Five Enchanted Roses: Stone Curse Review

Five Enchanted Roses, the collection of five novella-length retellings of the beloved fairytale Beauty and the Beast from Rooglewood Press, releases today!

Aren’t you excited? Of course you are. Because Beauty and the Beast retellings! And let’s be honest: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more downright beautifully gorgeous breathtaking cover than this one. ALL THE PRETTY. ❤

Today I’m reviewing the third story in the anthology, Stone Curse by Jenelle Schmidt.


stonecurseStone Curse

by Jenelle Schmidt

5 stars!

in the Five Enchanted Roses anthology

Fantasy / Young Adult / Fairy Tale Re-Telling / Beauty and the Beast / Novella

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest review. It was not required to be positive, and these opinions are entirely my own.


As a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, STONE CURSE surprised me with its originality while still clinging to the familiar threads. The reader is plunged directly into several intertwined mysteries that it’s wonderful to try to unravel. I predicted just enough of the answers of the mysteries to feel excited and elated whenever I was right, but there were more than enough surprises and twists to keep me on my toes, which I loved!

The writing was excellent and flowed beautifully in an effortless fairytale-ish way, and I loved the “feel” of the story and the world. It’s exactly the sort of feel that I like best in the fantasy tales I read! I can’t really describe it but it’s gorgeous and makes me feel at home, while still keeping me on the edge of my seat about what will happen next, because even (or especially) the most lovely of fantasy worlds contain a measure of uncertainty and danger! Something about the feel reminded me of a couple other favorite authors of mine, especially Patricia C. Wrede. This makes me happy and I’m looking forward to reading more by Jenelle Schmidt.

I’ve decided I enjoy novellas. I was able to read this in a sitting but it felt more fulfilling than a short story, and yet it was close enough to a novel’s depth, without the extra fluff, that it was extremely enjoyable.

It’s a very fun adventure, with some banter and journeying through a gorgeous fantasy world, tangled woods, homely (and not so homely) inns, and dark mysterious crumbling castles surrounded by roses… (I almost felt like a couple other fairy tales were subtly hinted at as well as Beauty and the Beast, which of course only made it cooler.) And then it got so exciting and epic. Yes! I basically loved this story a ton and had such a great time reading it. (Also, Ritter’s horse was cool. I think I want a horse now please. And a Beast like Barend too. Thank you.)

All of the characters were awesome and felt so very real. Characters are important to me and these definitely rank up with my favorites!

I actually loved the heroine! This may not sound odd to most people. But I’m notorious for disliking most female main characters, and even if I tolerate a heroine, it’s extremely rare that I like her as much as I liked Karyna! She was so extremely sturdy and nice and determined and helpful and useful! It was marvelous how she always had that satchel of hers that she would pull things out of and fix someone up or do a bit of gardening or pruning. She’s also so full of hope and won’t give up, which I loved. I just adored Karyna.

Our Beast, Prince Barend, was fabulous! His story was unique and I so enjoyed reading about him! Like the best Beast characters, sure he had some problems but ultimately you love him. I loved his loyalty and protectiveness, bit of stubbornness, and his willingness to go so far for the one he cares about. Just… yes. Barend! He’s so awesome. And he’s a little uncertain and gruff and awkward but also determined, and was wonderful. I especially liked getting to see his thoughts from time to time, as well as Ritter’s.

Much as I loved the other characters, I think I might have liked Ritter even better! He’s my favorite. His endearing charm, quick tongue, humor and bravery. I just loved Ritter! Considering how much I loved both Karyna (unexpectedly) and Barend (of course), it’s incredible that another character could surpass them and become my favorite, but Ritter definitely earned that place. I was super intrigued by him from the moment he entered the tale, and simply loved how he factored into the story. As soon as I figured out what was up with him I may or may not have actually made a squealing noise. I was also addicted to quoting his lines aloud. Ha! Quotable characters are the best, but he was also such a great all-around guy and one of my very favorites!

