Two Word Tags: Text + Quotes

Two Word Tags

I’m here today with two brief word-related tags: The Text Tag from Savannah @ Scattered Scribblings, and The Quote Tag from Mary @ Sunshine and Scribblings (all the scribblings! I love it. ❤ )! Thanks so much to both of you! ^_^ They both have absolutely lovely blogs that make me smile and laugh, so check ’em out, do!

The Text Tag

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to them
  • Answer the original 6 text-themed questions
  • Add a typography/word related question for those you tag to answer
  • Tag 6+ bloggers and notify them that you tagged them
  • Include these rules in your post

1. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?

Maybe V? I’m also fond of T, if the beginning letter of most of my awesome characters is anything to go by… *cough*

2. What are three words you love?

Enigmatic, adamant, & grey (with an e; none of that American-spelling-with-an-a nonsense. ;)).

3. What are three words you hate?

Whoa, hate is a strong word. How about I hate the word “hate.” XD And also, erm, dislike shall we say… the words “humidity” and “procrastination” because of associations. 😉

4. If you could create a word, what would it be, and what would it describe?

Oh, I create words all the time. XD One I made recently is Authorialdom, as in “That takes real authorialdom” — probably “the state of being a skilled writer” or some such. *nods*

5. What are your three favorite punctuation marks?

Parenthesis, ellipses, and dashes. (I use them — at least I think I do — the most . . .) *cough*

Well, those are favorites in that sense, but I’m also very fond of “quote-marks” and exclamation marks! And semi-colons; because they’re lovely and/or useful. *nods* And let’s not forget commas, and periods either. Can’t have them feeling left out. And question marks and colons: how can we leave them out? Now that is the question. I just love all punctuation marks, I guess. ^_^ *goes to look at Eats, Shoots & Leaves again to remember there are kindred souls out there*

6. What are your three favorite fonts?

Hmm. That’s tough. Well, here are at least three of my favorites:

fonts

(Apologies for the squiggly red lines; my spell-checker is under the erroneous assumption that my name is not a word. Ahem.)

7. Savannah’s Question: What is one word you are constantly misspelling?

Received. I literally spelled it wrong when I went to type it… I know that it’s “I before E except after C” (and E before N in Chicken… *cough*Andy Griffith reference*cough*) but my fingers just want to say I-E. It’s bad. 😛 Most words I’m pretty good about though. *nods* It comes with being a perfectionist of the wordish variety that I am.

The Quote Tag

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post a new quote everyday for 3 consecutive days
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers every day you post a quote

I’m going to disobey this one slightly and instead of posting a quote three days in a row, I will just post 3 quotes right now. 😉 And I nominate anyone who wants to do it and hasn’t yet.

(The quote graphics were designed by me using Canva.com.)

1

Fairytales chesterton

“Fairytales are more than true — not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

— G.K. Chesterton

2

A room without books

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

— (attributed to Cicero)

3

tolkientimequote

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

— J.R.R. Tolkien (from The Fellowship of the Ring)

Well! Wasn’t that a delightful wordish-exercise? ^_^ Do you have a favorite quote/word/letter/punctuation mark? Let me know in the comments!

And consider yourself tagged for both or either if you wish to do it!

Wintry Tag

favtag2

Sarah @ Light and Shadows had a wintry A Few of My Favorite Things Tag, and left it open for people to snag on their blogs… so I’m doing so (nearly a year later) because it’s December, and wintry/Christmas-y things are in the air. ^_^

1. Favorite “snuggle weather” books?

Books.

(…Okay, I sound like Tare when I answer like that.)

Um. I don’t really have any specific books I think of as good wintry reads. I guess I just read what I usually read?

I do like reading a short story called Wintermoon Wish by Sharon Shinn around this time of year… maybe I’ll do that again. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas is a fun read for this time of year, as is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Lewis. But I haven’t been reading those.

I do seem to be in the mood for rereading Diana Wynne Jones books (Chrestomanci, in particular). But who am I kidding — I’m always in the mood for DWJ. 😉

OH! Do you know what would make a PERFECT wintry read?? (Or any other kind of read, TBH.) PAPER CROWNS BY MIRRIAM NEAL. It has the snow and ice, it has the awesome, it has the fantabulous characters, it has the snark… YES. I highly recommend getting yourself (or anyone else) a copy of this book for Christmas and snuggling up for a delightful read. ❤

2. Favorite winter/Christmassy snacks?

Candy canes, of course!

