Tuesday, May 29, 2012


A Curse Dark as Gold
I'll admit it, I'm not drawn to fairy tale retellings and I don't usually seek them out. I'm not sure why because when I discover one accidentally, I'm usually not disappointed. For example, Plain Kate by Erin Bow is based on Russian folklore and was an excellent read. And the fact is this corner of the MG/YA market is quite popular. Have you noticed the stream of Snow Whites and Red Riding Hoods at the movies lately?

On a recent trip to my local library, Elizabeth Bunce's, A Curse Dark as Gold kind of presented itself to me. As I was searching the shelves for something to read, I picked up Starcrossed, another of Bunce's books. The jacket read, "...author of  ACDasG, winner of the ALA Morris Debut YA award." This piqued my curiosity, and as luck would have it, Curse sat on the shelf, tucked up tight against the other book. I read the jacket and was intrigued that it was a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Though I've always found Rumplestiltskin rather creepy, it's one of my favorites because of how the miller's daughter finally outwits him. If you're not familiar with the tale click here to read more.

Bunce's excellent storytelling and likable main character drew me right in. Charlotte is strong, courageous, and determined to keep her family's mill running despite problems that arise, both the seemingly ordinary and the unexplainable, which have plagued the Millers for generations. The mystery is slowly revealed throughout the novel and revolves around a curse which Charlotte denies at first, but eventually must face and overcome. I thoroughly enjoyed this retelling and would recommend it to anyone who loves YA historical fantasy.

Below are other novels based on  fairy tales, mythology or folklore.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (based on the Snow Queen)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (inspired by the Greek myth Theseus - click link for an interview with Collins about her inspiration for the trilogy)
Beastly by Alex Flinn
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Myer: Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White)

I've heard good things about Cinder and recently reserved it at my library. Can't wait to read it!

What do you think about fairy tale/folklore retellings? Not original enough or entertaining? What are some of your favorites? I'd love to add them to my TBR list.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Made It: My Ode to May

I made it to the other side of May.
I'm lighter, brighter, and almost, but not quite, carefree.
I'm not going to lie to you, folks - it was not an easy month.
It was full of very high highs, of the most memorable moments.
And it contained an extremely low, low. One that made me stare fear in the face and almost took my breath away. I wish I could share it here. But to put it into words for all to see...I'm not ready for that. I'll just say that I came close to losing someone I love. But thankfully, I didn't.

May, I love you.
I wish that I could slow down and cherish every one of your days, but you always seem to pass in the blink of an eye.
My boy graduated from high school and is on the brink of his next great adventure: college.
I tearfully watched my youngest as she joyfully received her First Communion (and her 2nd and 3rd, etc. with just as much joy).
I noticed how the showers you brought deepened the green grass of my lawn.
And how you dressed my shrubs with beautiful fuschia and purple flowers.
The warmth of the sun and the gentle breezes blowing through my open windows comforted me on some of my darker days.

The end of May is now in sight; it's Memorial Day weekend. Three days of no committments, nowhere I have to go,
The fear lingers a bit, but it won't consume me.
I shared many happy moments with family and friends, some of whom  I haven't seen in quite some time. And I have a deeper appreciation for the free time that I now have. I plan to not waste it, but to use it wisely.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thank You, Nathan Bransford

Do you ever feel like you're letting everyone down - your family, your friends, the writing communtiy, yourself -when you stop writing? I do.

Today's post by Nathan Bransford couldn't have been written at a better time. Sometimes I feel like my writing life - my me time, my novel, the friends I've made through blogging - are slipping away. I am in the midst of the most hectic month this year with proms/dances, awards ceremonies, my daughter's First Communion, birthday parties (3 [make that 4 since I began writing this post]), graduations, the science fair, along with spring sports. When there is down time, I sleep, snatch a few moments to read, or watch something that requires little concentration (I've become a big fan of HGTV and Storage Wars on A&E. Who knew?)

I'm a firm believer in what Nathan wrote in his post:

Life comes before writing every single time. Do what you need to do.

My new mantra.

I know I didn't need it, but thank you, Nathan, for the permission to put my writing on hold.  I can see the end of the madness; it's within sight.

Looking forward to a productive June, July, and August!