Laura Ruby – Bone Gap

Looking at the cover and description, you wouldn’t think this is speculative fiction. The reason I picked up Bone Gap was Ana and Renay’s discussion on their Fangirl Happy Hour podcast. Now I can finally go back and listen to the spoilery bits. I loved this book. A deceptively quick read, it really packs an emotional punch and explores some difficult themes through multi-layered characters. A fascinating read that will definitely make it into my years’ favorites list.

bone gapBONE GAP by Laura Ruby

Published by: Balzer + Bray, 2015
Ebook: 368 pages
My rating: 9/10

First sentence: The people of Bone Gap called Finn a lot of things, but none of them was his name.

Bone Gap is the story of Roza, a beautiful girl who is taken from a quiet midwestern town and imprisoned by a mysterious man, and Finn, the only witness, who cannot forgive himself for being unable to identify her kidnapper. As we follow them through their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures, acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.


Bone Gap is one of those flow-y books. You know the type. You plan to read just a few pages to see if it’s up your alley, and before you know it you are knee-deep in an adventure without hope of finding a convenient chapter to stop reading. Finn lives in Bone Gap, a small town where everybody knows everybody, and he is known by everybody as a bit of a strange guy. Never looks you in the eye, head in the clouds, very handsome, but distant. And ever since Roza disappeared, things haven’t been the same.

I don’t know how to describe this book in a few sentences, because it is about many things, despite its relatively small page count. It is about Finn growing up and learning things about himself, it is about Roza and how her beauty is a curse as much as a blessing. It’s about Petey, who thinks her face looks like a bee, and whose life is influenced by beauty just as much as Roza’s, and it’s about Sean, a young man forced to abandon his dreams and being, in turn, abandoned by the people he loves.

The tale unfolds through Finn and Roza’s eyes and while Finn does meet a magical horse, his story is still grounded in the reality of Bone Gap. Here, everyday problems are added to Roza’s disappearance – dealing with bullies, getting the girl you like to kiss you, finding a way to talk to your estranged brother… Finn has a lot on his plate, even without the guilt he feels. When Roza was kidnapped, Finn witnessed it but he is unable to identify the kidnapper, which leads most people – his brother Sean included – to not believe Finn at all. After the death of their father, the boys’ mother left them, so Sean was almost expecting to be left again, this time by the woman he loves.

Roza’s story, on the other hand, reads like a dark fairy tale – this is what grounds the book firmly in the fantasy genre (no matter how many times the print “magical realism” on the back cover). It’s not a retelling but the fairy tale I was most reminded of was “Beauty and the Beast”. Except in Bone Gap, a real girl gets thrown into an awful situation and she really has no interest in turning her captor into a prince. Even before her kidnapping, Roza’s life was hard, and the way she reacts to the terrible things happening to her, is part of what makes her so wonderful. I loved this character to pieces and she only gained more and more respect as the story continued.

bone gap bee

I was surprised at the many ways in which this little book broke my heart. A few chapters in, I already cared deeply about Finn, Sean, Petey, and Roza. Then the author throws a few twists our way that are big enough to shatter worlds. Terrible things happen to Roza, so awful in fact that all the other characters’ problems should appear ridiculous in comparison. But Laura Ruby, with her flowing prose and lyrical style, managed to make all characters feel equally important. I had so much compassion for Petey who is considered ugly by the people of Bone Gap, I understood Finn’s guilt about letting Roza be taken, I got why his brother Sean behaves the way he does. The characters and their actions are utterly believable, even when confronted with the fantastic.

This is a magical book whose pages just fly by without you noticing. I read it in a hammock on the beach, in one sitting, and afterwards felt like waking up from a dream. A dream of a Polish girl too beautiful for words (who is not portrayed as arrogant or a villain or a bitch), a young boy trying to find his place in the world, a girl very conscious of the power of beauty (and her own perceived lack thereof), and a man lost and abandoned and desperate.

