BOOK REVIEW: Bright Burns the Night, by Sara B. Larson

Title: Bright Burns the Night
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Dark Breaks the Dawn duology, 2/2
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 29th, 2018

A Swan Lake retelling.

Note: This post reviews the second book of the Dark Breaks the Dawn duology. You may like to read the first book review in the series, Dark Breaks the Dawnbefore reading this review.

It has been ten years since King Lorcan of Dorjhalon trapped Queen Evelayn of Eadrolan in her swan form. Year after year, Lorcan shifts Evelayn back into her human form and offers her the chance to stay human if she will marry him, and year after year she refuses. But with the unbalance of power between the Dark Kingdom and the Light, Evelayn must put aside her prejudices and partner with the man who seemingly destroyed her life.

As Evelayn and Lorcan fight to restore the balance of power to Lachalonia, she learns truths about the past that change her views on almost everything. She finds friendship, love even, in the enemy she used to hate, while seeing others she trusted explicitly for who they really are. But can Evelayn and Lorcan remain on the same side long enough to save both kingdoms from an ancient threat?

I enjoyed this second book of the duology even more than the first! It’s rare that a series gets better, especially with the second book, but Sara B. Larson succeeded in Bright Burns the Night.

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BOOK REVIEW: Dark Breaks the Dawn, by Sara B. Larson

Title: Dark Breaks the Dawn
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Dark Breaks the Dawn duology, 1/2
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 30th, 2017

A Swan Lake origin story.

Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, has come into her full powers after turning eighteen. The timing could not be better, as her kingdom is at war with the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon. With her mother fighting the war at the front lines, Evelayn trains daily and learns how to use her new power. Lord Tanvir helps her train, earning her trust, and eventually her affection.

King Bain of Dorjhalon schemes to take control over both kingdoms, Light and Dark. Responsibility falls on Evelayn to fight the dark king and his sons, Lorcan and Lothar. The fate of her kingdom rests on her shoulders. With the help and support of trusted friends, she faces the dark kingdom. But not everything – or everyone – is as it seems, and Evelayn must face the consequences of her decisions, affecting not only her kingdom, but her very humanity.

It’s not very often that I come across a YA fantasy written as a duology (which just so happens to be my WIP). In addition to that connection, I have not only performed in the ballet Swan Lake, but have assisted in Swan Lake choreography at the Colorado Ballet Society. I’ve read Sara B. Larson’s trilogy Defy and loved it! I enjoyed her duology, but not quite as much as her trilogy.

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Blog Tour for Happily!

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I’m very excited to share this week’s post with you! It’s not one of my usual book reviews. Instead, I will be participating in a blog tour for Happily, a book by one of my writing friends, Chauncey Rogers. Some of you might remember seeing my review of Happily back in February. In case you missed it, you can read it here.

I have the honor of wrapping up the blog tour today! In the blurb below, Chauncey talks about a fun song he would pick for an “Ending Credits Song,” for when the book will be adapted into a movie (as we all hope it will!). I hadn’t actually heard this song before now, but I love it. It’s a perfect fit, even if the shoe isn’t!

Happily Book Cover - Recommended
Thank you, Rosie, for letting me end my blog tour on your lovely blog!

I suspect that most people who write stories dream of the day that their story might be turned into a movie. I don’t know about other authors, but I particularly enjoy daydreaming about what song might be used for the “Ending Credits Song.” I’m not sure why that is. It might just be because some of my favorite songs have been used as ending credits songs, or because some of my favorite movies also have wonderful ending credits songs.

Whatever it is, it’s something I enjoy thinking about, whether or not the day ever comes.


As this is the end of the blog tour, I thought it might be appropriate to share an “Ending Credits Song” here, as well as to thank everyone who has participated.
Thank you, each and every one. This has been a great experience for me, and I hope it has been equally wonderful for the rest of you.

Now, as for the ending credits song, I will admit that I didn’t choose this song out personally. Instead, my mother happened to hear it being played while she was out shopping. She’d recently finished reading Happily, and felt that this song would make a wonderful ending credits song.

So, without further ado, I give you “I Believe in You” by Michael Bublé:

Thank you! And until next time, I wish you only the very best.

Chauncey Rogers

Chauncey Rogers - Optional


Happily
on GoodReads
Purchase Happily on Amazon!

Day 13 of 13 of Happily’s Release Blog Tour. See the full blog tour schedule here.

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As Old As Time

Title: As Old As Time: A Twisted Tale
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales, 3
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: September 6th, 2016

What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?

Similar to the Villains series I reviewed earlier this year, this series takes beloved stories from classic Disney movies and twists them into something new and unexpected. This book tells the story of Beauty and the Beast. As the tagline suggests, the twist of this tale is that Belle’s mother is the enchantress who curses the Beast in the beginning of the story.

As Old As Time follows the storyline of Beauty and the Beast pretty closely – up till Belle finds the enchanted rose in the West Wing. Upon finding this rose, Belle touches it and immediately learns the truth – the truth of who her mother was, and what happened to the Beast and his cursed household. Belle and the Beast must work together if they are to uncover the mystery surrounding the castle and break the enchantress’ curse.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider following Reads & Roses. It would mean the world to have you on my team!

