Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRine

Grade: B
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Paranormal, Fairytale
Series: Transplanted Tales #3
Reviewed by Kate
191 pages

 Trish Muffett came over from Make Believe at the same time as Nicky Blue and she immediately felt like she had found her soul mate. But they parted ways with barely a hello. Now Trish is investigating some strange deaths and Nicky has turned vigilante. Their paths meet again when Nicky saves Trish during an attack. But it’s getting impossible to tell who’s on the good side and who’s turned evil.

I really liked the premise of this book. Fairytale and nursery rhyme characters living in today’s world. But they’re not exactly who you think they would be. Miss Muffett (Trish) can’t get rid of her trademark curls, but her fear of spiders isn’t because she saw one while eating her whey. And who can resist a reformed bad boy? Nicky started his life in the Here and Now as a crime boss. But now he’s trying to rid the world of one of the biggest bad guys-Dracula. But Dracula has set his sights on Trish. I did struggle at times, trying to keep all the background characters straight. This may have come from the fact that I haven’t read the first 2 books in this series.

Fast-paced and unique, Along Came a Spider kept me turning pages from beginning to end. I wouldn’t hesitate to read another book in this series. Do you have a fairytale themed series you like?

Loving an Ugly Beast by Danielle Monsch

Loving an Ugly Beast (Fairy Tales & Ever Afters)
Grade: C+
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Fairytale/Historical

Reviewed by Anne

Benton is big and strong, but he’s covered with scars, so he’s known as the beast of his village.  Nissa is his best friend.  They secretly each like the other, but lack the confidence to make a move.  When a fairy godmother shows up and grants Benton’s wish to be more beautiful, how will things work out?
First off, what a great premise!  It’s pretty rare to read about a man who thinks he’s unworthy of a woman because of his looks!  I enjoyed seeing this cliche turned on its ear.  Second, this is a mid-evil set fairytale village.  I enjoy this kind of setting, and I really wanted to enjoy the book.
My biggest complaint is the modernisms that kept pulling me out of the story.  At one point they talk about having enough money to “keep your son in diapers.”  That didn’t make sense to me. They would have been using cloth diapers.  Expense wasn’t as much an issue as the time it took to wash them, I’d think.  Another time we see this line “Why is it always good for the man but a crapshoot for the woman?”  Crapshoot?  That seems like a more modern casino term to me.  I don’t know.  I’m not an expert.  Maybe I was being too picky, but little stuff like this kept pulling me out of the story.  That was disappointing!  It had a lot of promise.
Because of that promise, and because it was funny, and because I like fairytale romance, I’ll probably try another one by this author, but it’s borderline for me.

The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf by Tia Nevitt

The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf (Accidental Enchantments, #2)

Grade – B+
Hotness Level – Ember
Kink Level – None
Genre – Fairytale
Series – Accidental Enchantments #2
Reviewed by Anne

I have a fondness for fairytale retellings, especially in the romance genre.  I’ve always got an eye out for them. I remember reading The Sevenfold Spell in 2011. (Kate’s review of us just went up yesterday.)  It was a Sleeping Beauty retelling from a different point of view, and I enjoyed it.  So, when I saw Tea Nevitt had written a new story with her twist on Snow White, I was really looking forward to reading it.  I wasn’t disappointed!

In this story, we see how the Snow White events unfold as told primarily through the eyes of Richard, the man magically bound to the Evil Stepmother Queen’s mirror, and Gretchen, the seventh dwarf.  Richard must answer three questions from the Queen each sunrise and sunset when she calls on him through the mirror.  He must answer these questions truthfully.  He has taken to wandering through the countryside and staying away from people in order to avoid having knowledge that may get those people in trouble.  He hopes to someday find and destroy the mirror enslaving him.

Gretchen is the only dwarf in her small town.  Though much loved by her family, she feels like a social outcast.  When a traveling minstrel tells the tale of a farm run by dwarves, Gretchen decides she will go there and see if she might have a better life living on the farm.  She’s also curious to see if anyone else in the world truly looks like her. 

Richard and Gretchen’s storylines run in parallel, only overlapping toward the end of the book.  Richard finally finds his way to the city that houses the Queen and the mirror.  There he meets Snow White and falls in love, not with her legendary beauty, but the wonderful person she is.

Gretchen meanwhile is very much enjoying life on the farm with the other dwarves and has decided to choose a husband from the four available men.  She also becomes friends with Angelika (Snow White).

I really enjoyed the way their stories unfolded and finally intertwined.  It’s a really clever retelling of the Snow White story.  My favorite part of the book was the way a princess really wakes up from a magically induced sleeping spell.  (Hint: it’s not with a stretch and a smile.)  The Queen’s handling of Richard was deliciously evil.  She would never put him in a prison.  She knows he’s most miserable and of most use to her wandering her kingdom.

There were a couple negatives in the story for me.  The way Angelika’s aunt and uncle treat her didn’t seem to have a place in the story.  I wanted a better (more vengeful, perhaps?) ending for the Queen.  I didn’t like Rudolf, one of the dwarves, and felt like the story would have been better without him.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this twist on Snow White, the two romances in it, the look at inner and outer beauty, and the cleverness of thinking about the enchanted mirror from a different point of view.  I enjoyed it enough that I can’t even complain about the lack of on page sex. (There was none!  But I’m not complaining, just mentioning.)  I recommend this book.