Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Bearskin” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Fairy-tale Re-tellings are my new ‘niche’ of interest:
When the author first approached me about hosting her debut novel on it’s blog tour, I was in the midst of sorting out how to resolve my lightning damages and switchover to a new ISP provider who could stablise my issues with connectivity. Lightning proved to be a humdinger of a nightmare this past Summer, and losing my ability to read whilst I blog was one of the losses I sustained whilst mother nature proved her salt and power. Blessedly Ms Wood did contact me, as I hadn’t known too much about Bearskin prior to when she contacted me – I was aware of it coming up on the calendar for Cedar Fort’s blog tours, as I like to stay ahead of what is coming down the pipe, but as far as what it involved and what the story might be based upon, I was a bit in the dark!
She mentioned to me it was based on two separate fairy-tales “Bearskin” and “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”, which intrigued me outright – as I have sorted out that ‘fairy-tale re-tellings’ is fast becoming a new ‘niche’ of interest of mine! It is credited to the writers behind Sweetwater Books whose stories have captured my imagination and inspired me forward to seek out other re-tellings based on fairy-tale lore.
I did a bit of research to uncover BEARSKIN was writ by the Brothers Grimm and East of the Sun and West of the Moon was included in The Blue Fairy Book – one of the collections of tales which tipped a curious hat for me to include on my neverending ‘need to read’ lists! To combine origins of lore from both Germany and Norway respectively is quite the feat to undertake, and rather than expand my readings about the particulars of both fairy-tales, I decided knowing their origins was enough to whet my appetite ahead of reading Wood’s spin on them!
Due to her inspiring first contact, I decided to mark myself down for this blog tour, however, I was already on a short break from signing up for new blog tours as I was slowly falling behind on my CF hosting duties – the lighting and the time offline was not working in my favour!
This is why this week is going to be heavily focused on Cedar Fort’s releases, as I’m using the last day of the tour for BEARSKIN as a jumping stone towards becoming current! Coming up next will be Ann Farnsworth’s The Throne of David followed by Summer Campaign by Carla Kelly on Saturday, with two reviews on Sunday being featured: The Tulip Resistance by Lynne Leatham Allen and The Haunting of Springett Hall by E.B. Wheeler! The latter of which will kick-off my participation in PERIL where we (book bloggers) focus on tales of Mystery, Suspense, and Horror! For me, this includes ghost stories and psychological suspense such as the kind Wheeler writes!
In regards to fairy-tales, what appeals to me is how contemporary writers are re-envisioning the tales in such a creative way as to help us dip back into their folds without the Brothers Grimm versions leaving us in a fit of nightmares! I’ve not yet read any of the originals, as I previously learnt the fairy-tale versions I grew-up on myself were watered down and were not even a hint of their forebearers! I apparently appreciate a gentler side to fiction, especially when it comes to fairy-tales and the fantasy worlds just past our own imaginative realms!
Notation on the Cover Art Design:
What truly hits you as you pick up the book for the first time is the closeness of the bear and the vivid emotional state of the person underneath the cloaked hood. The entire image is quite evoking – even the title makes you ponder the truer meaning behind the word and if by chance, the bear and the bear’s essence can be transmorphed somehow onto another entity that is not Ursidae in nature. Part of my early inklings of thought were to wonder if this was part shapeshifter or part animal spirit guides – something that would interconnect the lead characters with the bear. I accidentally had a spoiler revealed to me whilst googling ‘shapeshifting’ and reading a brief portion of this article! Although it didn’t spoilt the story – if anything, my fantasy instincts are starting to kick-in again! Besides I’m the one who loves a shifter named Bannon from the Leland Dragons series!
When their mother, an evil enchantress, tries to convince Conrad, Moiria, and Heppson to follow her ways, each one must decide where the line lies between good and evil, magic and myth. But it will take more than good intentions to defend their kingdom against the danger that's coming.
Based on the Bearskin fairy-tale, this young adult fantasy is filled with intricate plot twists and an impossible romance that will keep you guessing.
Places to find the book:
Published by Sweetwater Books
on 8th September 2015
Format: Paperback Edition
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook
I am positively smitten by ‘shifters’:
I was completely unaware of my attraction to shapeshifters until I met Bannon in Jackie Gamber’s YA Fantasy series the Leland Dragons (of which I have happily blogged about quite a heap!) and then, happily I found myself empathic to the shifter in AshleyRose Sullivan’s alternative historical PNR Silver Tongue except to say, I hadn’t had the pleasure of flushing out my appreciation of the diversity of characters within Silver Tongue at the time of my review. I was under a time constraint for personal and tech reasons, so I truly wanted to blog as much as I could about the heart of the novel saving the best bits to share during Sci Fi November + the Sci Fi Experience this upcoming November through January.
The entire idea behind shapeshifters was not completely foreign to me in concept because I grew up watching DS9 where Odo regularly made an appearance and was one of my favourites to watch on the series. It wasn’t until Bannon that I fully understand the soul behind the shifters and of their struggle to merge between worlds of who they are: part human, part ‘something’ other than human. It’s an interesting psychological angle to encourage in the crafting of stories, especially in Fantasy because it undercuts the humanistic side of the character’s spirit.
I haven’t yet read the collection of Harry Potter novels, but Harry’s Uncle is quite dear to me and I credit his character (via the motion pictures) as being part of my inclination towards seeking out more shifters in literature whilst full credit still remains with #EuphorYA (where I discovered ‘werecats’; as tweeted about). Although if you run a search for my chattering on Twitter you will find this hodgepodge collection of tweeting; even if I made a small bit of a mistake in which raptor species Bannon truly is! Oy vie!
And, I cannot end a discussion about shifters without drawing attention to a wonderful shifter inside EDC Johnson’s PNR debut Moonflower, a novel I dearly want to re-read prior to the second novel’s release! I definitely wanted to spend more time inside her world and properly take up residence for a spell! The note she wrote to me on her website is very dear to my heart, as each time I meet a book which leaves me spellbound, the review which is featured on my blog becomes a note of gratitude back to the author!
Not surprisingly, all my shifter favourites are within the YA Lit side of reading!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge