Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bargain Ebook: Charming (Pax Arcana Book 1) by Elliott James for $1.99

Charming (Pax Arcana Book 1) by Elliott James has been temporarily reduced to $1.99 in ebook format in anticipation of its sequel, Daring, coming out in September. It is usually in the $6-7 range. I posted about this new series in September last year, there were several short story and novella prequels before Charming's release. I haven't read this yet but I am still "charmed" at the idea of a series about Prince Charming. I'm not sure how much fairy tales appear in the novel but some of the short fiction definitely drew some inspiration from the tales.

Book description:

John Charming isn't your average Prince...

He comes from a line of Charmings -- an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chain mail and crossbows to Kevlar and shotguns, John Charming was one of the best--until a curse made him one of the abominations the Knights were sworn to hunt.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, John tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. That is, until a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar...

CHARMING is the first novel in a new urban fantasy series which gives a new twist to the Prince Charming tale.

Short Fiction in the Pax Arcana world:
Charmed I'm Sure
Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls
Pushing Luck
Surreal Estate

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Book: Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton (Cindy in WWII Setting)

Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton was released last month by Entangled Teen. You can read more about it on Slayton's website.

I haven't seen many Cinderella stories set during WWII, so that can be a fun change for the tale.

Book description:

Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dress is even tougher.

Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she’s working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dress, life gets complicated.

Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

About the Author

Shonna Slayton finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teens today. While writing Cinderella’s Dress she reflected on her days as a high-school senior in British Columbia when she convinced her supervisors at a sportswear store to let her design a few windows—it was glorious fun while it lasted. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.

Also, on her site, Slayton has announced that a sequel will be forthcoming:

*UPDATE* At ALA14 in Las Vegas the last week of June I chatted with my editor and she told me they want to do the next book. WOOT! I have to write up the proposal and first few chapters so she can take it to acquisitions. Shout out to everyone who purchased Cinderella’s Dress and asked for more. There will be more :) Working title is “Cinderella’s Shoes.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gone Viral: Cinderella Marriage Proposal

This is going viral and I thought I would post here before several people send it to me--thoughtful SurLaLune people! Here is a Cinderella themed marriage proposal that will set a high bar for other fairy tale princesses--not letting my niece Kensie see this one!

The proposal has plenty of Disney in it, but was actually more inspired by the Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella in which the bride-to-be has starred. I have to be careful or I will not get Impossible out of my head for three days...

About Seth Conerly's Princess Proposal:

On July 18, 2014 I proposed to the love of my life. I had been planning this for months and was so pleased with how it all turned out! Thank you to all the people who helped make this day happen! I love you Taylor!

New Book: The Gothic Fairy Tale in Young Adult Literature: Essays on Stories from Grimm to Gaiman

The Gothic Fairy Tale in Young Adult Literature: Essays on Stories from Grimm to Gaiman by Joseph Abbruscato (Author, Editor), Tanya Jones (Author, Editor) was released a few days ago by McFarland. I haven't seen a copy yet, but I always appreciate a book that has an essay on Robin McKinley's Deerskin. And I don't think I've ever seen an essay on Merrie Haskell's The Princess Curse. Then there's Neil Gaiman, Holly Black and more, too. Score!

Book description:

Rooted in the oral traditions of cultures worldwide, fairy tales have long played an integral part in children’s upbringing. Filled with gothic and fantastical elements like monsters, dragons, evil step-parents and fairy godmothers, fairy tales remain important tools for teaching children about themselves, and the dangers and joys of the world around them.

In this collection of new essays, literary scholars examine gothic elements in more recent entries into the fairy tale genre—for instance, David Almond’s Skellig, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Coraline and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events—exploring such themes as surviving incest, and the capture and consumption of children. Although children’s literature has seen an increase in reality-based stories that allow children no room for escape from their everyday lives, these essays demonstrate the continuing importance of fairy tales in helping them live well-rounded lives.