Rounded with a perfect ending (and Roza’s most badass moment of awesome!) that subverts the tropes of fairy tales, this was a wonderfully engaging, emotional book. It had just the right amount of fairy tale flavor, lovely writing, and a cast of amazing characters. Another excellent publication of 2015 – this is a strong year for speculative fiction with original ideas and character depth.

MY RATING: 9/10  –  Close to perfection!


Other reviews:

Naomi Novik – Uprooted

Sometimes, special books come from unexpected places. I had read the first two Temeraire books by Naomi Novik and, while liking the first one, didn’t like them enough to continue the series. There was something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on, so I pretty much dismissed the author as “just not my cup of tea”. Then I won an ARC (which turned out to be a beautiful finished hardcover – THANK YOU, Macmillan! Really, it’s beautiful.) of this fairytale-esque new novel and it took exactly one sentence for me to fall in love.

by Naomi Novik

Published by: Macmillan, 2015
Hardcover: 437 pages
My rating: 9/10

First sentence: Our dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia – all the things Agnieszka isn’t – and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.


This has to be one of the best opening sentences I’ve read in a long, long time and Uprooted is my favorite book of the year so far. The first chapter does exactly what a good beginning should do. It establishes a world, it introduces the main character, and it sets its hooks firmly into your mind and makes it impossible to stop reading.

Every ten years, the local wizard, called the Dragon, chooses a girl from Agnieszka’s valley and takes her away to his castle. Nobody really knows what he does with them, although they all say he never laid a finger on them. Agnieszka is the right age to be chosen but she isn’t worried. The entire valley knows that her best friend Kasia – beautiful, talented, brave – is the most likely choice. But of course things don’t go as expected and Agnieszka is chosen instead of her childhood friend.

The first few chapters are a bit misleading as to where the story will go. The mood of the novel screams Fairy Tale right from the start, so I thought I’d get a sort of Beauty and the Beast retelling. But while Agnieszka’s first months in the tower are spent cleaning, cooking, and bickering with the Dragon, her presence seems to irritate him more than excite him. She is clumsy, constantly gets her clothes dirty, and stubborn. It’s a match made in heaven. Despite their dislike for each other, Agnieszka slowly learns some magic from the wizard, and we readers learn what his “job” is in the first place (more on that later).

One aspect that made this book so great is Agnieszka’s development as well as her relationship with the Dragon. I understand some people’s criticism of the romantic sub-plot, but it pushed so many of my buttons that I couldn’t help but adore it. These two spend most of the novel bickering, arguing, and generally disagreeing – but it is their differences that make them so compatible. While the Dragon works every spell meticulously and by the book, Agnieszka takes a more intuitive approach and shows amazing talent. But it is only when they work together that their greatness can shine. In fact, her actions are what drives the plot, unlike so many reactive fairy tale heroines.

So Agnieszka is a wonderful protagonist and I loved her cleverness and fierce loyalty, the real main character of Uprooted is the Wood. Its menacing presence can be felt on every page, and the magician’s job becomes much more interesting once you know just how evil that Wood really is. Sometimes, it takes people, sometimes it gives them back, but they are never the same. Other times, it kills anything in its path, it eats entire villages, it ruins people’s lives with disease or madness. As an antagonist, this was one of the more original and disturbing ones, and I completely loved how the Wood’s influence was shown. The author made sure that, once the characters venture into the Wood, her readers are properly scared of what they’ll find there.

uprooted banner

Naomi Novik manages to pack an impressive amount of plot into the 400 pages of this book. Some reviewers mentioned that a trilogy would have been more suitable, but I like Uprooted just the way it is. It builds its world slowly, then relies on Agnieszka’s actions to be the catalyst for change. Her friendship with Kasia is what sets in motion the actions that will lead to a thrilling climax. I loved how front and center this friendship between women was in the novel, but it is also the one part that I had issues with. The fact that Kasia and Agnieszka are friends is explained in the very first chapter, and while we’re told that they’ve spent their entire childhood together and are very close, there wasn’t any time to show us this friendship before Agnieszka gets taken by the Dragon.

