No fairy godmother. No magic pumpkin. Just one grumpy girl and a glass slipper.

If the shoe fits, wear it.
If it doesn’t, make it.


Happily is a fairy-tale retelling by author Chauncey Rogers. This fantasy retelling will be published April 3, 2018. I received advance reader copy of the book in exchange for honest review.

This is not your typical happily ever after kind of story. It does not even begin with once upon a time….

“Ten days ago, the weather was nice. I suppose I’m obligated to tell you about the weather fist, right? It seems that’s what they always do. Either that or that awful cliché of “once upon a time.” Only this wasn’t once upon a time. It was just ten days ago.” ― Chauncey Rogers, Happily

Guess what happened? Well ten days ago, the prince fell in love with a girl whose name and face he didn’t even know and then lost her. And now? Well, a shoe was their best approach to finding her…
Meet Laure. Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

I was very positively surprised by Happily. By surprised, I mean that I don’t usually set very high expectations for self-published books. Happily exceeded my expectations by millions of miles… First, just look at the cover. Let’s start with that. It’s perfection, I adore it. Glass slipper, title and tagline and the ambitious “If the shoe fits…” …there’s no confusion to what the book is about. You kind of want to turn it around and see what’s it about. Next, I loved the humor in the book. I guess whenever authors lighten up the mood by supposedly funny/ sarcastic descriptions, it always wins me over. I liked the characters. Laure was an interesting main character. She seems a bit rebellious and that might annoy you at first but then her bravery wins you over. And friendship…between Laure and Luc was adorable because Luc is in many ways opposite of Laure.

“Yep”, Luc said. “See, what I did was called work. That”, he said, reaching up and grabbing the coin from my hand, “is called payment. A lot of people do it every day ― both the working and the paying.” He put the coin back down in the bag and said, “Maybe someday you’ll experience it yourself.”
“Very funny.”
(…)
“Nah, not really. I mean, I suppose some work is funny. Most of it is just a part of life, though.” ― Chauncey Rogers, Happily

There were some plot twists that were a bit weird before I thought about them so I didn’t like that. Moreover, I didn’t quite like the ending (although no one likes coming to an end of a good book) because it felt a bit rushed. All in all, though, this was a lovely read and I warmly recommend it if you have a passion for retellings.

4/5 stars

Tips:
1.
If you are a reviewer, you can get free e-book copy of the book up to March 26.
2. 
Fast-paced and sweetly humorous adventure. I would read this to my kids if I had ones. According to the foreword of the book, Rogers was working on his last book ‘Cleaving Souls’ when his three-year-old asked what was he doing. He replied that he was writing and his daughter asked whether he could read it to her. At a time, Rogers was working on thriller so he declined but promising he would write the next story for her. 
3.
300 pages but honestly it feels like one hundred, not lacking anything in the plot and there’s never a dull moment.

Do you like retellings? How does this sound to you?

/Anastasia

Legends in Exile

“The only easy day was yesterday.”
― Bill Willingham, Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

Legends in Exile (2001) by  Bill Willingham is the first part of FABLES. In Fables series, Willingham has created a  new world for beloved fables, fairytale characters like Snow White, Bigby Wolf,  Bluebeard, Rose Red, Jack the Giant Killer, Prince Charming… These characters have had to flee their homes because it’s been taken over by an enemy called The Adversary and they now have to live in the same world as we do. Shortly about the plot, our fables live as normal citizens in modern-day New York where they have created their own secret society of sorts but one day everything changes when Snow White’s sister Rose Red is apparently murdered and Fabletown’s sheriff ( who is no other than Bigby Wolf) to find out who the culprit is.

“Isn’t there a statute of limitation on playing the poor abused victim?”
― Bill Willingham, Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

I’ve been reading a lot of comics this year because I have had troubles with jobs so comics have been something I have had enough time for. I really loved the first part of FABLES series Legends in Exile and I’m  looking forward to reading the second part of this series: Animal Farm. I think art was just gorgeous in Legends in Exile, I spent many minutes just looking at one illustration. The story is interesting and characters are just magnificent.

“I’m about to start reading it again, because what good is a story you only want to read once?”
― Bill Willingham

5/5 stars

Tips
1.
If you’re a fan of Sandman, you must read this!
2.
I think fans of Once Upon a Time tv series would enjoy reading this. Also, I think you’ll love this if you like reading fairytale retellings.
3. I believe FABLES has over twenty volumes so you won’t immediately run out of stories to read.

Have you read this? What’s your favorite graphic novel?