(Um. That was my inner Baz talking; pay no heed. >.> *COUGH*)

I don’t actually snack much, so I like any kind of snack, but around Christmas I’m partial to nuts and dried fruits (craaanberries, preciousss), chopped veggies, crackers/cheese/summer sausage, and of course cupcakes and chocolate. *nods*

3. Favorite hot drinks?

Hot chocolate and herbal teas like red raspberry leaf with honey. Yum. (I like coffee when I drink it, which is rarely. 😉 )

4. Favorite Christmas movies?

A Muppet Christmas Carol, hands down, every time. I love that movie. ❤ I even like it better than the book, and this movie is the classic version of the story for me. I tend to watch it most Christmasses.

5. Favorite holidays songs?

Carol of the Bells/Ring Christmas Bells, Silent Night, The Little Drummer Boy, Don Oiche Ud I mBeithil, O Come All Ye Faithful, A Breton Carol, Come O Come Emmanuel, 12 Days of Christmas, and the Snoopy and the Red Baron Christmas song.

6. Favorite “snow day” crafts?

By “snow day” I’m going to assume this means a cold day spent indoors. Since, you know, I don’t actually get snow here, or if I do I’m more likely to be out in it BECAUSE IT’S SO RARE, than staying inside because of it. XD Buuut… how about knitting or crocheting (if I actually have something in mind, which is rare), or more likely . . . reading. Yep. I don’t actually do much with crafts. Ahem.

7. Do you wanna build a snowman?

YES PLEASE.

How about you? Feeling in a wintry/Christmassy mood? Feel free to do the tag if you are! ^_^ Merry Christmas to everyone (and happy winter to those who aren’t into Christmas). May your hearts follow the star that led to the stable when the Light of the World was born there. 🙂 Have a blessed couple of weeks and I’ll see you again at the year’s turning! ❤

(Part 2) Snippet Tag: The Library in the Stars

Part 2

And I’m back with Part 2 of my NaNo 2016 snippet sharing, with the second half of the Snippet Tag from Madeline J. Rose @ Short & Snappy!

See Part 1 of the Snippet Tag for more snippets, if you missed those, and for the rules etc. 🙂

Meanwhile, here are more snippets from my NaNo, The Library in the Stars! Enjoy! ^_^

Snippet Tag:

Part the Second

6. Share a snippet that gets you beaming with pride and you’re just like yep, I wrote that beauty.

The young man sat on top of a pile of rubble, his shadows wrapping around him and stretching down the pile of stones and debris in all directions away from him, in defiance of the laws of the sun, which sent its light between two other buildings and illuminated the area. The sight was a striking one—a person in shadows sitting in the middle of a pool of sunlight. It looked impossible—but Veronica was beginning to learn a few things about that word and its lack of applicability, as well as the word coincidence.

“That’s far enough,” the young man’s voice said, as they paused in the shadows of the building next to them. “Unless you want to lose your shadow, too,” he added, a glance from his black eyes flicking toward Veronica. The sun gleamed on his raven hair and his arms were folded and rested on top of his drawn-up knees, cloak or shadows or both spread around him.

“You were just who we were looking for, my lad,” Drayke said pleasantly. “Only one request for you: kindly return the shadows of myself and my space craft.”

“Love to,” the young man said. “Can’t.”

Drayke narrowed his eyes. “Is that right?”

The other sighed. “Look, I can’t help you—it seems I can’t help anyone, come to that—so I suggest you just go away.”

“Love to. Can’t,” Drayke said cuttingly. “You seem to have taken my ship’s shadow, and she says she can’t fly without it. So until you give it back, I and my good craft, as well as this girl here—unless she can time-wisp away, which seems to be uncertain—will be enjoying (if that’s the word I’m looking for) a stay in this rather depressingly desolate place.”

7. Share a snippet of genius, deliciously witty dialogue between your characters.

[Note: I couldn’t help picking a few for this one. And yes, Eon’s in all three of them. >.> Ahem.]

“We need your help breaking a friend of ours out of prison,” the blue haired girl spoke up cheerfully.

The hologram of Kelly was seen to drop her forehead forward onto her folded arms atop the table surface.

“And this is why the fate of the universe should not be in your hands, pet,” said the unseen Ether Eon.

