Monday, March 27, 2017

New Book: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted by Meagan Spooner is a new book release, a Beauty and the Beast inspired novel. I don't think anyone is surprised by the current Beauty and the Beast trend, are they? I'm not complaining! This one is Russian influenced--Russian inspired another current trend on a severe upswing right now--but that is an interesting development since Beauty and the Beast usually doesn't get a Russian treatment.

So has anyone read this one yet?

Book description:

Beauty knows the Beast's forest in her bones--and in her blood.

Though Yeva grew up with the city's highest aristocrats, far from her father's old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who's ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there's no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas...or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva's father's misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he'd been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters' protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory--a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva's only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bargain Ebook: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay for $1.99

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay is another Beauty and the Beast novel on sale in ebook format for $1.99. This is the first time the title has been bargain priced to my knowledge.

Book description:

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Two Beauty and the Beast Novels by Robin McKinley on Sale

Two Beauty and the Beast novels by Robin McKinley are on sale for $.99 each in ebook format. Beauty and Rose Daughter were written decades apart and each have their fan base, but overall Beauty is the sentimental favorite. Beauty was very important to me as a teen and still has a special place in my heart and SurLaLune history, too.

Book description for Beauty:

I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal-minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour. . . . My father still likes to tell the story of how I acquired my odd nickname: I had come to him for further information when I first discovered that our names meant something besides you-come-here. He succeeded in explaining grace and hope, but he had some difficulty trying to make the concept of honour understandable to a five-year-old. . . . I said: ‘Huh! I’d rather be Beauty.’ . . .

By the time it was evident that I was going to let the family down by being plain, I’d been called Beauty for over six years. . . . I wasn’t really very fond of my given name, Honour, either . . . as if ‘honourable’ were the best that could be said of me.

The sisters’ wealthy father loses all his money when his merchant fleet is drowned in a storm, and the family moves to a village far away. Then the old merchant hears what proves to be a false report that one of his ships had made it safe to harbor at last, and on his sad, disappointed way home again he becomes lost deep in the forest and has a terrifying encounter with a fierce Beast, who walks like a man and lives in a castle. The merchant’s life is forfeit, says the Beast, for trespass and the theft of a rose—but he will spare the old man’s life if he sends one of his daughters: “Your daughter would take no harm from me, nor from anything that lives in my lands.” When Beauty hears this story—for her father had picked the rose to bring to her—her sense of honor demands that she take up the Beast’s offer, for “cannot a Beast be tamed?”

This “splendid story” by the Newbery Medal–winning author of The Hero and the Crown has been named an ALA Notable Book and a Phoenix Award Honor Book (Publishers Weekly).

Book description for Rose Daughter:

Award-winning author Robin McKinley tells an enthralling story of magic, love, and redemption, based on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast.

Once upon a time, a wealthy merchant had three daughters. When his business failed, he moved his daughters to the countryside. The youngest daughter, Beauty, is fascinated by the thorny stems of a mysterious plant that overwhelms their neglected cottage. She tends the plant until it blossoms with the most beautiful flowers the sisters have ever seen—roses.

Admiring the roses, an old woman tells Beauty, “Roses are for love.” And she speaks of a sorcerers’ battle many years ago that left a beast in an enchanted palace, and a curse concerning a family of three sisters . . .

The Newbery Medal–winning author’s charming retelling of the classic fairy tale weaves a tangled story of sorcery, loyalty, and love that is sure to cast a spell on readers.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bargain Ebook: When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James is on sale for $.99 in ebook format. James, a scholar and romance author, has a series of fairy tale inspired romance novels and this one is her retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

I've read this one and it draws inspiration from the old TV series, House, for the hero's character development, an unusual attribute. But the hero is more lovable than House ever was. It has some interesting twists on the Beauty and the Beast tropes, too. It also gets better as it progresses past the set-up. It is a category romance so expect the usual content to be found in the genre these days. But of the many B&B category romances I've read, this one stands out in memory--I can actually remember the plot and that is harder than you might imagine these days!