//Anastasia

 

Ten Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would

As always, Top Ten Tuesday meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: “Ten Books I Loved More/Less Than I Thought I Would”. Here are recent reads I never expected to like as much as I did:

The Demonata series by Darren Shan

“There’s something different about you,” he says.
“I’ve started styling my hair differently,” I laugh.
“Oh. I thought it was that you were three feet taller, a hell of a lot broader, look like a werewolf, and are naked expect for that bit of cloth around your waist. But you’re right – it’s the hair.”
― Darren Shan, Wolf Island

The Demonata is a series of books by best selling author Darren Shan. It deals with the world of demons. I’m still reading the last books of this series but I very warmly recommend these books to fans of Cirque du Freak and fans of horror. By the way, I really like the cover art of these, they’re odd in a way but very fitting.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

“Know what?”
“I didn’t you see. I thought trees stood up straight… I only found out just now. They actually stand with both arms in the earth, all of them. Look, look, over there, aren’t you surprised? Yeong-hye sprang up and pointed to the window. “All of them, they’re all standing on their heads.”
― Han Kang, The Vegetarian

The Vegetarian  is a South Korean three-part drama novella written by Han Kang and first published in 2007. Based on Kang’s 1997 short story “The Fruit of My Woman”, The Vegetarian is set in modern-day Seoul and tells the story of Yeong-hye, a home-maker, whose decision to stop eating meat after a bloody, nightmarish dream about human cruelty leads to devastating consequences in her personal and familial life.

Very decent kind of a book. I don’t know how to sum it up, so I won’t. I think the Vegetarian beautifully describes madness and the state of mind and how dreams indeed can be very dangerous things. The Vegetarian is beautifully written, absolutely extraordinary story. I thought I was dreaming when Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama was mentioned. Her obsessive and maddening dots were just perfect for this.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth’s future, the novel presents an imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the “buggers”, an insectoid alien species. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Also, I think the topic is very good, what if we find extraterrestial life and this would happen? And the ending blew me away…

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

“Stories don’t always have happy endings.”
This stopped him. Because they didn’t, did they? That’s one thing the monster had definitely taught him. Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn’t expect.”
― Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls6tag-1486666194-1400766922102349925_1486666194

A Monster Calls is a novel written for children by Patrick Ness, from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay, and published in 2011. It features a boy who struggles to cope with the consequences of his mother’s terminal cancer; he is repeatedly visited in the middle of the night by a monster who tells stories. Dowd was terminally ill with cancer herself when she started the story and died before she could write it… Oh the amount of tears I cried while reading this. Still one of the best books I’ve ever read. And Kay’s illustrations are just stunning.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”
― Marissa Meyer, Cinder

The Lunar Chronicles is a tetralogy of young adult fantasy novels written by American author Marissa Meyer. Each book entails a new take on an old fairy tale, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. The story takes place in a futuristic world where humans, cyborgs, androids, and a race of moon colonists all coexist. Sounds like a  fantasy lovers dream come true right?

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

“Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.”
― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

“Why must you look like the rest of us? Why do you have to be the one to change? Change the way we see. Don’t change the way you are.”
― Tahereh Mafi, Furthermore

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Furthermore is an absolutely fantastic retelling of Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

“Rhysand stared at me for long enough that I faced him.
“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”
― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Thorns and Roses

Reading this was pure ecstasy. After Throne of Glass series I wasn’t sure whether this would reach the same level. I needn’t have worried. ACOTAR had everything I want from fantasy novel: great characters (not to even mention all the fairie males…), marvellous world-building, magic, great dialogue between characters. A Court of Mist and Fury was just as good as this. How long do we still have to wait until ACOWAR comes out…

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

“You’ll make mistakes because it’s impossible to know what is or isn’t a mistake until it’s made.”
― Stephenie Meyer, The Chemist

Surprisingly good! This was by far the best Meyer book I have read. I never was a big fan of Twilight series but this was something completely different. I think Meyer should write more thrillers.

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”
― Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Terribly funny, engaging & inspiring!
I love people who have a good sense of humor and who constantly make jokes about everything. So I loved this book! Shonda Rhimes is just amazing. She’s introvert and brutally honest about everything she does and what she thinks about.
I also didn’t expect this to be so humorous. If you have watched Shondaland shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder you know what I’m talking about. Especially Grey’s Anatomy… How many times you have cried watching that?
& Be a doer, not a dreamer.

Sorry for a long post. Sorry no potato like in 9GAG. Pictures of books: my own/ Goodreads, Pinterest, Photobucket.

Happy TTT! Have you read these? What are the books that surprised you?

~ Anastasia