Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: fairy tale

Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she’s the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, “Did romance have to be part of the adventure?” As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.

Bubby: Well, just as I abandoned Sissy a few weeks ago, this week Sissy abandoned me. Unfortunately, she is not off having fun but is rather recuperating from surgery. We decided that since she is hopped up on really good painkillers, I would take over today and fly solo. She’s outrageous at the best of times – I can’t imagine what she’d say when under the influence!

We were first introduced to the magic that is Alethea Kontis when we read and reviewed Enchanted last year. Hero is the next book in the Woodcutter Sisters. focusing on Saturday (that’s her name, by the way) this time around. We have adventure, romance, evil witches, shapeshifting creatures and natural disasters. A little bit of everything!

As with most of my favorite authors, I wish that Alethea Kontis would write faster and with greater output. I know these writers think that they need to have a life and a family outside of writing books for my personal enjoyment, but I really think they need to reevaluate their priorities! I have needs, people!

I highly recommend both the Woodcutter Sisters novels and am eagerly awaiting the next installment, Dearest, which follows, of course, Friday. It’s not coming out until February though. Not sure I can make it that long! Oh, and did I mention how much I love these covers? Fabulous! 4 magical bubbles from me. And don’t worry, next week Sissy and I will be back writing together again!

Click HERE to buy Hero by Alethea Kontis at

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

What really happened after the clock struck midnight?

Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She’s tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother’s noble family—especially now that the family’s wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It’s hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane’s burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family’s struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane’s stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire. When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate….

Sissy: Take the classic tale of Cinderella, turn it on its head, make the step sisters into heroines, philosophically explain the well-known symbols such as the pumpkin/carriage, glass slipper, etc, give the whole thing an intelligent and thoughtful makeover, and you have The Stepsister’s Tale.  As I read this intriguing re-telling I kept thinking how well it was transformed into a thought-provoking  yet still entertaining essay on society and perceptions of reality.  When I read the author Tracy Barret’s bio and found out that she was a long time professor at Vanderbilt it made sense.  Smart lady=smart, creative writing.

Bubby: I have to admit that when I started reading The Stepsister’s Tale I had a bit of an epiphany.  We are so used to the Disney-fied version of Cinderella, we rarely give any thought to how the step sisters felt about the whole thing.  But looking at things from their view, everything changes.  As is usual in fairy tales, all the parents in this story are blithering idiots who should have been sterilized at birth. I felt a strong urge to smack them all repeatedly.  What kind of man buys his daughter crystal-encrusted slippers and a sunset-colored carriage when his new wife and step-daughters are living in a moldering ruin and slowly starving to death?  No wonder Cinderella had so many issues!

Sissy:  This is also a searing look at the utter obliviousness and absolute pomposity of the higher classes.  The prince is a narcissistic dunderhead who cares nothing for his people, the mother is completely in denial of reality and her pride renders her unable to see the suffering and situation of her daughters.  I kept wanting to tell her to get a grip and start working like a real woman!  Stepfather was a ridiculous fathead and real father was a hopeless alcoholic who squandered the family fortunes and then abandoned everyone.  It’s amazing that Jane and Maude, through trials, hardship, and sheer willpower, manage to transform themselves into hardworking, empowered women.  A tale of pampered princesses not so much-this is a story of real life and real love.

Bubby:  Sissy, you’ve taken the words right out of my mouth! I guess it’s true that great minds think alike…  Tracy Barrett has written a great novel told from a unique viewpoint.  3 3/4 bubbles from me.

Sissy:  If you had a Cadbury Fruit and Nut Bar I might take that right out of your mouth too!  But you don’t.  So I’ll just be hungry while I agree with you about Tracy Barrett, who has another fairy tale retelling, “Fairest,” in the works. The Stepsister’s Tale gets 4 bubbles from me.

Click HERE to buy The Stepsister’s Tale at

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

We received a copy of this title from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.

This is a retelling of the beloved fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. In this enchanting version, Beauty hates her nickname (her real name is Honour) because she feels that she is the least beautiful of her father’s three daughters. Instead, she values her intelligence and  her love of learning and riding. Her merchant father’s financial failure causes the family to auction off their belongings and move to the country where Beauty is grateful for her practical skills. When her father comes home with a tale of an enchanted castle and an angry beast, Beauty agrees to go to the castle to spare her father’s life and eventually learns to love the beast.

Sissy: This was the first book Robin McKinley ever wrote,and when I read it, I loved it. It came out long before the Disney movie version of Beauty and the Beast or the plethora of fairytale retellings that have come about in the last 20 years. So at the time it was a refreshing and novel idea. I like the concept of Beauty as a gangly, awkward girl who is more interested in horses and books than boys or embroidery. I know that the Disney version has Beauty’s character being more bookish, but Robin McKinley had the idea first. I also like the fact that in this retelling the characters in Beauty’s family are fleshed out a little bit and have their own side stories going on.
Bubby: Good pick this week, Sissy! I love Robin McKinley’s early books. (Her later books, not so much.) Beauty is actually the first of two retellings of the classic story that McKinley has written – the other is Rose Daughter, published almost 20 years later and a good read in its own right. McKinley has a way with words. It’s almost as if she spins a web around the reader, drawing them right into the world she is creating. You really feel that you are experiencing the story right along with Beauty and her sisters Hope and Grace. The characters are so well drawn that you really care what happens to them – they are imperfect and human and they could be your friend or neighbor or sister.
Sissy: I like all of Robin McKinley’s solo authored books except Sunshine.
Bubby: Sunshine. Yuck. Everything you already hated about vampires minus all of McKinley’s signature elegant prose plus some language and sex. Stick with the older stuff. It’s better.
Sissy: Yes. Robin McKinley writes so beautifully. She must have been going through a dark period when she wrote that book. I will forgive her. Back to Beauty. You all know what happens at the end of the story and so what makes this book readable is the characters and the imaginings of the author as she reinvents the circumstances surrounding the familiar ending.
Bubby: I want to be one of Beauty’s sisters – before their father’s business failed, it was all silk and roses and silver lah-di-dah poshness. I could get used to that. Sitting near the fireplace, eating crumpets with clotted cream and black currant preserves, drinking tea from my silver teapot in my china cup with my pinkie finger in the air. Delightful! Of course, after a few weeks, I’d probably be bored spitless. And then I’d have a heart attack from too much clotted cream. But I’d enjoy myself in the beginning! You can have tea with me, Sissy. I’ll get you your own china teacup painted with pink roses.
Sissy: I hate tea. Tastes like fish spit. I believe I have mentioned this before.
Bubby: Fine. No tea. Hot cocoa. In a pretty, rose embellished cup. That’s the important part.
Sissy: Since when did you become the little old lady with pink roses all over the place? Are you going to start knitting an afghan next?
Bubby: Hey, knitting is hot and chic nowadays – all the famous Hollywood actresses are doing it.
Sissy: Right. Our main character, Beauty, was so not into all that crap. Now that we’ve distracted you hither and yon, find a copy of Beauty by Robin McKinley and go back to the lovely days before everyone and their dog was making a buck with a retelling. 3 1/2 bubbles.
Bubby: Wow. You have lost your magic today, Sissy. Methinks someone needs a new tube of hemorrhoid cream. At any rate, Beauty is a delicious magical tale. You will love it. 4 bubbles from me. Happy weekend!
Click HERE to buy Beauty by Robin McKinley from
Click HERE to buy Beauty by Robin McKinley from
© Bubble Bath Books 2013