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PopSugar Reading Challenge 2018: February Wrap-Up

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2018: February Wrap-Up

Yet again, Popsugar Challenge, you have been put on the BACK-BURNER. I only conquered two reads again this past month. So, this post will be short, sweet, and to-the-point. I think I made the mistake at committing to too much from the beginning, without really thinking […]

Book & Audiobook Review: Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle

Book & Audiobook Review: Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle

By law, any child born in Idara is free, even if that child is born in a slave brothel. But as Cinder grows into a beauty that surpasses even that of her mother and grandmother, she realizes that freedom is only a word. Partial synopsis […]

Fairy Tale Friday #3: Fairer-Than-A-Fairy (Plus-Belle-que-fée) by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force

Fairy Tale Friday #3: Fairer-Than-A-Fairy (Plus-Belle-que-fée) by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force

Fairer-Than-A-Fairy (PLUS-BELLE-QUE-FÉE)

Written by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force

Fairer-Than-A-Fairy (originally published in French under the name Plus-Belle-Que-Fee), was written in 1698 by French author Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force. La Force, a French novelist and poet, was best known for her tale Persinette, which was taken by the Grimm brothers and adapted into the 1812 rendition of Rapunzel. 

It was published in Four and Twenty Tales, by James Planché, a British Dramatist. Many of La Force’s works became well known in the 1800’s. 

A similar version, also called Fairer-Than-A-Fairy, was anonymously published in 1718 and attributed to Jean, Chevalier de Mailly, another fairy tale author, in Nouveaux contes de fées. This version was included in The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.  

While these two version have some similarities, they are quite different. I’m curious if this is a case of plagiarism? Considering the close publication dates, it’s hard to say seeing how the 1718 version was published anonymously and has variations from La Force’s original version. 

This tale has been paraphrased in my own words from the original version.

Once there was a King in Europe, who already had several children with a princess he had married. He decided to travel across his kingdom, and stayed in a beautiful castle. His wife bore a daughter more beautiful than anyone that the couriers named her “Fairer than a Fairy.” The Queen was forced to join her husband after the delivery in a far-away province that he was defending. The girl was left behind with a governess, who took great care of her. 

As time passed and the girl grew, her beauty became famous in all the land. The fairies heard of this girl, and because jealous. The Queen of the Fairies was malevolent and was called Nabote. She called a council and told them of her plan to take revenge against all of those in the world who were beautiful, including in her own court, and of course, Fairer than a Fairy. So the queen set out in plain clothes to the castle where the girl lived. 

To her dismay, the castle was built by a great magician who protected it with the power for no one to leave the grounds other than by their own free will. Fairer than a Fairy was instructed by her governess to never leave the castle grounds, in order to keep her under protect of the spell. Nabote seamlessly slid into the girl’s good graces, and taught her many things, and always looked for an opportunity to spirit her away. 

One day, Nabote faked illness outside the castle grounds and was able to trick Fairer than a Fairy to come to her aid. Nabote seized the girl and stole away with her. They arrived at the Queen’s castle where she was stripped of her beautiful clothes and garbed in shabby ones. Despite her humiliation, Fairer knew that such a beautiful place could not only hold torment for her.

She was taken by two fairies down a massive set of stairs into a black marble gallery. The walls were covered with cobwebs that seemed to come back even denser when brushed away. The fairies told Fairer than a Fairy that the room must be cleaned by daybreak, or else she would be punished. She began crying in despair. Before her appeared a young man, who shone brilliantly. Dazzled, he introduced himself as Phratis, the fairy Queen’s son, who loved Fairer than a Fairy. He took the broom she was using and touched the cobwebs. In an instant, they turned into strands of golden craftsmanship. He then gave her a key to a locked panel in her cell that hid supplies in it, and then disappeared.

When Fairer entered her cell, she heard a forelorned voice. She called out and learned that another princess had been stolen away by the fairies. Too, being born beautiful without the help of the fairies, Desirs became one that the fairies grew jealous of.  She was about to be married to a young prince when she taken. Fairer found a door between their rooms and was able to open it to meet Desirs face-to-face. Being enlisted to turn acorns into pearls by morning, Fairer told her of the man who had aided her in her task, saying that if he loved her, he would help Desirs in her task too. Suddenly, the bag of acorns started shaking and each turned into a magnificent pearl. 

With the task done, Fairer searched for the lock to which the key was for. Finding it, the door opened to a magnificent apartment, which the two girls entered and slept.

The next morning, the fairies came up with more impossible tasks for the two princesses to accomplish, seeing how they couldn’t punish them. Desirs was told to go to the sea-shore and write on the sand, but to take care for what she wrote could never be defaced. Fairer was told to go to Mount Adventurous and retrieve a vase of the water of immortality. They gave her feathers and wax so she could make wings for herself, and perish in the pursuit of the task. 

