Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, #7) civil war history

[ Free Audible ] The Fairy Godmother (Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, #1)Author Mercedes Lackey –

In The Land Of The Five Hundred Kingdoms, If You Can T Carry Out Your Legendary Role, Life Is No Fairy TaleElena Klovis Was Supposed To Be Her Kingdom S Cinderella Until Fate Left Her With A Completely Inappropriate Prince So She Set Out To Make A New Life For Herself But Breaking With The Tradition Was No Easy Matter Until She Got A Little Help From Her Own Fairy Godmother Who Promptly Offered Elena A Most Unexpected JobNow, Instead Of Sleeping In The Chimney, She Has To Deal With Arrogant, Stuffed Shirt Princes Who Keep Trying To Rise Above Their Place In The Tale And There S One In Particular Who Needs To Be Dealt WithSometimes A Fairy Godmother S Work Is Never Done Super fun book.At first it seems like you are reading a re telling of Cinderella I must confess, I have always hated the Cinderella story It always struck me as plain old child abuse But while Elaine s story starts off as Cinderella,it veers rather sharply away from the familiar path of that tale.As her disgruntled fairy Godmother tells her, there is no Prince available for her The only one near enough is still just a toddler And Elaine herself isn t getting any younger And since the Fairy Godmother is also getting up in years and wants to retire, she has decided to make Elaine her Apprentice.The nifty thing about this whole story and series is that the characters are aware that their lives are following a well trodden path created by something called Tradition Tradition always a capital T is the familiar folk tales and stories that everyone knows So while Elaine is one such Cinderella trope she isn t the only one There are young girls all over the 500 kingdoms who are drudging away with wicked stepmothers waiting to marry a Prince Just as there are sleeping Princesses, various young men on quests, and young girls with long,long hair imprisoned in towers etc.As a Fairy Godmother, Elaine s job is to steer these people s lives to their rightful conclusion But as Elaine also learns she has the power to manipulate Tradition as well so that she can re arrange outcomes To me this is the fun part of the story, seeing what schemes Elaine comes up with to subtlely subvert the storyline of a given person There is a nice tone of humor throughout One great scene involves the Maleficent like evil sorceress who comes to curse a newly born Princess at her christening It was a hoot to see how the Fairy Godmothers deal with that.The book also includes a nice romance for Elaine who worries that her role as a Fairy Godmother means that she will live out her life in loneliness But she finally does meet her Prince even if he is a bit of an ass at first Literally.This clever little story was such an unexpected delight, I may need to hunt up the next one. My pre review I was recommended this book by the same girl who introduced me to Stardust and Spindle s End, two books I really enjoyed, although the horrible cover of this book turned me off from reading it for a while and really, I can t imagine myself carrying it around anywherelol.I do love fun fairytale books though, and have heard great things about Mercedes Lackley, so I m excited to read it Final reciew Meh I really liked the parts about Elena becoming a Godmother and the things associated with that and the magical worls around her, so I d rate that part a 4 or 5, but I didn t like all the romance novel bits which I found kind of annoying and would rate those parts a 2 maybe.There was so much I loved about this book, I just was not impressed with the unneccessary and in my opinion, forced feeling romance novel sex and eroticism. I wanted to like this book so much It started out so promising You felt so unbelievably sorry for Elena, who was a victim not of her own accord the beginning was so great, describing how Elena would have liked to go against her stepmother, and how she would have liked to request shoes, but she couldn t because the one time she did, she was beaten with a cane, and if she reported it to the magistrate, they wouldn t do a thing about it, since she was the rightful property of her parent, as an unmarried child It was great It felt full of promise Despite her sorry life, Elena was a survivor, even though she didn t feel much of one As soon as her stepmother ran away from her debtors, she pulled herself together and was going to sell herself off to be a servant All super realistic and super noble.Then the fairy godmother shows up and tells her that because of THE TRADITION, things that are supposed to happen were about to happen but couldn t because of factors that didn t line up I mean, you read in the blurb about the prince of Elena s kingdom who was only 11 years old That s fantastic, and just about the only example that the reader needs, because honestly, the only thing fair about poor Cinderella s story is the fact that she gets her prince, right Except the author goes on to tell, oh, maybe 5drawn out examples You re introduced to the Fairy King and Queen who are interesting enough characters , but then you re introduced to a buttload of other not so interesting characters that you basically start skimming over their names There s the example of the Arachnia, the evil fairy sorceress who is supposed to go to a christening and make the princess into a Sleeping Beauty, but Elena, our fairy godmother in training, circumvents that with her mentor, by putting some younger son prince poet in her way, and also by NOT making him a scumbag I point this out, because this was underlined several times in the book by several different magical persons.Anyway, blah blah blah, while Elena is training and reading books seriously, why must every single heroine be a book lover I know authors are necessarily book lovers, but it s a bore when people want to show that their characters are intelligent by having them like reading , the first 150 pages of the book reads a little bit like The History of Fairy Godmothers and The TRADITION ENOUGH already Why Because it s all written as exposition None of it really feels like it matters probably because the blurb has