2017 Book #34 – The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

51Xw01CMWjLTitle: The Lady and the Highlander
Author: Lecia Cornwall
Date finished: 4/18/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Pages in book: 277
Stand alone or series: Highland Fairy Tales series #3
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Laire MacLeod’s father has married a mysterious widow who is a vain beauty that deals with potions and spells. Laire does not drink them with the rest of her family and is the only one who could see through her stepmother’s games. When Laire flees to find help from her Uncle, the Lady’s huntsman follows her with orders to kill. Laire must survive in a dangerous new city and find the antidote to a poisonous potion before it is too late.
Iain Lindsay is cursed. He is bound for seven years to be the hunter of a Lady who uses him to bring back birds to use in her potions. When Laire MacLeod escapes the Lady’s nets, Iain tracks her to Edinburgh, where she’s found shelter with an unusual band of thieves, but he cannot bring himself to harm her. Instead, he finds himself falling in love with the MacLeod beauty.
But a Highlander’s oath is his bond, and the price for helping her is death, both his own, and of those he loves.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Laire MacLeod, sister to the other MacLeod girls from the first two books in the series. Laire is one of twelve sisters, and one of the ten that still live at home. It is this plethora of innocence and beauty that draws in an evil witch disguised as a stepmother, Bibiana. Bibiana puts everyone in the castle under a spell by dosing their wine. Laire is the only one who is able to keep her wits about her, solely because of a traumatic experience in her youth that left her with a fear of drinking anything but water. And after a dangerous encounter with Bibiana, Laire flees for her life with the unexpected help of Bibiana’s hunter, Iain. Iain has his own scars from the past and serving Bibiana in her evil endeavors has not helped in the least. But when he meets Laire he knows he can’t turn a blind eye to this young woman’s fate as he has done so often already. He knows he must do everything in his power to save her or be lost in the process.
Overall I really liked this book! It was interesting and intriguing and scary. It was a great take on the classic Snow White tale. There were pieces that did get a bit repetitive, it seemed like every one and their mothers were out to do harm to Laire, but that was probably realistic for a beautiful young woman traveling entirely alone. Iain’s character was pretty dark, but as his character develops you can see the softer sides to him. And the relationship between Iain and Laire, while complicated, was touching and heart-felt. I felt so bad for Laire through the story, to be so powerless against this daunting evil force. It made her character seem even more strong and resilient though which was an important piece of the story. I especially liked the ending of this one, I thought that it was a creative/neat way to resolve the last issue of the plot line.

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, it was a good story and I liked the Snow White based story line. A couple frustrating parts but overall I liked it. I like this series as a whole so far and I’m interested to learn more about the other sisters. I would love to have a documented list though so I could keep track of which ones share which mothers and the order they were born in!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #4 – Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire

61YzHNAgO-LTitle: Mirror Mirror
Author: Gregory Maguire
Date finished: 1/11/16
Genre: Fiction, Fairy tale retelling, historical fiction
Publisher: ReganBooks
Publication Date: September 28, 2004
Pages in book: 280
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Gregory Maguire, the acclaimed author who re-imagined a darker, more dangerous Land of Oz in his New York Times bestselling series The Wicked Years, offers a brilliant reinvention of the timeless Snow White fairy tale: Mirror Mirror. Setting his story amid the cultural, political and artistic whirlwind of Renaissance Italy—and casting the notorious Lucrezia Borgia as the Evil Queen—Maguire and Mirror Mirror will enthrall a wide array of book lovers ranging from adult fans of Harry Potter to readers of the sophisticated stories of Angela Carter.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (January). Also, this book will count towards my “Holiday 2015 Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Retelling” square, since this was a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale. I have been wanting to try reading something by Gregory Maguire for a while now since he has some popular books out and also because I loved loved loved Wicked the Musical (is based on his book Wicked). So I was pretty excited when this one was picked for book club. And while I’m still looking forward to reading the Wicked series, this retelling of Snow White just didn’t hit the spot for me.
This books tells the story of Bianca de Nevada, who lives at her home of Montefiore with her father Don Vicente. Vicente is sent on what is basically a wild goose chase by Cesare Borgia (real person) and Cesare’s sister, Lucrezia, promises to look after young Bianca. Bianca is only seven years old when her father leaves on his quest. Much of the political text of this book is based on what actually happened, which adds an interesting twist to the classic fairy tale.
Overall I feel weird about this book. It was really interesting and I liked pieces of it but it was a pretty dark story, more like Grimm’s fairy tales than the ones I’m used to. Also there was a lot of weird sexual stuff going on, lots of incest. Its hard for me to say that I liked or didn’t like this one, really it was interesting but it made me feel weird and also sad is the summation of how I felt about the book.

The bottom line: If you’re into dark fairy tales then you’d probably enjoy this. It was a little too freaky for my tastes but I have to admit it was a creative and interesting retelling of Snow White’s story. Seemed less like a fairy tale and more just like a regular fantasy novel.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page