But the author makes up for that minor flaw by making Kasia in important character throughout the novel. You’d expect her to be nothing but a memory in Agnieszka’s mind, to maybe be mentioned once or twice, but you wouldn’t expect her to turn into a badass heroine in her own right. Kasia’s development was as gripping as Agnieszka’s and I loved seeing them work together as a team.

uprooted USThe Dragon… oh, the Dragon! This may say more about me than it does about the book, but I adore grumpy guys as romantic heroes. The Dragon was a Mr. Rochester of sorts, albeit a bit more cold-hearted and distant. As I said, Agnieszka spends most of her time disagreeing with him, and even when he should be proud of her or magical abilities, all she gets are off-hand remarks that sound more like criticism than praise. So the sexual tension is pre-programmed and I will go on record and say that the romantic scenes were butterfly-inducing, sexy, and beautifully written. I wouldn’t have minded more of that…

Uprooted is a stand-out novel that can be enjoyed on many levels. It’s a fairy tale (Baba Yaga! Evil Woods! Magic!), it’s a story about place and belonging, about friendship and bravery, about politics and talent. Much like The Goblin Emperor last year, this book stole my heart and I already look forward to reading it again.

MY RATING: 9/10 – Close to perfection


Second opinions:





FTF Book Review: Vivian Vande Velde – The Rumpelstiltskin Problem

Yeah yeah, Fairy Tale Frenzy is over but I still owe you a couple of reviews.  This little book of alternate versions of Rumpelstiltskin can be read in one sitting and so was very well suited for my current busy schedule (consisting of work, work, and to even things out, some more work).

rumpelstiltskin problemTHE RUMPELSTILTSKIN PROBLEM
by Vivian Vande Velde

Published by: Harcourt, 2000
Ebook: 128 pages
My rating: 7,5/10

First sentence: Once upon a time, before pizzarias or Taco Bells, there was a troll named Rumpelstiltskin who began to wonder what a human baby would taste like.

Fairy Tales Retold

  • Rumpelstiltskin


Have you ever wondered just what was going on when that odd little man with the long name stepped up and volunteered to spin straw into gold for the miller’s daughter? If you stop and think about it, there are some very peculiar and rather hard-to-explain components to the story.
Vivian Vande Velde has wondered too, and she’s come up with these six alternative versions of the old legend. A bevy of miller’s daughters confront their perilous situation in very different ways — sometimes comic, sometimes scary. Most of the time, it’s the daughter who gets off safely, but sometimes, amazingly, Rumpelstiltskin himself wins the day. And in one tale, it is the king who cleverly escapes a quite unexpected fate.


It’s true that Rumpelstiltskin has quite a few problems. As a child, I may have wondered about why he wanted the miller’s daughter’s firstborn child, but I never paused to think about all the other oddities the tale presents. In the author’s note, Vivian Vande Velde casually counts up all the things that are wrong with the fairy tale. And believe you me, there is very little that’s not wrong with it.

Some of the more striking questions are: Why would the miller say his daughter can spin straw into gold, knowing full well she can’t? Why would Rumpelstiltskin – who can spin straw into gold – accept a gold ring or necklace as payment? What possessed the miller’s daughter to promise him her firstborn child? And what’s with the king, letting the girl spin gold for three nights, immediately marrying her after that, and then never expecting her to spin gold again? It just doesn’t make any sense!

Irumpelstiltskin problem2n six little alternative versions, Vivian Vande Velde explores ideas that make the story a little less ridiculous and more believable, sometimes keeping the magic, sometimes finding perfectly mundane reasons for what happens. You get a Rumpelstiltskin who wants to eat a human baby, just to see what it tastes like. You get a domovoi who just wants his house to be in order, a female Rumpelstiltskin hungry for love, a Rumpelstiltskin who is a pretty elf, and you even get a story or two with no Rumpelstiltskin at all.

I loved every single way Vande Velde turned this story on its head. Mostly, the miller’s daughter isn’t half as stupid as she is in the Grimms’ tale, but sometimes I rooted more for Rumpelstiltskin than for the humans. In the very last version, it is the king who deserves our empathy and needs to outsmart those around him. The author still keeps a distinct fairy tale-ness to her versions (repetition, the number three, magic, and so on), but she updates the characters to smart, logically thinking people with reasons behind their actions.

