Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Beast of Talesend (Beaumont and Beasley)

Title: The Beast of Talesend

Series: Beaumont and Beasley (#1)

Year: 2017

Author: Kyle Robert Shultz

Summary: Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

Review: Ready for a quick, action-packed ride that'll have you believing in fairy tales again? I've been hearing about this book for MONTHS, had it recommended so many times by so many different bookworm friends and fairytale enthusiasts, and I finally just NOW sat down to read it.

Wow. It was everything I'd thought it would be, and nothing like what I expected.

Nick is a detective -- and, he's certain, a pretty good one at that. His job has been to rid the world of the false belief in magic. He's cracked multiple fairy tale cases wide open, proving to everyone that magic is, in fact, not real. When we first meet him, his persona is almost that of a Sherlock Holmes character -- confident and clever, but with a tick of desperate as his funds are quickly running out. If he's going to continue to support himself and his little brother, he needs to crack another case soon and get paid considerably.

The case that comes to his door is not exactly the one he's hoping for, but it does have a hefty payment attached to it. With no other option, Nick Beasley agrees to help the infamous Lord Whitlock find a magical artifact: the Clawthorn Rose of the Beauty and the Beast legend.

And that's where all his troubles start. Throw in a snarky, spontaneous younger brother and a lady-turned-enchantress who doesn't always have the best of plans, and you've got the perfect recipe for a fairytale adventure.

Is there anything really that I could say I didn't like about this book? Ummm... not really. Except the length. Way too short for the amount of adventure and humor that I wanted. Good thing this is only the first in the series. Warning: You will want book two immediately, so be prepared.

Crispin was my favorite, of course. I'm a huge fan of younger siblings with a passion for trouble, and he was just spot-on, the best, the cat's pajamas, etc. etc. And there are also steampunk things, which always makes stuff better. What's not to like about steampunk fairytale retellings? *cough* No, that's not shameless advertising.

I also really liked all the fairytale elements. Not only is the book a spin on the traditional Beauty and the Beast story, but we're also visiting things from Snow White (which Shultz's version made TONS more sense than the original fairy tale, but still creepy) and other fairy tales. And, of course, the rest of the series seems to promise only that in abounds.

Advisory: Violence. Through the magic of the Rose, several humans are turned into beasts. Fighting commences, blood is spilled, but nothing terribly graphic.

Magic, of course. There's not a ton about it packed into this book since the book itself is so short. Cordelia is one of the few Charmbloods left in existence, families who are able to learn to control magic. Apparently, only those with Charmblood, er, well, blood in their veins are able to control it, but it is a skill that must be learned. Magic can be performed through casting of runes, though it takes a life source to sustain a spell, whether that be the caster himself or another life form nearby. The magic in this book didn't really bother me, as it's clearly a fairytale setting in a fictional world.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book

Title: Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book

Series: None

Year: 2017

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Summary: Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

Review: First off, can we talk about the synopsis?? GETTING LOST IN A BOOK! Belle has had plenty of practice getting swept into a book's story, falling in love with written characters, and cheering on the hero/heroine while turning the pages. This story is just like that. But not. Nevermore literally sweeps her into another world where she lives the story. And what's even better -- the author of Nevermore says she's writing the perfect story for Belle. It's just what she needs to distract her from the gloomy prisoner life of the Beast's castle.

At least, that's what she thinks.

The first and last scenes with Love and Death set the perfect tone for this book, while tying back epically to the live-action film. I've always wondered what game it was that Love and Death are always prophetically playing... and now it makes sense: Chess. I am neither Love nor Death, so now I understand why chess just isn't my thing.

I'm always a little skeptical when I pick up one of these kinds of books. The classic Disney tale is something that we all know and love, and when people try to add to it, it doesn't always come out right. This tale happens right in the middle of Disney's live-action remake, after *spoiler* the Beast saves Belle from the wolves, but before their iconic yellow-dress dance.

But getting a new story to fit in perfectly with the rest of the whole story is often a very difficult task. Because you want the book tie-in to feel complete on its own, you have to allow for character development and plot structure that doesn't compromise the story that you love in the film. Yes, I'm a story snob. But I do think that this author managed to pull it off quite nicely. I was so paranoid through the whole thing, wondering how she was going to compromise Belle, how she was going to damage the Beast's character and growth, how she was going to add too much to allow for the film's reality -- but it didn't end up that way at all. I was very happy with the satisfying ending that allowed for a smooth transition back into the finishing chapters of the film.

