{Review/Giveaway} WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!


Tour Schedule:

Week One:
1/30/2017- Dazzled by BooksReview
1/31/2017- Adventures of a Book JunkieInterview
2/1/2017- Nicole's Novel Reads- Excerpt
2/2/2017- A Backwards StoryReview
2/3/2017- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

Week Two:
1/6/2017- ButtermybooksReview
1/7/2017- Mary Had a Little Book BlogGuest Post
1/8/2017- OMG Books And More BooksReview
1/9/2017- YA Books CentralInterview
1/10/2017- Emily Reads EverythingReview

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

  ONCE THERE WAS A LITTLE girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was small and dark, he was tall and fair, and the two of them made a fancy pair as they danced together, dancing to the music the little girl heard in her head.
  Her grandmother had told her to beware the wolves that prowled in the wood, but the little girl knew the little boy was not dangerous, even if he was the king of the goblins.
  Will you marry me, Elisabeth? the little boy asked, and the little girl did not wonder at how he knew her name.
  Oh, she replied, but I am too young to marry.
  Then I will wait, the little boy said. I will wait as long as you remember.
  And the little girl laughed as she danced with the Goblin King, the little boy who was always just a little older, a little out of reach.
  As the seasons turned and the years passed, the little girl grew older but the Goblin King remained the same. She washed the dishes, cleaned the floors, brushed her sister's hair, yet still ran to the forest to meet her old friend in the grove. Their games were different now, truth and forfeit and challenges and dares.
  Will you marry me, Elisabeth? the little boy asked, and the little girl did not yet understand his question was not part of a game.
  Oh, she replied, but you have not yet won my hand.
  Then I will win, the little boy said, I will win until you surrender.
  And the little girl laughed as she played against the Goblin King, losing every hand and every round.
  Winter turned to spring, spring to summer, summer into autumn, autumn back into winter, but each turning of the year grew harder and harder as the little girl grew up while the Goblin King remained the same. She washed the dishes, cleaned the floors, brushed her sister's hair, soothed her brother's fears, hid her father's purse, counted the coins, and no longer went into the woods to see her old friend.
  Will you marry me, Elisabeth? the Goblin King asked.
  But the little girl did not reply.

(pas 7-8, US e-ARC edition)

“There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.”

~Der Erlkönig, WINTERSONG

Today, today, TODAY is the day I've been waiting six months for! Last July, I read WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones and gave you guys a small taste of it, but I couldn't actually TALK TO YOU ABOUT IT until now! But now, we're right up against release day, and I get to share not just my review, but an awesome chance to WIN your own copy of this fab new novel that you're DEFINITELY going to want!!!

Next week marks the release of WINTERSONG, a highly buzzed about debut novel from S. Jae-Jones. It pays homage to Jim Henson's Labyrinth, to Mozart's The Magic Flute, to Christina Rossetti's poem "Goblin Market," and even to the classic tale of Little Red Riding HoodIt is one of many tales of Der Erlkönig, or The Erl-King, and, in some ways, reminds me of two of my favorite myths, the tales of two of my favorite Greek myths, the tales of both "Hades and Persephone" and "Orpheus and Eurydice." While WINTERSONG is a blend of so many beloved pieces of various tales, it is also wholly a story of its own.

Liesl has never wanted much in life. Her sister Käthe is the comely one and her brother Josef is a musical virtuoso. Music is in Liesl's soul, too, however, as a female, to compose is to overstep her allotment in life. As a child, Liesl played in the woods with a mysterious boy and promised him things she didn't understand. Now, she has grown up, and her playmate the Der Erlkönig, the Goblin King, has come to claim the hand in marriage she once promised him. He bewitches Käthe and entices Liesl to a game. If she loses, she surrenders her sister. If she wins, however, even more is lost. As Liesl begins to understand the cruel twists in the game, she finds herself on the verge of an impossible decision.

I wanted this book when it was a publishing deal. Then we had a summary. When I saw that cover? I was a goner! I've read it twice already, once last summer, and once this past week--and the book isn't even out for another week. Both times, I was utterly enchanted and spellbound, caught up in 1800 Germany, bespelled by the wonders of the Goblin Market, entranced by the dangers of the Underground. I've been on this journey right there with Liesl, and truly come to know her. It's ironic, really: Liesl doesn't even know herself for a good portion of the book. She's been so intent on the needs of her family that she's never taken the time to know herself. It's only in the Underground that she begins to bloom and accept herself, from the good to the ugly.

What's interesting is that as Liesl discovers herself, she goes through so many extremes and, at times, her emotions can be all over the place. This made her feel weak the first time I read the book, but as I read it again, I thought she may be bi-polar. She goes through these manic episodes of creations, then has bursts of desolation and nothingness. To quote Hamilton, she writes like she's running out of time--and she is. Quite literally. The longer Liesl remains in the Underground, the more of herself she gives, and the closer to death she nears. Liesl is fully allowed to swing from one emotion to the next, because as happy as she is with Der Erlkönig, she also misses the land of the living and being alive.

And Der Erlkönig? Whew! He is a force to be reckoned with. He is full of malice and trickery, but he can also be kind and gentle. He plays dangerous games with stakes that are impossible and traps himself into horrible situations. There were times when I utterly disliked him, and times when I absolutely adored him. Sometimes I could see the David Bowie Labyrinth version of the Goblin King in him, but I also saw him as unique, complex character with many facets. And the romance between Der Erlkönig and Liesl? Well, let's just say that the publisher kept switching the book's genre from YA to Adult and back again. After being scrubbed of most of the sexy times, it now resides permanently in the YA category. While the romance isn't as graphic as recent Sarah J. Maas books, it's more explicit than a lot of YA titles, and is definitely for older teens and adults. When S. Jae-Jones talked about her manuscript, she called it "50 Shades of Labyrinth." So there is that.

If you're looking for an adventure full of sweeping romance, dangerous stakes, and traversing the perils of self-discover, definitely take a look at WINTERSPELL this month. It's full of both lore and originality, and will sing to your soul as it finds its way into your heart.

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG15+ ( Kissing. sexual situations )
Language: G ( One use of bastard 
Violence: PG ( Some goblins tear at Liesl's clothing and make her bleed on two different occasions, but nothing graphic. )
Other:  PG ( Liesl's father is an alcoholic, and always off drinking )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I really like this cover. It uses a lot of my favorite colors, so it's aesthetically pleasing, and I also like the design of it. There is a delicate white rose growing despite its chilly environment, and I love the way the glass of the snow globe is frosty. 

If that wasn't enough to intrigue me, I'd pick it up for a closer look just based on the fact that it has a blurb from Marie Lu!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: S. Jae Jones
Release Date: Out February 7, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Dunne // Macmillan
Received: ARC for Review


Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell. 

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns. 

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts. 

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
About the Author

S. Jae-Jones, called JJ, is a voracious and indiscriminate reader, an avid traveler, and something of an adrenaline junkie. 
Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she lived in New York City for 10 years before relocating down to Dixie, where she is comfortably growing fat on grits and barbecue. When not writing, she can be find rock-climbing, skydiving, taking photographs, drawing pictures, and dragging her dog on ridiculously long hikes.


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