“Curious,” Drayke remarked. “I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that before.”

***

“Eon, is your time working correctly?”

“I’ll pretend I’m not insulted. You’re welcome. Of course my time is working correctly.”

***

“I hate turning into tools,” Eon complained. “At least when I’m a pocket watch I’m moving and time is flowing through me… Why do you think I turn into the shapes of living things? But when I’m a wrench or a key or a grappling hook, I’m just… a metal thing. It’s annoying.”

“Very sorry,” Briley said, “but I’m sure it’s worth it for the rewarding feeling of knowing you helped me.”

“Don’t push it,” Eon warned.

“Well then try this: knowing that you’re the only shape-shifting Ether pocket watch in the galaxy and that I couldn’t continue in my measly existence without you.”

“Getting better,” Eon admitted.

“Or… how about that since we’re trying to find a way to fix time, we may very well be saving the galaxy, and that you’re a key part of it?”

That’s more like it.”

8. Share a snippet that makes you feel like an evil genius for thinking up such a malevolent villain (Mwa-ha-ha!)

“Lying?” Wilecka repeated.

“Oh, don’t pretend,” Damian snarled. “I never bought that thing about your finding me abandoned with no memory—I know you took my memories. And by the way, I would like them back.”

“I should have known,” Wilecka muttered as if to herself. “The blood that flows in your veins—of course you would betray me and steal what was mine! You were my son, and now you turn traitor! You want back memories, do you, you shadow-skulking traitorous cur? Oh, you shall have some, and more shadows too—see if that makes you happy,” she spat.

9. Share a snippet that leaves you breathless, in a cold sweat with action-induced intensity.

Drayke seemed to grow somewhat larger, his long draping green sleeves flapping and shoulder-length green hair flying about his head in the almost-wind, and his eyes—they seemed to be glowing green with a sort of green light of anger.

“Let. Us. Out,” he said in a steely voice.

The house moaned its refusal with mixed angry and sad emotions.

“At least let Veronica go!” Drayke shouted then, even more wrathful then before, with more force than she had heard him use yet. “I don’t care about me—I’m a space elf, I’m going to live a long time, and I imagine you’d get tired of my living here after a couple of hundred years; besides, it’s not like I have anything better to do. Keep me if you wish. But Veronica has a life to live—she has her brother to find. Are you going to keep her trapped here against her will? Look at her! She’s a frightened girl—like Aurora.”

The house rocked as if an earthquake had hit it at the mention of Aurora’s name.

10. Share a snippet of a most interesting first meeting between your characters.

“Well, since we seem to have run up against each other, and I am to be denied my solitude,” the space elf continued, coming down the white rocky slope toward her—he walked with an easy cat-like grace—“we may as well meet properly. I am Drayken Essengale. And yourself?”

“Veronica Coltridge,” Veronica said.

“A pleasure to meet you,” Drayken began, paused, and added, “All right, I’m lying there a little bit. The whole solitude thing, you know. Still.”

Veronica laughed. “Well, what’s politeness other than lying about one’s feelings because of social norms?”

Drayken’s green eyes—they were green, she saw—glittered into a sort of smile. “Aptly put.” He eyed her critically for a moment. “I take that back—it is a pleasure to meet you. You may call me Drayke, in fact.”

“Well… thanks. Pleasure to meet you too,” Veronica said, and meant it—she’d always wondered what meeting a space elf would be like; apparently it was unpredictable, was what it was. “I just wish…” She looked around.

“Ah, your friend,” the space elf picked up. “Maybe he’s waiting with your space craft—more visible than a little thing like yourself.”

“I don’t have a space craft,” Veronica said before she could stop herself.

Drayke arched one dark green eyebrow. “Then how did you get here?”

“I—” Veronica stuttered.

He looked very closely at her. “You’re not a space elf. How— Ah. You’re a Time Wisp.”

“So everyone keeps telling me, despite my lack of knowing it myself!” Veronica exclaimed.

Drayke blinked mildly at her. “So, what year is this for you, if I may be allowed to ask? What can I say—this traveler has picked up a taste for curiosity in his wanderings.”

“Four years before I was born,” Veronica said, then winced. “That… sounds strange when I put it that way.”

