I am buzzing with excitement over today’s post… Because today we’re kicking off with a brand-new blog series that I’m calling Fairytales of the Month! (Because I have no creativity and cannot think of anything else, though you are welcome to drop me any suggestions in the comments below! Very welcome!)
At the beginning of every month, I’m sharing a list of five recommended retellings to read for the season PLUS one new release that I’m looking forward to in that month. Not to mention, a great majority of good fairytale retellings are by indie authors, so I’m hoping that you guys will check them out and support them!
This post is a little later than usual, but not to worry; there’s still time for you to grab at least one of these 😉 I really like writing those little mini-reviews for each featured book in my long list posts, and I feel like I don’t have the opportunity to recommend fairytale retellings as often as I want 😐 Which means this is a win-win solution for both you and me, right?
(Just… probably not for your TBR, but we don’t talk about that kind of thing here.)
October… what comes to mind?
I hesitate to say “spooky” because that’s very Halloween-ish and, obviously, you may not be a fan of the Halloween thing. Nevertheless, the books I’m picking may not have much of a spooky vibe at all—rather, it’s the fairytales that I’ve chosen that fit the October theme. So we’ve got Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Twelve Dancing Princesses… but enough talk, let’s get straight to it!
1. Hansel and the Gingerbread Queen by Lea Doué
Let’s be honest. Most of us don’t have time to read even half of these 300-plus-page-novels within the remainder of this month. Even if they were all pretty sparkling retellings of Hansel and Gretel featuring gingerbread dragons and mischievous brownies (the fairy kind, not the dessert). Which is why this novella is at the top of today’s list—not only is it a short and fast read, it’s also absolutely delightful! Lea Doué brings this pocket of her epic dragon-filled world to life within only a little over a hundred pages, complete with action, romance, and enough sweet treats to have you ready to whip out the old baking pans after almost a year of not interacting with the oven… ahem.
Anyway, I bet you’re wondering what this book is all about. So here’s the scoop:
Evony is the daughter of a witch, with all of her reputation but none of her powers. She’s spent her whole life in the heart of the forest, safe from outsiders in a wondrous candy cottage as dangerous as it is beautiful. Kept company by a trio of tiny companions—a loyal gingerbread dragon and two mischievous brownies—Evony’s one desire is to find a place in the human world. But first, she must find a way to undo her mother’s spells and free the poor souls who fell to temptation. Only two obstacles stand in her way. A traveler with distracting molasses-brown eyes, and the one creation the witch left behind with the power to stop her: the gingerbread man.
This story is far, far from boring! It’s the perfect tale to get you settled in to the fall season.
2. Girl in the Red Hood by Brittany Fichter
This book is probably the creepiest Red Riding Hood retelling I’ve ever read–not necessarily because it’s scary, but because of the pure suspense! The dire, gloomy premise infiltrates the mood of the story in a way that makes you feel like you are right there with the characters, struggling to understand what’s really going on through a fog of chills. Despite all that, this story is 100% clean, and I totally recommend it!
After her father moves the family to a village deep in a sunless forest, Liesel is bitten by a wolf, and unbeknownst to her, marked for a terrifying destiny. Befriended by a mysterious boy in the woods soon after, however, Liesel finds herself falling in love with the one person in the world who can save her from that awful end or doom her to it. In this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Liesel must decide whether to accept her fate for the sake of those she loves, or fight for the freedom to choose her own way.
If you’re into fantasy that’s less on the magical side and more on the mysterious, this is the perfect October fairytale read!
3. The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson
Melanie Dickerson’s books are usually hit-or-miss for me, but I remember this one as being my favorite retelling of hers, with characters and banter that captured my heart. As a Frog Prince retelling, you might be wondering exactly how this relates to the fall season, and to be honest, I can’t give you a straight answer. It’s just one of those books that feels right for October, if you know what I mean.
Margaretha has always been a romantic and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to the castle, claiming to be an English lord who was left for dead by Claybrook’s men. She convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger, until Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only does she tend to talk too much, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. But she soon discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. She soon finds herself running for her life—and it may be up to her to save her father and her family from one man’s wicked plot.