Fairer struggled in vain to make wings for herself. She cried out to Phratis saying that if he loved her, he would come help her. He appeared immediately, and transformed himself into an eagle. Bearing her on his back, he flew her to the top of the mountain. There, she drank some of the immortal water, then wished that Desirs also had some. The eagle took a shoe from her foot, then flew it down to the sea-shore to the other princess. 

He returned to Fairer, then took her to Desirs.  When he transformed back into a man, Fairer became jealous of Desirs’ reaction to his appearance, that she placed herself between the two. Again, Fairer tests her lover’s love and said that if he loved her, he would help Desirs with her task. He obeyed, and disappeared, leaving behind a tablet firmly fixed in the sand with a poem on it. 

The Queen sent for the girls to be found. Discovering that they both had succeeded in their tasks, she knew someone of her own must have aided them. She assigned their next tasks; Desirs to fetch the Rouge of Youth from the Fair of Time, and Fairer to capture the Hind with Silver Feet from the Wood of Wonders. 

Desirs was was taken to a place with large buildings occupied by fairies. Everyone thought her to be charming and beautiful. But when she asked for the Rogue of Youth, they all told her to not inquire further about it, for if not a fairy, it was a sign of torment to the person searching for it. She happened upon an evil fairy who said she had it and would have her stay there until the morning while it was prepared. Kept in a dismal place, Desirs called for Phratis’ help, but he did not answer.

The next morning a young girl brought her food, and told her that the mistress of the Fairy wanted to help her. The Fairy had sent for an evil spirit to take Desirs’ beauty from her, therefore, making the Queen happy. Terrified for losing her beauty, Desirs tried to escape the dark room, when she happened upon another, whom she recognized to be her beloved and betrothed. He explained to her that in search for her, he was told to enter the land of the fairies. It was there that the evil Fairy had arrested him and fell in love with him. He became caretaker of all her treasure and power, and that she had just left for a long trip.  

He gave her the gem of Gyges to wear, which made her invisible, as well as the Rogue of Youth, which she put on her face to make herself even more beautiful. As informed by the wise sage, the prince took Desirs back to the Queen of the Fairies under the cover of invisibility. Approaching, he took the gem back, making himself invisible and Desirs reappear. She presented herself with the Rogue of Youth, and everyone was astonished. The Queen sentenced her to death as she couldn’t seem to make the princess fail.  

Fairer than a Fairy was taken to the Wood of Wonders to chase the Silver-footed Hind. It was an impossible task. The Silver-footed Hind was a previous Queen of the Fairies, condemned to the form to wander the woods for one hundred years. The queen had had several lovers, but maintained to kept her virtue. One man threatened to kill himself if she didn’t return his adoration, which eventually he did. The sage who reared the man complained to the council which condemned the Queen to the form. The only escape she could have was if a fair woman could find her within ten days and restore her to her original form. Many girls had tried to capture the deer, but lost themselves in the forest and never returned.

Fairer, having few provisions, quickly lost herself in the woods. She spotted the deer, but could never get close enough to catch it. She called for Phratis, but he didn’t come. When she woke, she could that the ground beneath her had formed into a couch. Fruits grew all around her and she replenished herself on them. The deer stood close, and she tried to capture it without avail. This went on for four days. 

The next day,  Phratis appeared to Fairer, telling her that his mother suspects that he is helping her and he only just escaped. He encouraged her, then left. When night came, he appeared to her again, and gave her his illuminated wand to lead her through the forest to a series of tasks he instructs her to do. She comes to a cave where she finds the skin of the Hind, She placed the skin on a fire she had made then inspected the cave further. 

She comes across the previous Queen and the beautiful women who were lost in the woods, who had been turned into animals by day and trapped. Having burned their skins, the women were free to return back to the fairy realm.  

They travel back to the fairy realm only to discover Desirs tied to a stack. When Fairer realizes who she is, she cries out. Suddenly, Desirs betrothed appears in her place, which happens to also be Fairer’s brother. The good fairy Queen is welcomed by all of the fairies, and immediately regains the throne from a begrudging Nabote. Hearing that the princesses were taken by the fairies because of their beauty, she frees them. She sends Nabote to rule over the Beautiful Islands which belong to her, in exchange for leaving her son with the good Fairy Queen. 

Nabote was upset with decision of the Queen, but couldn’t object for she wasn’t as powerful. Phratis appears and looks at Fairer, making her realize the depths of his love for her. The two couples were married on the same day, in much happiness.

