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Jersey Shore, United States
In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

August Meeting of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse

Hey All! It's the last Friday of the month, and that means it's time once again for the Cephalopod Coffeehouse. This wonderful group is hosted by The Armchair Squid, and if you are interested in joining or finding out more, go take a peek at his blog to sign up and/or gather more info.


This month, I'd like to discuss Far, Far Away, by Tom McNeal. I was drawn to this book because I am a huge fan of Grimm's Fairy Tales. If you looked on my nightstand right  now, you'd find a very worn copy sitting there. (It's actually the  second hard cover copy I've had to purchase since the first's spine ripped straight away I read it so often.) What does Far, Far Away have to do with Grimm's Fairy Tales, you ask?  The main character, one that's most unfortunately named Jeremy Johnson Johnson, is haunted by the ghost of one of the brothers Grimm, Jacob Grimm, to be exact.

I may be partial to my copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales but that hasn't stopped me from reading any other fairy tales I can get my hands on in any way, shape or form they are presented. Writing modern day fairy tales is no easy feat, but I believe McNeal is successful in his attempt with Far, Far Away. That having been said, I'm not entirely certain I would have loved this book quite as much, if it weren't for the ghostly presence and influence of one Mr. Jacob Grimm. His ability to whisper in Jeremy's ear and impart his snarky, ancient German wisdom and idioms, were the key to this book's success, in my mind's eye. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from evil and reminding him repeatedly to remember his "studies". Jacob knows studying and getting a quality education is the key to what Johnson desires more than anything else, to get out of  the heck out of the town of Never Better.

Never Better is a modern town that has electronics at it's disposal like cell phones and television yet, it remains the kind of small town that is ultimately timeless. Old habits, prejudices and customs die hard in Never Better. It provides the perfect setting for this dark fairy tale.

Although he tries his corporal best, Jacob Grimm can't protect Jeremy from everything. And he immediately smells trouble when the unpredictable Ginger Boultinghouse takes a liking to Jeremy. Especially since her interest in him just happens to spike when she takes her first bite of a Prince cake that only the Never Better bakery can produce, and is reportedly so delicious it’s thought  to be bewitched. Jeremy's own mother was rumored to have fallen under the very same spell of the cakes, when she ran off with another man, leaving Jeremy and his father to fend for themselves. I don't like to include too many spoilers in my reviews, so I'd like leave the rest of the plot twists here a mystery.

This book does contain an overall creepy, dark theme (like a lot of fairy tales) but is in no way overtly scary or demented. It's perfectly appropriate for anyone aged twelve and up.  There is a fair amount of humor and sarcasm brilliantly woven into the ethereal voice of Jacob Grimm that I just adored and don't think any Grimm fan should miss out on.  Overall, I really enjoyed this fairy tale and would give it a four out of a five star rating.        

What's the best book you read this month?  Anyone else a huge fan of the Brother's Grimm? What's your favorite fairy tale? Interested in joining the Cephalopod Coffeehouse? Don't forget to stop by The Armchair Squid's blog and check it out!

41 comments:

  1. If it's creepy and dark, then it fits the mold of a Grimm's fairy tale.

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    1. It is a really cool modern fairy tale with a throw back vibe to the likes of Grimm's. Of course, it helps that Jacob Grimm is part of this story. I really enjoyed his voice. It was supremely well written.

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  2. I do love a good dark fairytale. Have a great long weekend! :)

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    1. Oh you too Christine!! Have wonderful long weekend. I can't wait to kick back and relax.

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  3. I loved all of Grimm's tales when young, and like them even better now.

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    1. YAY! Another Grimm's fan. For a writing challenge, I wrote a modern version of Maid Maleen. It's back a ways in my blog list, but it was SO fun to do. One of my favorite writing exercised EVER. Give it a read if you get a chance and let me know what you think!!

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  4. This sounds interesting, although I don't do horror your recommendation of it being not overly scary makes me more inclined to give it a go.

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    1. Sally- I am sure you could handle it. I tend to be a big fat chicken, and scare easy. This was not super scary. A little creepy- but not bad at all. Certainly not compared to what's normally out there. My eleven year old daughter was able to read it. No problem.

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  5. Oooooooooooooooooooooooh! I haven't heard of this one, but it definitely goes on my to-read list. I love his name, and also the town being called "Never Better." Yay for modern fairy tales!

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    1. It has a really cool throw-back vibe to the old Grimm's Fairy Tales that I just loved. Hope you get a chance to read and enjoy this!

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  6. Love fairy tales, have several collections of my own. Sounds like a great tale although I've never thought about a favorite - now I will! So these sweet cakes only affect the women? Hmm, wonder if I could get a few! Great review!

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    1. LOL!! No, they affect everyone- not just women. The spell is supposed to be that whoever the first person you look at after taking your very first bite of Prince cake, you would fall helplessly in love with. Male or Female.

      Thanks so much for stopping in Yolanda!!