Drayke laughed, his teeth glittering white in the moon light and his long dark green hair swaying. “Not by half. I once knew a Time Wisp who was at least—” He broke suddenly off and became somber again, his face clouding as he turned to stare off into the stars.

Tagging:

2 to 5 bloggers… okay… I can do this.

I tag: Jenelle Schmidt || Tracey @ Adventure Awaits ||  Sarah @ Light and Shadows || Claire @ The Overactive Imagination. (Obviously no pressure to do it, any of you, just if you want. ^_^)

And if anyone reading this wasn’t tagged and still wants to do it… CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED! *waves magic Fairy Godmother Muse wand and makes it so*

Easy copy-pastable list of questions:

The Snippet Tag (created by Madeline J. Rose)

Rules:

-Include the fancy-shmancy graphic I included somewhere in your post. (Or make your own, just so long as you include a link back to my blog.)
-Answer all the questions, however you want to. Creative interpretation is key here! You can use the book you’re currently working on to answer the questions, or other books you’ve started or have written.
-Tag 2-5 other bloggers.

Questions:

1. Share your most gripping, fascinating, and hooking first line of a story.
2. Share a snippet that literally just crushes your heart into a million feelsy little pieces.
3. Share a snippet that makes you want to shout to the world that you’re SO. HAPPY.
4. Share a snippet that gives a bit of insight into one of your most favorite characters ever.
5. Share a snippet that literally melts you into a puddle of adorable, squishy, OTP mush.
6. Share a snippet that gets you beaming with pride and you’re just like yep, I wrote that beauty.
7. Share a snippet of genius, deliciously witty dialogue between your characters.
8. Share a snippet that makes you feel like an evil genius for thinking up such a malevolent villain (Mwa-ha-ha!)
9. Share a snippet that leaves you breathless, in a cold sweat with action-induced intensity.
10. Share a snippet of a most interesting first meeting between your characters.

What think ye of part 2? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Tell me aaall! ^_^ (And if you read all the first post AND this one… then, goodness, I don’t think I have enough cookies to give you how many you deserve. *does anyway*) Thanks for reading!

Snippet Tag: The Library in the Stars (Part 1)

Part 1

I was tagged! By Madeline J. Rose @ Short & Snappy (an extremely fun blogger — seriously, her blog is like sunshine and makes me smile so much — do go check out her fantastic blog at once!!) for a new tag which she created, The Snippet Tag! Thanks so much, Madeline! ^_^

I’d been planning to share some snippets of my NaNoWriMo 2016 space-fantasy, time-travel novel The Library in the Stars anyway, and this was the perfect excuse for that, so there’s some perfect timing right there. 😉

Aaand I came up with quite a large wordcount with these snippets I picked, so I’m chopping the post in half and sharing five today and five in another post later this week. So here is part one!

On with the tag and the snippets!

The Snippet Tag (created by Madeline J. Rose)

Rules:

  • Include the fancy-shmancy graphic I included somewhere in your post. (Or make your own, just so long as you include a link back to my blog.)
  • Answer all the questions, however you want to. Creative interpretation is key here! You can use the book you’re currently working on to answer the questions, or other books you’ve started or have written.
  • Tag 2-5 other bloggers.

Questions:

Part the First

1. Share your most gripping, fascinating, and hooking first line of a story.

[Note: I… already shared the opening (hooking or not) in my latest Beautiful Books post, so how about a snippet from the end of the first chapter? (More than a line, I’m afraid. ;))]

It seemed to Brendan that he had only been in his book for a mere few seconds (it may possibly have been a dozen chapters) when the doorbell rang again. For the third time that day. And right when the hero of the novel he was reading was in a particularly sticky predicament that even Brendan’s highly imaginative mind could not see a way out of… which was very bad timing, to be honest.

Jamming his bookmark in his place, he snapped the book shut, left it on the couch, and navigated the book stacks toward the door. He opened it and looked out, and shadow looked in at him.

A young man (perhaps eighteen, two years older than Brendan), dressed all in black, with black hair falling to his shoulders and seeming somehow rather wrapped in shadows, stood in the hallway. His piercing black eyes looked down into Brendan’s eyes, out of a face pale and drawn and somehow enigmatically displeased with something.

He was definitely strange, but all sorts of strange types could be met with in the inter-spacial Chronos University on Caligma, so it did not bother Brendan. He was only bothered with having to leave his book.

“Well?” Brendan said, more testily than usual.