I’m always a big fan of humor and great dialog, and I loved the characters’ journeying and interactions and banter! One of my favorite parts involved reminiscing about the mischief young royals got into as children. That was HILARIOUS. They’re a really great cast of characters! I just love them all so much and they feel like my friends. I’m looking forward to reading this again to be with them once more and re-experience this wonderful story and its beautiful and shadowy world.

I do wish Princess Bellenya had been gone into more. Her part of the story wasn’t as developed as I’d have liked, especially considering how it all ended up (which I really liked! I just… wanted more). I was okay with it, I just wish she’d been more delved into so I could understand her more or something? That being said, it’s basically the only thing I have a complaint about in this otherwise fabulous tale!

The ending felt a tiny bit hurriedly wrapped up, but I didn’t mind because it was still awesome. The final scene was absolutely perfect and made me cry. (I’m not much of a book-crier, but this was wonderful!) At the end, when I finished reading and sat back with a little sigh of happiness and wiped my eyes, with a smile on my lips that I couldn’t seem to get rid of even if I’d wanted to, I would have hugged the book if it had been a physical copy. As it was, I settled for hugging my laptop which contained it.

Overall, I positively loved STONE CURSE and it left me with a happy, smiling, in-the-clouds feeling of contentment. I don’t know what else I can ask of a fairytale! It had a little bit of everything.

I look forward to reading the other four novellas in this collection, but I can tell you that FIVE ENCHANTED ROSES is well worth picking up if only for this delightful story.

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Back Cover Copy

From Goodreads:

STONE CURSE
By Jenelle Schmidt

Years ago a terrible curse swept over the revelers at Thorndale Castle, turning them to stone and transforming Prince Barend himself into a hideous beast. But Karyna, a former lady-in-waiting, will not abandon either her father, who stands in the throne room among the other statues, or the prince. Indeed, she sets out alone on a dangerous quest to find the one responsible for this dreadful spell. If she can but discover the reason why the stone curse was cast, perhaps she can also discover the solution.

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Five Enchanted Roses released July 27, 2015

Find it on:

Publisher | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About the Author of Stone Curse

Jenelle is one of those rare and elusive creatures known as an “author.” She enjoys hanging out in darkened corners of coffee shops, sipping hot chocolate and carrying on animated conversations with those strange and invisible beings known as “characters.”

As most other authors, Jenelle is a bit shy and timid, though her friends would disagree with that statement. Her favorite genres to read and write are fantasy, sci-fi, and fairy tales.

Learn more about her on her blog/website:

www.JenelleSchmidt.com

Find her elsewhere online:

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Corroded Thorns

ctcoverCorroded Thorns
by Emma Clifton

5 stars!

Young Adult / Fantasy / Steampunk / Fairy Tale Re-Telling / Beauty and the Beast / Novella

Sequel to Broken Glass (review here) in Five Glass Slippers

I received an e-copy of this book from the author in return from my honest review; I was not required to be positive; these opinions are entirely my own.


As the sequel to BROKEN GLASS (found in the FIVE GLASS SLIPPERS anthology), I was so excited to read CORRODED THORNS to experience the rest of Darcy’s story! And boy does it ever not disappoint!

I loved this book so much that I read it twice in one week. I have an occasional urge to do that with other books, but almost never follow through. But this time I just couldn’t help myself! Fortunately it’s a novella so I was able to read it in a sitting, and it’s one of those perfect novellas that feels exactly the right size.

As a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I so enjoyed watching the plot unfold and picking out the similarities and twists. It’s a favorite fairytale of mine, particularly that it shows how even really horrid characters can find redemption. I LOVE fairytale retellings, and this has to be one of my favorite versions of Beauty and the Beast! I simply adored it.

The plot behind the normal Beauty and the Beast part of the story was so awesome — I loved that there was so much more going on under the surface than meets the eye and it TOTALLY made sense for the story; plus, fascinating fairy godmother politics! Isn’t that just cool? It was all so interesting to read about!