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Once Upon A Dream

Title: Once Upon A Dream: A Twisted Tale
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales, 2
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: April 5th, 2016

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up?

Similar to the Villains series I reviewed earlier this year, this series takes beloved stories from classic Disney movies and twists them into something new and unexpected. This book tells the story of Aurora. As the tagline suggests, the twist of this tale is that true love’s kiss did not wake the sleeping beauty. Instead, she remains trapped inside her own dream world – along with her prince.

At first, Aurora has no idea that she is living in a dream world, but instead believes that her aunt Maleficent – now ruling as queen – saved the kingdom from the destruction caused by her careless parents. But when she accidentally stumbles upon Maleficent mid-spell to keep her spirit alive in Aurora’s dreams, she realizes the terrible truth. It is up to her to save herself from the sleeping curse, and she must find a way to do it before everyone runs out of time.

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A Whole New World


Title: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales, 1
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: September 1st, 2015

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?

This is the first of a new series I will be reviewing, Twisted Tales! Similar to the Villains series I reviewed earlier this year, this series takes beloved stories from classic Disney movies and, yes, twists them into something new and unexpected. This book tells the story of Aladdin. For the first 80 pages, you are reading the story you saw in the movie – up till the point of the lamp’s new master. In this version, Jafar – not Aladdin – becomes the master of the genie. And it’s as bad as you can imagine.

No help escaping the Cave of Wonders, no magic wish to transform into Prince Ali and win the heart of Princess Jasmine – not this time. Aladdin has to do it all without the help of the genie, but with the help of his friends, the Street Rats, and also Jasmine, the princess who is full of surprises. Together, they must take down Jafar and put an end to the terrors he has wrought as the Sultan of Agrabah – while there is still an Agrabah to save.

A Whole New World is one of the better retellings I have read, providing the reader with fun twists while keeping the integrity of the classic tale. This is a must-read for Disney fanatics like myself!

If you enjoyed this review, please consider following Reads & Roses. It would mean the world to have you on my team!

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Happily

Title: Happily
Author: Chauncey Rogers
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, MG, YA
Publisher: self published
Release Date: April 3rd, 2018

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

Note: I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you are a book reviewer, feel free to request a copy of your own in the comments below in exchange for a review. 

Let me begin by saying that I have read my fair share of fairytale retellings, and the timeless tale of Cinderella is no exception. I can honestly say that I have never come across one quite like this. Happily is narrated in modern-day language by the heroine of this story – and it is not Cinderella, as you might have expected, but Laure – a rough-around-the-edges girl who lives on the streets and steals to get by.

When a royal decree announces that the crown prince will marry whichever girl can fit a mysterious glass slipper, Laure sees it as her chance to make something of her lowly life. Even though she thinks the entire royal family is ridiculous and pompous, she decides to do whatever it takes to make that glass slipper fit. She embarks on her quest and teams up with Luc, a boy from her city who becomes an unexpected ally. Their quest takes them to another kingdom and back again, with no small amount of struggle and danger along the way. Though they were bent on disliking each other from the beginning, they reluctantly begin to form a friendship, possibly even something more. Will Laure make a decision to follow her head, or ultimately follow her heart, no matter the risk? And what about Cinderella anyway?

This was fun spin-off of a classic, well-loved tale. I would recommend Happily to YA fans of fairytale retellings (such as myself). Just be ready for a quirkier version than what you have seen before, with sass to spare.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider following Reads & Roses. It would mean the world to have you on my team!

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Mistress of All Evil

Title: Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy 
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 4/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017

“Why must a young girl need a man to save her?
Why can’t a princess fight for her own life, break her own curse?
Why must it always be a prince?”

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows Maleficent, while the book cover itself shows her as the dragon. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me.

Additional note: This post reviews the fourth book of the Villains series. You may like to read the first three books in the series, Fairest of All, The Beast Within, and Poor Unfortunate Soul, before reading this book. However, these books can be read as stand-alone stories. 

What if everything we thought we knew about this classic tale was a lie? What if Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather were not as nice as they appeared? What if Maleficent was the one who was wronged, and it wasn’t her fault that she did the things she did? What if Maleficent shared a bond with Aurora that no one could have ever imagined? What if she cursed her to protect her? This Sleeping Beauty retelling answers all of these “what if’s” and invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of the Dark Fairy. The truth behind the story you thought you knew will change your view of Maleficent – at least, it changed mine.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale villain retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider following Reads & Roses. It would mean the world to have you on my team!

Reads and Roses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Poor Unfortunate Soul

 

Title: Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch 
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 3/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: July 26th, 2016

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows Ursula, while the book cover itself shows her as Vanessa. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me.

Additional note: This post reviews the third book of the Villains series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, Fairest of All and The Beast Within, before reading this book. However, these books can be read as stand-alone stories. 

Maybe I just haven’t been looking hard enough, but it seems like good retellings of The Little Mermaid are hard to come by. I was pleasantly surprised by this story in the Villains series. This Little Mermaid retelling invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of the Sea Witch and understand her motives a little better. Like the Evil Queen in the first book of this series, you may not like her any more than you did before, but you may never be able to look at her in quite the same way again.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale villain retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider following Reads & Roses. It would mean the world to have you on my team!

Reads and Roses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.