Honestly, this reads like a glorified fan-fiction that seamlessly transitions to and from the film. Belle's wish to get lost in the story was incredibly Belle-like, and I could see it happening. The book allows her to draw a step closer to the Beast in a way, but *spoiler* without making her confession of love in the film seem unrealistic in timing.

My only complaint with this book, really, is the beginning. We get a lot of information of the events in Belle's life leading up to the start of the book, all told in awkward flashbacks. Flashbacks are a great way to incorporate needed information, but no smooth transition into the memories or a flashback within another flashback (I mean, seriously??) only make for pages of confusion. Also, a petty complaint: with the scene of the Beast giving Belle the library, I kept waiting for the Beast's line from the film about the books being written in Greek, but it never came. *le sigh*

Anyway, if anyone ever wondered why, after the Beast gave Belle his library, Belle didn't spend the rest of the film in the library reading, read this book. It explains why.

Advisory: Some magical elements. The Beast and his castle are the recipients of an enchantress's curse (who ironically turns out to be Love), and Love and Death make a bet on whether or not Belle will break the curse. *spoiler* The whole book is basically how Death cheats. #nosurprisethere While Belle is in the book, she encounters magical illusions and later some perilous characters that try to persuade her to stay within the pages of the story. A few of the scenes tend to the more creepy side (reminding me a little of Alice in Wonderland, actually), but still within the fairytale vibe of the film. Caution for those who might want to know: walking marionettes may be included.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Worth of a King (The Fall of a Star)

Title: Worth of a King

Series: The Fall of a Star (Book #1)

Year: 2018

Author: Kendra E. Ardnek

Summary: Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her. 

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne. 

Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father. 

The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it. 

Review: Once upon a time, someone said, "Let's make some horrible traditions, and see if a group of kingdoms can survive them." And that's where this book started. Hang onto your hats, folks, because the ride just got wild.

Obsidia's father was murdered the night she was born, and by Dialcian law, the murderer became the next king since there was no male heir. Eighteen years later, politics are forcing her to chose a husband, and she can think of no better man than the son of her father's murderer. Thankfully, Delaney's nothing like his father, Ossian.

While she's busily preparing for marriage, her twin brother has found out that he's just that. Adrian only wanted to be a printer, but now he's the unknown heir to the throne, the threat that may crumble Ossian's reign, and the ticket that may introduce the people he loves to war. He's never enjoyed politics, and trying to plan a political take-over really just isn't his thing.

I felt a little lost beginning this book and trying to make sense of the scrambled politics. Thankfully, Adrian was working at learning them, too, so I sorted things out while he was piecing things together. Dialcia is a land of political complexities and hard-nosed traditions, and those things combined have landed the kingdom in a mess that's threatening to uproot everything familiar. Kendra did a great job at mixing the two elements. There's just something heart-wrenchingly satisfying when a character you love is absolutely hemmed in by tradition and politics; when they've come to a place where, no matter what they do, it seems hopeless that they'll ever come out on top.

The different cultures, too, were pretty fantastic. We've got little glimpses into elven lives and merfolk societies, and then full-blown Zovordian black battle realm. WITH MASKS. I don't care how many books I've read with masks, they're still super cool and awesome. So there. I've known Kendra can worldbuild for a while now (I mean, seriously, you can't read her books and NOT realize that), but this one seemed to blow everything out of the water. I think this just became my all-time favorite of her books.

And not just because of the world. The characters felt so real. Adrian was genuinely scared of entering politics and doing his duty. Obsidia was stubborn but timid. Delaney was an absolute sweetheart. Nadilynn was... Nadilynn; there aren't many words in English that can adequately describe her. You just have to read the book.

I will admit, I caught most of the plot twists as they came, so nothing was a big surprise to me. HOWEVER, the TITLE. It's a cool title, UNTIL YOU READ THE BOOK. And then you're just blown away. Seriously. I won't spoil it, but wow. A satisfying ending, but leaving you wanting for more.

I think my only complaint would be that the climatic battle felt a little too much deus ex machina, but I don't think you could expect much else once you've got Amber and Laura meddling with everything. But yes, you do need to have this book on your shelf.

