Book Club Pick: Beauty and the Werewolf

10081055Summary (from goodreads.com)

The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella—Isabella Beauchamps, daughter of a wealthy merchant—vows to escape the usual pitfalls.

Anxious to avoid the traditional path, Bella dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult with “Granny,” the local wisewoman. But on the way home she’s attacked by a wolf—who turns out to be a cursed nobleman. Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh—when he isn’t howling at the moon.

Bella knows all too well that breaking spells is never easy. But a determined beauty, a wizard (after all, he’s only an occasional werewolf) and a little Godmotherly interference might just be able to bring about a happy ending.

The Feathery Revenge

Review: Light, fast story that works well as a standalone. I haven’t read the rest of the series but minus some repeated mentions to the past ruthlessness of Godmother Elena and the King this wasn’t a problem at all.

A modern heroine, Bella knows herself and refuses to be cowed or bullied. Filled with determination and passion, she must find her agency in worlds – magical and social – that don’t easily allow it. Lackey cleverly and refreshingly plays with fairy tale tropes and puts her own spin on the “Beauty and Beast” mythos and world building.

Given the title, it is pretty clear who Bella will end up with; but the story and Tradition do a great job of tweaking the expected romance on the nose and keeping the less hyper-detailed readers guessing. Surprisingly the story kept me waffling on who the villain of the piece was until the last 30 pages or so.

Recommended for: fans of fairy tales, butt-kicking heroines, fast & frothy reads

Rating: 3.5/5

Quiet Like a Ninja

Review:  I dug that this was a blend of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast.  Bella stays strong despite the obstacles thrown in her path, but without sacrificing the sense that she is a real person.  Her reactions to being torn from her family are realistic.  As is her need to stay busy to distract herself.  I really liked these small character touches.  Also, the discussion of how the Tradition can force a step-mother to become wicked and how Bella’s own actions undermined her step-mother and contributed to her becoming wicked-ish really appealed to me.  There isn’t a clear black-and-white bad guy in that dynamic.  Otherwise the love story fell flat.  Werewolf Sebastian is given very little page count to begin with and he never develops into a whole person.  I wanted to know more about what made him tick.  You could have left out the love plot and I would have been happier.  The story has great bones, but parts of it felt under developed.

Rating: 2.5/5

The Royal We

Review: I’d been getting bummed out by all the terrible contemporary romances I was reading in the quest to find something similar to Crusie. Beauty and the Beast retellings are pretty much my favorite things ever, so I decided to give this a go on a very boring weekend evening and read it all in one sitting. I love the way the Five Hundred Kingdoms series plays with fairy tale tropes and I adored the beta male werewolf nerd. The only downsides were the fairly obvious baddie and the fact that I’d really been hoping for a slightly racier romance element. Overall, however, it’s a totally charming light fantasy novel. I went back to read the rest of the books in the series and they were equally delightful. Recommended!

Rating: 4/5

Combined Rating: 3.33

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