Wednesday, April 30, 2014

{Guest Post} "White as Snow, Red as Blood, Perfect for a Retelling" with Author Sarah Cross

Check out the schedule of events for both
The Book Rat and A Backwards Story!
Don't miss a second of all the great stuff we have in store for you!
If you post about fairy tales online, share your link here!
Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
and stop back for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
and more!
Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest


Look for Sarah Cross's
brand-new fairy tale-inspired novel
TEAR YOU APART
coming from Egmont USA
in 2015!

Check out my reviews of
KILL ME SOFTLY
and
AFTER THE BALL
(Which you can read online right now for free!),
as well as an awesome guest post from last year's FTF as Sarah Cross discusses
"The Fairy Tale Princess You Don't Want to Be."



Sarah Cross is the author of the fairy tale novel KILL ME SOFTLY and TEAR YOU APART (coming January 2015), the superhero novel DULL BOY, and the Wolverine comic "The Adamantium Diaries." She loves fairy tales, lowbrow art, secret identities, and silence. 

If you want to know more about her, read one of her books. Her soul is in there somewhere. 


Current art inspirations & obsessions can be found at tumblrFairy Tale Mood, or pinterest.


Visit Sarah's website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook!


White as Snow, Red as Blood, 

Perfect for a Retelling
by Sarah Cross


Snow White is a fairy tale I never get tired of―probably because I first encountered it as a Disney movie, and so my belated discovery of the Grimms' tale made it seem that much more twisted in comparison. “Someday my prince will come” and the rosy-cheeked doll princess of 1937 collide with a tale of envy, suffocation and beautiful corpses. I love that there's no true love's kiss in the Grimms' Snow White. The prince simply sees Snow White while she's in her glass coffin, decides he has to have her, and offers to buy her from the seven dwarves. They refuse at first, but when the prince claims he can't live without the dead girl, the dwarves relent and give him the coffin. As for how Snow White revives: in one version (Grimms, 1812), the prince's servants are so sick of carrying the glass coffin everywhere that one of them smacks the corpse's back in frustration and the chunk of poison apple comes flying out. In another version (Grimms, 1819), the prince's servants are carrying the glass coffin when one of them trips and the jolt jars the piece of apple from Snow White's throat. That's what saves her. Not a kiss: an accident. 

Then you have the magic mirror, and the queen's desperate need for its approval. You have the huntsman, the reluctant killer who lets Snow White escape into the woods not because he thinks killing her is wrong, but because he can't bear to do the deed himself and assumes wild animals will eat her before she gets very far. We have a girl who runs away, tries to hide and be safe, and finds herself trapped at every turn. Even after she's survived her stepmother's murder attempts and is freed from her glass coffin, she's locked into a marriage with a prince who fell in love with her not as a person, but as a collectible. 

I'm interested in relationships, and Snow White has some of the most messed-up relationships around. How could I not write about it? 

TEAR YOU APART, my forthcoming Snow White retelling (January 2015 from Egmont), is set in the same place as my first fairy tale novel, KILL ME SOFTLY: in Beau Rivage, a city where people are cursed to live out fairy tales. Every Cursed has choices to make, but destiny is a powerful, almost overwhelming force. Viv, my cursed Snow White, believes in fate, but doesn't think she's destined for a happy ending. Too many things have gone wrong in her life, and she's lost any hopeful innocence she might have had. Her stepmother, once a loving parent and friend, has fully embraced her role as the Evil Queen and spends her days messing with Viv's head and sowing seeds of doubt, while bringing them closer to the curse's fated conclusion―which will leave one of them dead. 

Henley, Viv's childhood best friend turned boyfriend, used to be the one person she could rely on, no matter what. But a little over a year ago, a fairy cursed Henley to be Snow White's Huntsman―and that trust was broken. Now Henley's role in the curse is to spare Viv's life or kill her and cut out her heart, and she doesn't know which choice he'll make. She knows he doesn't want to lose her. If he spares her, she's destined to marry a prince and leave Henley behind. But if he kills her, he can keep her heart forever. 

Viv knows the end is coming and there's no way to escape her fate. But then she receives an invitation to the exclusive underworld nightclub where the Twelve Dancing Princesses go to dance. There she meets Jasper, one of the twelve princes of the underworld. Only Jasper isn't like his brothers; he's not partnered with one of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, he's a Snow White prince. And he doesn't want to wait for the curse to run its course―he wants to save Viv now. He invites her to join him in the underworld, where she'll be safe from her stepmother, and the Huntsman will never touch her again. 