The language is modern and colloquial. The backflap says “reading level 10+” and I’d say that’s a fair assessment. Children can read this easily, because as fairy tales should, the writing is simple and feels like somebody telling you a quick story before tucking you in at night. That’s why I also believe this would be a great book for reading out loud. The narrator begins each story with “Once upon a time, before bread was plastic-wrapped and sold in supermarkets, there lived a miller named Otto and his daughter, Christina.” or something in that order. It sets the scene to the distant and unknown fairy tale past, but it also grounds the stories in the present.

My favorite part, though, was the sense of humor. It’s clean and family friendly but at times so insightful as to make me chuckle out loud. The hungry Rumpelstiltskin from the first story “A Fairy Tale in Bad Taste” for example, is desperately trying to buy a baby for cooking – without much success at first:

Rumpelstiltskin could not find a single merchant selling baby. The closes he came was a woman who countered by volunteering to sell him her teenager, but even then Rumpelstiltskin doubted it was an entirely serious offer.

Vande Velde also ends her tales in great closing lines which I won’t quote here – at least three of them made me laugh. She knows how to make sure her readers gobble up her words (there aren’t that many, to begin with) and close her book with a big fat smile on their faces.

This little collection may not do outrageously innovative things with narrative, language, or setting. But it makes an old fairy tale, whose true meaning has apparently been lost over the ages, a little more understandable. It adds internal logic to a world of magic and makes each ending all the more satisfying for it.

RATING: 7,5/10  –  Very good

divider1Table of contents:

  1. A Fairy Tale in Bad Taste
  2. Straw Into Gold
  3. The Domovoi
  4. Papa Rumpelstiltskin
  5. Ms. Rumpelstiltskin
  6. As Good as Gold

FTF Comic Book: Bill Willingham – Fables

This is not a review of the comic book series, or at least not all of it, because I haven’t finished reading it yet. As I write this, the very last few issues are being published, ending the series with #150. My final opinion will depend very much on stories yet to come, but because I am so in love with what I have read so far, I wanted to share with you just a few reasons to pick up Fables.

fables animal farmFABLES
created by Bill Willingham

Published by: Vertigo, 2002-2015
Issues: #1 – 150
Editions: single issues, TPB, deluxe HC
Artists: Mark Buckingham, etc.
Covers by: James Jean (up to issue #81)
João Ruas (since issue #82)



What’s this all about?

In the same vein as best-selling “fractured-fairy-tales” such as Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is Bill Willingham’s runaway hit graphic novel series FABLES. No longer just children’s tales, Willingham has created a new world for these beloved fables…one that exists within our own.When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society-within an exclusive luxury apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side-called Fabletown. But when Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Bigby, Fabletown’s sheriff, and a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to determine if the culprit is Bluebeard, Rose’s ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

Where do I start?

That was the first question I asked myself when faced with a ton of comic books, different formats, spin-off and crossover series, computer games, and even more stuff. The biggest help I found on the internet was this post by The Written Word, titled So You Want to Read Fables. The beginning is pretty straight forward but keep an eye on the issue you’re reading. At a certain point, you’ll have to jump into the Jack of Fables spin-off in order to avoid spoilers . Most recently, I read about a crossover episode between Fables and The Unwritten. As I’m not nearly far enough ahead in the series to have reached that particular issue, I’ll worry about that when I get to it.

fables issue 53The next big question is: Do you buy the trade paperbacks or the (super shiny) deluxe editions? Because I like pretty books with pretty covers, I went for the deluxe hardcovers. Let me tell you, they are gorgeous! There are some differences compared to the trade paperbacks, such as little flashback stories, prose stories, or even  1001 Nights of Snowfall, the Arabian Nights of Fables. These are all contained in the deluxe editions at points in the story that Bill Willingham thought suitable. If you buy the paperbacks, some of these will have to be bought separately. Wikipedia has a list of which physical book contains which issues so you can make a nice comparison between the paperbacks and the hardcovers and see what works best for you. As far as my own experience goes, either way of reading them is fine. But it does make a difference whether you hold a big, sturdy hardcover in your hands, with glossy paper, high quality printing and just all around prettiness. If you’re not the kind of person who re-reads comic books or you don’t want to spend that much money, the paperbacks are probably the better choice.

