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See them in new ways – STRAW INTO GOLD: FAIRY TALES RE-SPUN, by Hilary McKay (MG book review)

book cover of Straw Into Gold: Fairy Tales Re-Spun, by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Sarah Gibb. Published by  Margaret K. McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Never insult fairy godmothers,
kindness makes the path easier,
curses can flip to blessings…

The fairy tales that we’ve heard over and over can be retold, modernized, role-switched, or set in other lands, yet we recognize their core stories every time.

This collection of “Fairy Tales Re-Spun” charmingly presents a double-handful of familiar tales using non-classic viewpoints, like the new teacher whose writing assignment at a backwoods school results in “What I Did in the Holidays and Why Hansel’s Jacket is So Tight (by Gretel, age 10)” – truth or fiction?

Cinderella finds a friend in Buttons and helps him shine boots for the prince who’s turned away from royal society to tend “The Roses Around the Palace.”

A stuffy bureaucrat is more concerned about keeping his town tidy (and his coffers full) than paying the agreed price to that motley-looking Piper for luring away all those horrid rats… so very quiet now at “The Fountain in the Market Square.”

Enjoy these ten fairy tale retellings, including lesser-known stories “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and “The Swan Brothers” (also the basis for A Rush of Wings, by Laura E. Weymouth that I recently recommended here).

Which fairy tale is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: Straw Into Gold: Fairy Tales Re-Spun / Hilary McKay, illustrated by Sarah Gibb. Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2019, paperback 2020. [author site] [illustrator bio] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

R is for Rowenna, regrets, enchanted swans’ RUSH OF WINGS, by Laura E. Weymouth (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of A Rush of Wings, by Laura E. Weymouth. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Welcomed by salt spray and wind,
born with a power inside,
ignored, untrained… how long?

So hard for young teen Rowenna to control her temper, amidst all these rowdy brothers. That’s why her mother won’t yet teach her the magic craft needed to protect their seaside Scottish village from wicked creatures of land and water.

A terrible beast steals Mother away, a storm catches father and the older boys in their small fishing boat, and now 18-year-old Rowenna finds a young man Gawen washed up in the cove – searching for her and her craft to save his family, he says.

Amazingly, her menfolk return safe from the storm, bringing with them Mother… who’s someone altogether different on the inside, who angrily turns the brothers and Gawen into swans, who steals Rowenna’s voice.

Banished by her father who believes Rowenna has bewitched them, she follows the swans inland, leaving her beloved sea for the very first time.

Ah! At night, the swans regain human form – and she can speak! Gawen has led them to Torr Pendragon’s castle, where his friend lady Elspeth tells Rowenna how to break the curse.

Even so far from the sea, the wind whispers to her that she can’t trust battle-victor Pendragon, especially when the ruler wants to use her magic to control a foul mystical beast.

Each night, the boys’ time as humans grows shorter and shorter – can Rowenna break the curse before it’s too late?

It’s Pendragon who has captured Gawen’s family – can she save anyone?

And that creature living in her father’s small house on the shore – what can Rowenna do?

Voiceless as those she cares for are threatened, Rowenna must find a way to harness and direct the power that simmers in her breath and blood in this retelling of the Six Swans folktale.

Swans – what’s your story about them?
**kmm

Book info: A Rush of Wings / Laura E. Weymouth. Margaret K. McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Only THE MIDNIGHT UNICORN can save their kingdom! by Alice Hemming (MG book review)

book cover of The Midnight Unicorn, by Alice Hemming. Published in USA by Kane Miller/ EDC | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A kingdom at peace,
protected by the Midnight Unicorn.
Now danger approaches!

Enchanted raven Corvus relays a message to the Queen as her newborn twin daughters sleep nearby – her evil brother has escaped his banishment and is bringing an army to Essendor!

Away from the castle they flee – one baby with court wizard Maneo to the west, the other with their Nanny to the east, the queen and king to the south.

Thirteen years later, Alette and her sorcerer father leave their chilly, isolated home and begin searching for the sister she never knew about. How could he keep this secret so long?

In her mind, Audrey has told Shadow for years how she longs to escape the small dusty town where she works in her mother’s bakery. She’s shocked when Shadow sends a visual message in return one night – she is coming to Audrey!

Finally together, the twin sisters feel whole, just like their necklaces join to make a picture of a unicorn. Evil King Zelos told the kingdoms that the princesses died when the castle was taken, but they are alive – and they have more right to the throne than he does!

When will Audrey be able to transform into a unicorn as Alette can?
Who can they trust with their secrets?
Can they reach the city without alerting the king?

Danger and secrets are everywhere, even in a drowsy apple orchard, as Maneo accompanies the sisters on their quest.

First in the Dark Unicorns series, followed by The Darkest Unicorn (information here).

Can you envision a unicorn in your neighborhood?
**kmm

Book info: The Midnight Unicorn (Dark Unicorns, book 1) / Alice Hemming. Kane Miller/ EDC, 2022 (US), 2019 (UK). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

OF PRINCES & PROMISES, change & challenge, by Sandhya Menon (YA book review)

book cover of Of Princes and Promises, by Sandhya Menon. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

How dare he dump her?!
Revenge is essential.
But exactly how… aha!

