Category: Fairytale

Beauty and the Boss by Diane Alberts

Beauty and the Boss by Diane AlbertsBeauty and the Boss by Diane Alberts
Series: Modern Fairytales #1
Published by Macmillan on November 16th 2015
Pages: 225
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two-stars

Beauty is about to tame her beast...
Researcher Maggie Donovan has no luck with men, and it doesn't help that she can't keep her eyes off of her sexy boss – the one everyone else in the office calls The Beast. Relationships in the office are forbidden. So no one is more surprised than Maggie when she pretends to be his fiancée to save him during a difficult situation. Not only has she put her job on the line, but the future of the company.
Billionaire Benjamin Gale III doesn’t believe in love or romance, but the look on his mother’s face when Maggie tells her that she’s his fiancée is worth millions. Instead of firing her for her insubordination, he goes along with the ruse. In his arms–and in his bed–she’d be everything he could ever want...which is why he can’t have her.
But if he doesn’t let her go, they’ll lose everything...

Fairy tales are tricky things; adapting and reworking them and not turning archetypes into clichés is an even trickier task. Beauty and the Boss is one such book – a mismash of several tales with the very popular use of role reversal: Maggie is both Belle and Cinderella at the ball while her aloof, closed-off boss Benjamin is the grumpy beast, the prince as well as the masculine version of Cinderella with the wicked stepmother – who is probably better known as the witch. But even padded with the familiar tropes of contemporary life, Maggie and Benjamin stayed better as flat-ish clichés rather than the mythical archetypes in the fairytales themselves, with personalities that just aren’t compelling (with some wild swings in mood) to leap off the book for me. By the time the epilogue swung around, I found myself cringing at the effusive and rather unbelievable outpouring of emotion, and wondering if Cinderella/the prince and Belle/Beast are better confined to where they should be by the end of their story – long faded off into their personal sunsets.

two-stars

Beauty and the Bachelor by Naima Simone

Beauty and the Bachelor by Naima SimoneBeauty and the Bachelor (Bachelor Auction, #1) by Naima Simone
Series: Bachelor Auction #1
Published by Entangled: Indulgence on August 10th 2015
Pages: 236
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four-stars

She may be the highest bidder, but this bachelor's price is blackmail and passion...Billionaire Lucas Oliver is hell bent on revenge. And his plan begins when Sydney Blake-the stunning daughter of his enemy-is tricked into bidding on Lucas at a bachelor auction. Then he serves up a little blackmail...followed by a marriage proposal Sydney has no choice but to accept.
Sydney has been controlled by her family her whole life. When Lucas threatens to reveal her father's shady business, she is once again forced to do her duty for her family. But worse-oh so much worse-is the rush of lust that Lucas ignites in her blood. Lucas is determined to make Sydney suffer, but it's tough when he can't keep from touching her-or thinking about touching her-all the time. She's not fairing much better since she's engaged to a darkly handsome beast intent on destroying her entire family...along with her heart.

Yet another twist in the Beauty and Beast tale, with corporate blackmail and high-flying reputations at stake in this modern version of it. And it all starts with blackmail, a web of lies and a woman who cannot say no to a man who’s feral in the elite business ranks and is out for revenge that’s 15 years in the making.

Lucas aka The Beast, has very little going for him, to be honest. Driven by revenge, consumed by it and letting its fire burn all those around him, it seems his turnaround in the last 5 pages is too easily earned and unbelievably shallow. But Sydney is on the other hand, such a heroine to remember – vulnerable yet dignified and incisively perceptive with a self-sacrificing mien so wide that it threatens to destroy her. Caught between a rock and a hard place, she earned my utmost admiration with the way she handled every manoeuvre with Lucas’s unreasonable blackmail.

Naima Simone’s flowing prose, as always, cuts to the heart of human emotions, peeling them raw for the reader with the sheer power of words, which is primarily the reason why I’m always drawn to her writing, even if some characters appeal less than others.

four-stars

Seduced by the Baron by Amy Andrews

Seduced by the Baron by Amy AndrewsSeduced by the Baron by Amy Andrews
Series: Fairy Tales of New York #4
Published by Tule Publishing - Holiday Books on June 29th 2015
Pages: 120
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three-stars

Once upon a time, Faith Sullivan dreamed of being a famous painter who lived in an apartment overlooking Central Park. Unfortunately, life had other ideas and at 26, she’s still running, working and living at Sully’s, her family’s traditional Irish pub in Brooklyn with her stubborn, ailing father. And she was perfectly fine with her lot until suddenly her three best friends each found their prince, and her own happily ever after seemed like another dream lost. Until one day a long, tall Australian walks into her bar and her loved-up besties decided to play Fairy Godmothers.
Ex pro-surfer turned beer baron, Rafael Quartermaine is in New York for a month on business. He’s looking for a pub to launch Baron lager on the American market and Sully’s is perfect. All he has to do is convince Faith, the traditionalist, to say yes. And once he’s done that, maybe he can convince her that all work and no play makes Faith a dull girl.
Faith’s connection to her family and Sully’s is absolute, and Raf’s business drive and itchy feet aren’t conducive to long term, so it should be an easy break when duty calls Faith back into the fold on the evening of the ball. But running out on the baron is harder than she ever imagined… Will their fling sizzle out, or become something more?

Amy Andrews excels at writing cookie-cutter (Aussie) heroes straight out of rom-coms: swoon-worthy, commitment phobic for an amazing variety of reasons, golden-tanned outdoorsy sorts who wander from woman to woman until they hit a wall hard when they find the one. Raf Quartermaine is another one of these hunky (and unfortunately not entirely interesting) types out of the Aussie hunk factory, but it was Faith Sullivan, the Cinderalla who stole my attention with her more multifaceted character who, though grounded in family and duty, is slowly suffocating with the burden of it. Raf’s introduction into Faith’s life is the catalyst to change, but what begins as a no-strings affair culminates in ball of a lifetime that also happens to be the event that is the tipping point for their fledging relationship.

‘Seduced by the Baron’ is a loose adaptation of Cinderella (rather than a subversion of it) and I did enjoy the light and near angst-free twist on the fairytale, though I probably would have liked reading about a white knight who is as memorable as his heroine.

three-stars