The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
About: Two Hearts. One Hope. Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill. When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.
Why I recommend it: This book is the first in a series of six fractured fairy tales and I found after reading this book that I love fractured fairy tales. Loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty story, it was an interesting book all on its own but it was doubly interesting as I watched for the similarities between the two books. Dickerson’s descriptions made me feel as though I was in the room with the healers at times and I fell in love with the two main characters.
The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson
About: In this new fairy tale reimagining from award-winning YA author Melanie Dickerson, Giselaâ€™s life consists of cooking and cleaning for her stepmother and stepsisters, with little time for daydreams. When she discovers the dukeâ€™s son, Valtenâ€”the boy she has daydreamed about for yearsâ€”is in search of a wife, she is determined to get an invitation to his upcoming ball. But once she meets her Prince Charming, other forces are determined to halt her happily ever after, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.
Consistent seller and award-winning author Melanie Dickersonâ€™s previous books â€” The Healerâ€™s Apprentice and The Merchantâ€™s Daughter â€” have sold well across multiple channels. She is looking to continue her momentum, as fairy tale retellings continue to be a strong trend among readers, providing a historical romance that puts a new twist on the classic story of Cinderella.
Why I recommend it: Not surprisingly, I have picked a second book in the Fairy Tales Romance series, this one written with a bent toward Cinderella. I’ll be honest and tell you that the reason I loved this book so much was because of the hero, Valten. It’s not because he was smooth or charming in any way. In fact, he wasn’t either of those things which is why I took a liking to him. I could feel his awkwardness, which was a little uncomfortable for me at times, but I suspect it was more like reality than what’s usually portrayed as reality. And since he didn’t seem to mind it nearly as much as I did, I kept reading even when it was uncomfortable.
This is what happy looks like by Jennifer E. Smith
“If fate sent you an email, would you answer?”
About: When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.
Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?
Why I recommend it: This book was an absolute pleasure to read, first and foremost because the author is a great writer. The story flows without the bumps and potholes that plague many writers. Smith has a way of making a fictional story seem absolutely plausible. I loved it! Besides the great writing, I loved the characters. Two teens doing their best to find their way through life, one very different from the other and yet each offering the other a much needed friendship and ally. This book held my interest from beginning to end. I think it would be a great read for 2016!