The young man’s obsidian eyes stared at Brendan, unblinking, in the pause that was the following silence, while tendrils of shadow seeped past the threshold into the room.

“What do you want?” Brendan asked.

“What do I want?” the other repeated in a hoarse whisper, his voice low and seeming to come from the shadows that surrounded him and filled the doorway. “To make my own choices.” He spread his arms, the long black trailing sleeves morphing into darkness, and shadows wrapped around him and Brendan.

The next moment, the shadow took them both and they were gone.

2. Share a snippet that literally just crushes your heart into a million feelsy little pieces.

His ebony clothing and raven hair flowed into the shadows, becoming one with them, so that it was hard to tell where hair and shirt and pants and boots and flapping cloak—if it was a cloak—ended and where shadows began. In fact, the cloak itself could have been a shadow too—sweeping backward enigmatically. And all the shadows seemed alive, moving slightly as if they were being blown in a constant breeze, so that the cloak or shadow gathered behind him was flung back and flowing as if he stood on a hill with a strong wind before him. It was almost like wings, spread back behind him, though some swept around in front of him, cloaking him, his black eyes and glossy hair like raven feathers the only gleaming parts, the rest pure shadow, his pale drawn face staring out at them, his expression enigmatic and veiled, almost empty.

“Drayke…?” Veronica said to the space elf at her side.

His gaze was firmly fixed on the shadowy person in front of him, green eyes narrowed as he took him in. For a long moment there was complete silence as the two faced each other.

“What are you?” Drayke asked then.

The young man laughed, a hollow sound which seemed stolen by the light breeze, and sounded oddly devoid of enjoyment. “Isn’t that an excellent question.”

3. Share a snippet that makes you want to shout to the world that you’re SO. HAPPY.

“Of course it would rain today,” Briley said, stepping out to stand on the roof of the big clock tower, next to where her airship was perched. She glanced at the overcast sky and the other airships flying by overhead, and got some rain drops in her eye. “Oh well, what’s a climb down a clock tower without some rain to keep it interesting, right, Eon?”

Her only answer was silence.

“Speaking of keeping… Eon, get out here and keep me company. I want to talk to somebody.”

A muffled voice came from her pocket. “Of course you would want to talk to somebody right now when there’s only me. And I’m not coming out.”

Briley shook her now wet short blue hair out of her eyes, and put on an old-fashioned cap, with goggles on top, on her head. She pulled the goggles down over her eyes, tugged at a rope—connected to the side of the ship at one end and a harness brace Briley wore at the other—to test it, then snapped her fingers once and pulled a gold and brass pocket watch out of her pocket.

“Too bad,” she said cheerfully, “because I’m making you come out.”

The metal, gears, and glass of the small timepiece took on a fluid-looking form for a moment, morphing into another shape, solidifying into a gold and brass metal figurine shaped like a small clockwork fox.

It stretched in the palm of her hand—much more flexibly and real-looking than an ordinary figurine of metal should have been able to do—and then tried to dodge the raindrops falling and pinging quietly against the metal of its back.

“Ow! Have a care, then!” the little clockwork fox that was Eon said in the clipped tones of his singular accent. He shifted into the shape of a frowning little owl, hunching one wing and holding the other wing over his head, drops of rain running off his bronze feathers onto Briley’s hand. “You said it was raining; leave a chap alone, will you?”

“As if rain bothers you,” Briley said.

“I’m made of metal—of course it bloody bothers me, and if you—” He broke off in mid-speech with a slight yelp, for Briley had put owl-Eon on her shoulder, took a firm grip on the rope and a running leap backward a couple steps, and she purposefully fell right off the edge of the roof a few feet—laughing as the wind flew around her and through her blue hair—until the rope caught her and pulled her up short. She then commenced rappelling down the side of the clock tower.

Eon had instantly shifted into a lion shape, digging all of his many claws into the fabric of her shirt so that he wouldn’t fall off.

“This is what I’m talking about, love,” he griped into her ear. “Whoever thought it was a good idea to give a fifteen year old girl the job of clock tower maintenance—well, they should just have their brain examined is all I’m saying.”

4. Share a snippet that gives a bit of insight into one of your most favorite characters ever.

“I fail to see how being kidnapped by the minion of some crazy space elf lady is supposed to be protection.”