Advisory: Fantasy creatures and action. The whole book is leaning towards a growing war, so there is quite a bit of fighting and some blood, but nothing terribly graphic.

Light romance. A few kisses, and then as an engaged couple prepares for marriage, there are a couple comments hinting at their marriage bed.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*Please note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.*

P.S. Kendra, I'm sorry this review didn't get posted sooner. Life got in the way of epic adventures. Just gotta love how that always works out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Twisted Dreams

Title: Twisted Dreams

Series: None

Year: 2017

Author: Morgan Elizabeth Huneke

Summary: “I, Calandra, of the Wingans, do bestow upon you, the Princess of Hanover, a gift. You have been given long life. I cannot interfere with that, but when you are sixteen years of age, you will prick your finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into an everlasting sleep.” She stepped closer so that she could be heard only by Liesel and her parents. “Then you will at last see the truth. Be wary. Be wise. Your fate rests upon yourself.”

On her sixteenth birthday, Princess Liesel Rosanna falls victim to a sleeping curse—but wakens in another world, a prisoner of war. As the bait in a trap for her fiancĂ©, the crown prince of Hanover, Liesel longs to escape back to the fairy tale world. The world where she is only wanting a true love’s kiss to set everything to rights.

As situations quickly grow dire, Liesel must choose which story to live, which life is real. The fate of her country rests on her decision.

Review: If you're wanting a quick Sleeping Beauty fix, this story does the job. Liesel is our fairytale heroine who's fated to prick her finger on a spindle, and Will is her loving prince who's going to try to rescue her. Throw in a fairygodmother Wingan and a mischievous younger brother, and you've got an adventure quite unlike any before.

The story flip-flops between two worlds: the real world set in a technological galaxy (not so far, far away) and a dream world that's positively medieval. Political tensions are high in the galaxy as two rival kingdoms both have hostages to try to get them the upper hand in their ongoing war. Liesel is held in enemy hands, and though her true love Wilhelm is determined to rescue her, his father isn't ready to release his hostage: the rival king.

I think the author did a great job with balancing the Sleeping Beauty elements in this tale. Although the summary indicates that true love's kiss is a big deal, it's really not a big deal in the book. I counted two forehead kisses that didn't seem to be at all like the epic-awakening kiss of the fairytale. But I'm not complaining. I'm not a huge fan of mushy harboring on kissing, so that's two thumbs up in my book. The summary also hints at Liesel's big decision to chose which world to live in, and she really didn't have a choice. Once she realized that she was in the dream world, she was eager to get out. Just wish the summary hadn't been as misleading.

But I really liked the mix of space/galatic elements. I love seeing fairytales redone in new settings, and the whole galaxy feel is pretty cool. My biggest complaint with this book was the length of it. Because it was (I believe) originally written for the Rooglewood contest with its severe word limit, there wasn't much room to worldbuild and that's what I wanted. The author has set up an intricate world of different races, planets, talents, etc. and I would have loved to see that all on a larger scale. The rival kingdoms are two different races, and then we've got the race of Wingans who have powers, like the ability to manipulate electricity and sound waves. I mean, how cool is that?

A longer book would have allowed more time for some character development. Once I hit the end of the book, I was kinda sad I hadn't bonded more with these characters. Most of them were kinda two-dimensional. Matthew, in particular, I thought had great potential, but his character didn't seem to go anywhere.

Advisory: Some action and fighting scenes. Guns and swords are involved, but nothing graphic. And just a pinch of romance (since it is Sleeping Beauty, duh), but well-balanced for the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Thief of Corinth

Title: Thief of Corinth

Series: None

Year: 2018

Author: Tessa Afshar

Summary: First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It’s also filled with danger and corruption—the perfect setting for Ariadne’s greatest adventure.

After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father’s home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city’s corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.

Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father’s apprentice. As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire. But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future—and very lives—hanging in the balance.

When they befriend a Jewish rabbi named Paul, they realize that his radical message challenges everything they’ve fought to build, yet offers something neither dared hope for.

Review: You've got the rooftop adventure of the Prince of Persia, the cunning and generosity of Robin Hood, the exciting sport of Ben-Hur, and the elegance of Austen all wrapped up into one. This book actually surprised me; I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. When I initially read the summary, it pulled at me, but once I began reading -- well, halfway through, I really couldn't put it down.

