C.B.H. ARC Review: Banished (The Storymakers #3) By Betsy Schow

C.B.H. ARC Review: Banished (The Storymakers #3) By Betsy Schow


Title: Banished
Series: The Storymakers
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Available: Amazon/Goodreads/B&N


*Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy via NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for a review. This does not effect my review.


About the Book

 My Review

All the best people have a bit of madness. It’s a sign of brilliance. You just have to learn how to take control of it.

This is the third installment in The Storymakers series that follows Princess Dorthea of Emerald on her continuing quest to get back home and right the wrongs she did in the first book, Spelled. Now, she’s locked up in the psyche ward, slowly beginning to lose her memories of her home. She discovered her parents in the previous book to find they forgot their home and want Dorthea to “get better”.

On the other side of the fairy tale coin, Dorthea’s mind is linked to Rexi – making the story flip back and forth between the fictional and the reality. The moment Dorthea goes to sleep, she see’s Rexi, taking on the guise of King Arthur, wielding Excalibur while battling the villains of Camelot. With Rexi, she sees the devastation of Dorthea’s treatments in the hospital involving green sludge and constant lies of being incurable. Dorthea later escapes the hospital and goes on a mission, searching for a pair of magic shoes to get her to another realm. Rexi, on the other hand, seeks out to destroy the Wicked Witch.

The quirkiness from the previous novels shows up in droves in this book and the mashup of our favorite fairytale characters makes keeps the fun coming. The single downside I can only come up with is that this wouldn’t be for older YA readers. The characters dialogue and actions fall more along the younger YA reader group. But if you are looking for a new fairytale mashup series that’ll make you laugh – this could be the next one on your list!


Rating 7

Happy Reading!


Book Blitz & Author Q&A: Winter’s Siren By Krystal Jane Ruin!

Book Blitz & Author Q&A: Winter’s Siren By Krystal Jane Ruin!


Title: Winter’s Siren
Author: Krystal Jane Ruin
Release Date: November 1st, 2017
Available: Amazon/B&N/iBooks/Kobo
Add to Goodreads

Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult


Book Blurb

For the last five years, Fawn has been the star soprano of a secluded opera house, forced to sing for her kidnapper.

His daughter, Devi, waits patiently in the shadows, hiding a face so horrible that no one who’s seen it will look at it again.

As Fawn plots her escape, whispers spread through the shaded corridors of dark sorcery, warning her that she must flee by the next opening night.

But when Fawn draws close to the exit, it’s Devi who’s standing in her way, leading Fawn to suspect that Devi has something to gain if she fails.

(A dark reimagining of Swan Lake)

Connect With the Author!


Krystal is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction, living in the Tennessee Valley with a collection of swords and daggers. When she’s not hoarding stuffed pandas, hourglasses, and Hello Kitty replicas, she can be found in YouTube hole or blogging about books, writing, and random things at KrystalSquared.net.


Q&A With Krystal

What inspired you to write WINTER’S SIREN?

K – Usually, this is the hardest question ever, but I love fairy tales, I love retellings, and I love the theatre: ballet, musicals, opera. My love of theatre directly influenced the direction of this story. You don’t want to know what it looked like before.

Why paranormal and what other genres are you interested in writing?

K – I’ve always been drawn to dark stories. Some of my first memories are of me trying to scare myself for some reason. Haha. My writing tastes have always been a lot more narrow than my reading tastes. But I would like to experiment with some dark historical fantasy and supernatural horror. I might talk myself into trying another high fantasy story one day.

If you could live in any novel, which one would you choose and why?

K – Is it weird if I say I want to live in Middle Earth? I read The Hobbit a long time ago, but I’ve only recently watched all the movies, and I’m obsessed with them! I hate the thought of giant spiders and trolls and orcs, but I wouldn’t leave Hobbiton anyway, and I think I’d love it there. Also, no creatures there. Bonus. (I mean, if Gandalf was with me, I might could be talked into going on an adventure.)

If you were a teacher, what subject would you teach?

K – Shakespearean Drama! But I’d also be happy to do plain Shakespeare or plain Drama. Either one of those would be most up my alley. If a class existed that was dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe, I’d also be interested in that.

When it comes to your writing, are you a plotter, panster, or hybrid writer?

K – I often pants the beginnings of stories or pants my outline as I write, but I always have a clear plan and direction I’m going in. That said, I have to have a finished outline at some point. It helps me remember little details better, and I write faster with one, as well.

If you could have a mutant power, what would it be?

K – Freezing everything! Don’t ask what for. I have a long-standing fantasy of water manipulation, and I would just love that. In my head, it’s like a cross between Ice Man and Storm. Ice Storm anyone? No? 


What three movies would you take to a deserted island to watch over and over again for a year?

K – Easiest question ever. The Little Mermaid, Clueless, and The Craft. They are my favorite top three movies of all time, but I feel sorry for anyone who knows me after returning from such a trip. I have a really bad habit of quoting movies, and I’d likely have them all completely memorized by then.


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Happy Reading!



C.B.H. Reviews: “Spelled” By Betsy Schow

C.B.H. Reviews: “Spelled” By Betsy Schow


Title: Spelled (Spelled #1)
Author: Betsy Schow
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date:June 2, 2015
Originally Received by Netgalley
Re-read: May 2017

Goodreads Description

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.”

My Review

I originally read this novel back in 2015 before I had this lovely blog and added my reviews outside of Amazon and Goodreads. Back then, re-told fairy tale stories were not as big as they currently are today. Now, we are beginning to see a higher increase in the re-told fairy tale/fantasy category with the Court of Thorns and Roses series, Lunar Chronicles seriesTwists Tale series, Huntedand many more now that we want to see more takes of our beloved fairy tale characters.

Spelled by Betsy Schow, though, is not your average fairy tale re-telling. It’s more like a parody cluster of fairy tale characters overlaying cliches, overlaid by over the top action in this book. Our main character is Dorothy who is a spoiled brat princess who is restricted to her castle because the females of her family are cursed and foretold to destroy the world with fire. Call back to Sleeping Beauty, the kingdom is rid of devices that can create fire and the only way the curse be prevented is the cursed princess be rescued by a prince.

Going back to Dorothy, she despises any of the princes her parents attempt to being to her attention. Dorothy would rather spend money acquiring the latest Glenda fashions and Hans Christian heel collections. Her parents decide enough is enough and set up an arranged marriage between her and prince Kato. You want to see a spoiled little princess have a temper tantrum and basically destroying her kingdom over a wish? It’s not pretty. To be honest, I almost stopped reading because of Dorothy’s immaturity. I get you are trying to change the average fairy tale princess, but if it causes pain for your readers to read about her then you need to tone it down.

The story is filled with hilarious comebacks, changes, and gives a better appreciation for the original material. It contains easter eggs you have to pay extra close attention to unless you’d miss them. Do I recommend this? Yes, but I do not suggest you place it next to your other fairy tale retellings. I believe books like this deserve a category all of their own.


Rating 6


Happy Reading,