Damian winced. Veronica almost felt bad for saying minion, but not quite. Not enough to take it back, anyway.

“I never wanted to be a minion,” Damian said softly. “And I was supposed to find Brendan and bring him—”

“Don’t say that,” Veronica interrupted.

“Say what?”

“His name.”

Damian paused. “I was supposed to bring him to her,” he went on. “She needs him for… well, I don’t know exactly why. She always said there was something special about him, some reason she needed him in particular, out of all the Time Wisps she’s been collecting—”

“Collecting?” Veronica repeated in disgust. “You do realize how awful that sounds, don’t you?”

Damian nodded. “I never said I was a fan of this person. I mean, she did after all curse me for all eternity to live in shadows and eventually become one myself,” he said a little testily.

5. Share a snippet that literally melts you into a puddle of adorable, squishy, OTP mush.

(Note: [Translation of OTP for those who don’t speak fangirl-ese: One True Pairing, i.e. favorite couple.] There… wasn’t actually very much time for me to devote to my characters’ romantic-or-not relationships. Hence, I’m just going to go with a random section of Veronica and Damian. Since they’re adorable even though they don’t know it/haven’t had time to be yet. >.>)

Damian turned entirely into a shadow and went through the table in the blink of an eye, re-solidifying on the other side just in front of Veronica and flinging his arms and their accompanying shadows around her, at the same second that the force field on the door snapped open and the two shadow men surged through into the space craft. But just a split second before they reached them, Damian, with Veronica clasped in his arms, teleported out of the space craft and reappeared somewhere else.

For Veronica, it was terribly disorienting. She was suddenly engulfed in shadow, feeling Damian’s arms solid and yet somehow shadowy around her, and the next second she stood somewhere else—not entirely sure where else, but only sure that the space craft’s interior around her a second before was no longer there, and that her head was suddenly disoriented and scrambled and aching. She tilted dizzily, and as Damian released her, she started falling toward the ground. Her orientation and ability to hold herself up just stopped working. Damian caught her again before she could fall the whole way.

“Oh. Yeah. I forgot about that.”

“About what?” Veronica managed to croak through the haze of mind-numbing, head-pounding dizziness.

“The teleporting-with-someone-else thing,” Damian’s voice said from somewhere in the shadows above her head. “Not doing that again, then.”

“I’d appreciate that.”

Part 2 coming later this week…

So, what do you think of this little look at The Library in the Stars? I want to know all your thoughts! Spill ’em! 🙂 (And if you read this far, you get cookies; thank you, kind soul.)

Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales (Review)

onceboxset

This last week, an exciting new release happened… Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales, an ebook box-set collection of half a dozen novellas by six different authors!

I’m here today with a review for each of the six stories, but first a bit about the collection…

About ONCE

oncecover

Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales

Six fairytales you thought you knew, set against a tapestry of historical backgrounds.

  • A lonely girl plots revenge in the shadow of a mountain.
  • A stolen princess fumbles a century backward.
  • A dwarfish man crafts brilliant automatons.
  • A Polish Jew strikes matches against the Nazis.
  • A dead girl haunts a crystal lake.
  • A terrified princess searches a labyrinth.

A rich collection of six historically inspired retellings, Once is a new generation of fairytales for those who thought they’d heard the tales in all their forms.

Featuring the novellas of Elisabeth Grace Foley, Rachel Heffington, J Grace Pennington, Emily Ann Putzke, Suzannah Rowntree, and Hayden Wand.

Find the book

Amazon | Goodreads


Author links

My Review

4starrating

Overall rating for the collection: 4 stars

Six interesting retellings of six different fairytales by six skilled authors. I found each of these to be unique and very well written, although each of them are quite different from each other, and I enjoyed some more than others. Overall, a quite good collection of tales! Here are my thoughts on each.

(I received a free e-ARC copy of this collection from the authors.)

THE MOUNTAIN OF THE WOLF (by Elisabeth Grace Foley)

4starrating

4 stars

This one started out a little slow, so I was nervous I wouldn’t enjoy it, but once it got intriguing I was hooked, and read the second half in breathless anticipation.

The Little Red Riding Hood retelling part of it only came in near the end, but it worked really well and was unique. Not sure I’ve ever read a retelling of that one before! I haven’t read many westerns (I’ve seen a lot more. ;)) but I really enjoyed this one!