Ariadne is a Corinthian at heart, but she's stuck in Athens with her harsh, unloving mother and grandfather. Her best friends are her two brothers, one by blood, and the other taken in from the streets as an infant the same night she was born. After her mother and grandfather insist on betrothing her to a pretty awful guy, she decides it's time to leave. So, she escapes back to Corinth with her adopted brother to return to their beloved father.

But not all is well at their father's home. After Ariadne discovers him sneaking in and out at night, he confesses the truth: he is the thief of Corinth. Although he wants to leave the thieving nights behind him, it may be a exciting life that Ariadne just can't say no to. Besides, when everything's on the tip of ruin, another run as a thief might be the only way to save her family.

This book was very well paced; it moves very quickly. And the author did a great job at weaving multiple subplots together. I loved seeing the interaction with Ariadne and her family. I'm really a big fan of stories with lots of sibling emphasis, and this one delivered all that I wanted. In addition, no minor character is added just because; each one has a purpose, which is fantastic.

I was a little disappointed in the ending, I will admit. It did boil down to a very nice conclusion, but I didn't care for the way that Ariadne had to steal again in order to put things right and help people. Yes, she has the talents, and it made a great climax, but morally, it didn't seem to sit well with the spiritual tone of the book. For me, you can't do wrong in order to do right. Stealing is stealing, no matter how you cut it.

Additionally, I think some of the historical and biblical aspects could have been done better. I talked about this book with a college history graduate, and he said that some of the elements included would probably never have happened. One, Ariadne's parents are divorced by the mother's request, and it would have been highly unlikely that the marriage would have been dissolved for a woman -- no matter what the reasons were. Also, Ariadne's race; even though Sparta was big on training the women with the men, women competing in events was next to nil. The adopted son, as well, was something big that the Corinthian world upheld, but a son normally would be adopted if the father had no healthy, beloved male heir (which in this book he did). Once adopted, the son wouldn't leave his father, not even to accompany his sister to a new home. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but some of these elements seemed a little stretched for the purpose of the book.

I won't get on a soapbox about the spiritual elements. This was the one part of the book that I was the most skeptical about, as biblical fiction normally hasn't left a good taste in my mouth. It's hard to get it right, I know. The overall message was good, and it didn't feel like the author was shoving it down your throat, but I was honestly disappointed in Paul's portrayal. After reading his epistles for so many years, he seemed more a contemporary, peace-loving, shallow type of guy. However, I did like how the author tied in the historical account of the Unknown God.

Advisory: A little bit of romance and a kiss, but not overdone. There are a few scenes in which Ariadne describes the scant dress of women, as well as some flirtatious/sensual type scenes. For example, a girl dances in front of a crowd of men, looking for their attention.

And just a bit of blood to be aware of. Another character has a severely broken leg. Some talk of domestic abuse and other minor injuries.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*Please note: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Dancing and Doughnuts (Once Upon a Western)

Title: Dancing and Doughnuts

Series: Once Upon a Western (Book #2)

Year: 2018

Author: Rachel Kovaciny

Summary: Twelve Dancing Princesses… reimagined.

Fifty dollars just for asking a few questions? Jedediah Jones figures it must be his lucky day. What dancing and doughnuts have to do with anything, he neither knows nor cares. He’s only interested in earning that money so he can finally eat something other than the apples he's been living off for days. Once his stomach and his pockets are filled again, he plans to move on.

But answering the advertisement plunges him into a forest of painted trees, twelve pretty sisters, trouble, and more trouble. And, yes, doughnuts.

So many doughnuts. 

Can Jedediah Jones solve the mystery and earn that fifty dollars when the whole town has failed? Or will the twelve sisters lose their family's business no matter what he does?

Main Characters:
~ Jedediah Jones
~ Alice 
~ Cooper
~ Clara

Review: Have you ever wanted that basically perfect fairytale retelling that just crackled with originality and spunk? Well, this is it. This book absolutely blew me away. I loved it sooooo much. 

Jedediah Jones is new in town -- and he intends to make it a quick stay. He's running from awful memories of the Civil War, and he doesn't want to stay in one spot long enough to allow the memories to catch up. The problem is, he's short of money so he needs to pick up an odd job or two to keep his pockets full until the next town. 

