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Tales of Beauty and Madness

Book two in the Tales of Beauty and Madness series encounters Ellie, who has the similar circumstances of Cinderella. Set in a world of great magic, charms and twisted monsters. Ellie is abused and worked to the bone by her entirely evil step mother. The only comfort she finds is in her two close friends Ruby and Cami, and in a boy named Avery who used to torment her in middle school. Despite the bruises and scabs on her arms most of the teacher and other students don't bother to pay attention to Ellie, which sends her into isolation and instead of fighting against her circumstances, she retreats into herself. Risking her closest friends and any help.

Ellie is a very convincing Cinderella, with little effort to fight back and more interest in becoming a full on damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued. She wears her wounds on her sleeve and the reader can feel her pain and help root for her through out the story. Her evil stepmother, was one of the scariest that I have encountered. She was brutal and vicious, and never seemed to let up. I enjoyed Ellie's friend Ruby a lot, she was very spunky and outspoken. I have a feeling book three will be about her, and I look forward to reading her story.

I had not read book one, but I didn't feel like i was missing out on anything. The book had lots of detail and i could see the world around me as I read, however the story had a slower consistent pace. It took me a little time to get through it, because I wasn't fully hooked. While the idea is a great effort, I feel like it fell just a little flat. It was an interesting read and anyone that is fond of fairy tale retellings should definitely give this book a shot. Just because i didn't love it, doesn't mean that you wont.

Book Blurb for Wayfarer

New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow thrilled legions of fans with her dark paranormal series Strange Angels. Now she has created a stirringly romantic, deliciously spooky update of Cinderella, the alluring second volume in her trilogy Tales of Beauty and Madness.

The Charmer's Ball. Midnight. And one glass slipper...

Newly orphaned, increasingly isolated from her friends, and terrified of her violent stepmother, Ellen Sinder still believes she’ll be okay. She has a plan for surviving and getting through high school, which includes keeping her head down and saving any credits she can earn or steal. But when a train arrives from over the Waste beyond New Haven, carrying a golden boy and a new stepsister, all of Ellie’s plans begin to unravel, one by one.

Just when all hope is lost, Ellie meets an odd old woman with a warm hearth and a heavenly garden. Auntie’s kindness is intoxicating, and Ellie finally has a home again. Yet when the clock strikes twelve on the night of the annual Charmer’s Ball, Ellie realizes that no charm is strong enough to make her past disappear...

In a city where Twisted minotaurs and shifty fey live alongside diplomats and charmers, a teenage girl can disappear through the cracks into safety--or into something much more dangerous. So what happens when the only safety you can find wants to consume you as well?

Lili St. Crow is the author of the Strange Angels series for young adults and the Dante Valentine series, among others, for adults. She is also the author of Nameless, a companion book to Wayfarer. She lives in Vancouver, Washington with her family. Visit lilistcrow.com to find out more.

Night Owl Reviews May, 2014 3.50