Fairer Than a Fairy: An Epic Hero Princess for All AgesFairer Than a Fairy: An Epic Hero Princess for All Ages by Dr Gabrielle Sutherland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Envy and jealousy only serve to increase its lustre, and often the justice of Heaven renders its possessors happier for the trials they have undergone.”

What a lovely fairy tale! The version I read (what I consider to be the original) was written by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force in 1698. It is not to be confused with the version published in Andrew Lang’s The Yellow Fairy Book, as it is not the same.

This tale tells of a girl born so beautiful, that the courtiers of her father’s court named her Fairer-than-a-Fairy. Naturally, when the Queen of the fairies heard the name and of the girl’s beauty unbestowed upon her by the fairies, she grew jealous. She stole her away into the Kingdom of Fairies and put her through a series of impossible tasks in order for her to fail at so she could be punished. However, Fairer found that friends exist in all realms of the Earth.

There, she also met another prisoner princess names Desirs, who also was given trials to fail at as punishment for her natural beauty. The two quickly become friends and help each other throughout their time in the realm.

This story breathes the importance of perseverance into its readers. While both Fairer and Desirs did nothing to deserve the treatment given to them by the fairies, they tried their best to complete what was asked of them. Jealousy is a poisonous and powerful emotion and seeks to ruin the one it possesses, as demonstrated here. It was interesting when Fairer showed jealousy herself towards Phratis when he first appeared to Desirs. Even though Fairer is exceedingly beautiful, she doubts his devotion to her up until the very end. (Little has changed for us woman and our insecurities.) Overall, I thought this was a great read, with strong characters and underlying messages.

My Rating: ★★★★★


View all my reviews

Have you heard of this story before? (Seeing how I really had to dig for it, It's doubtful!)
What did you think of the fairy tale itself?
Is it similar to another one that you have read before?

Thursday Blog Trot #4

Thursday Blog Trot #4

Why hello there, and happy Thursday to you! This post totally snuck up on me this week. Since the time change, I’ve been so off with time and day of the week, that I didn’t realize that it was Thursday until…Thursday. So, sorry for getting […]

Five Children’s Books To Read As An Adult

Five Children’s Books To Read As An Adult

We all remember one of our favorite childhood books. Majority, (if not all) of mine were horse-related. I grew up eating, breathing, and sleeping horses. I even had a shirt that said so, so I naturally leaned towards stories influenced by the lovely creatures.  Don’t worry, […]

Blog Tour, Giveaway & Author Interview: The Most Special Chosen by Rachel de la Fuente!

Blog Tour, Giveaway & Author Interview: The Most Special Chosen by Rachel de la Fuente!

The Most Special Chosen
This is my stop during the blog tour for The Most Special Chosen by Rachel de la Fuente. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. Read the whole post to discover more about this book, find some links to some character interviews, some video teasers and there are two giveaways! The blog tour runs from 5 till 18 March. See the tour schedule here.

The Most Special ChosenThe Most Special Chosen (Exalted Bloodlines #1)
By Rachel de la Fuente
Genre: Paranormal Drama/ Paranormal Romance
Age category: New Adult/ Adult
Release Date: March 3, 2018

Blurb:
Elysabeth Vance is so determined not to be lost in her obsession that she refuses to see what’s right in front of her.

Damien is so afraid of ruining his only chance at happiness that he’s blind to Elysabeth’s obsession.

Once they open their eyes to what they have, nearly incomprehensible secrets will be revealed. After all, fate happens, even if you don’t believe in it.

You can find The Most Special Chosen on Goodreads

You can buy The Most Special Chosen on Amazon

Meet the characters!
The author did some character interviews with her characters on her blog, check them out:
Selene Delanciennes
Shawn Dooley
Damien Delanciennes
Elysabeth Vance

Video Teasers
And check out these two video teasers on YouTube:
Video teaser #1
Video teaser #2

Rachel de la FuenteAbout the Author:
Rachel de la Fuente (meaning of the fountain) lives in Maryland with the love of her life and two furry children that meow. The Most Special Chosen is her first novel, but it’s hardly her first story. She’s been writing since elementary school, and telling stories since she could speak. She is an avid fountain pen enthusiast with a bit of an ink problem, and often writes book notes and sections of stories by hand.

Rachel was born and raised in southern California, but spent many summers with family in Mexico. Her parents loved traveling, so she also spent many vacations in various locations, soaking up foreign cultures and sights. She still loves to travel, and is committed to crossing all of the locations off her bucket list.

Rachel is a proud Slytherin, and when not writing, spends much of her free time reading, cross stitching, and watching documentaries.

