Snow White Red-Handed by Maia Chance

Rating: 4.5 of 5

9780425271629It’s Germany, 1867. A twenty-something American woman, working as a lady’s maid, fights to exonerate her best friend, who has been framed for murder, and in doing so, uncovers the “true” story of Snow White.

Snow White Red-Handed, the first book in the new Fairy Tale Fatal series by Maia Chance, was a cozy mystery right up my enchantingly forested path. Ophelia was such a plunky lead, bursting with curiosity and gumption. I really enjoyed the who-dun-it blended with the discovery of a fairy tale’s origins. Perfect reading for a cold winter’s night whilst snuggled inside a warm, fluffy blanket.

I can’t wait to read Cinderella Six Feet Under, set to be released on September 1, 2015.

Read an excerpt on the publisher’s website.

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

The Princess Tales – Book Review

I borrowed The Princess Tales: Volume One by Gail Carson Levine from the Logan County Library on 11/6/2009. When I finally read it on 12/1/2009, I loved it! Perhaps I’m a little biased though because I thoroughly enjoy almost all fairy tales, both the originals and the retellings. Levine did not disappoint me with hers.


4 stars out of 5

My love affair with fairy tales isn’t something new, but it was pretty much comatose for a good 10 years. Then, in 2007, I selected “Myth and Fairy Tales” as one of my electives in college and the affair was transformed into a bona fide relationship. That class, its textbooks, and the papers I had to write were lightning bolts of inspiration. And they helped me hear my muse for the first time in years. (She and I finally formed a lasting bond about a year later when I enrolled in “Think Sideways”, but that’s another post.) Ever since that class in college, I’ve read any and all fairy tales I could get my hands on.

So I selected Princess Tales purely on the fairy tale aspect, not knowing its author, while browsing the kids section with my daughter. I don’t normally go in that section with a list and prefer to simply go stack-by-stack when I’m on the hunt for something new. I’ve found the best little treasures and surprises doing it that way. Of course, I do have lists or an author in mind on occasion, but usually, I like to wing it.

Then a couple of weeks later, my daughter and I watched Ella Enchanted on TV. I’d been meaning to watch it for years but just hadn’t gotten around to it because I prefer to spend the majority of my movie time getting the pants scared off me by horror films. Watching the movie, I remembered hearing it was based on a book. And being one to read the book upon which a movie is based – usually before, but sometimes after I’ve watched the movie – I thought I better look it up. Lo and behold, Ella Enchanted was written by Levine, and it just so happened I had one of her books waiting in my “To Read” pile. I was stoked. I read The Princess Tales in about 2 1/2 hours in one sitting. She puts her own spin on oldies like “Diamonds and Toads,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

While Levine’s retellings have a “happily ever after” feel to them, and I tend to prefer the dark side of fairy tales, I still had fun. Plus, I could tell these tales were written with kids or young adults in mind. They were quick and funny yet suspenseful and heartwarming. Her humor and faithfulness to the originals, in that their lessons remain intact, are the top two reasons I will definitely keep Gail Carson Levine in my mental file of authors to follow. And I most definitely want to check out her newer books, especially Fairest.

Have you read any books by Gail Carson Levine? Care to share your thoughts on them? Then please post a comment below and let me know what you think.

WEB RESOURCES:

If you’d like to purchase The Princess Tales on Amazon, click here.

If you’d like to purchase the book directly from the publisher, click here.

And, if you’re a writer, you definitely have to check out Levine’s blog because it’s full of helpful tips and useful information.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Fairy tale lover? Then you have to visit the below web sites.

SurLaLune – I discovered this web site when it was assigned in the “Myth and Fairy Tales” class I mentioned above. The site has annotated fairy tales, histories behind the stories, a discussion forum, and there’s even a blog! Plus, you can buy fairy tale themed items from the SurLaLune store to help support all of the free web site content. I bought their “Fairy Tales Not Just for Kids” hoodie last year and next on my wish list is the “Do Not Be Deceived By Appearances” blue baseball style t-shirt.

[Side note: I’m an admitted t-shirt addict. My “I haven’t been quite right since they took away my blankie” t-shirt never fails to get a reaction from people, and thankfully that reaction is usually a giggle, especially when I tell them I was 10 when my blankie was taken away. The same age the sonsabitches made me stop sucking my thumb.]

Diamonds and Toads – Whether you’re researching for a class or your own writing, this site is a wonderful resource. They also have a fabulous blogroll so be sure to check it out in the left sidebar.

The Enchanted Conversation – Please help support this non-profit online magazine by visiting the site on a regular basis. Don’t forget to join the site as a “follower” in the left sidebar and tell all your friends about it.

Attention: Inner Critic

I will no longer allow you to dictate my writing behavior. I will break the barriers and conquer my personal battle with perfectionism. I’ve taken the leap and enrolled in Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways writing course. Thus far, I’m finding it rather challenging to fit in the homework between my day job and my daughter.

I thought it might be easier to work through Holly’s exercises by trying out my first blog. Yay! It’s official: I’m up-to-date with the times; a cell phone in my purse and blog on the Net. This’ll be sort of an initiation into the possibility that strangers will inevitably read and reject my writing. I have yet to show anyone other than writing instructors (and one ex-boyfriend) my completed stories. The instructors were very encouraging; the boyfriend, not so much. That’s a long story better saved for a different post.

I named this blog, Unleash the Flying Monkeys! because I love fairy tales and fantasy type stories, and truly appreciate the imagination it takes to invent and write about such outlandish characters as flying monkeys. I want to embrace all my creative potential instead of stuffing myself into what I assume is my destined “genre”–horror.

Don’t get me wrong, I love horror stories, movies, photography, etc.. I am drawn to the dark and depressing aspects of the human mind and soul. However, I want to explore the many avenues of fairy tales, fantasy, supernatural and crime thrillers as well. I have idea after idea, many of which I lose forever simply because I’m too apathetic to grab a piece of paper and jot it down before it’s trashed by short-term memory overload.

I hope to master clustering and finish up my Sweet Spot Map very soon. Or, at least make more progress than a few doodles with the main thought just floating in the center, seemingly drowning in the empty white space, crying out for me to tie it to something, a single syllable word, anything besides the little black butterflies that look more like lumpy hearts, really. I’m a couple weeks behind many of my classmates, but writing is a very personal experience so I suppose the process of improving one’s writing is also quite personal.

Does your inner critic ever stand in the way of your creative progress?

I’ll end this post with one of my favorite writing quotes:

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” – Gloria Steinem