Dearest by Alethea Kontis
Series: Woodcutter Sisters #3
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Published on: February 3 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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In her third book about the delightful Woodcutter sisters, Alethea Kontis masterfully weaves "The Wild Swans," "The Goose Girl," and a few other fine-feathered fairy tales into a magical, romantic companion novel to Enchanted and Hero.
Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday's palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he's her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday's unique magic somehow break the spell?
SO. We all know that I love fairy tales. And while I’d had the Woodcutter Sisters on my TBR for years, a couple of months ago I wouldn’t have even been able to tell you where my copy of Enchanted (book 1) was. Truthfully, I still don’t know, but that sad fact was made irrelevant when I snagged the kindle version on sale for $1.99. *fist pumps*
Anyway, the reason I hadn’t actually gotten around to reading Kontis is . . . pretty silly . . .
You see . . . I made an assumption.
Along with the delightful mashup of classic fairy tale characters, and the new adventures they have in this series, Kontis also writes children’s books. Small children’s books. Small children’s alphabet books.
And so . . . I decided the version of fairy tale she would tell would be of the cutesy, heroine with a vacant gaze variety.
Then came Dragon Con.
I mostly followed the Urban Fantasy tract, but (fortuitously) there was a bit of UF/YA crossover, and in the Back to the Roots: Incorporating Folklore & Mythology in Urban Fantasy panel there were several YA authors, one of which was Alethea Kontis . . .
I realized within minutes of making her acquaintance that I had made a terrible mistake.
Not only was she hilarious and wildly entertaining, but . . . when she began lamenting how most of her target audience was completely unfamiliar with anything but the Disney version of fairy tales, and how the original stories were seriously dark, I knew I had found a kindred spirit. She even used my favorite example to make her point: The Seven Ravens, in which the child heroine has to cut off her own finger to use the bone as a key when rescuing her brothers.
Ooohhh yeaaaaaah. Brothers Grimm, baby!
I’ve obviously since devoured these books, and let me tell you . . . when I requested an ARC of Dearest on NetGalley, I was thrilled to be approved almost immediately. BUT. When I went to download said ARC, and discovered it was one of the rare books in non-kindle format . . . first, I was blinded by frustrated rage (b/c overreaction), but when I calmed myself . . . I spent an embarrassingly long time figuring out what app (Bluefire—fyi) I needed in order to read it.
And listen, people—I have gotten at least half a dozen non-kindle eARCs in the past, and I have promptly refused them ALL (b/c not a fan of reading entire books on my phone or laptop). BUT. I loved the previous two Woodcutter Sisters enough books to do it.
Dearest was every bit as wonderful as the previous installments.
Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is blithe and bonny and good and gay.
There are seven Woodcutter sisters, each named a day of the week, and Dearest is Friday’s book.
To be completely honest, I was a bit leery of this one, b/c Friday was probably my least favorite of the sisters. She was the good sister. The selfless sister. The hard-working and charitous sister.
And while all of those are nice things to be . . . they’re also downright dull.
BUT. Having the platform for the first time revealed Friday’s previously unknown and not-in-the-least-bit-dull depths. For one, she’s boy crazy. Hilariously, not frustratingly so, b/c while you hear the recollections of boys past, you don’t have to witness them first hand. She’s wonderful with the always entertaining children that follow her like the Pied Piper, and she also has an endearing innocence that blinds her to the ridiculousness of her desire to join the chaste sisterhood she so often labors for.
If you still find the boy crazy part concerning, worry not—her previous infatuations pale in comparison to her true love, and she instantly recognizes the differences.
And like her sister’s stories, Friday’s is yet another breathtaking assortment of odds and ends, bits and bobs of well-known and loved classic tales, woven together in such a way that they are both entirely new and entirely faithful to their original versions. *grins* See what I did there . . . ? B/c Friday is a gifted seamstress . . . ? *grins some more*
Yeah, fine, I’m a dork. *embraces dorkness*
Bottomline: Highly recommended. If you love fairy tales, you will love this series. Even if you are among the majority who only know Disney’s version of events, you will love this series. Don’t be scared off by the mutual affection Kontis and I have for Grimm, b/c while, YES, the details stay true to their European roots, the Woodcutter sisters always live happily ever after. *pinky promises*
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://aletheakontis.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Alethea-Lumos-2.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a fairy godmother, and a geek. She’s known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, and ranting about fairy tales on YouTube.
Her published works include: The Wonderland Alphabet (with Janet K. Lee), Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome (with Janet K. Lee), the AlphaOops series (with Bob Kolar), the Woodcutter Sisters fairy tale series, and The Dark-Hunter Companion (with Sherrilyn Kenyon). Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in a myriad of anthologies and magazines.
