Monthly Archives: February 2019

Beauty of the Wolf by Wray Delaney – Blog Tour – Beauty and the Beast Retellings

Welcome to my spot on the Beauty of the Wolf blog tour. Wray Delaney is a pen name for author Sally Gardner. I’ve read both Maggot Moon and Tinder – her “retellings” of the moon landing and the fairytale The Tinderbox.

In Beauty of the Wolf she tackles Beauty and the Beast with a gender twist, faeries and an Elizabethan setting. Sounds marvellous, and just feast your eyes on this beautiful hardcover 😍.

Synopsis

‘What some might call beauty, I find monstrous’

In the age of the Faerie Queene, Elizabeth I, Lord Francis Rodermere starts to lay waste to a forest.

Furious, the sorceress who dwells there scrawls a curse into the bark of the first oak he fells:

A faerie boy will be born to you whose beauty will be your death.

Ten years later, Lord Rodermere’s son, Beau is born – and all who encounter him are struck by his great beauty.

Meanwhile, many miles away in a London alchemist’s cellar lives Randa – a beast deemed too monstrous to see the light of day.

And so begins a timeless tale of love, tragedy and revenge…

A stunning retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Beauty of the Wolf is out now, and if your appetite for Beauty and the Beast retellings has been whet, you might like to check out the following too. I appear to have a number of them – not all read yet.

Books

The Original by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (1740)(not yet read 😱) – this edition designed by MinaLima has interactive pages and is a work of beauty.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) /A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF) by Sarah J Maas – ACOMAF has to be one of my favourite books of all time and the first and the second books in this series are loosely inspired by B&tB with Faeries making the perfect beasts.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – a contemporary YA fantasy with a human girl sucked into a world where a Prince is cursed to relive his 18th year and turn into a beast every autumn. This is a recent release, and first in a series.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (not yet read) – our beauty in this one is betrothed to an evil ruler and has been trained to kill him. Will she?

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross (not yet read) – this one is told from the Beast’s point of view and reviews suggest he is extremely sympathetic in this version.

Disney

2017 Film novelisation (Read)

Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly (Read) – story centred on an adventure with the magical book that appears in the 2017 film.

As Old As Time (not yet read) is part of the Twisted Tales series and has the tagline – What if Belle’s mother cursed the beast?

The Beast Within (not yet read) is part of the Villains Tales series focusing on the Beast.

Film/TV

Disney animation (1991) – Belle is my favourite Disney Princess and every bookworm I know just wants the Beast’s library, and a number prefer the cartoon beast to the cartoon human. Plus Chip is the cutest teacup ever.

Disney live action (2017) – I actually really enjoyed this live action remake staring Emma Watson especially the little feminist twists that were added.

Beauty and the Beast TV series (1987 – 1990) – I was in love with this series as a teen. Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame starred as Catherine who finds romance with Vincent (Ron Perlman) who lives below the city in the sewers.

Beauty and the Beast TV Series (2012-2016) – Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk is a detective who falls for an ex-soldier hiding from the government who experimented on him. I started this series and really enjoyed it. Must watch the rest.

Beastly (2011 Film) – Vapid pretty boy Pettifer gets cursed by an Olsen twin and needs Vanessa Hudgens to fall in love with him. Cheesy but fun.

Are there any other B&tB retellings I’m missing?

What strikes you most about the synopsis of Beauty of the Wolf?

I was gifted a copy of Beauty of the Wolf from HQ/HarperCollins and I think I’ll be having a Beauty and the Beast themed read/watchathon in March.

Guardians of the Wild Unicorns by Lindsay Littleson – Author Guest Post

I’m pleased to be hosting a guest post from author Lindsay Littleson today. Her newest middle grade novel Guardians of the Wild Unicorns was released on 21st February. When I read the synopsis I was struck by the conservation angle that the book was taking. With a number of animals recently confirmed as extinct, Japan’s whaling, production of palm oil threatening orangutan habitats, this is a timely topic.

Guest Post

Guardians of the Wild Unicorns explores themes of friendship, adventure and conservation. The story emphasises the importance of caring for wildlife, and is particularly relevant for today’s world, when we are facing a huge variety of environmental challenges, from the large scale ecological disaster that is the deforestation of the Amazon, to the woodland habitat loss suffered by the critically endangered Scottish wildcat.

In Guardians of the Wild Unicorns, Whindfall Forest is the refuge of Scotland’s last remaining herd of unicorns. The two protagonists, Lewis and Rhona, must endeavour to keep the herd safe from a gamekeeper who has hatched an evil plan to capture and kill the unicorns for their beautiful spiralled horns. Comparisons are made in the novel to the poaching of elephants for their tusks and of rhinos for their horns. Like the unicorns in the story, rhinos are targeted by poachers because some people mistakenly believe that the horns cure ailments and are willing to pay huge sums.

