Fairy Tales

Many fairy tale princesses share a common humility. They are often mistreated in some way, but rise above the challenges of their abuse or curse. It is really this trait that makes them so admirable—not that they are damsels in distress who need rescuing by the knight in shining armor or the handsome prince who happens to be riding by on a white horse. It is their humility and perseverance that makes them worthy of the hero’s chivalry.

Not the least of these fairy tale princesses is Snow White. She has not a whit of vanity, though she is the fairest in all the land. She never holds a grudge, though her step-mother sends her out in the woods with a man who means to murder her. She doesn’t complain when she is forced into hiding with a group of seven slovenly bachelors, but cooks and cleans and sews for them as if she has done manual labor all her life.

In most fairy tales, you rarely get a clear picture of the hero. He’s a sidenote—necessary to the happy ending, but not a dynamic character. Yet, for some reason, he gets the glory of being the hero. The savior of the damsel. But is the princess who is the real hero. Her courage in the face of adversity, her indomitable spirit in the midst of trial, and her determination in the face of abuse—these are the things that make the fairy tale princess someone to aspire to imitate. It is the inner beauty that truly makes her heroic.

Saphyre Snow by Marcia Lynn McClure is a novel length re-telling of the tale of Snow White. In honor of the Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop and fairy tale princesses everywhere, this will be the featured book for this leg of your journey.

Saphyre Snow

From the Back Cover:

Descended of a legendary line of strength and beauty, Saphyre Snow had once known happiness as princess of the Kingdom of Graces. Once a valiant king had ruled in wisdom—once a loving mother had spoken soft words of truth to her daughter. Yet, a strange madness had poisoned great minds—a strange fever inviting Lord Death to linger. Soon it was even Lord Death sought to claim Saphyre Snow for his own—and all Saphyre loved seemed lost.

Thus, Saphyre fled—forced to leave all familiars for necessity of preserving her life. Alone, and without provision, Saphyre knew Lord Death might yet claim her—for how could a princess hope to best the Reaper himself?

Still, fate often provides rescue by extraordinary venues, and Saphyre was not delivered into the hands of Death—but into the hands of those hiding dark secrets in the depths of bruised and bloody souls. Saphyre knew a measure of hope and asylum in the company of these battered vagabonds. Even she knew love—a secreted love—a forbidden love. Yet it was love itself—even held secret—that would again summon Lord Death to hunt the princess, Saphyre Snow.

To be entered in the drawing for an electronic copy of Saphyre Snow by Marcia Lynn McClure, leave a comment for me about which fairy tale princess you admire most and why (Be sure to leave contact information, so I can alert the winner.).
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Review: Saphyre Snow by Marcia Lynn McClure

Saphyre Snow

Title: Saphyre Snow

Author: Marcia Lynn McClure

Publisher: Distractions Ink

Format: E-book

Pages: 276 pages

Release Date: October 25, 2010

Genre: Romance – Fairy Tale

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Summary: Saphyre Snow is fleeing for her life from her step-grandmother–a woman whose beauty is rivaled only by her acute narcissism. Saphyre soon finds herself in the company of seven men on the outskirts of society, each for his own reasons. They vow to protect Saphyre from any harm that may befall her.

In return Saphyre wants to show her gratitude and concern for each of them in a way that meets the particular need of each. Over the course of several weeks, she gets to know each of the men very well, and each holds a special place in her heart. But none more so than the handsome rogue, Rogan. Will he have courage enough to risk the Executioner’s Kiss for her sake?

Review: A wonderful new spin on the old favorite fairy tale of Snow White with just enough elements of real possibilities to make it seem a likely version. Unlike the old Disney version of the same tale, this one has a fully-developed hero as well as the sweet, humble and beautiful princess. In fact each of the seven “men of the keep” has a dynamic personality of his own. The relationships among all the  members of the close knit group were believable and emotional connections. Which made the climax and resolution of the book all the more exciting and well contrived. The ending was quaint as a fairy tale should be, but the turning point of the story is so intense, the ending of the story has to be that way in order to leave the flavor of “happily ever after” with the reader.

Recommendation: This is the second book by this author I have read. Both of them are fairy tale re-tellings with a realistic and engaging spin. Don’t let the descriptions of the seven men at the beginning deter you from the story. Once I got past that part, I had a difficult time putting the book down until I got to “The End”. Saphyre Snow is a fully absorbing story about love and true chivalry (both romantic and platonic versions). I loved it, so I have to offer it my highest rating:

Five Quills

I noticed there is a prequel entitled Crimson Frost available as well, so I couldn’t resist adding that to my TBR pile as well.

Review: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall

Title: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

Author: Cindy Woodsmall

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Format: hardcover

Pages: 191

Release Date: February 21, 2012

Genre: Christian Amish Romance

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, WaterBrook Multnomah, CBD

Summary: Annie Martin is an Old Order Mennonite. After some irreconcilable difference between her and her mother arise, she is sent to live with her grandfather, Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.

There she meets back up with a childhood friend whose family needs an extra pair of hands in their restaurant. Annie volunteers to help out. But the family is Old Order Amish, and while the two sects tolerate each other, they do not allow interaction between men and women of the two groups.

Unfortunately, Annie has been fighting her feelings for Aden Zook since she was a teenager. And spending so much time with him only fans the flame. When her Daadi discovers them walking together in the cherry orchard, he threatens to destroy the Zook’s family business unless they end their secret courtship.

Review: There is lots of vivid description of the scenery, particularly the cherry orchard. And the grandfather’s love story was very endearing, especially since he seems to be a bit of a stern and crusty old man, very set in his ways and not wanting to listen to anyone else’s opinions. Seeing his soft side made him likable.

The character development was pretty good. I like the main characters of Aden and Annie, but I didn’t like any of the others much. The family’s on both sides frustrated me with their hypocrisy (even though, they eventually came around). I realize that was the point and the conflict wouldn’t have been believable or fully developed without family members as antagonists.

While I enjoyed the story, I found the ending to be too quick and a bit unsatisfying. And by that, I mean I read the last sentence and turned the page fully expecting the story to continue. But it didn’t.

Recommendation: This is the first time I’ve read Amish romance. It was interesting to read about the differences between the Mennonites and the Amish. The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is an enjoyable, quick and straightforward story. I read it in just a few hours. I give the book three quills:

Three Quills

I was given this book as a free review copy through Blogging for Books. For more information about the author and the book, please visit the links below.

 Author’s Site                  More info                   Chapter One                       Author Bio

Review: Desperate Measures by Candice Hern

It Happened One Night

Title: Desperate Measures (a Regency short story)

Author: Candice Hern

Publisher: self

Format: E-book

Pages: 32

Release Date: May 29, 2011

Genre: Romance – Regency/Historical

Available at: Amazon (free)

Summary: Lydia Bettridge is in love with a man who seems not to notice her existence. But she has a plan and has enlisted her brother’s friend to assist her in carrying it out. Things fall apart however, when her co-conspirator stands her up and sends in his place the very man she was plotting to catch, Geoffrey Danforth. He knows the plan. He doesn’t know he is the intended victim. Together Lydia and Geoffrey spend an evening pretending to be love-stricken in order to make her “intended” victim notice her enough to become jealous.

Review: Short, sweet and straight to the point. This was a delightful read which can be read in one sitting. Of course, you want more. That’s the point. Get a taste of what the author can do and then go buy her novel-length books, because her writing is like a Pringle’s potato chip. You can’t just have one.

Recommendation: Well worth the time and the price (Um, it’s free. Can’t really go wrong.). You will want to pick up a few of her other titles after you’re done. I enjoyed this and will read it again. I give it four quills:

four quills