For those of you who are more into historical fiction than fantasy, this one’s for you!
4. All the Queen’s Sons by Elizabeth Kipps
Another novella for my busy folksies! And, unlike the above three novels (as well as the next one), it’s sans romance too! All the Queen’s Sons is a whimsical retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses, filled with a quirky, lovable cast and sweet friendship bonds. Big Royal Family has always been one of my favorite ever tropes, and Kipps pulls its off wonderfully. I promise you, this is a story that you won’t want to end.
Lucerne is a great queen, beloved by her people, but constantly thwarted by her own sons and the secrets they keep.
Verity Grandin is a feisty shoemaker’s daughter who just wants her family’s life back the way it was before they slaved to make shoes for six royal rebels.
Add the princes themselves into the mix, and what could ensue but a merry-go-round of mischief, mystery, and mayhem? Expectations will be flipped upside down and backwards in this fresh spin on the classic fairy tale, The Dancing Princesses.
Make no mistake, this retelling is the perfect fall read. You’ll know exactly what I mean when you read it! (Because you will, won’t you? 😉 )
5. A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier
So… I guess this is sort of a warning that I’m probably gonna recommend at least one Melanie Cellier retelling for every month. Because I’ll say this again and again–she writes the best retellings, period. And A Dance of Silver and Shadow is no exception! Not only is it a unique take on the 12 Dancing Princesses tale, introducing us to a variety of intriguing characters, but it centers around a beautiful sister bond that makes you have to root for the main protagonists, no matter what. It maintains all the glimmer and charm of a traditional 12DP retelling, and there’s something about the setting and description that’s just so enchanting on every page.
When Princess Liliana and her twin sister set sail for new lands, Lily hopes to find adventure and romance. But the people of Marin live under the shadow of a curse—one powerful enough to destroy entire kingdoms. To protect them all, Lily and eleven other princesses are forced to participate in a mysterious and secret tournament.
Lily spends her nights competing in a magical underground realm and her days unraveling the dangers of this new court. Although she needs the help of the Marinese prince, Lily knows she can’t let herself grow too close to him. There’s no time for romance when the duchy is about to fall to the encroaching darkness and the winner of the tournament faces a terrible fate.
But Lily and her twin have a secret advantage. And Lily grows increasingly determined to use their magical bond to defeat the tournament, save the princesses, and free Marin. Except she might have to sacrifice true love to do it.
In this reimagining of the classic fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, there’s a lot more at stake than worn out dancing slippers.
This is actually the only Melanie Cellier book I have physically on my shelf–shameful, I know–and just writing about it tempts me to go and reread it this month!
BONUS: The Baker and the Wolf by J.M. Stengl
Another addition in the Villain’s Ever After series, The Baker and the Wolf looks like it’ll be a lovely retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It’s by J.M. Stengl too, so I trust that it’ll live up to the promise! This one releases October 15, so if you’re interested, mark your calendars.
Cerise DuBois might as well be invisible. Not even her scarlet cloak attracts male interest, and her mother begins to despair of snaring a husband for a boring middle daughter with no magic ability. If not for her baking talents, Cerise would be a hopeless burden on the family.
Or so she believes until a dark man with eyes like gold appears in the family bakery to deliver an invitation from a grandmother she has never met . . . and real trouble begins. What if everything Cerise believes about herself and her family is false?
Unlike other men, the stranger gives Cerise his undivided attention, yet he has a habit of vanishing when she needs him most—for example, when a huge black dog (surely it can’t be a wolf) follows her through the city park.
Worst of all, he claims that if she follows the magical path to her enchantress grandmother’s cottage, her entire world will change. Should Cerise trust this fascinating foreign mage, or will he eat her alive?
Without a doubt, all Red Riding Hood retellings are usually a great fit for October! xD
And that brings us to the end of our very first Fairytales of the Month list! I hope you’re as excited to continue this series as I am, and that at least one of these retellings caught your eye. If you have any thoughts for the November list, feel free to drop me a suggestion in the comments or by email! I’ll see ya next week 😉