Her brain filled with images she’d glimpsed on television: heaps of tusks, white as bone, long as spears; muddied elephant corpses buzzing with flies; tiny orphaned calves; blank-eyed poachers with guns slung over their shoulders. When terrible stuff like that came on the news, Mum tended to flick channels, back to the safety of celebrity quiz shows or cooking programmes, where ugly, tragic real life wasn’t allowed to intrude. And now animal poaching had come here, to this beautiful Highland moor.

My unicorns might be wild and dangerous, with horns like spears, but no animal is a match for armed poachers. Endangered animals need the help of humans who are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect them. To save the unicorns, my protagonists have to be both courageous and determined, but I wanted them to be as real as my setting. Neither Rhona nor Lewis would describe themselves as brave, but the definition of courage in the Oxford Dictionary is ‘the ability to do something that frightens one’ and both children are willing to put themselves in danger to save Scotland’s last herd of wild unicorns.

Thanks Lindsay – this sounds like an excellent story which will be both thrilling and educational. I hope there will be plenty of children – and adults – inspired by this post to take action to help endangered species.

Synopsis

Lewis is cold, wet and miserable on his school residential trip in the Highlands of Scotland. The last thing he expects to see is a mythical creature galloping across the bleak moorland. Unicorns aren’t real… are they?

Lewis and his best friend Rhona find themselves caught up in a dangerous adventure to save the world’s last herd of wild unicorns. Fighting against dark forces, battling the wild landscape, and harnessing ancient magic, can they rescue the legendary creatures in time?

Author

Lindsay Littleson is a primary school teacher in Renfrewshire, Scotland. After taking up writing for children in early 2014, she won the Kelpies Prize for new Scottish writing for children with her first children’s novel, The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean.

Thank you to Kirsten at Floris Books/Discover Kelpies who #gifted me a copy of Guardians of the Wild Unicorns which I’m hoping to read and review very soon.

Captain Cat and the Treasure Map! by Sue Mongredien (Illustrated by Kate Pankhurst) – Book Review

Synopsis

The First book in a laugh-out-loud, highly illustrated piratical adventure series for newly confident readers and families to enjoy together.

Join Captain Patch the cat and her crew as they sail the seven seas in this puuuurfect piratical story! Patch is the ship’s cat who lives aboard The Golden Earring. Along with her friends, Cutlass the parrot and Monty the Monkey, Patch frequently gets the pirate crew out of trouble – although they never seem to realise just how much she does to save the day…and their skins!

In this first adventure, the pirate crew discover a treasure map and set out to find where X marks the spot. But little do they know the treasure is cursed and it’s up to Captain Cat to stop them… before it is too late!

Author

Sue Mongredien has had over one hundred children’s books published, including the Oliver Moon and Secret Mermaid series for Usborne, and the Prince Jake books for Orchard. She is also one of the authors behind the internationally bestselling Rainbow Magic series, as Daisy Meadows. She lives in Bath with her husband and their three children.

Illustrator

Kate Pankhurst lives in Leeds with her family and spotty dog, Olive. She has a studio based in an old spinning mill where she writes and illustrates children’s books. Recent projects have included the Fantastically Great Women series and Mariella Mystery Investigates series. Kate is distantly related to the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, something that has been an influence on the type of books she enjoys creating for children.

What I Thought

Captain Cat is a fun and pacy story with a cast of loveable characters in both the animal and human pirates aboard The Golden Earring. My favourite was the parrot Cutlass and his awful jokes and puns.

This is a perfect story to read out loud thanks to a whole host of sound effects.

The story itself is fairly straightforward – pirates find treasure map pointing to Cursed treasure. Patch (cat), Cutlass (parrot) and Monty (monkey) realise the curse means death so try and stop their human counterparts getting the treasure. Cue hilarious escapades.

What really bought this to life for me were the illustrations (and in my advanced copy they were only rough pencil sketches).

As a series my hope is that we get to find out more about each character as we go through. For example pirate mate Ginger is ridiculed by Captain Halibut for her poor reading but then is described writing postcards home. It’s odd to hear of a pirate having any home but the ship so I hope we get to hear more about Ginger in future books.

Captain Cat and the Treasure Map! Is out now and the second book Captain Cat and the Great Pirate Race is publishing in July. Thank you to Jo Hardacre at Pan Macmillan for the gifted copy for the purposes of this honest review.

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