Is it worth it?

Hell yes! The first story arc (and the first half of the deluxe edition #1) called Legends in Exile, didn’t strike me right away as something I needed to read. But once all the characters are introduced in their urban setting, I fell into it. Once I got to know the Fables that can’t be integrated into mundy (read: muggle) society in Animal Farm, I got more and more intrigued. Seeing that not all is well in Fabletown society makes things way more interesting than just following a bunch of characters hiding who they really are.

My love for Sheriff Bigby Wolf knows no bounds, the tension between him and Snow White alone makes this worthwile. Plus, I started really digging the drawing style. It’s not all beautiful or brightly colored but it’s just perfect for the stories it’s telling. The covers, on the other hand, are always stunning!

fables covers

But what really made me go out and buy all the Fables that are currently available in hardcover (plus the entire Jack of Fables spin-off series) was the way seemingly unimportant side characters show unexpected depth in random places. Boy Blue, for example, was a likable guy who is always around, but only when I read The Last Castle did I truly appreciate him as a character. The same goes for Flycatcher – the Fables version of the Frog Prince. Boy, did those two rip my heart out!

Also interesting is the passing of time. While some issues follow up on what has happened before, others jump ahead a year or two in time. The flashbacks and POV switches add another layer of depth to the world. Whereas most of the plot happens in New York, the Fables chosen exile after the Adversary took over their Homelands, we do get glimpses of these fairy tale realms that used to be the characters’ home. Things that seem simple at first turn out to be much more complex and complicated after a while.

reynard fox esquire

Fables contains a world that is bigger than the sum of its parts. I may have come in for the fairy-tales-living-among-us-mundies but I stayed for the people I’ve grown to know and love. Once you know Jack, you’ll laugh at his idiotic schemes. When it becomes clear just how in love Bigby is with Snow, you’ll yearn for the two of them to work out their issues. You’ll rejoice when Rose Red finally finds her place in the world, and you’ll laugh at Flycatcher with tears in your eyes.

My love for Fables took a while to grow but now it is steady and strong and here to stay.

There’s other Fables stuff out there?

I’m only a Fables baby but thanks to the Steam Summer Sale, I went ahead and bought myself The Wolf Among Us, a prequel to the entire comic book series (no prior knowledge needed, no spoilers for the comic books) and have played it a few times since. I will be gushing about that game in a separate post within the next few days. But let it be said here that it is absolutely worth its price.

fairest issueApart from the crossover with The Unwritten (which is on my wishlist now), the women of Fables got their own spin-off series, called Fairest. It’s still ongoing and seeing as Lauren Beukes wrote for it, there is no question I will buy and eat it up.

Some other much shorter spin-offs include Cinderella: From Fabletown, With Love and Cinderella: Fables are Forever as well as Werewolves of the Heartland, a  graphic novel following – unsurprisingly – Bigby Wolf. 2009 also saw the publication of the first illustrated Fables prose novel, called Peter and Max. One look at the cover gives you a clue as to whose story it tells.  1001 Nights of Snowfall is contained in the deluxe editions but not in the paperbacks. It’s not vital to the overall story but trust me when I say you don’t want to miss it.