Her YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in 2012 and the Garden State Teen Book Award i 2015. Enchanted was nominated for the Audie Award in 2013, and was selected for World Book Night in 2014. Both Enchanted and its sequel, Hero, were nominated for the Andre Norton Award.
Born in Burlington, Vermont, Alethea currently lives and writes in Florida, on the Space Coast. She makes the best baklava you’ve ever tasted and sleeps with a teddy bear named Charlie.
3 Woodcutter Sisters Prize Packs (signed copies of Enchanted, Hero, & Dearest – US Only). Ends March 8th
I’ve been in love with the covers of this series forever because wow, they’re gorgeous! But my fear is that they’ll be too fluffy and suffer from the pretty cover syndrome… but if you say that they have the darker side of the original non-Disney Grim tales? I’m all for it!!
Adding the whole series to the wish list right now!
Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #80!!
No, no, they’re not darker than the original versions. It was just that the author’s love of the those stories convinced me that I’d misjudged her books. The original versions can be completely horrifying, with no HEA in sight. These do end HEA, but the road from here to there isn’t all hearts and flowers (like Disney) like I thought it would be.
I haven’t read this series and I am a hit or miss with fairy tale retellings but this sounds kind of interesting. 🙂
I’m hit or miss too, b/c I love fairy tales too much to blindly love alternate versions of them, you know? These, however, are, IMO, some of the best.
Oh I am behind, I love Enchanted on audio and want to continue that way..maybe now that they are all out I will dive in.
kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Mini Pot Pies and The Lost Imperials series
Sound like a plan. I know I loved reading all three of them back-to-back 😉
Is it bad that I want to read this series for the covers alone? Glad to hear that they are more than a pretty cover though. 😉
Wonderful review Jessica!
kindlemom1 recently posted…WoW Pick of the Week
Pfft. No. I do that all the time, LOL.
Confession: I definitely expected this series to be of the lighter variety as well, and perhaps read a little younger than I typically like. Apparently what they say about assumptions is true though 😉 I absolutely love fairytales, so I’m off to get all 3 of these books!
I’m almost positive you’ll love these, Jenny. They really are fantastic, and totally not what either of us assumed they’d be 😉
Another YA series I’ve been wanting to read. I cannot keep up with all of the ones that catch my eye. lol
Rhianna recently posted…Review: Paper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes
Neither can I, Rhianna. Neither can I 😉
I loved loved loved the first one. It was what I picked as my World Book Night Giveaway. I really need to get books 2 and 3 (on audio though–that was how I did the first one) 🙂
Felicia the Geeky Blogger recently posted…Review: Through the Veil by Christi Snow
I hope you get them, and get them soon. Book 2 is my favorite so far. Saturday is just fun 😉
It’s great that you had your “awakening” just in the nick of time. It’s always a good thing when and author/book surprises us, and proves our assumptions wrong. I enjoy this kind of “humiliation” and I don’t mind eating my words. LOL *fist pump*
Braine Talk Supe recently posted…That Time When Shelley Played 20 Questions
Right? And I had a feeling that a ton of other readers had made the same mistake that I had (and yeah, there have been half a dozen comments to that effect already). If eating crow disabuses others of the same false notion, I gots no problem with it 😉
Take a guess at what I just added to my TBR?!?!? That’s right…Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters #1) and you know, right?? You guessed it…because I take ALL your recommendations very and I mean, VERY seriously!!! 😉
Cristina recently posted…Mini Reviews: You Are Here by Liz Fichera & Strange and Ever After (Something Strange #3) by Susan Dennard
*blushes* If only there weren’t so many books, right? WELP. It’s good to have goals, LOL.
I admit, I overlooked his series for the same reasons you mentioned. Now I am seriously reconsidering. Totally agree about the whoel bluefire thing. I hate when I have to read an ARC on it, but I have my ipad, still it is my least favorite way to read a digital ARC.
HEidi recently posted…Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Yeah, I just got an iPad myself, so that makes it a bit less awkward, but still not my favorite. The things we suffer for books we really, really want to read!<------1st world problems, LOL.
I listened to the audio of book 1 and it was so cute 🙂 Def want more
blodeuedd recently posted…Etta and Otto and Russell and James – Emma Hooper
Book 2 was even better IM0 🙂 And clearly I loved this one too.
I’m planning on binge reading this series. It looks like something I would enjoy.
Rachael recently posted…Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me by Various Authors (no spoilers)
Binge-reading is exactly was I did, so I totally support that inclination 😉
Jessica recently posted…Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop
I have the first book, Enchanted, on audio when it was free from audiosync. I so need to listen to it now! I also overlooked it, but I do have intentions of listening to it… especially now after this review!
Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…Blog Tour: Migratory Animals by Mary Helen Specht
That was before my time, I think. I snagged most of them from this year (b/c free books), even though I don’t do audio much myself. Anyway, I hope you do get to it eventually, b/c REALLY good 😉
How bad is it that I didn’t even know this series before? I’m completely behind but you’ve convinced me to add it to my list and start with the first book very very soon!
Lily recently posted…All the Bright Places: Review
Happens to me all the time, LOL. And we’re ALL so very, very behind 😉
Ha. I can totally relate! My TBR is so unmanageable that I can’t locate ones I want to read. I have an ARC of the first book somewhere…
Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…: Dark Triumph by Rachel LaFevers
*snickers* It doesn’t help that I haven’t put my bookshelves back in order from my book tree (b/c Christmas). I am currently unable to locate about 50% of my books. If they aren’t in disorganized piles from the remnant tree, they’re on disorganized shelves b/c book tree can only be comprised of FAVORITE books, so even books that didn’t pass muster are all over the place. *snickers*
I came across The Woodcutter series a while ago and like you, I’ve been putting off reading it but for different reasons. I have to say though, much like the majority of the intended audience, my knowledge of fairy tales comes mostly from Disney movies and the few Wikipedia searches I’ve done of some of the original stories (And boy are they dark!).
I am SO glad to see you enjoyed this series and I am definitely going to move them up my tbr (I realllly need to gain the abilities to read more quickly).
Lovely review, hon <3
Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: All That Burns by Ryan Graudin
Darkly, wonderful?? *snickers* It’s not just the darkness I love about the original fairy tales, but you know how OCD I am, and Disney, etc. get the details wrong as well. That’s the part that really drives me bonkers. These though . . . these are good 😉
Hadn’t heard of this series, but I love dark fairy tales and Alethea sounds like my kind of author! Have added these to my wishlist, so hope to find time for them soon. Thanks for the great review!
Terri recently posted…January Wrap Up
Glad to contribute to precariously towering TBR piles everywhere 😉
I saw enchanted offered on an audible sale a while back, and I was so close to getting it ( I loved the cover), then other books got on its way so I decided against it and never look for it again. Looks Like I made a mistake.
Thanks Jessica, I like fairy tales, dysfunctional couples and some erotica…LOL My taste in romance and YA is all over the place.
Lupdilup recently posted…Addicted To You Audiobook by Krista & Becca Ritchie (review)
Hahahaha!! That is quite the diverse list. You know . . . I’ve heard there are “adult” fairy tales (I’m not talking about those awful Anne Rice books), and I bet finding dysfunctional couples within those fairy tales wouldn’t be too difficult 😀
Oh I love your enthousiasm about this one! Like you, I’m a huge fan of fairy tales, and this cover is so pretty too so I’m quite curious. With your review it’s even more than that. I’m glad you had a good time with it! thanks for the discovery!
Yeah, this is definitely a great series for fairy tale lovers. I started a list of all the different fairy tales I recognized in the first book, and eventually gave up b/c so many, LOL. But not in an overwhelming way. There were just little details here and there, all blended in with the new story. It was really fantastic 😉
I’m a book cover whore and this cover is so beautiful… I want! It also sounds like something I would like. I’m adding first book to my TBR.
BookaholicCat recently posted…CATS-ilicious Thursdays
I think you would like it, Marcela. We have pretty similar tastes in YA fantasy, and YES, beautiful cover 😉
Jessica, embrace the dorkiness. I’m so exited for dearest . I fell in love with enchanted the moment I finished chapter 1. I was lucky enough to win a personalized signed arc. Lucky you for meeting Alethea. I grew up with the original European and Caribbean tales. Shame on you for having preconceived notions. Haha . I can’t wait for my copy to arrive . I payed $rd 83 for it. Eep. Hahahahahahaha
A Q. What’s is your favorite sister so far ? Mine is Saturday
LUCKY, indeed. Both of us, LOL. And yeah, I grew up with the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales myself. My grandmother got me a beautiful hardback with Arthur Rackham illustrations with I was like . . . 8 or 10, and it had the original versions (the above mentioned Seven Ravens among them). I don’t know if she did it deliberately, or just assumed the book would be child-friendly. Regardless, it made a huge impact on my reading preferences. And I REALLY hope you like it too (not just b/c you paid $$$ for it, but DANG o.O)
Saturday!! Saturday is my favorite too!
Oh, I totally didn’t realize these weren’t “fluffy”!!! The cover and the author are completely misleading. I’ve got to check out the other books in this series!!
