Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review: Five Enchanted Roses

Purchase HERE

Title: Five Enchanted Roses: A Collection of Beauty and the Beast stories

Author: Kaycee Browning; Savannah Jezowski; Jenelle Schmidt; Dorian Tsukioka; & Hayden Wand

Series: Rooglewood Press Fairy Tale Collections #2

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling/Fantasy/Historical

Audience: Young Adult

**4 stars**

Five Enchanted Roses is an interesting collection of five different retelling of The Beauty and the Beast, by five different authors. For the most part, it’s a memorable and enjoyable collection. But, unlike the first book, Five Glass Slippers, this collection seems to follow a theme (not as much variety perhaps?), with dark-ish and quite magic-filled stories ...

ESPRIT DE LA ROSE by Kaycee Browning. A young woman is upon her father’s pirate ship only long enough to get to London. However, she doesn’t quite conclude the trip before meeting up with some strange creatures and finding an even stranger world or sorts. Is there hope for saving herself and the dark souls around her? Or is all lost because of the stealing of a mirror?

It isn’t where you usually expect to find yourself when starting a fairytale—on a pirate’s ship, that is. But it was an interesting and fun take on the classic tale of The Beauty and the Beast anyway! Though there were some slight creepiness/gross elements, it wasn’t an amount that would make me really dislike the story. There was also some magic, but I thought that was pretty tastefully done as well. There was an underlying allegory in Esprit De La Rose that I found to be intriguing and rather profound. The lessons learned were thoughtful and had depth. I really liked how Cecilia stood up and fought for goodness, nearing the end of the book.

My biggest complaint, actually, would be a short conversation between the main character and another character that felt irreverent to God. And that was never resolved. So I was just a bit disappointed that the characters would talk like that ... I would have like to see more spiritual growth! But who knows ... maybe there will be a sequel? It certainly could have a sequel to show us more of what happens after the story ends! *wink*

The beast’s dry humor kept me laughing! *grins* He was an interesting character for sure. The mysteriousness/suspense part kept you wondering and waiting. There wasn’t much for romance, but that’s totally alright! It worked out in a sweet and poignant way. Curly! I just want to hug him! I liked Cecilia too—she was a very nice “Beauty” character! So yes. I enjoyed this story! The epilogue was especially fun and lovely. I would just like to read more!!


WITHER by Savannah Jezowski. An abbey looms in the distance; and all sorts of foul stories of ghosts and a beast within its walls are whispered about in the village. When Lilybet’s father has a run-in with “the beast”, she makes a rash decision. But all is not as it seems. Will Lilybet come to realize that before it’s too late?

To be honest, I didn’t expect to like this story. Wraiths and ghouls—demons of the Netherworld—really not my thing. However, I was in for rather a surprise. Wither was written superbly. It had a fantastic twist on the classic relationship. Speaking of the relationship, I just ended up adoring how it came about. And the thoughts on love. This story had a poignancy and profoundness to it that I really liked. It also had an allegory, and spoke of the Ever Father and whatnot.

My complaints? Yes, it still had the ghouls, wraiths, and whatever else. Some descriptions were rather ghastly. It wasn’t really a story where you shiver in terror, but it still had the slight gruesomeness/element of darkness. Some of the themes reminded me of Frank Peretti’s children/YA books, which I’m not at all fond of. Trying to keep demons contained to the Underworld ... just yeah. Seems weird.

But as I implied above, that doesn’t really consume the story. It focuses a lot on the relationship between “Beauty” and “the Beast”, and I found myself quite interested and thoroughly enjoying it. There was also an element of magic in this tale ... some of it I felt was rather weird; but for the most part, it was done in an okay way, I thought. And again, I want to read more! These novellas definitely need sequels, *grins* And that’s not meant in a bad way.

So yes, this was really a lovely tale. If you can get over the dark twist, it’s quite intriguing.


STONE CURSE by Jenelle Schmidt. A former lady-in-waiting helps a couple servants look over the castle of Thorndale ... where stone statues litter the throne room, and the prince roams about as a beast. Armed with a rose, Karyna seems to be the only one who understands the unpredictable, cursed prince. Will someone ever be able to find the enchantress and break the curse?

This was an intriguing storyline, and I liked that it centered on a lady-in-waiting. Karyna and Prince Barend were both likable characters, and I enjoyed their story. When I reflect back on reading it, it just leaves me with a pleasant feeling. It had a few surprising twists and turns, and a very sweet and wonderful ending.

One thing that made the story less likable for me, is how it started sort of in the middle of things. I guess I would have liked to see some more backstory. But that’s just personal preference I’m sure! *smiles*

Stone Curse felt a little slower than the other stories perhaps, but it was still a good and enjoyable tale all in all. Not quite as much magic as the majority, maybe. It had a dark theme, but a very happy, satisfactory ending!


ROSARA AND THE JUNGLE KING by Dorian Tsukioka. Born amongst a rather brutal jungle tribe, where woman are taken as wives forcibly, Rosara long to escape. Especially since the man seeking to take her as his wife already has two wives and is noticeably challenging her father’s position as chief. Rosara meets a peculiar jaguar, and learns of a mystical answer to her problems ... but is it a solution she will regret?

Though I feel this story was well-written, and it did keep your interest; it was my least favorite of the collection. The brutality/violence was a little much for me! And I just didn’t feel comfortable with the jungle spirits and even the whole jaguar thing. It felt somewhat like a fairytale, and then a lot like jungle tribes’ myths and magical legends or something like that.

Maybe you would like this tale. It has romance, action, and danger. But it just wasn’t for me.


THE WULVER’S ROSE by Hayden Wand. When misfortune strikes, a well-off family is forced to move to a humble cottage of Scotland. The youngest daughter, Bonnie, struggles with guilt and with the eerie mystery of a little girl crying out for help in her dreams. When a wulver demands a payment, who will deliver? And will Bonnie be able to save the ones who need her?

I quite enjoyed this tale! I was intrigued by the epilogue, and then fell into Bonnie’s story, feeling her pain and guilt! I liked the Scottish setting, the market day scene, the cottage, and all that. I feel the magic/fairytale element of The Wulver’s Rose as really well done! It was done in a way that I was pretty much completely comfortable with—and I loved the “light-is-stronger-than-darkness” theme, and how calling of the name of the Lord pushed away strong evil. All in all, it was a touching, sweet, and enchanting tale. I enjoyed both Bonnie and the Wulver. And Bonnie’s family was quite sweet as well!

I don’t really have any complaints for this tale! It was endearing and unique, yet still held lots of traces of the original The Beauty and the Beast story.

So yes. If you’re a fan a fairytales, you might want to give this collection a try! *smiles* But do beware if you’re sensitive or don’t like magic. As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, all the stories seemed to have a pretty strong element of eeriness/darkness/magic. Some I was okay with, while others left me feeling a little leery.

But Five Enchanted Roses did have some lovely stories! Exciting retellings of The Beauty and the Beast!

Looking forward to seeing what the next collection of fairytales is like! ^_^

I received a copy of Five Enchanted Roses from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.


  1. Buying this collection is a must! Cannot wait to add it to my shelf of books, and pair it with the Cinderella collection, which I shamefully haven't read yet. *sigh* Best get to both of these soon. :)

    1. Ah yes, you should get to them soon!! Five Glass Slippers definitely was a fun collection! And, for the most part, Five Enchanted Roses was too!! I hope you enjoy them both! :)