It was a gorgeous world, the settings felt so alive and real and everything was extremely vivid in my mind, despite the relative shortness of the tale. I really felt like I was in that old dark castle on the lake! The touch of steampunkness was SO cool and original (steampunk Beauty and the Beast? Yes please!), and I don’t usually notice this but I LOVED the magic in this story! It was just… I can’t describe it but it was perfect and seamless and interesting. Just… really well done.

In the interests of being fair and looking at both sides… Complaints? Umm, it took me a moment to think of any. There’s hardly anything wrong with this book! I did sometimes have a hard time visualizing exactly what the Beast looked like. I wished there had been a little more description on that, since my mental image kept changing. That being said, it was still an extremely awesome idea the way he was done!

At first as I started out, I was slightly disappointed that it didn’t feel just like the first one, BROKEN GLASS, which was hilarious and mad-dash and there were so many characters running around making a mess and being fabulous. But that’s only a partial complaint, because I quickly grew to love CORRODED THORNS just as much, despite its different feeling, and perhaps more because this one was much more straightforward of a plot, mostly following the one storyline, so I ended up more invested and just loved watching Darcy and Madeline’s story unfolding!

So don’t expect CORRODED THORNS to have exactly the same feel as BROKEN GLASS. This one is a little less whimsical and has a darker, more serious and epic feel to it (but there are still fabulous characters and some hilarious parts, never fear!). But I ended up loving that about it. They’re just different stories but you can still feel that they’re connected as well.

And now we get to the best part. The characters! I LOVED THEM.

  • Madeline is such a sweet, insecure, mousey thing and I found myself really really liking her. She’s so used to being a failure and yet she KEEPS TRYING and I love that about her. I can’t even quite describe it but… Madeline’s just so likeable. (Also tea and cucumber sandwiches.)
  • Young Niles was an unexpected but splendid (and rather important) addition, the one servant who stayed behind for the Beast. Gaahh, I just adored him! He was such an original, cheerful, stubborn, friendly fellow and was just fabulous! Yes, yes and yes. His role in the story really surprised me and I thought it was so cool!
  • Darcy… Ah, Darcy. What does one even say about him? DARCY. That is all. Despite his somewhat beastly tendencies, you still love him and it’s just incredible watching his story-arc leading from BROKEN GLASS and progressing through this one. It was amazing to read about, quite believable, awesome, and extremely well done. DARCY IS MY FAVORITE. I just loved loved loved reading this story about him! Especially his snark. So much fun.

Darcy, Niles, and Madeline make for a splendid main cast. Their interactions are just the best! The humor, the gems of hilarious lines… I loved it all! The other characters were interesting as well. Basically look forward to a great cast of characters in this book.

The ending. THE ENDING! There was one of those moments near the end where I suddenly stopped reading and went oh no — it’s about to be over — I don’t want it to END!! But then it stayed just the right extra amount of time to wrap up the things I wanted addressed and it felt… I don’t know… like a reward and it was just PERFECT! AAAHH. I loved it so much! Also, the glimpse of some characters from the first at the end totally made the book!! It made me so very very happy!

And not to give anything away, but this book contains my favorite proposal scene EVER. Yes, it was that good. ❤

Gaahh, how can I say enough wonderful things about this wonderful book? I feel like I’m falling woefully short! For such a small tale, it was packed to bursting with fabulousness. There was much incoherent squealing and babbling about its awesomeness on my part after finishing it. EEEK! ❤ And then I had to reread it only a few days later because I couldn’t help myself — I had to enjoy its loveliness again!

Basically it was glorious, epic, funny and full of characters I loved a ton, plus a setting I was completely immersed in (I want to live there!), and of course Beauty and the Beast! What more can you want?

I adore it and love it to bits and it just made me indescribably happy!

Back Cover Copy

From Goodreads:

A fairy godmother—in prison? Madeline can’t remember even being a fairy godmother, let alone doing something bad enough to land her in a cell. When a mysterious lady sends her back to her old village with cryptic instructions and no answers to her many questions, Madeline must find a way to free her father, who has been imprisoned in a tower by a terrible beast.