1001nights of snowfall

If all of that spinning off and prequelling turns your head, there’s a handy Fables Encyclopedia.

divider1Links of interest:

FTF Graphic Novel Review: Emily Carroll – Through the Woods

I picked up this short story collection on a whim when I was visiting my grandmother (how Red Riding Hood of me) and checked out the local bookstore. For a place whose English language section now stores nothing but bestsellers, naturally this new, creepy-looking book caught my eye. You can even get a taste online. The short story “His face all red” is on Emily Carroll’s home page, for free. I urge you to buy the book before you try the story because you’ll be wanting a lot more from where that came from.

through the woodsTHROUGH THE WOODS
by Emily Carroll

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry, 2014
Hardcover: 208 pages
My rating: 8/10

First sentence: When I was little I used to read before I slept at night.

divider1Fairy Tales Retold

  • Bluebeard (sort of)
  • Red Riding Hood (sort of)



A fantastically dark and timeless graphic debut, for fans of Grimm Tales, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and the works of Neil Gaiman

‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’
Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.
These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.
Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…


This was such a lucky buy. The cover stood out next to the mainstream paperbacks – the crass black, white, and red is the first eye catcher. When you open the book and leaf through it to see what the images are like, you’ll be stunned by the amazing and creative full color drawings that await you. I especially liked the two-page spreads with words flowing all over the pages, almost being part of the picture, the font type changing according to the story’s mood. The book was amazing even before I’d started reading it.


A few minutes later, I got home, the book in my bag, waiting eagerly to be devoured. I will admit that I read these short stories during the day and was very happy about the sun light and twittering birds outside. Reading this in darkness (well, comparative darkness… you’ll still need a lamp in order to see the pages) would have been more like watching a horror movie. And I know that my fridge always makes particularly strange noises after I’ve seen a horror movie. Even more so if I’m alone in the house. To say nothing of the cat, who seems to have a sixth sense for when I’m already on edge. Thanks to the sunlight, I was fine, the cat was oblivious, and the fridge made no more than the usual noise.

The tales in Through the Woods may not exactly be fairy tale retellings, although they are certainly fairytale-esque in nature. You can see glimpses of Bluebeard and Little Red Riding Hood in them, and if you look carefully, I’m sure many other fairy tales that feature woods would fit the bill. In tone, they are absolutely creepy, and I mean that in the best way possible. As graphic novels (or short stories) go, the author only has that much space to use for written words. The grunt of the work has to be done by the images. And Emily Carroll combines the two to create this magnificent, scary, yet somehow beautiful reading experience. When I finished the book, I wished there had been more stories. A good 400 or 500 pages more would have suited me fine.

It’s impossible to pick a favorite story because they each have elements that push all my fairy tale buttons. Terrible things happen to women and children (there’s a definition of fairy tales for you) and these stories don’t exactly end well. Some don’t even end at all. They leave you on the kind of cliffhanger I remember from the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. A big revelation right at the end, the rest is left to the reader’s imagination. We all know that our own imagination can create the most terrifying endings of them all. Emily Carroll does well in leaving a bit of work for her readers – it adds to the creep-factor. But like I said, it’s a really good kind of creepy. The kind that makes you want to go and tell your friends.

through the woods red riding hood

The blurb recommends this to fans of Neil Gaiman, and I see where that comparison comes from. There is a sense of the weird about Carroll’s monsters and a scariness that does remind me of some of Gaiman’s villains. I have had a middling relationship with his books but I can’t say anything bad about his villains. They are weird and cruel and creepy – they always evoke strong emotions, whether it’s repulsion or fear. And that’s similar to the feeling you get with this graphic short story collection. Add to that the fact that you can never be sure who the villains are or whether the monsters are evil or just misunderstood, and you’ve got a thrillride of black-white-and-red goodness ahead of you.

Reading Through the Woods  is an immersive experience that is worth its price. It’s such a quick read that I’m sure I’ll revisit these stories in the not too distant future. It’s the perfect blend of horror and fairy tales – not that the two are exactly far apart – and if it does nothing else for you, it gets you in the perfect mood for more. Nothing is quite as it seems in Through the Woods and even the more genre-savvy readers will be surprised occasionally. What if Bluebeard had a good reason for killing his wives? What if wolves are the last thing you should worry about when entering the woods? Emily Carroll takes well-known tropes and spins them around to give you a creepy reading experience, filled with wonder and imagination. I can’t wait to read her next book!

