Friday Face Off : As pink as cotton candy #wyrdandwonder


As the month of May is Wyrd and Wonder month I’m going to be trying to use fantasy covers for my Friday Face Offs.

The details of Wyrd & Wonder can be found here.


IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

As pink as cotton candy – any cover that is pink

Well, I found this a lot harder than I expected.  I could have gone for a selection of covers to compare and contrast but eventually I found a book that I enjoyed quite some time ago.  A retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale which is my favourite.  Beauty by Robin McKinley.  Here are my covers:

I do like the pink cover as it happens, I like the font and there’s a lovely simplicity to it but I think my favourite is:


Do you have a favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know 😀

Next week – Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  


May is the month of Wyrd & Wonder and so I will be trying to focus on fantasy book covers:

22nd May – Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

29th May – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

5th June – Flight – any type of flight – to flee, to fly

12th June – The bodice ripper – exactly as it seems

19th June – Time – time waits for no one

26th June – Windows – windows to the soul?


‘What’s in a name? that which we call a rose’


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme being hosted by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple and can be found here.  Each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite (stop on over to Tenacious Reader to post your link so we can all check out each others choices).  Simples.   This week the theme is:

16th Sept: A bouquet for you m’lady – A cover featuring a flower/flowers.

Not as tricky as last week – I at least had a couple of ideas!  Anyway, my choice this week is Beauty by Robin McKinley.  A lovely retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale with plenty of covers to choose from:

And my winner:


Which is your favourite?

If you fancy joining in with FFO the themes for the next few weeks are below.  I’ve listed these as BooksbyProxy is currently a bit swamped and MIA as a result.  Don’t worry, ordinary service will be resumed soon😀

23rd Sept: Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, timorous beastie – A cover with a beast or beasts.

30th Sept: This solitary tree! A living thing – a cover with a tree or trees.

7th October: Consumed by the darkness within, it hides all our sins” a cover that is predominantly black.

14th October: There was once a princess, who lived in the top of the highest tower – a cover with a castle.

Beauty by Robin McKinley

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time.  A retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley  Firstly, I think this is one of my favourite fairy tales.  It’s also probably my favourite Disney Film.  So I went in with fairly high expectations.

I actually know what it is about this tale that appeals to me. It’s the fact that somebody can see beneath the exterior to what lies within and love a person whether or not they’re attractive.  Plus, and I know this probably sounds unreasonable, but it always kind of reminds me of Jane Eyre.  Now, I know that’s probably a long stretch but I can’t help making the leap.

I’m fairly certain that everyone will know the story of Beauty and the Beast but for the avoidance of doubt it’s a fairy tale told at bedtime of a family whose fortunes take a downward turn.  The father and his three daughters (the mother having, I think, died in childbirth) have been brought up in comfort and style.  The father is a merchant with ships that he owns to trade his goods.  He becomes a victim of rough tides and loses his wealth.  The family then move to the country and live a much simpler life.  The father, on returning from a trip to the city, becomes lost and comes upon a dark and foreboding castle and yet he is looked after and fed (although he sees no sight of any person).  In the morning, upon leaving he takes a rose from the garden to give to his daughter (nicknamed Beauty – for obvious reasons).  Upon taking the rose there is an almighty roar and a huge beast appears and threatens to kill the man for abusing his trust and stealing the rose.  The beast demands that the man return in 30 days time – to die – or one of his daughters to take his place (not to die of course but to become a prisoner within the castle)!

That’s basically the gist of the story. In the retelling imagined by Robin McKinley there are a few differences.  Beauty has earned the nickname in spite of her looks as she is rather plain and unlike in the traditional tale her sisters are both pretty and fair tempered.  The family love each other dearly.  In accordance with the original tale their fortunes are lost but they actually then move to the country with a suitor of one of the sisters where they seem to live in relative happiness despite all their extra chores (which they are very unfamiliar with).  There is, of course, a foreboding forest – believed to be enchanted – to the rear of their cottage which nobody ever enters.  That is until the father does return to the City following the return of one of his ships.  On his return journey he does become lost and encounters the enchanted castle belonging to the beast.  From there onwards the story is fairly much as above with a few differences like a rather fascinating and enchanted library!

