I had two whole weeks of vacation at the end of 2020. I had absolutely no idea what to do with all this time that I wasn’t going to be working and we weren’t doing virtual learning. I stood in the middle of my office and surveyed the books that are on my bookshelf and looked for something that would feed my very tired mind and soul. I picked this up a few years ago because I love a good fairytale retelling. This lovely book is based on a Russian fairytale “Snegurochka or Snegurka” the rough translation is Snow Maiden. I hadn’t actually heard of this fairytale so I wanted to share it. This is a rough
In the woods lives a childless couple. They are getting on in their years and have no children to help care for them. One evening the couple make a child out of snow. This snow child comes alive and lives as their own child. There are two different endings to the story….the first is that the snow child grows into a beautiful woman who falls in love with a young man from a neighboring family. As she falls more deeply in love with the young man her heart begins to warm her and she melts. The second ending is that she is playing with some other children in the woods. The other children build a fire and take turns jumping over it. The poor snow child does the same. Soon the warmth of the fire melts her. In both cases she melts. Sad story right.
Synopsis: A childless couple create a child out of snow….she lives with them. (If I say anymore I will totally tell the entire story)
What I liked: There is so much to like about this story and so much to enjoy about Ivey’s writing. It is lyrical and so very magical. Even as a retelling Ivey was able to keep the fairytale quality of the story. I loved her characterizations and how she used the bones of the fairytale to mold her story. Also there is some interesting history there about the Alaskan hinterland. I have never been to Alaska so that was really fascinating. I enjoyed the story so much I started trawling through my Russian fairytale book and the internet to find the story of The Snow Maiden.
What I didn’t like: Nothing……
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
My thoughts: While I was reading The Snow Child I was thinking about retellings. I had seen a tweet a few months ago about retellings, it said something to the effect of someone not having an imagination blah blah blah. Yes, a hot take which is so so wrong. Retellings take so much imagination. You have to take a story and change it or add to it, to make it yours. Obviously, this person had not read The Snow Child. The bones of the original story are there with so much added to it. This is a book that I read to get me out of the un-year slump. It had sat on my bookshelf for a few years and I would love to kick myself. BUT, I think that it came to me when I really needed it.
If you have been around my page for any length of time you will know my deep deep love for fairytale retellings. Especially, those written by Christina Henry. I had the opportunity to read another. I had finished reading Looking Glass right as things started to ramp up with the virus. It was something fantastical to read. Even though I read it earlier I just couldn’t focus on writing anything about anything.
Thank you ACE for my review copy!! It is out in the world on 04/21/2020!!
Synopsis: Four novellas which continue the Chronicles of Alice.
What I liked: Henry is extremely skilled in reworking fairytales. Her love of the original fairytale is shown through the way she writes a retelling. Her story telling is rich and complex. The characters are fantastical and written with the whimsy that Carrol would be proud of. The stories are a continuation of Alice’s story. What I found truly interesting was the parallels in the stories regarding the other or people who don’t belong. Each of the stories where so well written I didn’t want the adventures to end.
What I didn’t Like: There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like.
Star Rating: 5 Stars
My Thoughts: One of the things I love about fairytales is their ability to transport you to another world. The stories can help you forget everyday worries and cares. They can provide backbones for teaching lessons. These stories from childhood are primed to be rewritten and modernized for the horror and thriller genres. I love the care the Henry takes when she is taking a beloved child’s tale and turns it into something that an adult will read over and over again.
I am sitting here staring at my screen. We are living through crazy times right now. This book came at the perfect time. Losing yourself in stories that feel familiar but new is helpful during times of stress. I am not one to get stressed about a lot of things. But the way things are at the moment have kinda have thrown me for a loop. So I was so glad to have something to bury my head in. If you love stories by amazing story tellers you NEED to pick this up.
Thank you for my review copy Titan Books!!!
Synopsis: An anthology of new dark fairytales!!