Safety is so tempting . . . Viv doesn't want to choke on a poison apple or end up with her heart stored in a velvet-lined box. She knows she and Henley don't have a future―but is she ready to give up her first love and not look back? Jasper is supposed to be her happy ending, but she barely knows him. Can she trust him? Given the events of the fairy tale, is happily-ever-after even possible for a Snow White princess? 

That's the basic set up for TEAR YOU APART. It's Beau Rivage, of course, so Snow White and the Twelve Dancing Princesses aren't the only fairy tale curses you'll encounter. The city is full of people blending modern lives with age-old stories, dreaming of happily-ever-afters and fearing that happy endings are for other people, not them. TEAR YOU APART takes one of my favorite questions―what if your life was like a fairy tale?―and answers it in just one of many possible ways. The beauty of fairy tale retellings is that we can keep answering that question and always bring something new to the table. 

If you want to read about the cursed fairy tale characters of Beau Rivage before January 2015, you can check out KILL ME SOFTLY or my Cinderella story After the Ball. But you don't have to have read either of those to read TEAR YOU APART. The main difference, aside from the fairy tales retold and the main characters, is that KILL ME SOFTLY is a newcomer's account of Beau Rivage, while in TEAR YOU APART, you get an insider's view. I hope you'll visit, regardless of where you decide to start.
~*~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: KILL ME SOFTLY
Author: Sarah Cross
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12680998-kill-me-softly
SUMMARY:

Pitched as a modern Snow White reimagining, in which a teen with a murderous stepmother is trapped in a dangerous game of love, jealously, and hate with her best friend and lover, who is destined to decide if she lives or dies...until a mysterious prince from a strange Underworld offers her an escape.

Title: TEAR YOU APART
Author: Sarah Cross
Release Date: January 2015
Publisher: Egmont USA
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21520203-tear-you-apart
SUMMARY:

Pitched as a modern Snow White reimagining, in which a teen with a murderous stepmother is trapped in a dangerous game of love, jealously, and hate with her best friend and lover, who is destined to decide if she lives or dies...until a mysterious prince from a strange Underworld offers her an escape.

Interview with Kate Forsyth and Revealing the US Cover of BITTER GREENS

Check out the schedule of events for both
The Book Rat and A Backwards Story!
Don't miss a second of all the great stuff we have in store for you!
If you post about fairy tales online, share your link here!
Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
and stop back for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
and more!
Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest
BITTER GREENS will be coming to the USA on September 23, 2014!
It's currently available in Australia and the UK!

BITTER GREENS has been shortlisted for the 
2012 Ditmar Award for Best Novel, the 2012 Aurealis Award, 
and the 2012 Norma K. Hemming Award, 
for which it received an Honourable Mention!

Ready to see the US Cover 
of BITTER GREENS?


What are your thoughts?
Keep reading to see the UK cover!
~*~

An interview with 
Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the award-winning & internationally bestselling author of more than 20 books for both adults and children. 

Her books for adults include THE WILD GIRL, the love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world's most famous fairy tales; BITTER GREENS, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale; and the bestselling fantasy series Witches of Eileanan. Her books for children include THE GYPSY CROWN, THE PUZZLE RING, and THE STARKIN CROWN.


Kate is currently studying a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Follow Kate on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!



I didn't even know Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force and her tale Persinette existed until finding out you entwined them into BITTER GREENS. What made you decide to go this route when creating your own version of Rapunzel?

I began by wanting to retell Rapunzel as a historical novel ... as if it had really happened. So I began to wonder about the source of the tale ... who first wrote it? 

I began to research the sources and and so stumbled upon the life of Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force, one of the most fascinating women ever forgotten by history. Her story was just a gift to a novelist. It had everything ... romance, intrigue, drama, black magic .... 

I ended up doing my doctorate on Rapunzel, all my research was so interesting and no-one had ever really looked at it in so much depth before.

What kind of research do you do when creating historical fiction?

I read a lot, as you can imagine. I like to know everything about the period, from what kind of underwear they wore to what they did with their pee. I read both primary and secondary sources, as well as lots of novels set int he period. BITTER GREENS was hard as I had three separate narrative strands and so essentially three different periods of history to research.


What was your favorite part of writing BITTER GREENS?

I loved writing every word! Except perhaps for the really dark and difficult scenes ... I had to grit my teeth and endure those!


How would you keep from going crazy if you were locked in a tower (or satellite!) with finite resources?

Tell myself stories.