About the Authors

High school English teacher Joe Abbruscato specializes in the study of young adult literature, fairy tales and mythologies, within his research interests in comic books, pop culture, and science fiction. He lives in Gilbert, Arizona Tanya Jones, of Charlotte, North Carolina, has written for multiple academic collections in the areas of fantasy, Gothicism and pop culture.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The State of Modern Fairy Tales (Joseph Abbruscato) 1

"Something like you, something like a beast": Gothic Convention and Fairy Tale Elements in David Almond’s Skellig (Carys Crossen) 11

"Baby and I were baked in a pie": Cannibalism and the Consumption of Children in Young Adult Literature (Tanya Jones) 30

Orson Scott Card’s Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet): Authoring Home in Fairyland (Erin Wyble Newcomb) 47

Being Nobody: Identity in Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (Joseph Abbruscato) 66

"She would not think of it": Surviving Incest in Robin McKinley’s Deerskin (Sarah R. Wakefield) 83

"Transform, and twist, and change": Deconstructing Coraline (Lisa K. Perdigao) 102

"Comparatively innocent": The Terrible Search for Nobility in A Series of Unfortunate Events (Tim Sadenwasser) 123

Earning the Right to Wear Midnight: Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching (Eileen Donaldson) 145

"Monstrosity will be called for": Holly Black’s and Melissa Marr’s Urban Gothic Fairy Tale Heroines (Rhonda Nicol) 165

Reading in the Dark: Narrative Reframing in the Unheimlich Underworld of Merrie Haskell’s The Princess Curse (Carissa Turner Smith) 181

About the Contributors 201

Index 203

Monday, July 28, 2014

New Book: Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat


Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz (Author), Dan Santat (Illustrator) was released earlier this month. This is one of my most anticipated fairy tale picture books for 2014. Why? Because NINJAS! Ninjas impress many people in my life so a ninja picture book is always a bonus.

This same team brought us The Three Ninja Pigs. Which was also fun! Because NINJAS! Pigs! Wolves! Did I mention NINJAS?

Here are some illustrations and a description for the new book. This would be very fun to read during a storytime. What do you think? Should this become a trilogy--which fairy tale should be ninja-fractured next?

Book description Ninja Red Riding Hood:

Companion to the hit The Three Ninja Pigs, this fractured fairy tale is a sure-fire storytime hit.

Wolf just can’t catch a break! Ever since the three little pigs started teaching everyone Ninja skills, huffing and puffing just hasn’t been enough to scare up a good meal.

His craving for meat sends Wolf to classes at the dojo, and soon he’s ready to try out his new moves. A little girl and her tiny granny should be easy targets—right?

Not if Little Red has anything to say about it! Kiya!

What happens next? I don't know! Guess I'll have to read the book to find out! There it goes onto my personal wishlist.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

New Chapbook: Wolf Skin by Mary McMyne

Last month I received a review copy of a slender but charming chapbook, Wolf Skin by Mary McMyne. The book is published by dancing girl press and isn't available from other booksellers.

Most, but not all, of the 19 poems hidden within the pages are fairy tale related. An image of the title poem is below, courtesy of the publisher. Two additional poems can be read online: "Old Woman Gothel" at Pedestal Magazine and "Heyghoge" at Painted Bride Quarterly. Six of the 19 poems are a sequence devoted to Rapunzel. Other Grimms' tales are represented, too, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and The Seven Ravens.

I enjoyed the poems and will let the three I've offered here speak for themselves. Poetry is such an intimate thing and I don't consider myself qualified to give a critical review of it, only a resounding, "I'm glad I read these."

I admit I had a strong visceral reaction to the book because it provided a strong flashback to my senior year of high school when I took my one and only creative writing class. The focus of the class was poetry and our final projects were personal chapbooks. I still have mine and a few of my friends. So holding a chapbook in my hands again for the first time in a while brought back some strong memories of that year as well as the insecurities of publishing my work. Twenty-four years later I am grateful to not be a high school senior anymore! And while none of that youthful poetry was fairy tale related, my favorite poem from that time was inspired by an Aesop's Fable. Shades of things to come, yes?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Book: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen was released earlier this month. I have received a review copy and I admit I am actually interested in this one after reading the reviews and the description. I have a complicated relationship with Peter Pan--not a fairy tale despite popular perceptions and Disney/ABC efforts--it's a fantasy novel--that shouldn't prejudice anyone else either way. There are a few Peter Pan retellings out there, too, but this is the first one that actually caught my interest despite myself. I like the idea of Hook fighting to leave Neverland. I wouldn't want to live there either. A bit of romance is nice during a long, hot summer, too. So onto my TBR pile it goes.

Book description:

"Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy."

Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.


