Size Doesn’t Matter (150): A Matter of Class; Grimm Tales for Young and Old; The Book of Three

I received this book for free from Library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (150): A Matter of Class; Grimm Tales for Young and Old; The Book of ThreeA Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
Published by Carroll & Graf on December 29, 2009
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 208
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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four-stars

Just in time for Valentine's Day, from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh comes yet another classic historical tale that sizzles with romance and unforgettable drama.

Reginald Mason is wealthy, refined, and, by all accounts, a gentleman. However, he is not a gentleman by title, a factor that pains him and his father within the Regency society that upholds station over all else. That is, until an opportunity for social advancement arises, namely, Lady Annabelle Ashton. Daughter of the Earl of Havercroft, a neighbor and enemy of the Mason family, Annabelle finds herself disgraced by a scandal, one that has left her branded as damaged goods. Besmirched by shame, the earl is only too happy to marry Annabelle off to anyone willing to have her.

Though Reginald Mason, Senior, wishes to use Annabelle to propel his family up the social ladder, his son does not wish to marry her, preferring instead to live the wild, single life he is accustomed to. With this, Reginald Senior serves his son an ultimatum: marry Annabelle, or make do without family funds. Having no choice, Reginald consents, and enters into a hostile engagement in which the prospective bride and groom are openly antagonistic, each one resenting the other for their current state of affairs while their respective fathers revel in their suffering.

So begins an intoxicating tale rife with dark secrets, deception, and the trials of love—a story in which very little is as it seems.

I wish I could remember just where I heard about this book so that I could thank that person for recommending A Matter of Class. This romance novella is cute and clever, and I have a need to read ALL of the Mary Balogh ASAP.

What impressed me most here was the plotting. That’s a fairly rare thing to say in a romance novel review, because they’re generally pretty light and formulaic on plot (which I really don’t mean as a diss, because often the ones that try to plot don’t do the ship justice or go to dark for my romance tests). Balogh does a clever back and forth timeline and brings everything to a very satisfying and adorable conclusion. View Spoiler »

Because of it’s brevity, I didn’t get the feels quite as much as I might have hoped, but I enjoyed this one a ton and couldn’t put it down. There’s something sort of Swan Princess-y about the ship, and it’s just so cute. The sex scene wasn’t that great either, but that could be due to the fact that there wasn’t much time for set up. I’ll be curious to try a full-length novel from Balogh and compare.

Balogh could very easily be a new favorite romance author, and I look forward to trying many more!

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Size Doesn’t Matter (150): A Matter of Class; Grimm Tales for Young and Old; The Book of ThreeGrimm Tales for Young and Old by Philip Pullman
Narrator: Samuel West
Length: 10 hrs, 23 mins
Published by AudioGO on July 23, 2013
Genres: Nonfiction, Fairy Tales
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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two-half-stars

In this enchanting selection of fairy tales, award–winning author Philip Pullman presents his fifty favorite stories from the Brothers Grimm in a “clear as water” retelling, making them feel fresh and unfamiliar with his dark, distinctive voice.

From the otherworldly romance of classics such as “Rapunzel”, “Snow White”, and “Cinderella” to the black wit and strangeness of such lesser–known tales as “The Three Snake Leaves”, “Hans–my–Hedgehog”, and “Godfather Death”, Pullman captures the appeal that has held the imagination of children and adults alike for centuries. In his introduction, he discusses why these stories have lasted so long, and become part of our collective storytelling imagination. Pullman's Grimm Tales of wicked wives, brave children, and villainous kings will have you listening again and again for many years to come.

As I imagine most readers will, I picked Grimm Tales for Young and Old up because it was by Philip Pullman. However, be aware that there’s not much of the Pullman about this collection, aside from the introduction. Grimm Tales for the Young and Old is a recitation of the classic fairy tales, not so much retellings.

Pullman describes them as “clear as water” retellings, which basically means he’s trying to get to the most basic forms of the tales. This also means that you could look them up on the internet and get about the same experience; it’s the same sort of idea as Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. I just don’t love this as a concept, because those tales are easily accessible now, and what readers are looking for is the spin these talented authors will put on the stories.

Also, without retelling them and building them out, the fairy tales are pretty hard to listen to back to back to back. There’s not a lot of variety to fairy tales. I love fairy tale retellings a lot, but the originals are clear morality tales in most guesses and sexist to the degree they can be difficult to enjoy. It was interesting to revisit original fairy tales since I haven’t done that since high school, but I’d hoped for more.

Don’t read this for retellings, and maybe don’t read it all in one go, but, if you want to revisit some classic fairy tales in basic form, Grimm Tales for Young and Old might work for you.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Size Doesn’t Matter (150): A Matter of Class; Grimm Tales for Young and Old; The Book of ThreeThe Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Narrator: James Langton
Length: 4 hrs, 56 mins
Series: The Chronicles of Prydain #1
Published by Listening Library on March 24, 2004
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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one-half-stars

Taran wanted to be a hero, and looking after a pig wasn't exactly heroic, even though Hen Wen was an oracular pig. But the day that Hen Wen vanished, Taran was led into an enchanting and perilous world. With his band of followers, he confronted the Horned King and his terrible Cauldron-Born. These were the forces of evil, and only Hen Wen knew the secret of keeping the kingdom of Prydain safe from them. But who would find her first?

With most classics, even if I’m not into them, I get it. There’s something masterful there, and I can see why people are still going back year after year. There are exceptions (The Catcher in the Rye and Jude the Obscure to name a couple), and there seem to be even more bafflement-inducing classics in children’s fiction. I cannot begin to understand why people still read The Chronicles of Prydain.

Maybe if I’d read The Book of Three when I was seven and had never read any other fantasy, especially The Lord of the Rings, from which Alexander clearly took a great deal of inspiration. I mean, Gurgi is so clearly the Smeagol part of Gollum only massively annoying. I wanted to claw my ears out during any scene he was in.

The plot is literally tracking down an oracular pig (aka pig oracle) because she knows the secret to defeat the bad guy of the book. And she just knows his true name. My god, I rolled my eyes so hard I’m surprised they didn’t fall out. Though, I did realize that the cauldron weapon in this might be SJM’s inspiration in ACOTAR, so that did make me laugh a lot and is maybe worth the five hours I’ll never get back. Basically the only thing of any interest is the baby middle grade ship, but that’s not enough to keep me here.

James Langton tries so hard to make this book interesting, but it’s really just not. Sorry not sorry if this was a childhood favorite. You do you. And maybe don’t reread as an adult because OOF.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (150): A Matter of Class; Grimm Tales for Young and Old; The Book of Three”

  1. I don’t think I’ve actually read any Balogh but that one is now officially on my TBR!
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