It all felt super authentic — descriptions, dialog, characters… all of it. Rosa Jean was a well written character who I quite liked, and Quincy Burnett was awesome! The writing is detailed and skilfully firm — I could really see the setting, even if it made the beginning slow.

Other than a quiet beginning and the fact that it took a little while for anything to be explained (including the fact that I automatically assumed Rosa Jean was a thirty year old woman whose husband had died… um, nope.. whoops), it was really good!

A gripping, vivid, well-written story, which I quite enjoyed and made me happy there at the end. ^_^ *hugs book*

SHE BUT SLEEPETH (by Rachel Heffington)

5starrating

+

1starrating

=

3starrating

5-star story, 1-star ending

(don’t know what to rate it overall, so I’m going with 5+1=3 stars [shush, don’t question my maths])

This story was GOLDEN and I ADORED it and it was amusing and cleverly witty and fascinating and fresh and I was grinning the whole time I read it and it was a sparkling 5 star story… until the last second when everything crashed and burned and it ripped my heart out and left me DEVASTATED AND FURIOUS and I can’t say what happened because spoilers but IT WAS NOT OKAY AND I AM NOT OKAY AND I’M SO UPSET I CAN’T EVEN RIGHT NOW.

Some people might not mind such an ending but for me it just totally made everything not okay. I couldn’t even keep reading the collection for awhile because this one ripped my heart out so bad and made me so furious. *SADNESSES OF ALL SADNESS*

It was a modern-turned-time-travel-1897-Romania-Sleeping-Beauty-magical-gypsy-curse kind of story with a beautiful love story (most of the time), and was a magical, clever, fresh, funny, well-written, unique story, with so much personality and charm. I just loved it so much. Which is why it’s so tragic that the ending was… well… tragic. It’s not a fairytale romance, it’s a tragedy. And I need my happy endings or else I’m a heap of displeased as high as Mount Everest. So that was super disappointing, even though the rest was really good! BUT IT MADE SAD AND ANGRY AND UGH.

I just… don’t know what to rate it, since half of me says to give it 5 stars (or at least 4… knocking one off for the ending), and the other half of me wants to rate it 1 star and not even be sorry and howl from the rooftops how such an ending is so many levels of not okay. Bad endings tend to cancel out good stories for me. Plus, I expected something else to happen with Ioan, and it never did? There were a bunch of unwrapped-up things like that. I just… I really thought the ending would come together into something clever and interesting and happy and then it DIDN’T. Lost opportunities, IMHO.

Um. I’ll just be over here in a corner feeling conflicted and royally distraught.

Great story. Awful ending. We’ll leave it at that. (BUT IT WAS SO GOOD. BUT UGH THAT ENDING WHYYY. -_-)

RUMPLED (by J. Grace Pennington)

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4.5 stars

This story was so good! Definitely one of my favorites of the collection. 🙂

This was a Rumpelstiltskin retelling with a steampunk/sci-fi twist set in an alternate-history America (really intriguing, but I wish we’d learned more about it in the story than we did).

It was much more like the original fairy tale, in terms of plot layout, than any of the other stories in the collection, but I actually loved that because it made the differences, despite the similar framework, stand out a lot more strongly. Because this story was SO Rumpelstiltskin, and yet SO twisted around and fresh and different.

The writing is brilliant but also down to earth. The characters were real and interesting. I liked Amanda, and Byron, what was seen of him, was great. It almost felt like a Beauty and the Beast story occasionally, which was actually cool.

There were mysteries which kept me guessing, and I stayed on the edge of my seat for most of the story, immersed and reading as fast as I could, wondering how it would all turn out.

Overall, it was a beautifully written, entrancing and original tale, with a touching love story and a good dash of suspense, at least for me. I loved it! Definitely a favorite. ^_^

SWEET REMEMBRANCE (by Emily Ann Putzke)

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2 stars

This is one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” things. I knew from the start that this would be a story that would not be a favorite.

World War II, The Little Match Girl, first-person-present-tense, tragic love story, with a lot of darkness and grimness, and favorite character dying, and no happy ending in sight… Those are like some of my least favorite things ever, all rolled in one (seriously, it’s only missing dystopia and zombies. XD) so I knew it just wasn’t my thing.