You can find and contact Rachel de la Fuente here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram
YouTube
Newsletter

Giveaways
There are two giveaways during the blog tour for The Most Special Chosen! One of the giveaways is US Only and the other one is open International.

US Giveaway
One winner wins the following prizes:
• A signed copy of The Most Special Chosen
• An eBook copy of The Most Special Chosen
• A sheet of Exalted Bloodlines series round stickers
• An Exalted Bloodlines logo cutout sticker
• An eBook copy of Elysabeth and Shawn, the Prequel Series
• A bookmark with The Most Special Chosen tagline

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

International Giveaway
One winner wins the following Prizes:
• An eBook copy of The Most Special Chosen
• An eBook copy of Elysabeth and Shawn, the Prequel Series

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


banner Lola's Blog Tours

1) Tell us a little about yourself!


I never do well with this question. I feel like my brain seizes up whenever someone asks me about myself.
Um…I’m a southern California transplant living in the Washington, DC area and an avid fountain pen enthusiast with a growing ink problem. I’ve got 9 tattoos and 11 piercings. I can geek out with the best of them, and enjoy going to AwesomeCon every year.


2) What got you into writing?


I don’t know. I’ve been writing or telling stories since I was very young. I wrote short stories in elementary school, and just kept writing until I eventually had a novel. And now here I am with all the makings of a series.


3) What was your source (or sources) of inspiration for The Most Special Chosen?


Well, the original source of inspiration was a boyfriend in high school. But several years later, I wrote what is now chapter 14 (I really don’t remember where I got the idea) and it completely changed the course of the story. I’m very happy it did, because the book is infinitely better now.


4) Who would you say are your biggest influences in your writing style?


Well, having re-read Kresly Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other recently, I realized that she definitely had
significant influence on my writing. I imagine that many of the authors I read often have had some kind of effect as well. So Philippa Gregory, Nina Bangs, Jane Austen, and several fan fiction writers have probably all contributed to my writing style.


5) What lessons (if any) are to be learned from the characters in The Most Special Chosen?


Ooh, I’ve never been asked this before. I don’t think I offer any overt lessons, but the importance of friendship is definitely in there. Everyone needs that friend that really understands you. Picking your battles gets some page time. You can’t fight every battle in your life. You have to determine what’s important to you, and sometimes that means letting other things slide.


6) Who is your favorite character in The Most Special Chosen, and why?


I have a particular fondness for Shawn. He’s based on my best friend in high school, and the nostalgia factor is strong. I also really like Damien’s brother Sebastian, and another character that I don’t want to name just yet, but plays an important part in the latter half of The Most Special Chosen.


7) What drew you to write a paranormal romance?


It’s fun. I’ve always had a bit of a thing for vampires and werewolves. Reading paranormal romance over the years has just increased my interest. You can do so much with it. You can invent your own mythologies. I will say that as the series continues, there will be less of an emphasis on the romance part, and more emphasis on drama. That’s not to say the romance will go away, but it won’t be the main focus.


8) What can we look for in the future from you? Do you have any other books planned?


Later this year I have a short story coming out in Crossroads in the Dark IV, a charity anthology from my
publisher. I also have 6 total novels planned for the Exalted Bloodlines series, as well as side stories here and there, probably in anthologies. Otherwise, we’ll see where the writing fairy takes me.

Check out the other stops in this tour!

March 5
Bibliophile Ramblings – Promo only
Bibliophile Ramblings – Review

March 6 
T’s Stuff – Excerpt
Crazy Beautiful Reads – Excerpt
Sylv.net – Promo Only

March 7
The Writer’s Inkwell – Excerpt

March 8
The Young Girl Who Loved books – Interview

March 9 
Comfy Chair Books – Excerpt
FyreSyde Publishing – Guest Post

March 10 
Stacking My Book Shelves! – Excerpt and Top Ten List

March 11 
Just Books – Excerpt and top ten list

March 12 
The Bookworm Lodge – Promo Only

March 13 
She’s Going Book Crazy – Interview

March 14 
Ziggy’s Reading Corner – Promo Only

March 15 
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang – Promo Only
Writers and Authors – Guest Post

March 16 
Six Tinder Weeks – Review

March 17 
The Cozy Pages – Promo Only
Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog – Excerpt
Shock N Awe Book Blog – Excerpt

March 18 
Teatime and Books – Promo Only
books are love – Excerpt

Review after tour
Shock N Awe Book Blog
FyreSyde Publishing
books are love

eARC Review: Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey & Krystal Wade

eARC Review: Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey & Krystal Wade

Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. […]

Beat the Backlist 2018: March

Beat the Backlist 2018: March

February was a rather unproductive month for this challenge. While I did get a few reads done for the Backlist Challenge, I was piled high with ARCs that needed to be read first. February is such a short month, so I didn’t get as far […]

Book Review: Dragons of Kings by Ava Richardson

Book Review: Dragons of Kings by Ava Richardson

On the eve of battle, Bower will have to fulfill a mystical prophecy and become the leader he was born to be, or risk his future kingdom falling apart. Surrounded on all sides by deadly foes, he must face not only the evil king, but his deep doubts about himself.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Dragons of Kings

Series: Upon Dragon's Breath #2

Author: Ava Richardson

Publication Date: December 30, 2016

Publisher: Relay Publishing Ltd.