First banished by his father the king, then cursed by an angry fairy, Prince Darcy will do anything to escape this fate and achieve revenge and power. Just when he thinks his chance has arrived, by some cruel trick of fate a girl from his past returns and once again wreaks havoc on his life. Worse still, he begins to question what he truly desires.

Published July 14, 2015.

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author

Emma Clifton has been thinking up stories before she knew how to type them out. Reading books such as the Chronicles of Narnia, The Door Within Trilogy, and Redwall inspired her to take her writing more seriously. Though her rigorous homeschool education keeps her busy, she also enjoys sewing, reading, and spending time with her family in beautiful Northern Virginia.

Emma won a place in the bestselling Five Glass Slippers anthology of Cinderella retellings with her enormously popular novella, “Broken Glass.”

To find out more about Emma and her work, visit:

www.PeppermintandProse.wordpress.com

(You can also find her on Goodreads.)

Summer 2015 Books!

Earlier this year I did a post about the books coming out in the spring that I was excited about… Well, since the books I showcased in that post have all released now (*gasp!*) and summer is in the air, it’s time for another post of upcoming books!

Here are 8 books being published sometime this summer that look interesting to me, in some vague semblance of the order they should release…


A Dream Not Imagined Cover

A Dream Not Imagined – Shantelle Mary Hannu

May 28

I reviewed this recently — a fun, sweet retelling of Cinderella. I’ve read it already, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited for it to release! 🙂


corrodedthorns

Corroded Thorns – Emma Clifton

June

So perhaps I’m not qualified to look forward to this, yet, as from what I can tell it seems to be a sequel (I think?) to one of the tales in the “Five Glass Slippers” collection, which I haven’t actually read yet… But it sounds awesome anyways, (Beauty and the Beast? Yes please and thank you.) and just look at that cover!


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Half Blood – Jaye L. Knight

July 1

Again, not I’m that qualified, as I need to actually get around to reading Resistance and The King’s Scrolls… But this is a prequel to the Ilyon Chronicles, all about Jace… who, despite my not having read about him yet, I already know from hearing about him that I’ll love him. 😉 And it just sounds super awesome. Plus, prequels are cool!


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Ink and Bone – Rachel Caine

July 7

So I know basically nothing about this and have no idea if it will be good or not, but the blurb sounds interesting, and seriously, alternate history where the library of Alexandria survived? Well if that doesn’t sound intriguing, I don’t know what does… (Plus, pretty cover. Yes, I am that shallow. Shush.)


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Silver in the Blood – Jessica Day George

July 7

I just like Jessica Day George. And it sounds fairly intriguing. So.


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Finding the Magic – Jack Lewis Baillot

July 17

More Beauty-and-the-Beast-ness! (Is it just me, or is there a lot of that going on? Anne Elisabeth Stengl seems to be crafting the flow of fairytales these days. Not that you’ll find me complaining. No, no, not at all. Bring ’em on, I say!) I’m not into WWII era stuff, but I’m going to have to make an exception for this one, which I have heard good things about and generally sounds amazing.


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Five Enchanted Roses – by Kaycee Browning, Savannah Jezowski, Jenelle Schmidt, Dorian Tsukioka, Hayden Wand. Edited by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

summer

Aaaaall the retold Beauty and the Beast stories! Yes. I’m especially looking forward to Jenelle Schmidt’s entry! It just sounds the coolest. Plus, this cover is probably the most positively gorgeous one in the history of EVER. So yeah. There’s that.


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A Wish Made of Glass – Ashlee Willis

summer

The cover was just revealed last week and you probably still remember my excitement from then… BUT I AM SO EXCITED. A Cinderella retelling by an awesome author – yes. please. I can’t wait!


Are you excited about any of these?

Any other books coming out this summer that you’re excited about?

Share in the comments — I’d love to hear about them! 🙂