Mary recently posted…Pre-Squee: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
I knew I wasn’t the only one who thought that, LOL! I hope you like them, Mary 😉
Yay, glad to hear that it was as good as other two. And boo, I hate non-kindle formats too– my library had 1,2,5 and 6 of a series on kindle and epub, and then books 3 and 4 were only epub.
Brandi Breathes Books recently posted…Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Yuck. But at least it’s the library, and not the publisher. Having different versions of the individual books in a series in my own library would make my head explode, LOL.
I have been meaning to read the first book forever. I love Brothers Grimm but then who doesn’t right…argh now I’m in the mood to watch the cheesy movie I saw its on demand right now. But anyways I’ll see if the library has the audio since those are easier for me to squeeze in personal books right now. But I’ll cross my fingers for the win lol.
Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
LOL. Sometimes cheesy movies are more than just . . . cheese. *snorts* And did you go to that panel? I can’t remember. That might have been the one day we went our different ways, chasing Jim Butcher.
Ahhhhh. I made the same asumption as you! The covers are breathtaking but I thought it was just that- a beautiful cover. MUST FIX THIS IMMEDIATELY. I think I have the Audiobook of Enchanted somewhere. To the library! Awesome review, Jessica.
Marianne recently posted…Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Yes, Marianne, you must! And thanks 😉
Nice review! Totally passed me buy when this one released! I need to go order it asap! I LOVE this series! I love fairytales, both of the Grimm and Disney variety! I love the blood and guts of Grimm and I love the sometimes cheesy easy happiness of Disney! Though Disney ones have been getting better lately. Not to mention Frozen, but yes, gotta mention it, the act of true love being of the sisterly/family love that saved the day was so endearing! Even in Enchanted that was sweet too, because in the beginning Disney kind of mocks itself about having the couple fall in love the first day they meet and get married soon after, but by the end, the outcome is not what you had expected! LOVE IT!
I’ve read the first two in this series and continue to love them! I love the fairytale twist to them all and yet they have their own brand as well! SO looking forward to this one and the four yet to come! GREAT review!
Jessica recently posted…Follow Friday
You forgot MALEFICENT!! Not that I don’t completely agree with you about the others too, but Maleficent was just . . . WOW.
I’m realizing now that my comments in the post could be misleading, but I definitely love both versions—Disney AND Grimm. I just really hate that most people don’t know there’s a difference, you know? Anyway, I’m glad you super excited about this one too (I hate it when books slip through the cracks b/c . . . too many books, LOL).
I was without a Kindle for many years when they were getting really popular. So I have read many books on my laptop and I don’t mind it because I can type up notes in another tab as I am reading the book for the review. Plus, since I’m getting old…I can make the font bigger on my laptop easier than on my Kindle. lol Yes, I know..so sad.
Mary Kirkland recently posted…Early Review: Favored By Felix by Shelley Munro
LOL. My issues with reading on my laptop is the bulk and the heat. And it’s a pain to constantly have to scroll down, click things, instead of just hitting a button or using my finger to turn the page. *snickers* First world problems.
It’s so neat that meeting Kontis made the difference in you reading her! I remember when Enchanted released – I loved the cover. But I steered clear of it because it was, in my mind, one of a slew of fairy tale retellings and I just didn’t want to partake. BUT, I think I’m willing to give it a chance…now. 🙂
Bookworm Brandee recently posted…#2015HW Review ~ Bully ~ Penelope Douglas
Well, can you really blame me for making the assumptions I made, LOL? So yes, I am very glad that I got to meet her, and that meeting her made me realize how wrong I had been.
This series seems delightful! Sounds like Alethea Kontis is, too. Having a really positive interaction with an author can put them on my auto-buy list forever! Usually I’m more for the rough and tumble heroines, but Friday sounds hilarious. Children following her like the pied piper? Colour me intrigued!
Danya recently posted…Review: A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine
Friday would never be qualified as rough-and-tumble, and honestly, those are my favorite types too, but I still managed to enjoy her. AND Saturday (from HERO, the second book) is as rough-and-tumble as you could ask for 😉
I remember when I’d first read Enchanted and fell in love with it. I was over the moon when I got the second and it didn’t disappoint at all! I can’t wait to read this book, especially because that cover is gorgeous. I’m kind of jealous you got to meet her–she’s so adorable and seems delightful.
She is both adorable and delightful. I hope you enjoy Dearest–book 2 is my favorite so far, but no by much 😉
I first read Enchanted because of a suggestion from Writing Excuses. I was a bit leery, too, because I’ve not always liked the recommendations and because the cover did a bit make me expect the sappy-eyed girl, too. But man, have I loved those retellings.