Today, you're Rapunzel's hair stylist. She's come to you for a new look and wants to be surprised. What do you do?

A buzz cut!


If you were sentenced to life alone in a tower (or satellite!), what is the one thing you'd make sure to smuggle in with you?

An endless supply of paper and ink. And chocolate.

What kind of craving would you risk a witch's wrath for?

Books.

This BITTER GREENS-focused interview first appeared on 
February 4, 2014 during A Week of Rapunzel.
  ~*~
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  BITTER GREENS
Author: Kate Forsyth
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Publisher: Random House / Vintage Australia
SUMMARY:

An utterly captivating reinvention of the Rapunzel fairytale weaved together with the scandalous life of one of the tale's first tellers, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. 

Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. She is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens... 

Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-four years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition, retaining her youth and beauty by the blood of young red-haired girls. 

After Margherita's father steals a handful of parsley, wintercress and rapunzel from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off unless he and his wife give away their little red-haired girl. And so, when she turns seven, Margherita is locked away in a tower, her hair woven together with the locks of all the girls before her, growing to womanhood under the shadow of La Strega Bella, and dreaming of being rescued... 

Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic and the redemptive power of love.


{Excerpt} THE ACTIVATION by J. Cafesin

Check out the schedule of events for both
The Book Rat and A Backwards Story!
Don't miss a second of all the great stuff we have in store for you!
If you post about fairy tales online, share your link here!
Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
and stop back for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
and more!
Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest


Here's an excerpt from The Activation,
one of four short stories in the
FRACTURED FAIRY TALES OF THE TWILIGHT ZONE
Anthology!



...It's dusk. The sky's indigo, but the trees are all silhouetted black. Micheal isn’t afraid. He knows his way by heart. The family has come to Hindley State Park the last seven years in a row to mark the official start of summer. This year's probably their last though, since Amy doesn't want to come anymore. She'd begrudgingly agreed to join the family, but is likely she'll be miserable all weekend so they’ll nix the trip next year. She really is a killjoy now.
He's at the river in three minutes. The stones are still there, along the waterline and gathered in the shallows, though they don't appear to be glowing. Outnumbering the normal rocks among them ten to one, and no longer in waving strings, they line the riverbank in multiple rows, clacking like pool balls as the water bumps them against each other.
Twilight's set in and everything radiates midnight blue. Micheal kneels to examine a large cluster of stones gathered in the inlet of the spit. They look to be mostly granite speckled with quartz. The glowing effect he’d seen earlier had to be from the crystals reflecting the last of the day’s light. Years of flowing down rivers could account for their spherical shape and smooth surface. These rocks weren’t really so strange after all.
He reaches out and pokes one. No shock. Feels like a rock. Micheal snatches one, stands and examines it. It's surprisingly light, more like a Nerf ball then solid stone. It feels warm, really warm, already dry though it has been only seconds since he’s lifted it from the water. He rolls it from hand to hand examining its gently pocked-marked surface. Could be geodes—hollow with crystals inside. And all he has to do is crack it open for the treasure...
With as much force as he can, Micheal hurls the stone down hard against the cluster in the shallow.
The clatter of the rock across the tightly gathered stones turns into a strange hum. The hum amplifies with each rock the rolling stone touches, activating them to hum, setting off a ripple effect that continues even after the rock he’s thrown lands atop several others.
Micheal stands on the sand barely breathing, the hum resonating in his chest as it grows louder, spreading among all the round rocks. It sounds almost like music, like violins blending with the river’s rhythm and weaving with the rushing water. Micheal stops breathing completely when he notices the rock he’d thrown radiating a vibrant cobalt blue from its center. A blue/green light arcs into the several round rocks it rests upon, lighting them up, the light then spreading outward among them. Suddenly it seems hundreds of stones glow prosperous green along the riverbank as far as he can see.

Run!

 ~*~

J. Cafesin writes taut, edgy, modern fiction with complex, compelling characters that bring story live, and linger long after the reads... 

Check out J. Cafesin's website and follow along on Twitter and Facebook

 ~*~
Title: FRACTURED FAIRY TALES OF THE TWILIGHT ZONE 
Author: J. Cafesin
 Publication date: Dec. 13, 2013
Publisher: Entropy Press
SUMMARY:

Fractured Fairy tales meets The Twilight Zone in this short story collection of four uniquely captivating, edgy, fantastical tales, each with a powerful message that lingers long after the reads... 

1. In Finnegus Boggs, Confessions of a Marid, Djinn, the genie grants two Oakland punks a chance to save the other's life. 