Page Count: 214

Format: ebook

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Cover Artist: Joemel Requeza

My Rating: ★★★

This synopsis may contain spoilers!

Bower, being the rightful heir to the throne, is the bridge between the world of dragons and men. After a slim escape from King Enric, Bower has taken up residence with Saffron among her clutch of dragons. In the time he is there, it is the dragons’ duty to teach him about magic, and what it means to be a king to both humans and dragons. Not understanding much of magic herself, Saffron decides to take Bower to visit the old Hermit. Upon arriving, they find the Hermit mortally wounded, and discover that the king knows the two of them are on the island as they were his attackers. The Hermit instructs them to find the Three-Rivers clans before he succumbs to his injuries.

”Find what I’ve hidden for you, my king. Take back what is yours by right. Get to the clans. Stop Enric. Trust each other.”

Bower and Saffron meet with the dragons to discuss what they are to do about King Enric. Bower, being the rightful heir, must show his worth to the dragons before they are willing to back him up. In order to gain their trust, the dragons send him on a quest to make friends between the dragons and island people–which is not a simple task. There has been a long-spanning dispute between the two races.. The local shaman speaks of messengers from the king arriving on the island, looking for the two of them, then reveals that she plotted to lure them out so they could be captured. Before Bower is able to enlist the people in a peace treaty with the dragons, the islanders are forced to take refuge in Den Mountain with the dragons from a raid the king planned with the shaman.

Bower helps to lead the dragon swarm in a fight against the king’s boats. Defeating them, Bower instructs the villagers and dragons that they need to find a different place to live, now that the king knows where the dragons were residing. He and Saffron then leave the island astride Jaydra, to seek out the Three-Rivers clan of dragon riders. On the way, Saffron uses the opportunity to help Bower develop his riding skills, along with her abilities with magic.

The group finds the Three-Rivers clan, but they aren’t who they imagined. They do not live in harmony with their dragons, and treat them as wild animals. When their leader Ryland learned that Bower is the rightful king of Torvald, he challenged Bower to mount one of their black dragons to prove his dominance. Bower realizes that the dragons are nocturnal, and frees one, trying to make the wild creature realize he’s not trying to hurt it. The dragon, out of anger, knocks Ryland from his dragon and the two dragons escape. Out of fear, Saffron uses her magic to keep Bower safe from the feral dragon, and ends up injuring some and scaring the dragons off.

The town is raided by the Iron Guard. Saffron discovers that Ryland doesn’t have any other dragons as they are all feral and unrideable. Saffron, Bower, and Jaydra do what they can to hold the Iron Guard back, but when the king’s magic stops them and tries to call Saffron back to him. In desperate need of aid, Bower sends out a call to all dragons. The brood from Den Mountain, along with dragons from several other surrounding locations hear him, and come to help. As Saffron fights the king with magic, Bower focuses on guiding the dragon warriors.

Exhausted after the magic battle with the Iron Guard, Bower and Saffron are held and watched by the Three Rivers Clan. The red dragons that came to Bower’s aid confronted them, but were unable to share their thoughts with humans. Ysix and the rest of Jaydra’s brood arrive and show both the red dragons and the Three Rivers clan that dragons and humans have an ancient bond, and acknowledge Bower as the rightful king. Ysix is able to help repair relations between the humans and some of the black dragons. On the same side, the dragons choose their riders, and they learn how to work together through training.

One evening, Saffron is acting strange and turns in early. Bower, worried about her strange reactions, goes to check on her. He finds her in a nightmarish state, and is dragged into the depths of her dream, where Enric infiltrates her mind and tries to persuade Saffron again to join him. She is able to break from his grasps with the help of Jaydra, but now the king knows their location.

A massive battle ensues between the dragons and the king’s Iron Guard. King Enric tries to force Saffron to come to him. In her anger, she recklessly uses her magic and creates a massive storm. With the distraction of the storm, and the valiant sacrifice by Ryland, they are able to escape the king’s clutches.