But I admit I was surprised how sweet the romance was and how beautiful the writing was (in some of the flashbacks, anyway), and I could see why it was written how it was (the flashbacks, which are actually most of the story, are in past-tense, so it made sense to tell it that way), and Romek was the best (*sadnesses*), and it was gripping despite not being my thing.

So I’m giving it an extra star for being well-written and having some good things like that. I just… why can’t stories have happy endings? -_- Anyway, I’m sure many people will enjoy this one, it just wasn’t for me.

I just don’t enjoy tales that are hopeless and depressing, no matter how well-written they are. Just my personal preference.

DEATH BE NOT PROUD (by Suzannah Rowntree)

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4.5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to think about this one for awhile, but it surprised me by drawing me in and I ended up really enjoying it!

I found it interesting that it was set in New Zealand in the 1920s, and I enjoyed the slight unfamiliar touches of the setting and time period. Very loosely based on Snow White, I simply LOVED finding little hints and parallels to that fairytale. Unless you knew to look for them, they could easily slip through the cracks and not be noticed, so I found them to be quite clever and fun to look for. 🙂

It’s more of a thriller, murder-mystery type story, and much of the time you don’t know who to believe or trust, which only added to the suspense and mystery. Normally I really dislike stories which leave out key bits of information that we ought to know but for some reason I didn’t mind in this one. I guessed a lot of things, but despite that the mystery kept me on the edge of my seat.

The heroine, Ruby Black, was somewhat strange and I wasn’t sure if I liked her at first, but I found that didn’t really matter because by the end the characters were so real to me that I found “liking” or not had no say in the matter. They just… were. The other characters were interesting too, particularly Max, who we saw the most of besides Ruby, and who I was really kept on my toes wondering about.

There was also some poetry and imagery woven in, which only added to the ethereal feel. It was exciting and beautifully written, and the tiniest bit eerie, but in a way that didn’t bother me. I just… really really liked it! 🙂 Which surprised me, because it started out a little rocky and I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it. I’m so glad I kept reading!

Somewhat haunting and gorgeous and strange and unique, and I liked the clever fairytale twists in it. Another favorite!

WITH BLOSSOMS GOLD (by Hayden Wand)

5starrating5 stars!!! Favorite of the collection! ^_^

THIS STORY!! *shrieking* I just loved it so so so much! ^_^

A retelling of Rapunzel, set in Renaissance Italy, this story was like golden sunshine and I LOVED it. What if Rapunzel (in this story, Nella) didn’t want to leave her tower?

It starts out a much lighter-hearted story than the rest, but it has its share of reality and war and adventure and peril as well. All of that comes later, but first we must meet quiet Nella, and two princes who are SO much fun to read… seriously, the dialog in this story is FANTASTIC. It’s mostly about Nella, who’s odd but nice and has to face many fears, and Prince Benedict, who is just… asldkjflk HE’S GREAT OKAY.

The humor in this story is superb and had me laughing aloud several times, or just grinning and grinning, quite unable to stop. The banter Benedict has with Nella, and with his brother (seriously great brother scenes with Benedict and Orlando, even if there weren’t a lot) just made my day.

In a way it’s a simpler plot than some, but it was just so refreshing and fun and gorgeous and I adored it. ❤ When war threatens and peril engulfs our main characters, they must be brave and press on in the face of adversity, with only their love, ingenuity, and faith to guide them.

There wasn’t a lot of Christianity, exactly, but it was worked into the story and certainly more prevalent than in the other stories in this collection. I quite liked how it weaved in. I also loved how some of the original fairytale things got worked in, in different ways than you’d expect. The labyrinth, for example, was cool. 😀

It was a beautiful, sweet love story and fairytale retelling, with princes and castles and towers and knights, loads of humor, and priceless character interaction and bickering which I seriously cannot say enough about because I LOVED the humor and fun and characters and banter! ❤

I just… *flailing* I don’t even think I can think of anything I disliked about it. IT WAS AWESOME, OKAY? The perfect note to end this collection on, it left me grinning and beaming and just so happy. ^_^ This story is the BEST. EVERYONE, READ THIS COLLECTION IF JUST FOR THIS STORY!

I loved it so very much and it made me incredibly happy. ❤

There you have it! My thoughts on ONCE. Overall, I enjoyed them. 🙂 How about you, my Roadlings? Have you read, or do you wish to read, these tales? Which most interests you? Hurray for fairytale retellings! ^_^