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  7. I have a nice chunky volume of the Grimm's fairytales that I've read through only because I'd love to write a retelling one day. Not sure which, though.

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    1. Oh, you should. You would totally rock that!! I did Maid Maleen- which was one of my shorter favorites. There are so many great ones to choose from.

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  8. I also love fairy tales and recently read one from my fellow authors which is remarkable. I read 4 books while on vacation recently and I thoroughly enjoyed, 'The Girl Who Chased the Moon.'

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    1. Hey Cathrina! Welcome to the Bird's Nest- I'm glad I'm not the only fairy tale fangirl!! And you sound just like me: I always take at least four or five books on vacation. I will have to check out The Girl Who Chased the Moon.

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  9. Are you kidding? I love the Grimm's. I'm so excited that fairytale retellings have become such a trend, because they ROCK!

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    1. YAY!! Another Grimm fangirl- I'm loving it.

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  10. Nothing like a dark fairy tale! They make one shiver and then relax as evil takes a hit.

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    1. This is a great one. I really enjoyed how McNeal wrote the voice of Jacob Grimm. It was so unique and well done.

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  11. I love me a good fairy tale! Haven't read one in a while must add to TBR list.

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    1. Oh this was a good one Suzanne. I think you'd really enjoy it. It was dark, but not too scary. Very good throw back to the original fairy tales and I really liked it.

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  12. I'm a big fan of fairy tales, and that books sounds really good! Do you like the show, Once Upon a Time?

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    1. You know I've never watched Once Upon A Time but you are the second person who told me to watch it. A girl I know from church told me it is so good and I would love it. Right now, I watch Grimm and am loving that.

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  13. I am reading Divergent right now and love it. I love the show Grimm. I guess one I enjoy a lot is the one about the shoe maker and the elves.

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    1. DIVERGENT!! Oh my gosh I loved that book. Such a great read. And I also love Grimm the TV show. Especially Monroe. He is such an awesome character and a favorite in my house. There are so many Grimm's tales to choose from it's ridiculous. They are all amazing- but I was always fond of the elves and the shoemaker too.

      Have a great weekend Brandon!!

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  14. Sounds like a good read. I'm currently reading a netgalley copy of Gated by Amy C. Parker. Grimm is a also a great TV show, can't wait for the new season.

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    1. I can't wait for the new season of Grimm, especially how they left off. What will happen to Nick? Argh!!

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  15. Yes, I am another HUGE fan of the Brothers Grimm! And I do enjoy reboots of those stories. My kids and I are currently enjoying "Cinder," by Marissa Meyer, about a cyborg Cinderella: you might enjoy that one. Thanks for this recommendation ... I will have to check it out!

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    1. Hey Stephanie!! Thanks for the recommendation but you are a few books too late, LOL. I just read Cinder and you are quite right because I really enjoyed it. I also liked the sequel and all of Meyer's other fairy tale retellings. She is awesome!

      I hope you enjoy Far, Far, Away as much as I did!! Seems like you and I have the same tastes. :)

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  16. I'm most definitely a fan of the Brothers Grimm! This sounds like such a fascinating book. Methinks I'll have to add it to my wishlist. :)

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    1. I think you would really like it Heather! Let me know what you think.

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  17. My favorite fairy tale? I love "The Ugly Duckling." I know that one's Hans Christian Andersen rather than Grimm but it's very dear to me. Let's just say I've got a lot of sympathy for the late bloomers of the world.

    Fairy tales definitely seem to be in these days. You mentioned the Grimm show in one of your comments. My wife and daughter are fans of Once Upon a Time. I can't say I care for either but not because I don't appreciate the concept.

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    1. Aw, The Ugly Duckling is a fairy tale I can relate to for sure. I've never seen Once Upon a Time, but I am hearing great things about it today. I do watch Grimm but I have to not compare it to any of the original stories; the plot has really no relation to the originals.

      Thanks again for hosting! Loving this Coffeehouse.

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    2. The idea of sparking new interest in old stories is always a good thing. Art endures for good reason.

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  18. This book sounds fabulous! One of my favorite current TV shows is Once Upon a Time, w/ fun and often darkish twists on fairy tales. Love humor and sarcasm in a book - is one of my top requirements.

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    1. Hi Nicki!! Sounds like you would really like the voice of Jacob Grimm in this story- let me know how you like it, if you give it a go.

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  19. Thanks for pointing out a book that I never would have found on my own. :-)

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    1. I'm so glad you like my recommendation. I hope you get a chance to read this book. Let me know if you do and what you think!!

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  20. Funny you should mention Grimm, as I talked about Grimm in my latest post, albeit very briefly. :) I am reading the Grimm fairytales too, but I have been since probably 2011. Or maybe even 2009. haha. I really need to get my act together there.

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    1. Hi Trisha!! That's the beauty of Grimm's they can be read all at once, or one at a time- very slowly. LOL In any event, as long as you are reading, to me, that's the best part :)

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