At the world’s fanciest high school in the Rockies near Aspen, Caterina is shocked to find that she cannot have everything she wants, as her boyfriend Alaric leaves the undisputed queen of Rosetta Academy for someone else.

For all their years at Rosetta, shy Rahul has adored Caterina from afar. He was as shocked as everyone else when she kissed him at the Winter Formal – surely that means she wants to be with him!

Mega-rich Caterina decides that transforming chess geek Rahul into the perfect man to escort her to high-profile events is the perfect way to get revenge on Alaric.

So begins a whirl of etiquette lessons, tailor’s appointments, and the amazing hair gel that turns tongue-tied Rahul into suave RC who must surely be a prince of a small kingdom as the society gossips presume.

Will Caterina’s very visible romance with RC bring Alaric back to her?
Does Rahul want to become surface-handsome RC forever?
Can money really buy happiness?

Return to Rosetta Academy (setting for Of Curses and Kisses, recommended here), whose ultra-wealthy and powerful students have worries and goals that sort of sound like ours, in this luxe retelling of The Frog and the Princess fairy tale told in the alternating voices of Rahul and Caterina.

From the author of When Dimple Met Rishi (recommended here), From Twinkle With Love (here), and There’s Something About Sweetie (here).

What less-repeated fairy tale is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: Of Princes and Promises (a Rosetta Academy Novel) / Sandhya Menon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Follow the PIPER, they must! Graphic novel by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg; art by Jeff Stokely (book review)

book cover of Piper, by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg; illustrated by Jeff Stokely; inks by Gideon Kendall; colors by Triona Farrell; lettering by Ed Dukeshire. Published by Razorbill | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Overrun by rats!
Leaders at wits’ end!
Help, help!

Made deaf as a child by bullies, Maggie tries to avoid Hameln town. The young woman is content to stay in Agathe’s cottage and write far-fetched tales with the older woman for their own amusement.

But the leaders of Hameln aren’t smiling as the rat population thrives, eating their stored grain and biting people (especially after the ratcatcher’s poison kills all the cats instead).

Along comes a piper in mismatched clothes who promises to rid the town of rats… for a price.

Maggie is a bit enchanted by the piper, even if she cannot hear him playing. She shares with him the story of her family’s downfall at the hands of powerful locals whose evildoings are always hushed up.

Can the piper really save Hameln?
What if the town leaders renege on their deal?
Skilled this piper is, so very skilled…

A well-imagined and wonderfully drawn graphic novel retelling of the Pied Piper story! (yes, by that Jay Asher)

What other retellings of favorite tales do you recommend?
**kmm

Book info: Piper / Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg; illustrated by Jeff Stokely; inks by Gideon Kendall; colors by Triona Farrell; lettering by Ed Dukeshire. Razorbill, 2017. [Jay’s site] [Jessica’s site] [Jeff’s site] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

S is princess Sophie POISONED by her stepmother, saved by 7 small men, by Jennifer Donnelly (YA book review)

book cover of Poisoned, by Jennifer Donnelly. Published by Scholastic | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Tomorrow is her 17th birthday –
old enough to inherit her father’s kingdom,
but her evil stepmother has other ideas…

Outwardly, Sophie is haughty and brave, as any princess of Konigsburg must be, but she has a merciful heart like the late much-beloved king and shows mercy to scared hunting dog Zara.

The queen’s mirror whispers secrets and plots – Sophie must have a strong husband to help her rule, but if the princess were attacked by Darkwood beasts, then no need to risk alliance with another country…

The Huntsman brings back only Sophie’s heart from their ride through the Darkwood, but her body is saved by seven short men who heal her with kindness and a clockwork heart.

Rumors of the queen’s war declarations reach even into the woods, and Sophie knows she must get to the prince who courted her so they can stop her land from becoming a bloody battlefield.

As they travel the backroads, Sophie, Zara, and clever young man Will hear how her people have been taxed to death for the Queen’s luxuries and spied on by her Crows.

Can Sophie save the kingdom before her heart winds down?
Will the Queen’s guard find them first?
Who is speaking through the mirror?

This retelling of classic fairy tale Snow White asks readers to reclaim the power of their inner voice.

What future are you running toward?
**kmm

Book info: Poisoned / Jennifer Donnelly. Scholastic Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

She’ll make him regret it! OF CURSES AND KISSES, by Sandhya Menon (book review)

book cover - Of Curses and Kisses, by Sandhya Menon. Published by Simon Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

His family stole it,
her ancestor cursed it,
a ruby’s home controls their destinies…

As eldest, Jaya does what’s best for her royal family – moving from south India to the US her senior year to keep her younger sister safe, agreeing to a politically arranged marriage soon. Their new exclusive school in the Colorado mountains is a fitting place to wait out the scandal that young Lord Emerson embroiled Isha in from afar.

