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.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Just finished reading Sunshine.  Sunshine is a baker in the family’s coffee shop.  Everyday she gets up VERY early to bake cinnamon roles and all sorts of other goodies.  Most Mondays, on the day off, the family, employees and a number of customers all get together for a movie night.  At the start of the book Sunshine, feeling a little out of sorts and wanting time to herself, heads out to the Lakes.  Nobody spends time at the lakes anymore!  It’s deserted.  It’s quiet.  It’s creepy.  And of course it has ‘bad spots’ and vampires and Sunshine is captured and taken to a remote house where she is shackled and left, with another prisioner – a vampire – and she’s there as his food.

This is an unusual and also refreshing novel to read.  Unusual in that the world created is really unique.   A war has taken place and as a result the numbers of humans has been greatly reduced.  It’s widely acknowledged that ‘Others’ exist, demons, werewolves and sorcerers but Vampires are the biggest problem and it’s a problem that is becoming worse.  Refreshing in that the vampires in this novel are definitely not handsome.  They are monsters – some definitely worse that others.

When Sunshine is first captured she forms an unlikely alliance with her fellower prisoner, the Vampire Con.  Con has been captured by a rival gang run by Bo (sounds like an unlikely name! but is actually short for Beauregard).  Sunshine taps into her own long suppressed magical powers to help the two escape and in doing so sets in motion events that will culminate in a facedown between these two rival vampires with Sunshine in the middle.  I won’t elaborate on the plot any further.

I think that Robin McKinley is a brilliant author who portrays the settings in the book in such a vivid and imaginative way.  The lakeside setting is dark and foreboding and the part of town in which Sunshine lives is run down and seedy (although it certainly isn’t the worst spot to live in!)  I also think that the characters are really well drawn.  I liked Sunshine’s boyfriend Mel.  He was solid and reliable but even though I liked him to a certain extent I think I would have been happier if they hadn’t been in a relationship.  It almost felt as though they were in a relationship just for convenience sake to make it read as though Sunshine had this certain style of life.  Work, family, boyfriend, etc.  Mel actually spent very little time in the book and I think it would have worked just as well if they had been good friends.  Then we have Con (Constantine) who in spite of all the gruesome bits of his character you can’t help feeling attracted to.  Yes, you definitely end up wanting more out of this relationship.

The story is told in the voice of Sunshine.  I liked Sunshine, she knows what she wants and she’s tough and assertive – even when she’s being pulled in different directions (for example by SOF – Special Other Forces).  She is conflicted (and sometimes that can make her seem a bit whiney) but this is because she wants to do the right thing – and helping a vampire to escape goes against everything she has been brought up to believe – and making a bond and starting to develop feelings is definitely crossing the line.

Now, I enjoyed this book, but I imagine it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea.  It’s not fast paced or packed with romance (although there is definite sexual tension).  Sunshine spends a lot of time reflecting on events from her past which can become a bit distracting particularly when these moments of reflection happen mid sentence!  I actually enjoyed all the information but think maybe it could have been handled a little differently and to be frank I found that the middle section of the book became a little too drawn out due to major info dumps which sort of made the story stutter a little bit.  I also might have enjoyed hearing some of Con’s thoughts.

In terms of criticisms – there is a particular part of the book (and you’ll know as soon as you read it what I’m referring to) where the author almost seems to step out of character!  The writing is just suddenly different and to be frank crude.  I didn’t really understand why the change there (it was as though somebody snook in a few crafty changes to see if they would go unnoticed before the book was published!)  As I said though this was only a very brief spell – just felt a bit odd is all and didn’t gel with the style throughout the rest of the book.  Also, I understand that there will be no further episodes to this book – which I don’t really have a problem with.  I liked the ending and have a good enough imagination for the book to end there – although I would have liked a bit more resolution on some aspects and therefore I guess I was surprised that more editions would not be following.  This isn’t really a criticism I suppose – just that personally I would like to read more about Sunshine and Con! (being greedy).

On the whole I really did enjoy this book and I will definitely pick up other novels by this author.  I particularly like the sound of Beauty and will seek that out next.

Rating A