Elena s first test as testing three princes So you are just waiting for that to happen, because it s in the blurb, so you logically feel that s when her adventure starts But it s not It s in Chapter 11 yup, that s about 170 pages in, folks when Alexander first shows up at least, I m pretty sure it was Chapter 11, because I skipped some chapters and didn t feel like I missed anything , and it s GREAT Alexander s first appearance made up for the 100 pages of crap about The Tradition He was an awesome prince Totally arrogant and suspicious of others, and so rigid in his military upbringing, but, you know, not in a bad way, because at least he wasn t stupid So it s great.But THEN for some reason after Elena turned him into a donkey, she was compelled to take him home with her Okay, I can buy that except their interactions are SO BORING that finally I had to give up Because frankly the character that got the most air time wasn t Elena or Alexander, or even Octavian Alexander s older brother who was also kind of likable , but THE TRADITION That s right Every other word was reserved for THE TRADITION, and there were so many examples littered with working around THE TRADITION or utilizing THE TRADITION or just dealing with THE TRADITION, that it felt like the author brainstormed beforehand on how to make THE TRADITION into an actual believable and logical idea, that she then felt compelled to put ALL those examples into the book, one after another And then because she felt like maybe her audience wouldn t buy into the idea of THE TRADITION guiding and forcing everyone into a set formula, she had to repeatedly reinforce those ideas and its power into the readers.In the end, I felt less and less convinced about THE TRADITION and really dubious about this whole Kingdoms world that Lackey had created that I gave up The basic rule of fantasy novels is that readers go into the books, ready and willing to believe in this fantasy world, with any rule of thumb that you throw at them unless you try to reason them otherwise It s your freaking fantasy world people can fly if they want to why do you need to try so hard to convince them 200 pages in, I threw in the towel, disgusted not only with THE TRADITION which was basically the Matrix, but not as cool , but also Lackey s writing, which started to resemble legalese What a waste of my time And while the author showed promise in the beginning , it might be a while before I give her another try. A fun look at fairy tales In the Five Hundred Kingdoms, it might be your fate to be Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty, or the Miller s Youngest Son But what happens if the rest of your story doesn t fall into place If your prince is too young for you, or too old It s up to the fairy godmother to make sure it all works out This is a Luna book, they are a new fantasy imprint of Harlequin, so randomly halfway through the romance took a turn for the Whooo, BAAABY and then the plot continued Just a warning. Elena is a fairy godmother in training She drinks dragon s blood only once yuck , has a magic wand basically for show , and learns how to fight The Tradition The force in the five hundred kingdoms that insists upon replaying fairy tales over and over, no matter how many kings die, or princesses are locked in towers, or questers fail.Alexander is one of those questers The second son to be exact In the story where there are three sons and the first two fail But they don t all fail as spectacularly as Alexander.Who ticks off Fairy Godmother Elena to the extent that she turns him into a donkey.And therein lies the story.LOL The beginning, with Elena learning to be a fairy godmother, was fun But once Alexander showed up, the story moved. This is the first novel in Mercedes Lackey s Five Hundred Kingdom series, and I definitely intend to read the rest. I found myself enjoying this book a lot A little weird though, but a fun spin on the fairy tales Fairy Godmother is the first book in Mercedes Lackey s Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series Published under Harlequin Romance s Luna imprint, the series seems targeted primarily at female romance fantasy readers.Loosely based on the Cinderella folk tale, The Fairy Godmother follows Elena Klovis, a girl all set up to be Cinderella but the kingdom s prince is just a child When she takes matters into her own hands to escape her Wicked Stepmother, accepting a position that she thinks is as a maid of all work, she instead finds herself offered an apprenticeship to a Fairy Godmother, Madame Bella, who is getting on in years It s there Elena learns about the magical force called The Tradition which tries to force people in the Five Hundred Kingdoms down traditional paths from stories and fairy tales.Unusual pacingThis book can essentially be divided into two distinct yet cohesive halves Apprentice and Godmother The first half has something of the feel of a training montage or a collection of short stories as Bella teaches Elena about magic and how to manipulate The Tradition to achieve happy endings This half, while not contributing much to the plot of the book, provides an introduction to the world, politics, and magic system of the Five Hundred Kingdoms without ever feeling too much like an info dump All this background learning sets up not only the rest of the book, but the following books in the series as well As she learns, Elena has a number of little adventures, keeping the pace from lagging too badly.In the second half, Elena is deemed ready and becomes the Fairy Godmother herself, Bella vanishing into retirement The overall plot of the book doesn t really start until after Elena ventures forth to perform the very Traditional task of testing Questers, when she undertakes the redemption of arrogant Prince Alexander, who failed the first test of his Quest He certainly doesn t want her help, and she certainly doesn t want him around, especially not with The Tradition trying to force the two of them together The pace picks up evenwhen Elena is called upon to battle an evil mage from an unfamiliar Traditional line.Unique magic systemWhile much of The Fairy Godmother may seem familiar, with its references to stories such as Rapunzel, The Princess and the Pea, and Sleeping Beauty, The Tradition is a unique, fascinating source of magic It s a mindless power that will try to force you down the familiar path if your life starts to resemble a tale The Tradition can be tricked or diverted, but it can t be ignored The power it brings to bear can be used for either good or evil, and it doesn t care if the tale has a happy ending or not good magic users like Godmother Elena try to ensure happy endings and to prevent evil magic users from preying on innocents This system of magic leads to very interesting moments, as Elena learns how to twist The Tradition to her own purposes.Great Fae and Wild Fae also make an appearance with magic of their own magic that the humans and the house brownies don t entirely understand.Romance novel charactersThe main characters of The Fairy Godmother are likeable and not completely flat just mostly Elena s only flaw is that she s still learning her role as a Fairy Godmother she s noble and good and clever, and even her inexperience doesn t stand in her way Alexander starts out as a pompous, arrogant ass, but he feels his behavior is entirely justified, and from his flawed perspective, his behavior is understandable With Elena s unwelcome help, he becomes a perfectly charming prince, with just a slight surprise twist The secondary characters, the brownies who help around the house, are each unique individuals they are definitely not cookie cutter characters Yet they aren t developed much, either.This book isn t epic fantasy, though, and doesn t need epic characters it s romance fantasy, and these characters do fit the story quite well They aren t morally ambiguous or deep, they aren t tortured souls, but they are likeable As romance novels go, this one has muchinteresting characters, who do undergodevelopment, than in a typical romance.Five hundred kingdomsYes, there really are five hundred kingdoms in this world, a fantasized version of medieval Europe Only a few of the kingdoms are fleshed out in this volume, though Elena herself has charge of a dozen or so The different kingdoms have different politics and different attitudes toward magic, and provide ample possibilities for settings of future books in the series.Why should you read this book As one of the few books to ever make me laugh out loud, I can recommend The Fairy Godmother wholeheartedly to anyone who doesn t mind romance This is a light, fluffy cotton candy novel, great for a quick read However, it s also intelligent with its references to classic fairy tales and creatures such as brownies, mirror slaves, glass mountains, andThose who love the old tales will have fun spotting these various references and tropes And those who may be bothered by sexual content can be assured that the few erotic scenes can be skipped over without missing anything crucial to the plot. Elena Klovis is badly mistreated by her stepmother She is forced to clean the house, cook the food, and dress her stepmother and her two stepsisters, while she herself dresses in rags and goes hungry Sound familiar That s because Elena is supposed to be her kingdom s Cinderella But her Prince Charming is completely wrong for her So magic just keeps building and building around her Finally, Elena s Fairy Godmother steps in with a most unusual offer Elena s life is changed in a way that she could never have foretold But will there eventually be a happily ever after for her I loved the whole concept of this story I love fairy tales and I love to see twists on fairy tales This one was a lot of fun and it really wasn t very predictable It was a fun, light read, and I would recommend it to other fans of fairy tales Two things though First, I was sort of thinking that my little cousin, a fan of all things princess and fairy, might enjoy having this book read aloud to her Then I got to the sex scenes There were probably only two, and they were pretty lightweight, but they were still there, so keep that in mind if you re thinking of the little princess in your life Second, I ve read several of Mercedes Lackey s books, and I would love to be her copyeditor She absolutely kills me She generally tells interesting, original stories, but the copyeditor whose red ink swirls through my veins cringes through her books I would disable her italics key right off the bat I don t mind the convention she uses of having a character s thoughts in italics That actually makes things a little clearer But I m glancing through the book right now and it s almost impossible to find a page where italics aren t used for emphasis numerous times How irritating Typos abounded and I would swear that this sentence made an appearance, although, of course, I can t find it now Her heart was literally in her throat Really Literally There are so many ways to make fun of that sentence that I don t know where to start Did it use grappling hooks to climb up there Don t bite down How do you talk around that Enough of that Overall, it s a fun, funny, sweet, original story. There is a reason I usually stick to YA and Children s literature And this book defines my reason.I really liked the story It s set in a world called 500 Kingdoms, where a magical force called The Tradition forces life stories to fit nicely into a known tale We see a failed attempt at a Cinderella story, a woman named Elena who has lots of magic surrounding her, trying to force her into a marriage with a prince, any prince Her step family decides to run away from their creditors, leaving Elena to fend for herself Is this sounding convoluted So, Elena is met by a Godmother needing an apprentice Elena does nicely On one of Elena s first solo missions, she meets up with an arrogant second son of a king making him a prince that Elena gets so annoyed with she turns him into a donkey and takes him home to work Great stuff, right The only, and I mean only, beef I have with this book is the unnecessary reference to body parts The love story would have worked brilliantly without suddenly talking about breasts and how they look or what they do I could also do without talk of rutting What a crass way to talk about something that should be sacred One doesn t usually find that in YA So, I m afraid that ruined the whole thing for me And I didn t read the sequel What a shame.