Dragons of Kings (Upon Dragon's Breath, #2)Dragons of Kings by Ava Richardson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

1) Dragons of Wild: ★★★½

Initially, I was slow to get back into this series, and remembering all of the details. I let far too much time pass from when I read Dragons of Wild, which is a shame. What I found when I jumped back into this world, however, was how much I appreciated this series. It’s clean, it has straight-forward intentions, the characters are wholesome, and it is a refreshing deviation from the typical YA fantasy read.

World Building

Dragons of Kings is set in the surrounding lands of Torvald. While there is detail given of the land, it is not in depth, and somewhat difficult to follow where the characters actually are. More of the world building comes into play when the reader is introduced to the Three-Rivers Clan, and see some of their perspectives, especially towards dragons.

Pacing & Readability

The pacing is moderate but remains consistent throughout the entire book. While this book is easy to read, I had a difficult time staying engaged with it as not a lot happened. The distance between “point A” to “point B” could be summed up in just a few sentences.

Point-of-View & Characters

The point-of-view remains the same as Dragons of Wild, and shifts between Saffron and Bower. The reader is privy to moderately deeper ruminations of the characters this time around. I felt that I got a better picture of Bower’s character overall.

“I had been raised with books, not with battles.”

For the first time, Bower is challenged by the dragons to see if he is worthy enough to be the dragon king. He knows he is the true heir to the throne, but struggles immensely with the responsibility that comes with it.

Saffron’s character was rather flat in this sequel. While she has a few challenges thrown her way, her character didn’t react as much as I would have expected in the situations. If it wasn’t for Jaydra helping her along, I fear Saffron would be nearly unremarkable.

We are introduced to a few new characters (both dragons and humans) in this installment, but these too are barely explored. Ryland, the leader of the Three-Rivers clan is briefly introduced, then made into a petty criminal with his acts towards the black dragons. (view spoiler)

King Enric, the antagonist of the series, is probably the most consistent character of all. I felt that as the villain, he delivered what was expected of him.

Major Themes

⇒ Good vs. Evil:

The battle between good and evil is the central theme through this series. Saffron and Bower, the representatives of good, fight against King Enric, an evil sorcerer king who has tried (and mostly succeeded) in wiping everyone’s minds clean of dragons and history in general. As I stated in my review for Dragons of Wild, this series parallels Fahrenheit 451, in the idea that knowledge (books) are dangerous. This is exactly the world that King Enric is trying to enforce and control, which truly is a terrifying goal for an antagonist.

This theme is also applicable for Saffron as she battles with her Maddox magic.

“If it is magic for human and dragons to share a mind, is it magic that also breaks our ties? Or is it the lack of magic? And if there is a place where Jaydra and Saffron are one thing in our hearts and minds, is there also a place where Saffron and Enric are one?”

Unsure of its functioning, Saffron doesn’t know if the magic is good, or evil like that of King Enric’s. It causes a rift between her and Jaydra, and Jaydra must protect herself from being influenced by the king when Saffron uses her magic. There wasn’t a conclusion to this issue, and assume it will be made clear in the sequel, Dragons of Dark.

⇒ Coming of age:

This story was largely centered around Bower, and him coming to terms with the fact that he is the rightful heir to the throne. Not only that, he has the ability to unite the dragons and humans once again. Throughout the entire story, he is seeking his worth, understanding, ability, and influence. Being one that loved to hit the books, he hadn’t had any experience with leading others. It was a trait that he had to learn and develop for his own.

⇒ Unity/Coming Together:

Another underlying theme was bringing unity between the dragons and humans in order to fight King Enric. After a long time of having little-to-no ties, Bower must word in tandem with the dragons to gain their respect and trust, as well as be a good advocate for them to the humans.

Overall Feelings

Things that I liked:

⇒ The dragons and humans learning to work together.
⇒ The diversity of the dragons. This is more of a personal point, but I loved learning about all of the variations of dragons, and how different they are!
⇒ How clean of a read this is!

Things that I didn’t like:

⇒ The plot pacing was a bit slow. I found myself having to reread areas because I became distracted and didn’t pay enough attention.
⇒ I still had some difficulty really engaging myself in the characters’ stories. I felt that they and several other aspects of the plot needed more depth.

While I really wanted to like this series more, I feel like there’s an outstretched hand, halting my progression in immerse myself further. I’d like to get further into this world, but need more depth in the characters in order to do so. I’m hoping Dragons of Dark will fulfill my hopes for this series because I think it really has potential to be great!

Vulgarity: None.
Sexual content: None.
Violence: While there are several fight scenes, there is no gore.


