A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, Catholic (with Asperger's) who reads and writes as her obsession. I've been reading over 400 books a year lately. These are my ramblings on some of the books I read. To read about all the books I read and comment on, visit me at LibraryThing or Goodreads.

I've been blogging since 2007 and at this point (July 2015) am trying my hand at turning the theme of this blog towards mystery, thriller, and crime, fiction and nonfiction. I have some special interest topics and categories within this broad genre which include (but are not limited to) serial killers, scandi-crime, Victorian history and historicals, history of the criminally insane and asylums, psychopathology, death, funerary practices and burial, corpses, true crime and anything dealing with the real life macabre, or that portrayed in fiction.

I also read a short story a day from various collections, sometimes anthologies othertimes collections of a single author's work. These reviews are also posted here and while they are of mixed genre the mystery, thriller, horror, gothic and macabre often appear within their pages as well.

I also blog about
graphic novels and manga on a separate BLOG.

Monday, May 23, 2011

107-108. Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer & Cinderella, Ninja Warrior

I'm on a Book Tour with Virtual Author Book Tours for Maureen McGowan's first two books in her Twisted Tales series!

107. Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan (Canada) - (US)
Twisted Tales

Pages: 326
Ages: 12+
Finished: May 3, 2011
First Published: Apr. 1, 2011
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: YA, fractured fairytale, CYOA, paranormal
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Sunlight streamed through the floor-to-ceiling windows lining the western-facing wall of the palace's reception room.

Acquired: Received a copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy fairytale retellings and when I was offered this book it just sounded like plain fun.

I went into this book expecting fun and I was not disappointed! I can't give a complete book summary as at various places in the story you make decisions for Sleeping Beauty (Lucette) affecting the telling of the story. There are 8 possible routes through the book and they are shown at the end of the book. They all do end with the same outcome though. The basic premise is very close to the original Sleeping Beauty tale but with a twist that certainly adds a major change in the plot.

The baby is cursed at her naming party by a neighbouring ruler who "accidentally" did not recieve an invitation to the party. This is the Queen of Vampires from the land of Sanguinia. She curses the child that she shall prick her finger one day, drawing blood, and at that time she shall fall asleep during the hours of daylight and wake up only for the hours of night, while the entire population of her country shall fall asleep during the nighttime hours and be awake during the day. Leaving Lucette all alone at night and the kingdom virtually helpless against any vampires who wish to drink human blood, which they don't normally do as a rule. The fairies do manage to put a bit of a counter spell on the curse; they extend the time so that this event will not happen until after Lucette's 16th birthday and they give a way to end the curse: when Lucette has proven that she has found true love the curse will fall. Seemingly pretty impossible since she'll never have human company once the curse has taken effect!

This was a joy to read! I had a lot of fun with it. Being able to become involved in the story and actually make choices for Lucette was an interesting addition to the story. This is similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books, but in this novel the opportunities are less frequent and only happen at crucial moments so one feels as if they really have a hand in controlling the story. One could read the book multiple times, to experience different versions, but that idea holds no interest with me. Lucette is a fun tomboy princess, who leads an overprotected life whose father does everything imaginable to make sure Lucette never pricks her finger in her childhood, but her mother feels Lucette must be ready for the inevitability of the curse and learn to defend herself when the time comes so she secretly sends her to the Vampire Academy, telling the father she is attending charm school. Add a bit of romance as Lucette must decide between two suitors whom she both likes very much and we have a fun, exciting fairy tale with all the ingredients for a great read. This is a book one reads for simple entertainment and it doesn't disappoint. My only quibble would be that it would be more fun (and enticing) to read the book multiple times if there were different outcomes. Otherwise a pleasant read. 4/5

108. Cinderella, Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan (Canada) - (US)
Twisted Tales

Pages: 308
Ages: 12+
Finished: May 7, 2011
First Published: Apr. 1, 2011
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: YA, fractured fairytale, CYOA, paranormal
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

Cinderella's shoulders quivered with fatigue as she tipped the twenty-seventh wooden bucket of fresh water into her stepmother's bath.

Acquired: Received a copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy fairytale retellings and when I was offered this book it just sounded like plain fun.

I'm glad I read Sleeping Beauty first as it gave me heart to keep plugging away with this one which was not as good as Sleeping Beauty at all. The very basic premise of Cinderella has been kept. Well-off girl's father dies and leaves her in the charge of her evil stepmother and nasty stepsisters. Though they are not ugly on outside, just on the inside. Cinderella becomes the servant and is treated more like a slave and a prisoner. Until the night of the ball, when Cinderella tries to get away, not because she wants to attend the ball though but because she wants to enter the competitions being held first during the day, one of them ninja/magic skills to win training with the royal wizard. And here is where we leave the traditional tale behind. Cinderella's step-mom is an evil black magic wizard and she is keeping Cinderella a prisoner with the use of entrapment spells which don't allow her to leave the house of her own volition. The stepmother is sure Cinderella knows where her real mother's wand is (an incredibly powerful object) hidden but alas Cinderella has no clue. Cinderella has inherited some natural talent from her mother, a great wizard in her own right, and with the help of her cat Max, has been training in both her ninja and magic skills secretly.

This story was just ok for me. For the first half the step-mother's evil had no opposition and it became tiring. There was also an obvious case of mistaken identity that dragged on for the whole book it became silly that the reveal was not made. I enjoyed the book much more once circumstances chanced in the last half of the story allowing the step-mother's opposition to come forward. The characters weren't as fun or engaging as those in Sleeping Beauty either; I really had no feeling for them either way. The only character whom I had any feelings for was the second step-sister, who was a minor character being in the shadow of her more dominant older sister. This step-sister did behave in a way that showed she felt for Cinderella and was a victim herself of her mother's abusive upbringing. Those looking for fairy tale romance, however, will be much happier with Cinderella than Sleeping Beauty as the love story starts early and becomes a vital part of the plot and the solution. Overall, a fun, if simple, tale that will satisfy romance fans.

One quibble, that really annoys me actually, is the cover which has nothing to do with the book. Cinderella never wears a gown in the story, nobody, let alone Cinderella, ever uses swords and at no time was Cinderella ever wandering around a castle with a candle wearing said gown and carrying said sword. The cover does not in any way convey the title "Ninja Warrior" to me. The cover should have shown Cinderella in her ninja outfit she wears to go to the ninja/magic competition & ball. Plus she should be carrying either a wand or a form of stick, both of which she makes use of during the book.

Final results: Loved Sleeping Beauty, tolerated Cinderella. Would I read a new book in the series? Yes, I'm pretty sure I would give the next book a chance.

Here is the rest of the Book Tour Schedule.  Check out the other participants as there are some free books being given away! Plus Interviews with the author, and author guest posts.

Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty Book Tour Schedule

Tour Host: Date of review: BK (GP)Guest Post, (I)Interview, or (G)Giveaway?

Tasha A Trillion Books 5/9 Both 5/10 I
Katie A Book Obsession 5/9 Both 5/10 G
Irena This Miss Loves To Read 5/10 Both 5/11 G, I
Jazz About Books Blog 5/10 Both 
Kristen Seeing Night Book Reviews 5/11 Both 5/12 G,I
Jenny Dreaming of Books 5/11 Both 5/12 I, G
Debbie Debs Book Bag 5/12 Both 5/13 G, GP
Stella Book Lovers 5/12 SB 5/13G, I
Aanchal Book Flame 5/17 Both 5/18 G,I
Jill The Owl 5/17 C 5/18 G, GP
Corrine Lost For Words 5/18 C 5/19 G,GP
Emily Red House Books 5/18 &19 Both 5/20G
Jenn Books At Midnight 5/19 Both 5/20 G, I
Regan Star Shadow 5/19 Both 5/20 G, GP
Alex Electrifying Reviews 5/20 Both 5/20 G
Nicola Back to Books 5/23 Both 
Melissa My Chaotic Ramblings 5/23 Both 5/23 G
Mindy Reading for Sanity 5/23 C 
Misty The Book Rat 5/23 SB 5/25 G, I
Chioma Black and Blue Ink... 5/24 Both 5/25 G,I
Ashley Basically Amazing Books 5/24 C 5/25 GP
Patty Books, Thoughts And A Few Adventures 5/25 Both 5/26 G,I
Marcie 2 Read or not 2 read 5/26 Both 5/27 G
Lizzy Cornucopia of Reviews 5/27 SB 5/27 G
Key: Both= Both books, C= Cinderella, SB=Sleeping Beauty, I= Interview, G= Giveaway, GP=Guest Post


  1. I really like how both re-tellings portray more strong and independent young women than the original versions.

  2. The book titles are very appealing. If I saw them in the store, I would have to pick them up and browse at the very least.

  3. These look really fun. I love fairy tale re-tellings.