And what an odd job he finds. A family of twelve girls offering a $50 reward to anyone who can solve the mystery of the spiked apple cider. A mystery that's threatening to close down the family dance hall and doughnut business. 

Rachel doesn't give you anytime to get bored in this book. It's fast-paced and intriguing. I read the whole thing in one sitting. I will admit I figured out the spiking culprit pretty early on, but I was completely hooked on trying to figure out how my conclusion would play out. The book began with a very strong flavor of the original twelve dancing princesses tale. Now, in my experience, when a retelling begins that way, the elements of the original tale kinda fade away and get lost in the author trying to be original, but Rachel kept the fairytale vibe strong until the end.

And all the two thumbs up for including the original fairy tale elements. I was wondering how Rachel was going to get the silver and gold forest in here -- but she did and amazed me at doing so in the process. There's lots of dancing, some worn out shoes (even though Jones's love interest has the impeccable and lovable tendency to go barefoot), a proper mystery, an inquisitive ex-soldier, and plenty of fun. I loved getting a glimpse at more than one sister; twelve dancing princesses retellings tend to only focus on the eldest sister, but with this one we got a close-up of at least three. I'd love to see some spin-offs on some of the other girls' adventures. 

My biggest problem with this book was the amount of food discussed. Particularly the homemade doughnuts. I was so hungry when I finished, and there were no doughnuts at hand to snack on. Very disappointing. 

It's not every day you get an epic fairytale retelling like this, and if you're any kind of fairytale retelling enthusiast (or a fan of a fun, western read), this book HAS to be on your list PRONTO. You will not regret it. I want to read everything this author has written. 

Advisory: Really nothing. This is probably one of the cleanest reads I've had ever. A few characters suggest that the spiked cider may present problems with the girls being "improper" but that's all that's ever mentioned. And obviously, some consumption of and discussion of alcohol, but I would have no worries handing this book to my nine-year-old sister. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*Please note: I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Orphan's Wish (Hagenheim)

Title: The Orphan's Wish

Series: Hagenheim (#8)

Year: 2018

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Summary: From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn. With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.

Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.

But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

Main Characters:
~ Kirstyn
~ Aladdin

Review: I got really excited when I saw that Melanie Dickerson was planning an Aladdin retelling. Fairytale retellings by themselves are just peachy keen, but there aren't many Aladdin ones that I've found out there. I love finding a less-popular fairytale being retold. 

Ala ad'din is a small boy living in the streets of the Holy Land. As an orphan, he doesn't have a lot of options for survival and is forced to steal under the hand of a harsh master. A chance encounter with a kindly priest gives him the freedom he craves, but even in his new life at Hagenheim he fears how people will react to his thieving past. 

Now called Aladdin (since the people in Hagenheim can't seem to pronounce Ala ad'din properly), he becomes the favorite friend of Kirstyn, the duke's daughter. A childhood friendship blossoms into a romance that neither are quite aware of, and Aladdin decides to leave Hagenheim to make his fortune. 

And then Kirstyn gets kidnapped and goes missing for months, and Aladdin's world is turned upside-down. 

Honestly, other than the name Aladdin, I didn't catch many Aladdin fairytale references in this book. Other than the obvious other nod to the Disney film by naming a little street boy Abu. It was a little disappointing. The story seemed more like a retelling of the Biblical account of Joseph; Aladdin is hired to take care of a merchant's business and does so well that he's considered a sort of King Midas (i.e. everything he touches turns to gold). And the man Aladdin works for isn't the evil sorcerer from the fairy tale; there are no lamps involved. In the beginning of the novel, Aladdin made a big deal about his thieving background -- keeping it secret from everybody in Hagenheim -- yet as the novel progressed I thought everybody forgot about it. His childhood thefts really didn't have any part to play in the plot. Unless there's something obvious I'm missing, calling this an Aladdin retelling is kinda stretching it. 

But if you're just looking for an adventure in the Dickerson style that you've come to love, this book tastes just the same as all of her other Hagenheim novels. 

Advisory: Some violence. One character is kidnapped; another is suggested to have been molested. 

Romance, typical in the style of Dickerson. Although I was happy to note that the love interests didn't focus on kissing until the last couple chapters -- after they finally realized they were in love with each other. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*