Spinning Tales by Brey WillowsSpinning Tales by Brey Willows is a fantasy, a thriller, and a romance all rolled into one magnificent book. It’s a lesson in trusting what the universe throws your way and how inside each of us is a hero just waiting for the right adventure.

Maggie McShay has always felt that she was destined for something big, something other than a disposable job and a lousy apartment.

One of her guilty pleasure is reading the peculiar personal ads in the newspaper over her morning coffee. One day, on a lark, she answers a want ad for someone to take care of a fairy tale cottage. There’s nothing odd about that, right? It turns out the position was made to order and she soon discovers that she is not who she has always believed she was.

Reluctant fairy tale shepherd and New York playgirl, Kody Wilk is there to help Maggie return to the magical world of her birth and take on the villains who are threatening to upend the fairy tale world and take over New York City at the same time.

It’s up to Maggie to save both worlds. Can she rise to the occasion and destroy a power-hungry villain? More importantly, can she do all that, win the shepherd of her dreams and find her own happily ever after?

The Characters

Both Maggie and Kody are wonderfully written. Their characters are so layered, they honestly feel like people I might meet in my own mundane life. Of course, they’re better looking and more charismatic, but that’s beside the point. And mercy, the chemistry between these two is electric and that is no exaggeration. I’m talking Tesla coil kind of electric.

Maggie is everything. She’s a main character who doesn’t wallow in her backstory and she displays an emotional range that I don’t always see in lesfic. When she finds herself staring at a future that is truly overwhelming she is both excited and apprehensive. She moves through her new world with a child-like wonder, yet she remains grounded, understanding the gravity of her new role. Most importantly, Maggie has the sensitivity to question the moral ramifications of her powerful status, yet she takes care of business with the badassery of a superhero. (Yes, badassery is now a word.) Like I said, Maggie is everything.

Kody is the essential butch main character who you can’t help but fall for. She has just enough angst lurking behind her brooding eyes to tug at your heart and keep her unattainable. However, there is a playful side to her that keeps her from seeming morose and her obvious attraction to Maggie gave me hope that she would overcome the demons from her past. Her most attractive quality is that she never acts as if Maggie can’t take care of herself. Kody is there to support, and counsel Maggie and she treats Maggie as her equal.

The Writing Style

Willows has outdone herself in creating a fantasy world that is wholly unique, yet oddly familiar if you’ve ever read classic fairy tales. Her wonderful descriptions allowed me to vividly see the landscape of this fairy tale world. I enjoyed coming across familiar characters who were given more depth than the original one-dimensional counterparts I grew up reading about. Willows explores the “what-ifs” about characters I’ve always taken for granted with humor and compassion.

The pacing of the story reminded me of a Beethoven symphony. (I know, you’re thinking, “Did she just go there?”) There is a sense of urgency to the story that slowly builds, interspersed with interludes of quiet reflection until the tale crests at its natural crescendo. Even though saving two worlds is serious stuff, the journey is peppered with subtle sarcasm and bits of witty business that keep the story from becoming overly intense.

The Pros

Spinning tales is populated with wonderful side characters. Most notable are Maggie’s cat, Blech and Brenda, the doorperson at the magical apartment building Maggie moves into. Blech is full of surprises and Brenda brings a wonderful optimism to some of the more extreme situations in the story.

I also enjoyed being exposed to fairy tales that I had never heard of from other parts of the world. It’s like I got a cultural history class for free.

victorias favourite booksJeannie's Favourite BooksThe Cons

This isn’t necessarily a con, it’s just me being me. I would have like a few more sex scenes. Call me superficial if you must, but I think Maggie and Kody deserved a bit more sexy time. However, I recognize that sex takes a back seat to saving the world.

The Conclusion

Loved it! Once again, Willows has written an amazing novel that satisfied me on every level. Spinning Tales felt like the story I’ve always been waiting and hoping for and it was beyond entertaining. Both Maggie and Kody are iconic main characters, and this fairy tale world is populated with fanciful characters that felt absolutely relatable. The plot kept me reading when I should have been doing things like laundry or work and the writing displays great emotional depth and a whip smart sense of humor. Take me at my word and add this to your library, now. You can thank me with gifts of chocolate and gourmet coffee.

Excerpt from Spinning Tales by Brey Willows

Maggie let out a long breath. “So, let’s recap, shall we? One, someone just tried to kill me by sending me off a cliff during a storm. Two, we have to go to a place where we might be surrounded by enemies to look for…something. Three, we can’t head home until I’ve found that something, and four, the world is depending on us.” She looked up at Kody and swallowed against the panic. “That cover it?”

Kody nodded. “Yeah, I think so. I mean, you left out the other stuff. You know, catch bad guys who have gone into the other world, stop the reign of terror of the bad guys here, and figure out who is pulling the strings and why even the baddest of the badass villains here are afraid of them…but yeah, I think you covered it.”

Maggie began to laugh, and once she started, she couldn’t stop. Tears ran down her face as she laughed and cried at the same time.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781635553148
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Brey Willows Online  

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About the author

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Victoria is a native of Southern California where she lives with her fantastic family. Victoria traded in a career in the television and film industry to become a speech therapist to work with special needs kiddos like her younger daughter. Her passions include film history, Cate Blanchett, neckties, dismantling the patriarchy, and Cate Blanchett. She doesn’t eat mushrooms because they are gross and She prefers dark over milk chocolate. Victoria never leaves the house without her Kindle and she will work for books.