What I liked: OMG. Reading this anthology was like watching a amazing story teller tell a story. It was so comforting but very familiar at the same time. Each story felt like a warm blanket. Some old favorites twisted into a modern stories and new stories. All the stories in the anthology fit so well well together. There is so so much to love about this anthology. The beauty in which some of the authors write made my heart soar with happiness.
What I didn’t like: There is absolutely nothing that I didn’t like
Star Rating: 5
My Thoughts: Anthologies are hard to review. I don’t want to say too much about one story in particular. They are all fantastic. I know I should be saying more about my thoughts….and normally I would but. I can’t find the adequate wording too describe the comfort that Cursed brought me over the last week. Please pick this up if you need something for your brain or your heart.
On a relative lovely Sunday in November I left my house for a little jaunt too Starbucks to do some work. I ended up at Barnes and Noble instead. Long story about internet blah, blah , blah. While, procrastinating as you do I came across this little beauty on the shelves. I took it back to my table and the rest is history. I sat there for 2 hours and devoured the entire thing. So thank you Starbucks for not having working internet access.
Synopsis: Poetry and short stories based on fairytales.
What I liked: I enjoyed the fairytales that Gill choose to rework. Many of them she made into empowering stories. One thing I also really enjoyed that she did was take some villains and turn their stories on their heads. Basically, explaining why some villains became villains. It wasn’t necessarily that they were bad; rather they very flawed. She took these villains and made them very human. Instead of them villains that we know of them today. I also enjoyed how she would end some of the stories with a small poem. Just a few lines to make you think. Many of these poems made me think. Think about villainy and human flaws.
What I didn’t like:
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
My Thoughts: I have a belief that some books come into your life when you need them. This is one of those books. For the past couple of months I have really struggled with some ick that has crawled into my brain and taken over. There was one passage that really made me think. It took the last couple of months and kicked it in the head. I would highly highly recommend this collection.
Fairytale retellings take on so many forms. Many aren’t that large of a departure from the original story. When I saw Christina Henry was publishing a retelling of Red Riding Hood I knew I must read it. I really enjoyed her take on The Little Mermaid. Henry’s retelling is everything I wanted it to be and more. It is a very human tale with love, loss, creatures and a girl in a red hoody. I am so very glad I stepped into the world of Red.
Synopsis: A virus which starts as a cough has wiped out a good chunk of humanity, Red goes on a voyage to get to her grandma’s house where she thinks that she will be safe.
What I liked: I love apocalypse literature and Henry does a great job of painting a picture of death, disease and the fall of humanity. There are a lot of different themes explored in the story: race, disability and family. It wasn’t something that I was expected but I feel the Henry handled each theme with purpose and grace. The characters are three dimensional and by the end of the story you really care about them. There is a lot of hope woven through the story and the good and bad of humanity. I really appreciated the way she used imagery to take the reader back to the original story.
What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything I didn’t like. I would have liked a bit more of the ending at Grandma’s house so you knew that Red was safe.
Star Rating 4.5 Stars
My thoughts: I really wanted more of an ending. It was slightly anti-climatic for me as I really wanted to know that everyone involved in the story was safe. I enjoying the chapters that were set before Red went into the forest. I really believe that having that back story really fleshed out her character and you got a good understanding of what her motivations are throughout. It was a fun read with a surprise thrown in and I really enjoyed reading it.
BIG Thanks to Berkley for sending me a review copy for my honest opinion.
I read The Mermaid by Christina Henry last year so when I was asked to share the animated cover for The Girl in Red I jumped at the chance. Just LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY!!!
Synopsis: From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic “Little Red Riding Hood”…about a woman who isn’t as defenseless as she seems. It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago. There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined. Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods…
I can’t wait to get my hands on it and read it!! Doesn’t the synopsis sound delicious! If you haven’t checked out any of Christina’s work I would suggest you do so as soon as possible!!
About Christina Henry: is the author of Alice, Red Queen, Lost Boy, The Mermaid, and the national bestselling Black Wings series, featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle, Beezle. She lives in Chicago and can be found online at christinahenry.net and on Twitter @C_Henry_Author.