Michelle on her website, Facebook, and Twitter!
An interview with 
author Michelle Davidson Argyle

What gave you the idea to write Sleeping Beauty from a fairy's POV?

I had already written the first two novellas in my collection and knew I wanted to write a prequel. Since my husband's favorite villain is Maleficent from Disney's Sleeping Beauty, I kept wondering how I could work with that. Then I realized, hey, why does she turn into a dragon, anyway? It all went from there!

Please tell us about your fascination with the obscure fairy tale One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes.

It's a fairy tale many people don't know about, so I thought that might be fun! More than anything, I wanted to retell that fairy tale because I've read it since I was a child. My parents had a big collection of Grimm's tales, and that was one of them. I remember the little sketch at the beginning of a girl with one eye. It was kind of freaky, and stuck in my mind for a long time, obviously!
During last year's Fairy Tale Fortnight,
Michelle wrote an awesome guest post
and featured this image she grew up with
from One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes.
Check it out for some more behind-the-scenes commentary!
As much as we may love any particular tale, each has its own "problematic" aspects (for me, I can't get over the fact that Prince Charming has to find Cinderella, the glorious love of his life, by matching up her feet. I mean, really?). Which problematic aspect of a tale really gets under your skin?

I think I'd have to choose Cinderella, as well. I've always had issues with how she doesn't seem to do much (aside from being used by her family) to earn everything that's handed to her. This explains why I felt the need to write CINDERS and explore the complications of believing an easier life is just a fairy godmother away.

Which fairy tale would you most like to spend 24 hours inside of, and which the least?

Probably Rapunzel the most and Hansel and Gretel the least (yuck for eating people!)

You have a fairy godmother who is granting you one perfect day: what does that entail?

Sushi, curry, and cheese, and a day on the beach with my husband.


QUICKFIRE FUN STUFF:
This or That?


Tower or Dungeon?

Tower.

Evil Queen or Wicked Witch?

Evil Queen.


Seven League Boots or Glass Slippers?

Glass Slippers.
Would You Rather...
Have a prince who makes out with your, um...corpse, essentially, or a prince who can only remember who you are by your shoe size?

Prince who makes out with I, um ... corpse. At least he'd remember me for me!

Drink an Alice-ish "Drink Me" potion or eat part of a witch's gingerbread house?

I hate Alice in Wonderland with every fiber of my being, so I'd have to choose the gingerbread house.


Be able to spin straw into gold or have precious gems drop from your lips when you speak?

Spin straw into gold! I think the gems would get annoying.


Be cursed with blindness (Rapunzel) or knife-like pain when you walk (Little Mermaid)?

Oh, that is tough ... probably the pain when I walk. At least I could just ride in a carriage all the time or something ...

Thank you so much, Michelle!
I always love having you stop by and visit us!
  ~*~
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  BONDED
Author: Michelle Davidson Argyle

Release Date: Out Nov. 1, 2012

Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Received: For Review
SUMMARY:
What happened after Cinderella married her prince? How did the evil sorceress in Sleeping Beauty turn evil in the first place? Discover these stories and a world filled with magic, forbidden love, elves, sprites, dragons, and the most powerful creatures of all— the fairies —in BONDED, a collection of three fairy tale inspired novellas.

CINDERS: A Cinderella sequel. Money can’t buy love, but magic isn’t a sure bet either. Cinderella, now officially a princess, finds royal life is not what she once dreamed. When a mysterious elf from her past stirs up long-suppressed passion, Cinderella begins to wonder if there really is love beneath the spell that captured her husband’s heart. But undoing magic can be harder than casting the initial spell, and the results are even less predictable.

THIRDS: A retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes. Issina is surrounded by magic, yet none of it belongs to her. Despised and abused by her mother and sisters, she finds comfort when she meets the beautiful elves living in the nearby woods. The elves want to help her discover her own magic, but it’s not the kind of power she hoped for, and she learns there is more to magic than getting what you want.

SCALES: A Sleeping Beauty prequel. The sun never sets in the realm of the fairies. When the young fairy Serina looks into her sister’s eyes, she sees darkness for the first time. After her mother is murdered, Serina defies fairy law to follow her sister to the human realm. There she discovers the strength of a bond, the weight of a promise, and the darkness in her own heart.

{Review Redux} BONDED: Three Fairy Tales by Michelle Davidson Argyle

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Check out today's interview with Michelle Davidson Argyle!


Michelle Davidson Argyle has previously stopped by A Backwards Story twice with guest posts about BONDED! 

The first, "A Different Sort of Fairy Tale," talks about how she came up with the idea for CINDERS, the Cinderella tale in her collection that was first self-published before making its way into the BONDED collection.

