The best books of fairytale retellings with a twist

Who am I?

I’ve always loved fairytales. What little girl with a growing romantic heart doesn’t? By the time I was eight, I told people I was Cinderella because of all the work I did at home. An exaggeration, even for the oldest child, but still. My first prom dress, during a year I won’t mention, was reminiscent of Cinderella’s blue ballgown. As I became a writer myself, I noticed my stories held themes I learned from fairytales. Love, loyalty, courage, and a dose of magic. I simply add space or aliens to the mix.


I wrote...

Fade Into Me

By Charity Bradford,

Book cover of Fade Into Me

What is my book about?

A modern-day fairytale with a science fiction twist. Aliens live among us. Their purpose: to protect and nurture their greatest mistake—mankind.


Abhithian. Caedan doesn’t believe humans will evolve to see the magic, much less control it. Even so, he has two months to marry one or face the wrath of the High Council. Bitter about a responsibility he thinks prevents him from marrying for love, he figures any human girl will do. Then his soul mate stumbles into—and right out of—his arms.

Human. Ryanne might be Caedan’s one shot at happiness while still fulfilling his duty. Unfortunately, she’s determined to push Caedan away to protect him from her past and a dark secret.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Enchantment: A Classic Fantasy with a Modern Twist

Charity Bradford Why did I love this book?

This is a beautifully rich retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I love the heaviness of the language that mirrors the Russian folklore our main character, Ivan, is studying. Memories take him home to the Carpathian Forest where he finds a beautiful woman sleeping on a pedestal and guarded by a bear. We cross a thousand years of time to experience Katarina’s world, then flee to the modern (1990’s) world so she can see Ivan’s lifestyle as they hide from the witch who wants them dead. It’s a brilliant way to build a relationship between these two characters who are so different but are forced into marriage. OSC has much to say on relationships and trials. He takes his time weaving a beautiful and complex world to accompany the story.

By Orson Scott Card,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Enchantment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Enchantment, Orson Scott Card works his magic as never before, transforming the timeless story of Sleeping Beauty into an original fantasy brimming with romance and adventure.

The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek's farm.

Now, years later, Ivan is an American graduate student, engaged to be married. Yet he cannot forget that long-ago day…


Book cover of Stitching Snow

Charity Bradford Why did I love this book?

A Snow White who lives on a cold mining planet and often enters the fighting ring to earn cash? What’s not to love? Princess Essie fled her homeworld after the death of her mother, but the new queen isn’t the darkest threat she faced in the palace. She learned to survive by fighting, coding drones on a mining planet, and not trusting anyone. When Dane crash lands on her planet in the search of a lost treasure, she’s pulled into the war she tried so desperately to avoid. There is great world-building, exciting chases, and near escapes.

R.C. Lewis also tackles an ugly truth about child abuse in a way that keeps it real without splaying the guts all over the page. We can’t fix our world if we continue to pretend such things never happen.

By R.C. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stitching Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back-but that's assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot…


Book cover of A Dance of Silver and Shadow

Charity Bradford Why did I love this book?

This is the Twelve Dancing Princesses meets the Hunger Games! It’s a great start to a new series of fairytale retellings that manages to take some well-known stories and make them feel new. All while maintaining that familiar comfort of what we expect from a classic tale. It’s a great weaving of old and new that has you rooting for these princesses and wondering whose story you’ll get to read next.

By Melanie Cellier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dance of Silver and Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

When Princess Liliana and her twin sister set sail for new lands, Lily hopes to find adventure and romance. But the people of Marin live under the shadow of a curse—one powerful enough to destroy entire kingdoms. To protect them all, Lily and eleven other princesses are forced to participate in a mysterious and secret tournament. Lily spends her nights competing in a magical underground realm and her days unraveling the dangers of this new court. Although she needs the help of the Marinese prince, Lily knows she can’t let herself grow too close to him. There’s no time for…


Book cover of Beauty and the Beast

Charity Bradford Why did I love this book?

I love when an author takes a character you think you know and adds layers of depth you never would have imagined. That’s what Shea does with Elle here. We all picture the Disney Belle--smart but with that feeling of needing to be rescued. This Elle is not that kind of beauty. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I really appreciated the heartbreaking strength this woman had. She literally gives everything for her family, and once she knows his heart, Prince Severin.

By K. M. Shea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beauty and the Beast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once upon a time Elle made a mistake.

A small miscalculation sends her through the roof of an enchanted chateau. Stranded until her broken leg mends, Elle is unwillingly forced to rely on the good will of the sour chateau owner —the cursed Prince Severin.

Prince Severin—the commanding general and staunch supporter of his brother the crown prince—is cursed to look like a beast until a maiden falls in love with him. He has given up all hope of shattering the curse, and has only disdain for Elle.

Unfortunately, the pair can’t seem to avoid each other thanks to the…


Book cover of Bellamy and the Brute

Charity Bradford Why did I love this book?

Can you tell Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales to read in all its retellings? This one is set in our modern world. It takes a look at the ugly side of bullying in high school, a murder mystery, ghosts, money extortion, lots of people keeping secrets, and through all of this, two people have to learn to see into each other’s hearts.

By Alicia Michaels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bellamy and the Brute as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she's reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill―including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin's eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness―one that…


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The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

By J.M. Unrue,

Book cover of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

J.M. Unrue Author Of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

New book alert!

Who am I?

I’m an old guy. I say this with a bit of cheek and a certain amount of incongruity. All the books on my list are old. That’s one area of continuity. Another, and I’ll probably stop at two, is that they all deal with ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances—those curveballs of life we flail at with an unfamiliar bat; the getting stuck on the Interstate behind a semi and some geezer in a golf cap hogging the passing lane in a Buick Le Sabre. No one makes it through this life unscathed. How we cope does more to define us than a thousand smiles when things are rosy. Thus endeth the lesson.

J.M.'s book list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do

What is my book about?

The Festival of Sin is a three-story light sci-fi arc about a young boy rescued in 6000 BCE and taken to the home planet of the Hudra. Parts two and three are exploratory excursions. It's a fish-out-of-water series. More than fish-out-of-water. Fish-on-another-planet.

Plus, there are two fantasy stories dealing with people who must overcome "supernatural" circumstances, things well beyond the realm of common understanding. 

The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

By J.M. Unrue,

What is this book about?

The Festival of Sin is a three-story light sci-fi arc about a young boy rescued in 6000 BCE and taken to the home planet of the Hudra. Parts two and three are exploratory excursions. It's a fish-out-of-water series. More than fish-out-of-water. Fish-on-another-planet.

Plus, there are two fantasy stories dealing with people who must overcome "supernatural" circumstances, things well beyond the realm of common understanding. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

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