Banished by his father after Grey’s mother died when he was a baby, the young British lord tries not to care – about this exclusive school, about his classmates, about anyone – since the Emerson family is cursed to die out when he reaches 18.

Finding Lord Emerson at St. Rosetta’s, Jaya won’t pass up the chance to break his heart in retaliation for his great-great’s refusal to return the stolen ruby to her family!

First, she must make him fall in love with her. After she gets him to actually talk to her, that is. Her new friends help her, treat her like a real person instead of a political pawn.

How odd that Jaya and Grey can even stand to be in the same place, in light of their families’ generations-long feud.

How quickly time is ticking toward the announcement of Jaya’s engagement, toward Grey’s 18th birthday…toward the end of their beginning together?

Not unusual that Kiran knows people at her school (the world of the ultra-rich is rather small), but is her future fiance spying on Jaya through ice-queen Caterina?

How strange that small rubies keep falling from Jaya’s rose pendant…

This retelling of Beauty and the Beast in two voices echoes across the hidden spaces of their hearts and the vast halls of their school in the first book of the St. Rosetta’s Academy series. From the author of When Dimple Met Rishi (recommended here), From Twinkle With Love (here), and There’s Something About Sweetie (here).

When is it worth fighting against fate?
**kmm

Book info: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy, book 1) / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

The merest Touch of Gold endangers all, by Annie Sullivan (book review)

book cover of A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan. Published by BlinkYA | recommended on BooksYALove.comGold calls to her,
like the Sirens call sailors on her ship,
like a friendly voice finally calls her from the castle…

Dangerous waters ahead for the golden-hued daughter of King Midas, restored from entrapment as a living gold statue to human form by a sacrifice that ages her father and keeps her locked away.

Only she can retrieve his stolen treasure trove and save his life – but at what cost to herself and superstitious companions?

This retelling of the King Midas story sails the seas, bringing Kora closer and closer to the stolen gold which could trap her once again.

What have you wished for and ultimately were glad not to get?
**kmm

Book info: A Touch of Gold / Annie Sullivan. BlinkYA, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Locked away for years after sacrifice saved her from being a statue forever, golden-skinned Kora must travel foreign seas to save her father Midas’s kingdom.

Her uncle will gladly marry Kora off in an alliance to bolster the kingdom, if anyone is brave enough to see if she’s inherited her father’s Touch.

King Midas is slipping deeper into madness after his Touch-made treasures are stolen – can Kora bring them back before it’s too late?

The gold hoard’s call to her is as alluring as the Sirens’ song is to sailors – can she resist keeping it for herself?

Every person hides secrets – are any as dangerous as Kora’s glittering abilities?

As long as her gloves keep gold from touching her skin,
as long as Duke Royce can help her find her father’s treasures,
as long as her best friend and cousin Hettie believes in her…
perhaps the Touch won’t consume Kora after all.

Mysteries to read with your ears!

Ooh, this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC aren’t your everyday tales of mystery!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday (7-13 June 2018), you can read them whenever you wish, as long as you keep them on your device.

CD cover of Everland, by Wendy Spinale | Read by Fiona Hardingham, Steve West Published by Scholastic Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comEverland (download here free from 7-13 June 2018)
by Wendy Spinale
Read by Fiona Hardingham, Steve West
Published by Scholastic Audio

Peter Pan retold through steampunk goggles in an alternate history where only children survived a plague after the London Blitz where a ruthless German commandant hunts them as possible source for a cure.

 

The Just Men of Cordova (Four Just Men, book 3) (download here free from 7-13 June 2018)CD cover of Just Men of Cordova, by Edgar Wallace | Read by Bill Homewood Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Edgar Wallace
Read by Bill Homewood
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Entering the shady world of horse racing and gambling, The Four Just Men continue their campaign to rid the world of evil-doers, without help from law enforcement or judges.

Taking the law into your own hands – when is it okay?
**kmm

Beastly fiction – to read with your ears!

Time to download this week’s exciting beastly free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

From Thursday morning (June 1) through Wednesday night (June 7), you can click on the link for each title, download the free professionally produced audiobook onto your electronic device, and listen to it whenever you wish – it’s yours to keep, as long as the downloaded file is kept on that device!

Thanks to the audiobook publishers for giving us these free reads all summer long: http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD cover of Beast by Donna Jo Napoli | Read by Robert Ramirez Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comBeast  (free download here June 1-7, 2017)
by Donna Jo Napoli
Read by Robert Ramirez
Published by Recorded Books

Transformed into a lion to be hunted by his father, Orasmyn flees Persia for Europe, where encountering a young woman named Belle may change him yet again.

 

Of Beast and Beauty  (free download here June 1-7, 2017) CD cover of Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay | Read by Julia Whelan Published by Tantor Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Stacey Jay
Read by Julia Whelan
Published by Tantor Media

As princess, she will be a sacrifice for her city. As beast, he must risk death to save his people. Imprisoned by destiny and a prisoner through daring – can they change the future of their world, together?

What other retellings of classic fairy tales and legends can you recommend?
**kmm

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