RATING:  8/10 – Excellent


Other tales by Emily Carroll:

  • The Prince & The Sea
    A retelling of The Little Mermaid, with an added twist and lovely creepy images. Plus, the story is told in verse.
  • The Hare’s Bride
    This has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it but, again, turns what we know of the story up on its head. It’s a very short comic but I liked the clever protagonist and the creepy villain. There is no Disneyfication going on here…
  • Anu-Anulan and Yir’s daughter
    This reads like a tale out of mythology but is actually the result of a world-building project. I love the imagery! It’s not a horror story but instead a beautiful love story about a woman and a goddess.

FTF Fashion: Dress Like a Book (Cover)

People who are as crazy about books as us book bloggers like to take all sorts of aspects from fiction into our real lives. So okay, we can’t have magic wands, or commute to work on a dragon, no unicorns in the backyard, and no manticores as neighbors. But there are some incredible, creative people on the internet who make collages of what they think their favorite characters would wear, based on actual descriptions of those characters, or – in some cases – based on the book cover.

Here’s a taste of fashion based on fairy tales and retellings. But trust me, there is so much more out there.

From fashion-by-the-book:

My favorites are Deathless, Tiger Lily, and The Snow Child. Some of the shoes look a little too dangerous for me and some outfits too shrill but I totally love the fashion-by-the-book blog. Even if we don’t go out and buy the suggested outfits, I have a lot of fun just looking at the loving detail that went into picking them.


Disneybound suggests outfits based on – surprise! – Disney characters. But seeing as Disney has had a tight grip on fairy tales for decades, it isn’t far fetched to visit this tumblr for tips. I adore the White Rabbit outfit. There are tons of Dorothy Gale outfits and a considerable amount of Mad Hatters but I’ve always had a soft spot for the side characters and I’m glad the White Rabbit gets his own outfit.

The same goes for Captain Hook and Mr. Smee from Peter Pan. Although Hook is always presented as a particularly fashionable guy, Tinkerbell seems to be the crowd favorite. And nobody seems to like Mr. Smee, especially when it comes to fashion advice. Except Disneybound and fashion-of-fandoms created some awesome outfits for both of them.

And here are a few more favorites that I picked out for their wearability. Some of the outfits above could only be worn to a dress-up party or if you’re really confident in your walking abilities. But these could be regular, everyday outfits. And only us book geeks would know the truth. I snuck in a few non-fairy tale related ones, just because I like them so much. (Most of these are by Fans and Fashions.)

If you still don’t have enough of bookish fashion, I made a Pinterest board with fairy tale fashion. If you klick on any of the pins, the internet will lead you on a downward spiral into the world of polyvore collages, fashion inspired by books and movies and tv shows… there’s no escape.

What characters inspire your outfits (if any) and who would you love to choose a modern outfit for? I’m torn but I got a serious thing going for underappreciated side characters. What about Red Riding Hood’s mother or the Huntsman from Snow White?

Theme of the Month: Fairy Tale Frenzy

It has been ages since I’ve done a theme of the month. But you know how these things can sneak up on you and suddenly you’re neck deep in a pile of books that all fit a certain theme. This time, it’s totally Neil Gaiman’s fault. With his “Snow, Glass, Apples” – a tiny little short story from the perspective of Snow White’s evil stepmother (not so evil, as it turns out) – he got me into the mood for all things fairy tale. I spent the last months on etsy and pinterest and Goodreads, roaming the internet for lesser known retellings of fairy tales, or well known retellings of lesser known fairy tales. The amount of erotica involving Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf is slightly disconcerting but I’m willing to give nearly everything a chance.

And because these things are much more fun when you turn them up to eleven, I am now kicking off this August’s reading theme and will dive even further into the subgenre.

fairy tale frenzy

I’ll add to the list below as the posts go out. Mostly (and true to this blog) I’ll be posting reviews of books and comic books. But nowadays, a comic book isn’t just a comic book and novels rarely come alone. So you’ll get at least one love letter to a video game, a post where I get girly, and a gushing presentation of my favorite fairy tale movies.

Let’s start  with a book that swept me off my feet with its charming heroines, narrative voice, and creative use of fairy tales.

Fairy Tale Frenzy posts