2. Hawk and Megan learn a valuable life lesson about love in Bird's Eye View

3. The Activation is a cautionary tale for bickering children, and the parents who fail to silence them. 

4. Sylverster McCain travels a sliver of light to reset Faith's path in life in The Morality Police.

Title: THE ACTIVATION 
Author: J. Cafesin
 Publication date: March 1, 2010
Publisher: Entropy Press
SUMMARY:

James jumped from the car into the cloud of dust as his dad pulled into their campsite parking area at Hindley State Park. 

Wizards and warriors were surely hiding among the huge old redwoods he ran through. The sun-dappled forest always ignited his imagination, until his sister Amy's shrill voice demanding he return to camp disrupted the roar of the raging river. James hid, but when he snuck up behind where she stood on the sandbar yelling, he was as amazed as she to see hundreds of round rocks lining the river's edge faintly glowing. Amy bent to retrieve one. James warned her not to, inadvertently revealing his stealth position. His sister turned on him, both forgetting about the bizarre stones with their rancorous exchange, setting in motion a string of disastrous events, never realizing the terrible cost of their incessant squabbling. 

The Activation is a cautionary tale for bickering children and the parents who fail to silence them...

{Waiting on Wednesday} STRAY by Elissa Sussman

Check out the schedule of events for both
The Book Rat and A Backwards Story!
Don't miss a second of all the great stuff we have in store for you!
If you post about fairy tales online, share your link here!
Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
and stop back for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
and more!
Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest

STRAY comes out October 7, 2014!


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. This event highlights our most-wanted upcoming releases!


Title: STRAY
Author: Elissa Sussman
Release Date: Oct. 7, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow // HarperCollins

 

WHY?

This sounds a lot like a YA version of Mercedes Lackey's THE FAIRY GODMOTHER (probably my favorite of her 500 Kingdoms novels). I already want to know more about the Order of Fairy Godmothers. Not to mention the way Aislynn needs to balance The Path with what she wants out of life.

I'm interested to see how well this one is pulled off!

SUMMARY: 

Princess Aislynn knows all about the curse. Its magic is a part of her, like her awkward nose and thin fingers. It’s also something she can’t control. And girls who can’t control their abilities have a tendency to disappear. So for her own protection, Aislynn is sworn into the Order of Fairy Godmothers where she must spend the rest of her life chaste and devoted to serving another royal family. 

Tasked with tending to the sweet, but sheltered Princess Linnea, Aislynn also finds a reluctant friend in the palace gardener, Thackery, who makes no secret of his disdain for her former life. The more time they spend together, though, the more she begins to doubt the rules she has observed so obediently. As Aislynn’s feelings threaten to undo the sacred vows she has taken, she risks not only her own life but Linnea’s as well. With the princess engaged to a devoted follower of The Path, there are some who would do anything to keep Aislynn from straying.

What are you anxiously waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Kate Avery Ellison, Author of THE CURSE GIRL

Check out the schedule of events for both
The Book Rat and A Backwards Story!
Don't miss a second of all the great stuff we have in store for you!
If you post about fairy tales online, share your link here!
Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
and stop back for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
and more!
Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest


~*~

An Interview with
Kate Avery Ellison


I live in Georgia with my wonderful husband and two spoiled cats. When I'm not writing, I'm usually catching up on my extensive Netflix queue, reading a book, giggling at something funny online, or trying to convince my husband to give me just ONE bite of whatever he's eating.

I blog about stories and life at http://thesouthernscrawl.blogspot.com/. My YA paranormal romance THE CURSE GIRL features a determined young woman and a beastly boy who must work together to break a curse. My short story collection, ONCE UPON A BEANSTALK, is a funny collection of mashed up fairy tales. My newest book, FROST (The Frost Chronicles #1), is a creepy YA fantasy with dystopian elements!


Learn more about my writing and books at my blog, find teasers for upcoming works on my Facebook page, and subscribe to my new releases newsletter to be notified of new novels as soon as they hit stores!

You can also follow Kate on Twitter!


You have a couple of fairy tale retellings out now. What draws you to them, and do you plan to write more in the future?

I find the idea of taking a familiar story and turning it on its head intriguing. In addition to fairy tale retellings, I also enjoy re-imagined history and retold myths/famous literature (like ROMEO AND JULIET, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, etc).

Beauty and the Beast is one of my all-time favorite fairy tales. What went into creating your retelling of THE CURSE GIRL?