View all my reviews

Thursday Blog Trot #3

Thursday Blog Trot #3

Happy Thursday, everyone! Just a spot of good news – in case you didn’t know, Thursday is basically Friday, so, it’s basically the weekend! I have great logic, yes I do. Along with the fact that it’s practically the weekend, it’s also International Women’s Day! […]

Books That I’m Thankful For

Books That I’m Thankful For

As readers, we are always searching for a book that impacts us. “Impact” can be taken in a multitude of ways—it’s basically the reason why we read in the first place. I love books with deep-rooted meaning. They can be from any genre, as long […]

March ARCs

March ARCs

Oh hey, March.

Seeing how we are already a week in, I should probably get my post up for what ARCs I have for this month! I’ll be playing some catch-up from February as well, because I overloaded with ARCs for such a short month. So, let’s get caught up! In order to get started, here are ARCs I will for certain be reading and reviewing in March!

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey & Krystal Wade

While she sleeps, the whole universe changes.

Princess Talia Starchaser has it all. Wealth. Status. Adoring citizens. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to publicly betray her best friend, a companion mock she’s had since birth, setting events into motion that lead to the destruction of the humans, and the princess floating through space, a remnant of a time when humans ruled over droids.

One hundred years later, half-mock captain Will Perrault and his ragtag crew discover a device floating in space. When a very human Talia emerges from its depths, Will suspects she’s the key to buying his way back into the regiment he once commanded against the last remaining rebel humans—and the ruling mock queen’s good graces.

Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive.

Dwarves of Calcus by Katie Hamstead

When she was thirteen, Snow Sabbia crash landed on the dwarves' home planet of Calcus. After fleeing from her step-mother's huntsman, seven brother dwarves took her in to hide and protect her. She has hidden for years on the peaceful planet, tinkering with old automobiles and pushing papers in the mine office.

Then, Timothy White shows up.

The shy, nervous, nerdy heir captivates Snow before she even knows who he is, and quickly she falls in love. But his high profile in society draws unwanted attention from her vengeful stepmother, who wants Snow dead.
Geneva believed Snow died years earlier and she had consumed her innocent heart. With her late husband's wealth, Snow's inheritance, in tow, she married a young lord, Conrad. Both are using each other--Geneva for his title and to have a child, Conrad for her money and beauty. But when Conrad lays eyes on his boyhood rival's lovely fiance, Snow, his overwhelming desire for her reveals the truth to Geneva, that Snow lives.
Desperate to hold onto her wealth and power, Geneva seeks to kill Snow properly this time. Snow has the power to wield the one thing that can destroy her, so she cannot let the girl claim possession of the family heirloom, the Nevollo Sword. 

Snow soon learns her step-mother knows she is alive. But she is a pacifist, so she must outwit Geneva and remain hidden... until Geneva, disguised as a child, presents her with an apple.

That's it! I'm so curious what ARCs and/or books you'll be reading this month! What is your most-anticipated read being published this month? Let me know in the comments below!

State of the ARC: February

State of the ARC: February

Well, there goes February… I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m not happy with my progress this past month. While I did a LOT of work on improving my posts, Bookstagram account, Pinterest boards, and so on, my blogging and book reviews […]

Book Review: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Book Review: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg’s father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government. Synopsis provided by Goodreads. Book: A Wrinkle in Time Series: Time Quintet Author: Madeleine L’Engle Publication Date: May […]

Fairy Tale Friday #2: Ole-Luk-Oie, The Dream God by Hans Christian Andersen

Fairy Tale Friday #2: Ole-Luk-Oie, The Dream God by Hans Christian Andersen

Ole-Luk-Oie, The Dream God

written by Hans Christian Andersen

One of the more well-known fairy tale authors, Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author in the 1800’s. He wrote Ole-Luk-Oie (or Ole Lukøje in other versions) and published it originally on December 20, 1841 by C. A. Reitzel. Not one of his well-known works, the tale is based off of the mythical creature, the Sandman, who takes children off to sleep and gives them dreams.

Other versions of this tale exist in Western and Northern European folklore, where this being is referred to as: Jon, or John Blund (Swedish), Wee Willie Winkie (Scottish), Klaas Vaak (The Netherlands), Dormette (France), Billy Winker (Lancashire), as well as Morpheus (the Greek god of dreams).

This tale has been paraphrased in my own words from the original version.

Ole-Luk-Oie knows more stories in the world than anyone. Every evening, he sneaks into houses and gently blows dust in children’s eyes and on the back of their necks to make their heads droop. But he is not menacing, for he loves children, and wants to give them nice stories to dream of when they sleep. He wears beautiful color-changing clothes, and carries an umbrella in each arm that have pictures on the inside. One has nice pictures which he spreads over the good children, the other has no pictures, which is spread over the naughty children so they do not dream.