Book description:

A wonderful spin on a much-beloved fairy tale, Eloisa James’s When Beauty Tamed the Beast is heart-soaring and fun historical romance at its finest. No wonder People magazine raves about her books, saying, “Romance writing does not get much better than this.” Eloisa’s delightful take on Beauty and the Beast unfolds in Regency England, where a beastly, bad-tempered Earl matches wits with a brazen beauty who has vowed to make the handsome grump fall in love with her in two short weeks.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Book: Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World by Maria Tatar

Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World by Maria Tatar was released last week just in time for Disney's Beauty and the Beast film hype. Smart marketing! The book offers readers 37 tales of beastly grooms and beastly brides across several tales types, especially ATU 425 (The Search for the Lost Husband), ATU 425C (Beauty and the Beast) and ATU 402 (The Animal Bride) although the tales are not typed in the book since the book is intended primarily for a general audience, The general tale types can be guessed at from the table of content categories: especially Animal Grooms and Animal Brides. Tale types are discussed in the introduction, but the collection itself is not typed for readers to whom this is important. And really tale types are primarily for scholars to help manage an infinite number of folktales, as imperfect a system as it is, it still is much better than none at all!

This is an excellent collection for everyone. It is from Maria Tatar after all! Tatar provides a lengthy introduction to the collection, as well as short introductions (about a paragraph in length) to each of the tales. I recommend it highly.

Now for the questions I'll get because I'm Heidi Anne Heiner, editor of Beauty and the Beast Tales From Around the World: How are the books different? Which one is better? I'll answer the second first--both are important, especially if you are a fan of Beauty and the Beast tales. It's all about how much you really want to read about Beauty and the Beast stories whether you decide you need both, just one, or even neither!

So how are they different? There is some overlap between stories offered in both volumes, roughly less than 10 tales. You can see the Table of Contents to both when you look inside the books on Amazon. My full contents of 188 tales are also listed here. We both offer several tale types with an emphasis on ATU 425 and ATU 425C. I ended up with a complex table of tale types in the end matter to my book. But my volume does not include Animal Brides. I simply didn't have room after 828 pages devoted to Animal Grooms. I still dream of editing an Animal Brides volume some day, though.

My volume also includes both the Villenueve and Beaumont versions of Beauty and the Beast. Only Beaumont appears in Tatar's due to length restrictions for the book--Tatar's volume in paper edition is intended to be portable and economical. The Villeneuve version is so very long that it would fill the pages of the slimmer volume. That tale is book length within itself and I actually offer two translations of it in Beauty and the Beast Tales From Around the World--read my post to see why. Tatar discusses both in her introduction because it is impossible to talk about one without mentioning the other with any authority.

Book description for Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World by Maria Tatar:

One of our most beloved and elemental fairy tales, in versions from across the centuries and around the world—published to coincide with Disney’s live-action 3D musical film starring Emma Watson, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Audra McDonald, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, and Emma Thompson

Nearly every culture tells the story of Beauty and the Beast in one fashion or another. From Cupid and Psyche to India’s Snake Bride to South Africa’s “Story of Five Heads,” the partnering of beasts and beauties, of humans and animals in all their variety—cats, dogs, frogs, goats, lizards, bears, tortoises, monkeys, cranes, warthogs—has beguiled us for thousands of years, mapping the cultural contradictions that riddle every romantic relationship.

In this fascinating volume, preeminent fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar brings together tales from ancient times to the present and from a wide variety of cultures, highlighting the continuities and the range of themes in a fairy tale that has been used both to keep young women in their place and to encourage them to rebel, and that has entertained adults and children alike. With fresh commentary, she shows us what animals and monsters, both male and female, tell us about ourselves, and about the transformative power of empathy.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Beastly Beast or Human Prince?