I wanted to make Beauty really spunky, smart, and feisty, the kind of person who wouldn't stay with the Beast against her will if she could imagine another way to handle things. That led to the necessity of having her actually trapped in the house because of magic, along with the rest of them. I wanted to give it some interesting twists in terms of setting and magic.

ONCE UPON A BEANSTALK is a series of short fairy tale stories. Which story was your favorite to write? Which was the hardest? The funniest?

My favorite to write was Once Upon A Heist, a mashup/retelling of The Princess and the Pea that gives a more action-packed explanation of why the young lady in question did not get any sleep that night. 

The funniest (to me) was probably Once Upon a Wedding, in which Rumpelstiltskin and Red Riding Hood are married and run a wedding business, completely with wicked stepmother management. 

The hardest was the last one, Once Upon a Beanstalk, where a band of thieves has to infiltrate a giant's wedding. I wanted to make them all come together with reoccurring characters, and since that was the final one, it was more challenging.


What important lesson(s) have your fairy tale characters learned that you wish the traditional fairytale version of the character could have learned from?

Well, in my fairy tales, the characters don't get married after barely knowing each other. ^.~  I try to soften it down to the start of a relationship.

If any one of your books/series was made into a board game, which board game would it be and why?

Great question. There's this great game called Betrayal at House on the Hill, where players play cooperatively as they explore a haunted house and uncover individual rooms looking for certain things (until one of them turns traitor and they have to defeat that player), and I think THE CURSE GIRL could make a great game that's somewhat similar, where the rooms constantly change and the goal is to find a way to break the curse and escape. Okay, now I'm officially inspired!

Make a case for your favorite lesser-known tale or retelling: which story should we all read, right this instant?

There's a really unique retelling of JANE EYRE called JENNA STARBORN by Sharon Shinn. It's an older book, sci fi, very interesting twist on the original story. I highly enjoyed it.

There once was a youth who went forth to learn about the shivers. What are you afraid of?

I am afraid of heights and spiders.


Quickfire Stuff: This or That?


-City of Atlantis or Camelot?

-City of Atlantis

-Trial by fire or trial by water?

-Trial by water

-Go about in the emperor's "new clothes" (ie nothing) or wear a smelly, crusty donkeyskin for the rest of your life?

-I'd pick the no clothes and join a nudist colony.


Quickfire Stuff: Would You Rather...?


-Would you rather open and unleash Pandora's Box or unlock and enter Bluebeard's locked doom room?

-Bluebeard's room, although neither prospect is in any way desirable

-Ask the witch's son to assist you in the evil tasks she's assigned or perform a troll's tasks in order to cross his bridge?

-troll's tasks to cross his bridge

-Follow a wil-o’-the-wisp or face a troll?

-wil-o'-the-wisp!

     ~*~
    Title: THE CURSE GIRL
    Author: Kate Avery Ellison
     Publication date: May 14, 2011
    Publisher: Kate Avery Ellison
    SUMMARY:

    When Bee is imprisoned in a magical, cursed house because of her father's selfish choices, she has just one plan... escape! But she must solve a riddle and help her fellow prisoners break the curse that binds them all before she can leave, and that is proving more difficult than she originally thought thanks to the bitter young master of the house, Will. 


    Will wants nothing to do with Bee or her help (and he certainly isn't planning on falling in love with her), but he might have underestimated just how determined and clever--and irresistible--she can be.

    ~*~
    ****Giveaway*****

    Ready to check out 
    THE CURSE GIRL by Kate Avery Ellison?

    Kate Avery Ellison has offered our lovely Fairy Tale Fortnight readers a chance to win an e-book copy!

    All FTF giveaways run until May 10th.

    You must register on the Giveaway Registration Form during the event to be considered for any prizes in individual giveaways throughout the event.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    {Review/Giveaway} THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS by Merrie Haskell

    Check out the schedule of events for both
    The Book Rat and A Backwards Story!
    Don't miss a second of all the great stuff we have in store for you!
    If you post about fairy tales online, share your link here!
    Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
    and stop back for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
    and more!
    Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest

    *THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS 
    comes out May 27, 2014!*

    Earlier this week,
    Merrie Haskell
    visited THE BOOK RAT
    for an awesome interview!

    Check out my review of THE PRINCESS CURSE
    one of my favorite fairy tale middle grades!

