Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Book: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter



Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter was released in late 2016. The novel is a retelling of the Russian fairy tale "Vasilisa the Beautiful," which is itself a Russian Cinderella story. You can read a version of the tale here. The book follows the strong recent trend of Russian fairy tale novels that's been enduring for several years now actually. The Russian versions of popular tales tend to be darker and atmospheric so I can understand their appeal for modern audiences.

Book description:

STEP INTO THE ENCHANTED KINGDOM OF BROOKLYN, WHERE MAGIC―AND DANGER―LURKS AROUND EVERY CORNER

A powerful and haunting tale for teen fans of urban fantasy, fairy tales, magic, and horror who enjoy books by Leigh Bardugo, Kendare Blake, Catherynne Valente, and V. E. Schwab.

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now―but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters―and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair....

AMAZON'S SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY BEST BOOKS OF THE MONTH PICK
AMAZON'S BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOKS OF THE MONTH PICK

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Picture Book: Peau d'âne by Hélène Druvert


UK/France Links

Peau d'âne by Hélène Druvert is one of my recent discoveries, published in France in 2015. The book is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr but not in Amazon.com.

I have a penchant for Peau d'âne picture books which pretty much only come in French since the story is beloved in France but avoided by publishers in other countries due to the possible controversies of the tale of which there are a few. (Not familiar with Peau d'âne? Read Donkeyskin at the SurLaLune primary site.) Which always makes the books even more appealing to me because they are rare to find. This is now one of my favorite renditions. This version also uses minimal text to tell the story, letting the reader take it at face value.

Druvert has a beautiful illustration style--using silhouettes to tell her stories. Every other page in her pictures books--for she has illustrated a few titles--are cut out pages, intricately die cut and designed to overlay the pages between them as you turn the pages. The pages are sturdy on heavy stock paper but still fragile since they are die cut. The results are beautiful.

So in the images below--which you can click to see larger--the left side of the image is the back side of the die cut page.





Other books by Druvert include, with the first two linking to Amazon.com and the second linking to Amazon.co.uk. The Mary Poppins and Paris titles also have the die cut pages. I do not know for sure about the other two.




New Book: Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas


US/UK Links

Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas was released in the US in October. It is a Sleeping Beauty retelling and is also the second in a series, following last year's Ash & Bramble, which is a Cinderella retelling.

Book description:

This beauty isn’t sleeping! Discover the true story of Sleeping Beauty in Sarah Prineas’s bold YA fairy-tale retelling filled with thrilling adventure and romance, perfect for fans of the Lunar Chronicles and the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy.

After the spell protecting her is destroyed, Rose seeks safety in the world outside the valley she had called home. She’s been kept hidden all her life to delay the three curses she was born with—curses that will put her into her own fairy tale and a century-long slumber. Accompanied by Griff, the handsome and mysterious Watcher, and Quirk, his witty and warmhearted partner, Rose tries to escape from the ties that bind her to her story. But will the path they take lead them to freedom, or will it bring them straight into the fairy tale they are trying to avoid?

Set in the world of Sarah Prineas’s Ash & Bramble fifty years later, Rose & Thorn is a powerful retelling of the classic “Sleeping Beauty” tale where the characters fight to find their own happy ever after.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Bargain Ebook: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi



The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi is one of those books that has been on my radar for a while for my TBR pile and climbed higher on the list when I attended her panel at the Southern Festival of Books last October. I thought I had already posted about the book, but apparently I haven't. So lucky you if this sparks your interest because the ebook is also on sale for a short time for $2.99, down from the $10ish it was previously.

Another bonus is that this book incorporates India (as in the country, not Native American) folklore and mythology. Chokshi loves rich language--and it was revealed she is a fairy tale and SurLaLune reader before she knew I was in the room--so I have many reasons to recommend her here, too!  I love this current trend of Indian folklore inspired fiction with books like this and Renée Ahdieh's The Wrath and the Dawn to name a few. I read a lot of Indian folklore as I research so it has a filing cabinet all its own in my brain that I love to see explored through other sources.

Book description:

Praise for The Star-Touched Queen:
New York Times Bestseller
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
A Goodreads Best Book of the Month

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.