I really enjoyed this story.  McKinley has a quite enchanting voice.  I liked the fact that Beauty wasn’t actually as her name described.  She was actually much plainer than both her sisters although lets be clear here – she’s not ugly, hideous or a beast).  I liked this about the story – both of them had inhibitions to overcome.  I also liked the enchanted castle and the magical breezes that kept Beauty company.

Reading this again made me realise that in fact both Beauty and the Beast were lonely and in need of each other.  I’d never really picked that fact up before. Beauty, even in the more traditional stories, and certainly in this – was always different than the rest of her family.  Certainly not an outcast but definitely not the same.  The two characters seemed almost compelled to like each other just because of their differences.  When you consider the Disney film of the story – Beauty is lovely – and yet the entire village think she is ‘odd’ – simply because she reads!  They don’t truly accept her although they want to because she is so pretty (in fact in that tale her prettiness is almost a curse because it draws the wrong attention).  The beast on the other hand will never be accepted.  He’s far too scary and hideous.  It’s the two extremes and although one may seem more desirable than the other in actual fact neither of them truly fit.

I’ve rambled on a bit there and been led off course.  This is a lovely retelling of one of my favourite stories from a very good author.  If I had any criticism at all it would simply be for a little more of a dark gothicy feel.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed this and would have no hesitation in recommending.

I’m submitting this for my Once Upon a Time reading event being hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings under the category of fairy tale.

Beauty by Sarah Pinborough

Just finished reading Beauty by Sarah Pinborough which is the final book in this twisted world of fairytales that this author has created.  This series of books are simply wonderful to read and I think the third one is my favourite out of all of them.

In this retelling, as with the other stories, we have more than one tale combined to make up the complete story and we see characters and objects that have appeared in the previous tales.  That being said, any of these books would read as a standalone.

Beauty combines characters from Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Rumplestiltskin in a twisted rendition of all four tales.  At the start of the story we make the acquaintance of a young Prince, over indulged by his doting parents the King and Queen, who have finally realised that he needs to be shaken out of his indolence by the introduction of an adventure.  A grand adventure to bring fame and fortune back to his future kingdom and provide him with a taste for life beyond his own realms.  And so the spoilt Prince sets out through the forest, accompanied by a young hunter who has been coerced, none too gently, into keeping the young heir to the throne alive.

And so we travel to the realm known to us through the tale of Sleeping Beauty.  A kingdom protected by the forest where a cruel and impenetrable wall of trees has grown around the outer edges to deter would-be adventurers.  Of course, over the years, the tales of the kingdom that sleeps within have become little more than a fairy tale told to children at night, a story of myth and legend that is no more believable than a young woman with a long rope of hair living in a tower with an old witch.  Within the outer walls, however, a different story lies waiting to unfold.

Along the way, the Prince and the Huntsman gather a further traveller – Petra, who, whilst loathe to leave her grandmother alone in her cottage deep in the forest with the ever rising fear of wolves, also longs to make the acquaintance of the person beyond the hedge whose lonely lament she has frequently heard and joined in with on many occasions.  And so the three battle the magic of the hedge in order to discover what lies within.

Again, this is far from a tale that you will want to read your children at night.  This is a tale of blood and lust, tempered with love and longing. The Beauty who charms everyone she meets with her sweet temperament and the Beast who craves blood.

As with previous stories the Prince is little more than a good looking and fickle young man and the Hunter is steadfast and true, his knowledge of the woodlands and its creatures proving invaluable and his reasonable and well tempered behaviour making him an immediate favourite of the story.  Pinborough weaves an enticing story, lyrical and beautifully illustrated, that is difficult to put down.

I’ve enjoyed these three books very much and have no hesitation in recommending them to others in fact I really hope you’ll give them a go.  Yes, they’re fairy tales that we’re familiar with but the author has taken our well loved bedtime stories and given them a dark and sinister twist. They’re a touch of whimsy with a surprisingly sexy, sometimes sinister and incredibly entertaining blend of tales.