    O P E N I N G   H O O K:

        SAND WOKE, CURLED IN THE ASHES of a great fireplace.
        Surprised to find himself waking at all, for he had no memory of falling asleep, Sand scrambled to his feet. Soot billowed away from him in a cloud and sneaked up his nose. He sneezed four great sneezes that came back in lonely echoes from the vast room beyond the fireplace.
        Sand had never slept in a fireplace before. He never wanted to again. But he hesitated inside the fireplace, one foot suspended in midair, afraid to leave.
        In the room beyond, everything was broken.
        Every single thing.
    (Page 1, US ARC edition)

    Moment of Truth: THE PRINCESS CURSE is still my favorite book from Merrie Haskell so far. Granted, I still haven't read my copy of HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS (*hides*), so that may not always be a true statement. I didn't like THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS better than THE PRINCESS CURSE. TPC, however, twists together three of my all-time favorite tales, so that's pretty hard to beat. TCBT is pretty darn unique, too, though. I love Haskell's innovation and the endless scope of her imagination. Middle-grade readers who enjoy THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS should also check out fellow middle-grade Sleeping Beauty novel THE WIDE-AWAKE PRINCESS by E.D. Baker. It's absolutely adorable, and similar only in that both books deal with the same tale, and both completely reconstruct the tale to create something brand-new and fresh in the genre.

    One day, Sand wakes up not knowing how he got into the forbidden castle. Everything has been sundered in two; every bucket, every tool, every everything. Somehow, food such as turnips are still good (albeit stale). It's as though everything froze in time during the sundering. Sand, who wants nothing more than to be a blacksmith, decides to fix as much as possible. If he doesn't know how he got into the castle, he surely doesn't know how to get out, either, especially with deadly thorns covering all exit points. When he accidentally brings Princess Perrotte back from the dead, he realizes that the magic loitering about is more powerful than he could have ever imagined...

    It was so intriguing to see a Sleeping Beauty story that isn't Sleeping Beauty. The elements are there, but the story is original and unique. Plus, it's middle-grade, so romance is not the focus of this book (perhaps another reason TPC is my favorite!). The world-building was so intriguing. I wanted to know what happened to the Sundered Castle all those years ago that tore it--and everything lying within--into perfect halves.The mystery propelled me forward and piqued my interest. I also liked the unique use of magic, and the way that Sand and Perrotte must rely on one another to break the curse and take control of their destinies. These two don't sit around waiting to be saved. They're smart enough to figure out what needs to be done and work on accomplishing everything necessary. Plus, Princess Perrotte is incredibly smart. It's great to see a literary princess who embraces astronomy and natural sciences. We need more smart girls in fiction, especially for kids.

    A lot of the story is internal, since it's just Sand and Perrotte alone in a castle with little exterior action for much of the novel, but the novelty of a Sundered Castle and the magic needed to repair it are enough to keep readers interested and curious to know what happens next. I continued to be delighted by Haskell's sentence phrasing, as well, and will gladly read another book by her in the future. (Hopefully she keeps on writing fantasy with fairy tale flair!)
    ~*~
    C O V E R   D E S I G N:

    Kevin Keele designed both this and Merrie Haskell's previous novel, HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS. I'll admit it: At first, I was sad we weren't getting more illustrations from Jason Chan. But Keele's artwork is great, too, and I especially love the illustration for this cover.

    I want to know more immediately just by looking at the cover. Everything is split in half and destroyed. Don't go in there, shadowed boy. Be wary, be wary!

    Plus, there is blurb by Rae Carson. That is all sorts of amazing right there!
      ~*~
    O F F I C I A   I N F O:

    Title: THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS
    Author: Merrie Haskell
    Release Date: May 27, 2014
    Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books // HarperCollins
    Received: For Review (ALA Copy)
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18365279-the-castle-behind-thorns
    SUMMARY:

    A magical adventure set in an enchanted castle that is sure to appeal to fans of Gail Carson Levine, Karen Cushman, and Shannon Hale 

    When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside-from dishes to candles to apples-torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn't this in the stories? 

    To survive, Sand does what he knows best-he fires up the castle's forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place? 

    Unexpectedly, Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle's astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces-of stone and iron, and of a broken life-is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it's the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints. 

    With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, Merrie Haskell's THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.
    ~*~
    ****Giveaway*****

    Ready to check out 
    THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS by Merrie Haskell?

    Merrie has kindly offered up a prize pack of books, including an ARC of her latest release, THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS, and an ANNOTATED ARC of HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS! [Misty and I are both CRAZY JEALOUS of the winner of this, 'cause that is awesome.]

    All FTF giveaways run until May 10th.

    You must register on the Giveaway Registration Form during the event to be considered for any prizes in individual giveaways throughout the event.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway