Author's Note

#SweepUpYourSmols TBR!

Two TBRs in a week?! I know, it’s unheard of! But this weekend is the third round of #SweepUpYourSmols, my mini-readathon where the goal is to read as many books under 300 pages as you can. So, do you want to see the books I’m choosing from? There’s no way I’ll get to all of these, but I’ve got a nice selection!

I actually found myself really having to search for small books to include! I think I’ve been picking them off and leaving the longer chonks to wait, which is not ideal… Still, there’s an eclectic mix of things so I feel like I’ll be fine for some mood reading.

The Game by Diana Wynne Jones

I’m working my way through the few books on Diana Wynne Jones’s backlist that I didn’t read as a child, and this sounds like an interesting one – I’m in the perfect mood for one of her magical, fun stories.

Beauty and the Beast stories edited by Maria Tatar

This is a collection of different animal spouse fairytales from around the world – Maria Tatar’s name on it makes me sure it’s going to be interesting, and I always love adding new variations of fairytales to my repertoire!

Wood Angel by Erin Bow

I’ve seen lots of warnings that this is a pretty grim book for middle grade, violent and quite sad, but I was still tempted into it by its talking cat and witchy vibes, so I’ll give it a go, and if I’m not feeling the darker side of it, I’ll DNF.

Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman

More witchy middle grade! This sounds like the kind of charming adventure I really love, with a girl out to stop a curse and rescue her mother. I think this would make a good bath read.

A True Princess by Diane Zahler

Diane Zahler’s fairy tale retellings are always great – a little dark, but really beautiful takes on their original stories. I’ve actually just finished writing my own take on The Princess and the Pea, so this might be a good time to read A True Princess!

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B Larson

These next three were in my TBR during the last round of Sweep Up Your Smols – maybe this is the right time to get to this YA retelling of Swan Lake?

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

I don’t know too much about this one other than that it has a fantastic cover and queer female pirates, which honestly was enough to sell me on it!

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

This actually popped up in my TBR Spotlight a few weeks ago, so head there for more of my thoughts on it!

Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw

This Arthurian retelling has been on my shelf for longer than I can remember. I’m actually a lot pickier now with Arthurian stories than I used to be, so I’m not sure if I’ll get on with this one, but it’s a high priority for me to at least try it and see if it’s a keeper, or if I can have some more space!

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

I love The Princess Bride movie – who doesn’t? And I also love love love behind the scenes books, so I’m really looking forward to this look back at its filming, from the horse’s mouth. I read the introduction when I got this book and decided to save it for a rainy day, as it was just so charming.

Will you be joining in with #SweepUpYourSmols? I’d love to see your short book picks!

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TBR Spotlight: The Fairy’s Tale by FD Lee

Monday’s rolled round again, and the random number generator this week picked book #214, The Fairy’s Tale by FD Lee!

Whoever said fairy tales were easy has never been a wannabe fairy godmother. The truth is, making dreams come true can be a total nightmare.

Bea is a lowly cabbage fairy, but she dreams of being an official Fairy Godmother. So when Bea is finally given a chance to prove her worth she is determined to make a success of it. Besides, how hard can a Happy Ever After story be? Every girl wants to be rescued by a handsome man, don’t they?

Apparently not.

Bea’s heroine doesn’t want to be in her story, and her hero is much more interested in the ugly sister. The same ugly sister who is trying to overthrow the Kingdom.

Suddenly, Bea must confront the fact that her characters are as real as she is – and just like her, they are determined to go their own way. The problem is, if Bea fails to finish the story, she faces a fate much worse than being put to sleep for a hundred years. 

Now Bea must figure out what Happy Ever After really means – and whose Happy Every After she’s prepared to fight for…

I love a snarky take on fairy tale tropes, so this take on fairy godmothering as an industry seems like it will be right up my street! This is a self-published book I picked up at Worldcon 2019, where I met the author in person after following her on Twitter for ages – which means it’s sat on my shelf for nearly two years at this point, eek. It’s the beginning of a series, so I’m really hopeful that if I like it as much as I think I will, then there’s plenty more to dive into!

Have you read this one? I’d love to know your thoughts – or if you have any recommendations for other sideways looks at fairy tales!

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TBR Spotlight: Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly

Today’s random number pick is book #284, Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly!

Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie rode into the forest with the queen’s huntsman. Her lips were the color of ripe cherries, her skin as soft as new-fallen snow, her hair as dark as midnight. When they stopped to rest, the huntsman pulled out his knife . . . and took Sophie’s heart.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Sophie had heard the rumors, the whispers. They said she was too kind and foolish to rule — a waste of a princess. A disaster of a future queen. And Sophie believed them. She believed everything she’d heard about herself, the poisonous words people use to keep girls like Sophie from becoming too powerful, too strong . . . With the help of seven mysterious strangers, Sophie manages to survive. But when she realizes that the jealous queen might not be to blame, Sophie must find the courage to face an even more terrifying enemy, proving that even the darkest magic can’t extinguish the fire burning inside every girl, and that kindness is the ultimate form of strength.

I loved Donnelly’s take on the Cinderella story in Stepsister, which I reviewed here, so I when I spotted her Snow White retelling pop up on NetGalley I couldn’t resist requesting it. However, I then went into a big YA slump in the second half of last year, so this kind of got pushed to the sidelines a little bit. I’m definitely starting to enjoy YA again, so I’m really looking forward to diving into this soon. There are so many interesting things you can do with Snow White, and I’ve seen people say that this draws more from the bloody Grimm story than the sanitised Disney version, so I’m intrigued. Hopefully I can get to this before long!

Have you read this one, or is it on your TBR? I’d love to know your thoughts!