Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rapunzel Untangled Blog Tour - Book Review and Giveaway

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Welcome to the next stop on the Rapunzel Untangled blog tour!  I hope you enjoy my review below, and be sure to enter to win a copy of the ebook in the Rafflecopter form at the end of the post.  Thanks for stopping by!



A Girl Trapped in a Mansion

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A Mysterious Old Woman

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The Boy Who Will Change Everything


From Goodreads.com:

Rapunzel is not your average teenager. 

For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is. 


Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale. 


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I’m easily taken in by retellings of classic fairy tales. However, once I’m in, the question becomes, will the story hold my attention and be entertaining? And in the case of modern retellings, how far into “modern” sensibilities will the authors take their version? More often than not, writers feel the need to interject plenty of adult material and plot devices that take the subject matter too far from the source. Much of the magic (and my interest) is lost in the name of being edgy or sensual.

Rapunzel Untangled has successfully satisfied this fairy tale lover. Cindy Bennett retains many of the original elements of this classic story in her modernized version. A beautiful girl is trapped in a tower, never allowed to venture forth or cut her hair. Her captor, a woman named Gothel, has kept her alive for all these years, for her own purposes. Rapunzel is discovered by a handsome princely-type, and much drama ensues.

These basic plot points still hold true in Rapunzel Untangled, but a modern twist is added. Our princely character, Fane meets Rapunzel on Facebook of all places! And as seen in the Disney version of the story, Tangled, Rapunzel’s hair has magical qualities, which is discussed in the latter part of the book. Most of the story revolves around Rapunzel’s emerging personality, as she begins to discover the world through meeting Fane, as she realizes that Gothel has kept so much from her over the years. This ultimately leads to a heady conflict at the end, when Rapunzel seemingly must decide between the man she has come to love and the freedom she so greatly desires and deserves.

Rapunzel Untangled was a fun, sweet read. It certainly has its romantic elements, but author Cindy Bennett keeps things decidedly PG-rated. There is a bit of black magic involved with Mrs. Gothel and it does get a bit dark in spots, but Bennett could have made it so much darker and sinister than she did. I was expecting much worse actually, and was grateful that things stayed as tame as they did.

As mentioned, many of the original fairy tale elements were retained in this version, but I felt that a clich├ęd tone was avoided. And although we do expect a happy ending, Cindy was able to write in a way that kept me guessing, despite my suspicions. The concluding chapters were particularly riveting, with earth-shaking moments for the characters and their world.

If you enjoy fairy tale retreads or are looking for a fun, romantic read for your teen daughter, I would highly recommend Rapunzel Untangled. Cindy Bennett has done a fabulous job with this fable, bringing my interest to some of her other similarly-themed works, such as Beautiful Beast, Red and the Wolf and Snow White. Her work is light and magical, entertaining and alive with wonder. I’m pleased to have discovered this author and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

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About the Author

Cindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She and her husband - who happens to be her high-school sweetheart - raised two sons and two daughters. She's now blessed with two daughters-in-law as well. She developed a love of writing in high school when a teacher introduced her to the joys of escaping reality for ten minutes each day in writing. When she's not writing, reading, or answering emails (notice there's no mention of cleaning, cooking, or anything remotely domestic), she can often be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home. (Yes, she rides a Harley.)


You can find Cindy at:  Blog    Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads



          


a Rafflecopter giveaway




CymLowell

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Review - Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe

When aspiring writer, Sophie Elliot, receives the keys to the family townhouse in Bath, it's an invitation she can’t turn down, especially when she learns that she will be living next door to the house her favourite author, Jane Austen, lived in. But, the neglected house is harbouring more than the antiquated furniture and nesting mice, though initially Sophie tries to dismiss the haunting visions of a young girl. On discovering that an ancient glove belonging to her mysterious neighbour, Josh Strafford, will transport her back in time to Regency Bath, she questions her sanity, but Sophie is soon caught up in two dimensions, each reality as certain as the other. Torn between her life in the modern world, and that of her ancestor who befriends Jane Austen and her fascinating brother Charles, Sophie's story travels two hundred years across time, and back again, to unite this modern heroine with her own Captain Wentworth. Blending fact and fiction together the tale of Jane Austen’s own quest for happiness weaves alongside, creating a believable world of new possibilities for the inspiration behind the beloved novel, Persuasion.



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In Searching for Captain Wentworth, I have found such a lovely mixture of some of my favorite things.  What could be better? Austenesque fiction? Check. Jane Odiwe, one of my preferred authors?  Check.  Time travel!?!?  I was in love before I even began this novel.  Throw in Jane’s unexpected and surprising thanks to me in her acknowledgements (a first for me as a reviewer!), and I was positively biased by the time I began reading.  I will do my best to present a balanced opinion, but the scales were already pre-weighted, I believe!

Although I have shamefully not read Jane Austen’s Persuasion, I have come to love the story in recent years through retellings and some of the cinematic versions.  While Searching for Captain Wentworth is not a retread of that classic novel, several elements are woven into the story. We have the setting of Bath, England, lovers torn apart over time and space, leaps off the Cobb and much more. A man who could easily stand in for the titular character is frequently about, and as in Persuasion, we root for him to finally be with the woman he loves.

In addition to fans of Persuasion, those who enjoyed Bid Time Return and its film version Somewhere in Time would love this as well. As in Richard Matheson’s tale, Odiwe’s novel has a talisman which affects the time in which the main character inhabits.  In Somewhere in Time, it’s a modern penny which has the unfortunate power to throw Richard Collier back to the present after falling in love while in the past.  In Searching for Captain Wentworth, we have a white glove that has the power to send modern Sophia in either direction—back or forward in time, sometimes with similarly frustrating results.  There’s a yearning there in Sophia’s heart that very much reminds me of the pain that Collier had in his experience.

Jane Austen herself makes appearances frequently in the novel, as do many of her family members.  After just reading an Austen biography not too long ago, I enjoyed spending time with these characters and getting to know them better, with the new perspective that was in my mind. Of course Odiwe takes her own liberties with history, but I think the choices she made with her Jane Austen and family were good ones and certainly possible scenarios for our beloved authoress. I’m also pleased that her brother Charles was such a prominent character, and even wish he had been given more time on the page.

In the interest of a completely honest, balanced review, I can say that Searching for Captain Wentworth is not my favorite of Jane Odiwe’s as far as her style of writing. There seemed to be a different tone this time around.  There was a bit more emphasis on describing the minute details of each environment, and at times I felt this slowed down the story.  Others may appreciate this attention however, as it does allow the reader to feel more ingrained within the scenes.  There also seemed to be an inexplicable shortage for commas from time to time, but if that is my most powerful complaint, Mrs. Odiwe is doing just fine.

Searching for Captain Wentworth is an excellent choice for a wide array of readers. It’s a sweet, clean love story.  It’s a time-travel science fiction fantasy.  And it allows us to once again transport ourselves into the world of Jane Austen and her characters.  So many elements come together in a lovely mixture of literary delights.  Jane Odiwe has given her readers their very own talisman with which they can be delivered into a world that has been, and will continue to be, savored time and time again.


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Connect with Jane Odiwe

Jane's Website




               



CymLowell

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