There's been a long going discussion among scholars and others about the disappointment often felt by readers and viewers when the Beast is transformed back into his human form in Beauty and the Beast tales. I had hoped to go share some of those discussions, but have been sick. But it has arisen again in popular media with the release of the new Disney film. So I wanted to share the article: Why Is the Prince in Beauty and the Beast Always Less Hot Than the Beast? By Hunter Harris

Excerpt from the article:

And it’s precisely at this moment — just when you’re adjusting to life as a human person who’d swipe right on a cartoon Beast — that he’s snatched from us. In both versions of Beauty and the Beast, the pesky curse that trapped the Beast in his animal form is eventually broken. When Belle sobs over his injured body, her tears deactivate the spell. With proof that he can love and be loved in return, the Beast is magically returned to the human race.

Believe me when I say that this was the cruelest twist ending of my childhood. After 90 minutes of falling for that lush brown fur, I discovered that the Beast’s human form is blonde. Also, he’s just not that hot.
The effect is much worse in film, of course, but it has been explored many times in fiction, too, by Angela Carter, Robin McKinley, and others.

So how to you feel when the Beast disappears? Happy, disappointed, or just confused?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bargain Ebook: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani for $1.99

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (Author), Iacopo Bruno (Illustrator) is on sale in ebook format for $1.99 TODAY ONLY.

Book description:

At the School for Good and Evil, failing your fairy tale is not an option.

Welcome to the School for Good and Evil, where best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.

The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed—Sophie's dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.

But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are . . . ?

The School for Good and Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Bargain Ebook: Smoke and Mirrors (Magic Men Mysteries) by Elly Griffiths

Smoke and Mirrors (Magic Men Mysteries) by Elly Griffiths is a book I haven't featured here on the blog yet. It also happens today to be bargain priced in ebook format for $2.99.

Rather unusual here at SurLaLune, it's the second book in a murder mystery series. The plot offers a killer inspired by fairy tales, especially Hansel and Gretel and Aladdin. Fairy tales are not part of the first book in the series, Zig Zag Girl, but magic is part of the world building with one of the detectives a magician. Intrigued yet? Murder mysteries with fairy tale references are not that unusual but this particular mix is one of the most original combination of elements I've seen in a while. There's also a 1950s setting and a pantomime, very British. And the second book is slightly better reviewed than the first in the series, too.

Book description:

In the sequel to the "captivating" Zig Zag Girl, DI Edgar Stephens and the magician Max Mephisto hunt for a killer after two children are murdered in a tragic tableau of a very grim fairy tale.

It’s Christmastime in Brighton, and the city is abuzz about a local production of Aladdin, starring the marvelous Max Mephisto. But the holiday cheer is lost on DI Edgar Stephens. He’s investigating the murder of two children, Annie and Mark, who were strangled to death in the woods, abandoned alongside a trail of candy—a horrifying scene eerily reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel.

Edgar has plenty of leads to investigate. Annie, a surprisingly dark child, used to write gruesome plays based on the Grimms' fairy tales. Does the key to the case lie in her unfinished final script? Or does the macabre staging of Annie and Mark’s deaths point to the theater and the capricious cast of characters performing in Aladdin? Once again Edgar enlists Max's help in penetrating the shadowy world of the theater. But is this all just classic misdirection?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bargain Ebook: As Old As Time: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell for $1.99

As Old As Time: A Twisted Tale (Twisted Tale, A) by Liz Braswell is on sale TODAY ONLY for $1.99 in ebook format down from its usual $9.99. This is a novelization of the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. This is the third book in Braswell's series. She's also explored Sleeping Beauty in Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale: A Twisted Tale and Aladdin in A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale.

Book description:

What if Belle's mother cursed the Beast? As Old as Time is the third book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. When Belle touches the Beast's enchanted rose, memories flood through Belle's mind—memories of a mother she thought she would never see again. And, stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful enchantress who cursed the castle and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast will have to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is 21 years in the making.