Tag Archives: fairy tale romance

The Rose Gate by Hanna Sandvig

One of my reading missions this year is to discover some indie authors of quality. I love the indie space for many reasons: it’s easier for authors to make a living, authors retain complete creative control over their work, and the author community has a positive, entrepreneurial vibe, rather than the doom-and-gloom of trad pub.

Story quality, however, can be an overlooked issue in the indie space; with the push to rapidly release books (I’m talking 4+ books a year, and sometimes wayyyy more than that), the majority of the indie books I read don’t meet my personal threshold for a quality novel. I totally get why indie authors release like this; readers and store algorithms respond well to rapid release, so there’s a lot of money to be made. When voracious romance fans are breathing down your neck for the next book in a series so they can throw money at you, who can blame an author for getting their book to market as swiftly as possible?

But I’m just not personally a fan of these pulp fiction-type books. No matter how cool a story’s premise, flat characters and weak prose will doom a book for me every time. So that’s why I was so happy to finally get a chance to read Hanna Sandvig’s Beauty and the Beast retelling, The Rose Gate.

Sandvig as an author has been on my radar for a while. (Her author Instagram is to die for, and I’m in the mood for Beauty and the Beast retellings, since I’m writing one myself.) The first in a fairy tale romance series, The Rose Gate follows MC Isobel (otherwise known as Bel–get it?) as she accidentally leaves our modern world for Faerie. Of course, there’s a handsome prince, a curse, and lots of fun flirtation.

This book is a strong first entry in Sandvig’s series. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s voice, world-building, the characters, and especially the budding romance between Bel and her faerie beau. I do think the book could have done with another pass by an editor, as there are some punctuation issues and especially run-on sentences, but these lessened as the book went along, and I didn’t find they hindered my enjoyment.

Can I also talk real quick about the production quality behind this book as well? Sandvig designs her own covers, and the paperback edition is gorgeous, including full-spread illustrations also by the author. I’m so glad I picked up the paperback version!

The Rose Gate was a twenty-four hour read that really swept me up–it was the palate cleanser I desperately needed after the disastrous The Sound of Stars. I will definitely be taking a look at Sandvig’s future work!

Also, comment down below–do you have any recommendations for other books by indie authors? I’m always on the hunt!

Fairy Tale Romance: My Passionate Love Affair With Eloisa James’s Books

Those of you who have been around a while might know that I’m on a quest of sorts to get to know the romance genre better. I was pretty sure that Eloisa James would be an author whose style I’d like, so with that in mind, I picked up some of her fairy tale-inspired romances.

Oh. My. God. I can’t get enough of them. I never used to really understand the addictive nature of the romance genre, but I get it now. So I thought I’d give some quick reviews for the three I’ve read so far. I will undoubtedly be reading more from James in the near future, and I recommend her books for anyone who is interested in the genre but isn’t exactly sure where to start. Just so you know, these are all very loose fairy tale retellings—they have a fairly whimsical tone and are not at all fantasy.

The Duke Is Mine is inspired by “The Princess and the Pea.” Just like in the original tale, the heroine arrives at a manor one stormy night soaked through to the bone. In James’s version, her destined duke greets her at the door and is immediately wildly attracted to her—a sodden gown clinging to every curve will do that. 😉 Too bad she’s engaged to a simpleton and is really only visiting the duke’s estate as her sister’s chaperone; it’s the sister who is being tested as the possible duchess-to-be.

I really liked this book; the female MC is sassy yet honorable. I’m a sucker for sister relationships in stories, and this one is really cute. It also handles neurological disorders in a sensitive, sensible matter. The duke love interest has an Asperger’s-like disorder, and the MC’s betrothed, who is mentally handicapped due to a temporary loss of oxygen at birth, is depicted respectfully. Out of the three here, I’d say this book is great for a first impression of James’s work.


Once Upon a Tower is of course inspired by the tale of Rapunzel. Of the three books of James that I’ve read, this one is the most “realistic.” The female and male MC are both quite young and sexually inexperienced. The chemistry between them is very strong, but when they get married, their inexperience in the bedroom introduces major tension into the relationship; I don’t know that I’ve ever read a more realistic and raw depiction of a young couple’s sexual struggles. I even read their first unfortunate sexcapade out loud to my husband. His response? “Oh, damn.

So this is a more serious read than the other two here, and it will really pull at your heart strings. I’d also recommend it to any classical music fans out there; the female MC is an expert cellist, and James has really done her homework in this department.


I’m not sure exactly how to put this in a blog-appropriate manner. Umm… When Beauty Tamed the Beast threw me into a strong romantic tizzy. I knew, in a clinical sort of way, that romance books had the ability to do that—but didn’t ever really expect it to happen to me.

Well, we all get proven wrong sometimes. This is a book that will please female readers and indirectly please their romantic partners. You catch my drift? ;D I’d give this ten out of five stars if I could.


Have you read any great romance books lately? Do you tend more towards contemporary, historical, or paranormal? Leave your recommendations down below!