"Jensen's second novel, a twist on the Peter Pan story which reconceives of Captain Hook as a tragic hero, shows how she's matured as a writer since her excellent debut, The Witch from the Sea. Jensen's wonderful imagination and devotion to history and myth allow the reader to fly with her through this outstanding adventure--no fairy dust required." -- Publishers Weekly

"Scintillating description and deep characterization make Jensen's Neverland a psychologically intriguing place to visit. Jensen offers a humanized take on Captain Hook that will be sure to entertain fans of the fairy tale-retelling genre." --Library Journal

“A rich and darkly humorous tale of a man trapped in a child’s nightmare. A delicious and thought-provoking read.” —Laurie King, New York Times bestselling author of The Bones of Paris

"Jensen's wonderful imagination and devotion to history and myth allow the reader to fly with her through this outstanding adventure - no fairy dust required."—Publishers Weekly
"A marvellous book. A plot to keep you guessing, and a character to fall in love with. Written with verve and warmth, Alias Hook will challenge what you thought you knew about Neverland, and have you cheering for an unlikely but irresistible hero." —Paula Brackston, New York Times bestselling author of The Midnight Witch

"It's a really beautifully written novel about Captain Hook. It tells that story from his perspective. He's stuck in this childhood world where Peter Pan rules everything until an adult woman finally falls into Neverland. It's an unusual premise. I love it." -- Eloisa James, author of Three Weeks with Lady X

“Captain Hook is as proud and lonely as Lucifer—though, being a pirate, he’s loads more fun—while the impious Peter Pan is as cruel as an unleashed child can be. Alias Hook is pure joy.” —Broos Campbell, author of Peter Wicked

“A captivating blend of fantasy, adventure, and historical fiction, Alias Hook is a fresh, utterly convincing reinterpretation of the Peter Pan story. Lisa Jensen takes a classic villain and transforms him into someone we care about and root for all the way to the emotionally stirring end. You will never look at Captain Hook the same way again!”
—Elizabeth Blackwell, author of While Beauty Slept

“Both a cracking adventure and a chance to witness that annoying little prig Peter Pan get a good kicking! Highly recommended.” -- C.C. Humphreys, author of Vlad – The Last Confession

"Scintillating description and deep characterization make Jensen's Neverland a psychologically intriguing place to visit. Jensen offers a humanized take on Captain Hook that will be sure to entertain fans of the fairy tale-retelling genre." -- Library Journal

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Book: Of Sorcery and Snow (The Ever Afters) by Shelby Bach

Of Sorcery and Snow (The Ever Afters) by Shelby Bach was released last month. It's the third in a series, following Of Giants and Ice (The Ever Afters) in 2012 and Of Witches and Wind (The Ever Afters) in 2013. A fourth book will be released next summer, The Ever Afters #4 (Ever Afters).

Do you know what amuses me most about this series? I haven't read it but I like the twist that there are two girls and a boy on these adventures. All too often it's one girl only if there is a mixed gender group of three or more. I bet this series passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors.

Book description Of Sorcery and Snow (The Ever Afters):

Rory might be ready to star in her own fairy tale, but there’s more danger than happily-ever-after in this third book in a series that Kirkus Reviews calls a “fast-paced combination of middle school realism and fairy-tale fantasy.”

Life at Ever After School has become familiar for Rory. She’s been on two quests, she’s a great sword fighter, and she has terrific friends. But familiar is no fairy tale, and she’s still anxiously awaiting the chance to star in her own.

But as her connection to the Snow Queen continues to grow, Rory realizes her starring role might be well underway. When the Snow Queen sends the Pied Piper to kidnap several children, including the sibling of a fellow EAS-er, the teachers think this mission is too dangerous and won’t send any kids. But Rory, Chase, and Lena are determined to help, and it’s not long before they find themselves in more trouble than they can handle. Because it wouldn’t be Ever After School if things worked out according to plan…

Bargain Ebook: Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale has dropped from $9.99 to $2.99 in ebook format. I haven't really been paying attention to this series. Is anyone here enjoying it?

Book description:

At Ever After High, an enchanting boarding school, the children of fairytale legends prepare themselves to fulfill their destinies as the next generation of Snow Whites, Prince Charmings and Evil Queens...whether they want to or not. Each year on Legacy Day, students sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their scripted fates. For generations, the Village of Book End has whispered that refusing to sign means The End-both for a story and for a life.

As the daughter of the Evil Queen, Raven Queen's destiny is to follow in her mother's wicked footsteps, but evil is so not Raven's style. She's starting to wonder, what if she rewrote her own story? The royal Apple White, daughter of the Fairest of Them All, has a happy ever after planned for herself, but it depends upon Raven feeding her a poison apple in their future.

What if Raven doesn't sign the Storybook of Legends? It could mean a happily never after for them both.