Ole-Luk-Oie visited a boy named Hjalmar for an entire week, and shared with him seven stories.

On Monday, Ole-Luk-Oie decorates Hjalmar’s room to look like a greenhouse. Although the room was beautiful, dismal noises came from the desk where Hjalmar stored his school books. Curious, Ole-Luk-Oie went to investigate. He found a writing slate with terrible math, and an alphabet copy-book with poor writing. Seeing the state in which the letters were, he made them practice standing how they stood. But the next morning, Hjalmar found them looking as bad as before.

On Tuesday, Ole-Luk-Oie made Hjalmar’s furniture speak. A picture of large tree began to chirp with birds. Ole-Luk-Oie helped Hjalmar into the picture frame. He felt the sun on his face and ran down to the water and into a boat pulled by six swans sat. They sailed down the river, passing all sorts of magical landscapes. Great palaces with princes and princesses passed. He landed in the town where his nurse from when he was young resided. She sang to him and the landscape around them joined in.

On Wednesday, it was raining, and filled Hjalmar’s room with water up to the window-sill. A beautiful ship sat outside the house and Ole-Luk-Oie invited the boy to sail with him to foreign countries that night. In their travels, they came across a flock of storks. One being too tired to keep up, dropped to the ship, where Hjalmar put in him a pen with other fowl. The stork told the other birds stories of Africa, but they were not nice to the him and made fun of his long legs. Now rested, Hjalmar let the stork out of the pen and to continue on his journey. Because of their cruelness, Hjalmar told the birds that the next day they would be made into soup.

On Thursday, brought a mouse to Hjalmar who invited him to come to a mouse wedding taking place under his mother’s store-room. Ole-Luk-Oie shrank the boy and dressed him in finery. The mouse pulled him to the wedding in a thimble. He observed the grand event, then returned back to his room.

On Friday, Ole-Luk-Oie told Hjalmar how many old people wanted to pay him to give them good dreams. Their evil deeds haunted them at night, but he wouldn’t work for money. Ole-Luk-Oie took Hjalmar to the hundred and first wedding of his sister’s two dolls, Herman and Bertha. The couple decided to go to the sand-pit in the front of the gate for their honeymoon.

On Saturday, Ole-Luk-Oie was tasked with making the whole world beautiful, for tomorrow was Sunday.  He told Hjalmar that he had to take down the stars to polish them. But Hjalmar’s great-grandfather hanging in a portrait told him not to tell the boy lies. Ole-Luk-Oie told him that he is an ancient heathen that the Romans and Greeks called the Dream-god, and that he knows how to conduct himself. Great-grandfather was disgruntled at the response.

On Sunday, Ole-Luk-Oie showed Hjalmar his brother, who only visits a person but once. He takes them away on his horse, and tells him stories on the ride. His brother, called Ole-Luk-Oie was also called Death. Hjalmar watched as the picked up people and placed them on his horse, and checked their mark books. Two stories are told of his brother, one being beautiful, the other terrifying. But Ole-Luk-Oie tells Hjalmar that if he keeps a good conduct book, then he has nothing to fear.

Ole-Luk-Oie, The Dream GodOle-Luk-Oie, The Dream God by Hans Christian Andersen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ole-Luk-Oie, The Dream God is a sweet little fairy tale about the Sandman, an elusive mythical being that coaxes children to sleep each night. He comes and gives beautiful dreams to the good, and no dreams to the naughty. Steeped in creativity, this fairy tale has something for every generation to draw from.

For seven days, Ole-Luk-Oie visits a boy named Hjalmar, and takes him all sorts of adventures through dreamland. He visits faraway places, attends a mouse wedding, and then a doll wedding, and learns how Ole-Luk-Oie prepares the world for each Sunday. One the last night of his visit, Ole-Luk-Oie introduces Hjalmar to his brother, also called Ole-Luk-Oie (aka Death). I thought the tale was going to end with the boy dying, but it didn’t. I almost started tearing up! He explains that one is visited by his brother only once, and that visit is either beautiful or terrifying, depending on the life each person leads.

The moral of the story is this: what you do in life will come back to haunt you. At a point in the tale, Ole-Luk-Oie shares with Hjalmar that many old people try to bribe him to come to their houses to give them good dreams because the choices they have made in life haunt them at night. Hjalmar, being young and innocent, does not fear Death when he sees him because his conduct book is clean.

For being such a simple tale, it was full of whimsy and has learning points for all.

My Rating: ★★★★★

View all my reviews

Questions:
Have you heard of this fairy tale before?
What were your initial thoughts when you read it?

Be sure to check back for the next Fairy Tale Friday post on March 16, 2018!


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