The second, "A Darker Collection of Fairy Tales," gives readers a sneak peek at the three tales used for the BONDED anthology!

I've also reviewed two of Michelle's non-fairy tale contemporary novels,

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

THE TWELFTH WEEK AFTER THE MARRIAGE, Cinderella grew tired of the servants.  She ordered them to leave her room and sank into the stiff oak chair in front of her dressing table.  Her skin felt dry, paper-thin, and parched.  She needed a drink of wine or a walk through the woods, but the woods she longed for were at her old home with her stepmother and stepsisters.
(Page 13, US e-ARC edition)

This review was first posted on November 13, 2012.

I've been anxious to read BONDED since first hearing about the collection, having already read the first book in the anthology, CINDERS.  I didn't know much about the fairy tale One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes, and was intrigued that it also included Sleeping Beauty, a tale I know well.  None of the tales in BONDED is one you'll be completely familiar with, since Davidson-Argyle adds her own unique spin to everything, and takes two of them outside the traditional timeline.
I reviewed CINDERS earlier this year, so I won't go into full details on that one, but I'm always impressed by the fact that it occurs after Happily Ever After.  What happens after Cinderella marries her prince?  Is she happy?  What if she isn't?  CINDERS stems from this concept, and you can find out more in my full review!

THIRDS was probably my favorite story in the collection, perhaps because I was unfamiliar with the tale.  I didn't pick up my volume of the Brothers Grimm to compare the two tales until I'd finished reading the novella.  While Davidson-Argyle still puts her unique spin on things and it reads differently from the original tale, THIRDS follows the original the most closely out of the three stories in BONDED.  There is also a lot more focus on the world the characters live in, as well as a larger focus on magical creatures such as elves and fairies and sprites, who are much more integral to the plot of all three stories than you might imagine on first glance.  While THIRDS is a darker tale that reminds me in small ways of Cinderella, it's also a story of hope and survival.

I also really enjoyed SCALES, which is a prequel to Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of a water fairy, Serina.  She and her sister are both able to control one of the four elements, and when her sister Aeline begins controlling a second element, fire, and escapes into the human world, everything spirals out of control.  Watching the pieces fall into place and seeing the way everything aligns and paves the way for the tragedy of Sleeping Beauty is breath-taking and takes on twists and dimensions I never imagined possible! 

BONDED brings together three self-contained fairy tales, where, while the characters never meet or know of one another, they all live in the same magical world, with the same rules of bonding and magic and life.  Each story is a little over a hundred pages, novella length, so they're fast to get through, but never feel too short.  I would recommend this one to any fairy tale lover!
~*~
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I like the unique texture of the model's hair, not to mention the way her pointy ears make it obvious she's an elf.  Elves are important throughout all three BONDED tales.

The way her eyes are closed allows potential readers to take on their own interpretation.  Is she at peace? Is she daydreaming? Is she mourning and gathering herself together to bear it?  So many ways of looking at this depending on how you look at her closed eyes and tilted lips!

I also like the fact that there's a reflection in the water, which, combined with the elf ears, leads me to believe that the model is supposed to be Serina, who is the main character in SCALES.

I also like the magic dust surrounding the title and the shape of the B!  It reminds me a lot of the design work on the original CINDERS cover!

This cover would attract me in a store.  Would it attract you?
  ~*~
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:


Title:  BONDED
Author: Michelle Davidson Argyle
Release Date: Out Nov. 1, 2012
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Received: For Review
SUMMARY:
What happened after Cinderella married her prince? How did the evil sorceress in Sleeping Beauty turn evil in the first place? Discover these stories and a world filled with magic, forbidden love, elves, sprites, dragons, and the most powerful creatures of all— the fairies —in BONDED, a collection of three fairy tale inspired novellas.

CINDERS: A Cinderella sequel. Money can’t buy love, but magic isn’t a sure bet either. Cinderella, now officially a princess, finds royal life is not what she once dreamed. When a mysterious elf from her past stirs up long-suppressed passion, Cinderella begins to wonder if there really is love beneath the spell that captured her husband’s heart. But undoing magic can be harder than casting the initial spell, and the results are even less predictable.

THIRDS: A retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes. Issina is surrounded by magic, yet none of it belongs to her. Despised and abused by her mother and sisters, she finds comfort when she meets the beautiful elves living in the nearby woods. The elves want to help her discover her own magic, but it’s not the kind of power she hoped for, and she learns there is more to magic than getting what you want.

SCALES: A Sleeping Beauty prequel. The sun never sets in the realm of the fairies. When the young fairy Serina looks into her sister’s eyes, she sees darkness for the first time. After her mother is murdered, Serina defies fairy law to follow her sister to the human realm. There she discovers the strength of a bond, the weight of a promise, and the darkness in her own heart.