Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Better to See You by Kate SeRine
Series: Transplanted Tales #2
Published by Kensington Books on March 2022
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Once upon a time, a spell went awry and Make Believe characters were cast into the ordinary world. And the results aren’t always happily ever after…
Everyone thinks fairy godmothers can do no wrong. But if not for a certain spell mis-cast by Lavender Seelie, Cinderella’s former fairy godmother, the Tales would not be stuck in the Here and Now. Fortunately for Lavender, she’s about to get a second chance at a happy ending…
The Refuge, a sanctuary for wayward Tales, seems like the perfect place for Lavender to start a new life—especially when she discovers an unexpected ally in Seth, the brooding werewolf who’s been typecast as a villain ever since his run in with Little Red Riding Hood. But when humans from nearby towns start turning up dead, their bodies mutilated with archaic Tale symbols, Lavender wonders if Seth’s deep sensuality has blinded her to the truth. And that distraction could put innocent lives in danger. Including her own
The Big Bad Wolf and Cinderella’s godmother responsible for accidentally sending some Tales into the real world might not seem like a likely couple. The Better To See You, the second book in the Transplanted Tales series, is about two people/tales, who mostly hated by others need to find a way to forgive themselves and trust someone else.
Transplanted Tales puts a bunch of storybook characters into real world. Much like the show Once Upon a Time, they are slightly different stories from the ones we know and we get unusual pairings when they are all thrown together. Told from Lavender’s (Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother) PoV we get to see a recovering fairy alcoholic just trying to figure out her life. She is done with the not so charming Charmings and needs a place to lay low until the fallout of what she did to expose their not so perfect life dies down. Off to the Refuge where tales go to rebuild their lives and Seth the Wolf from Red Riding Hood is holding up.
Lavender and Seth might seem like an odd pairing but honestly both have been through some pretty big challenges and made mistakes they need to forgive themselves for. No one is harder on you than you. When they finally start talking to one another, it is clear how much they have in common and why they can start to learn to trust the other person. I mean who is going to understand being hated better than someone who also went through that.
Besides the growing romance, there is someone in the town killing off ordinary people and a few tales have gone missing. Lavender and Seth have seemed to have fallen into the middle of this mystery and someone or something is trying to scare them off. As they work together to figure out what is happening in this little town of misfit tales, they will grow to care both for the place they are in and each other.
I really liked Seth’s origin story. It made a lot more sense why he struggled so much to let Red in and why he made certain choices in his life. Lavender getting her confidence back a little at a time and with it her fairy magic was also nice. Sometimes it is easier to believe in yourself when someone else believes in you first. I enjoyed The Better to See You even more than Red as I felt like the author was finding a good blend with the characters, the plot and the pacing.
The Better to See You
Along Came A Spider
Better Watch Out (Fall 2022)
It was over.
I was going to be torn apart here in the middle of nowhere by some winged demon dog. I’d never get the chance to start over. I’d never get the chance to prove I was more than just a colossal failure in every regard—as a daughter, as a woman, as a fairy.
I couldn’t believe my unbelievably shitty luck.
Shaking violently from the pain wracking my body, I lay there, the raindrops mixing with my tears as I sobbed and watched helplessly as pine needles gathered together, creating a thick rope that wound itself around my arms and torso, pinning me to the ground.
Briefly, I wondered how people would remember me after I was gone. Would they speak the name Lavender Seelie and think of the fairy godmother who’d once wielded almost unparalleled power and skill? Or would they remember only the screwed-up fairy who’d ruined their lives when that same power had betrayed her?
After several agonizing moments, I finally heard the creature leap across the ravine and snapped out of my last-minute pity party, fear and panic once more flooding my veins.
There was no point in trying to summon my magic now—it had deserted me, that was pretty freaking clear. I just hoped like hell my death would be quick.
The creature prowled toward me, its massive bulk a mercifully indistinct silhouette, and I swear I thought I heard it chuckle, the sound sending chills down my spine. Then from behind me came the whisper-soft padding of paws on the underbrush. In the next instant, a great white wolf leaped over me and slammed into the shadow-creature. The two rolled end-over-end in a tangle of claws and teeth, coming to rest with the wolf on top, its lips peeled back in a vicious snarl.
I turned my head to get a better look just in time to see the wolf grab the creature’s throat in its teeth. The beast’s howl ended abruptly as the wolf gave a powerful shake of its head, tearing out a large section of demon dog’s throat.
The wolf flung the chunk of flesh into the underbrush then cautiously padded toward me, its head down between its shoulders, sizing me up. As it came closer, I realized it wasn’t an ordinary timber wolf. This animal was easily twice the size of any wolf I’d ever seen and had a distinctly human intelligence shining in its eyes.
I didn’t stand a chance.
It bit through the pine needle rope and shook its head, scattering the needles all over the ground. The rest of the needles instantly fell away, and the trees halted their brutal assault.
I raised a bloody, trembling hand, not sure if I’d just exchanged one predator for another. “Please,” I managed to gasp between the quick, shallow breathes that were all my punctured lung would now allow. “Please…”
In response, a soft shimmering light encased the wolf, and where the beautiful creature had stood, now crouched a man, his ice-green eyes still glowing. As he gently lifted me into his arms, I cried out, pain engulfing me.
“It’s all right,” he said softly, cradling me against him. “You’re safe now.”
I looked up into the grim face of my rescuer, now recognizing him. How could I not when I’d seen his face on Wanted posters and in the Tale news so often over the centuries?
As pain and nausea sent me careening toward a dark abyss, his name drifted to me:
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Lovely review. Thanks for joining the blog tour.
They have been fun books.
[…] Books of My Heart (review) […]
I do enjoy good fairy tale retelling. Terrific review.
Me too. I am having fun with all the different characters interacting with one another.
I am intrigued! Thanks for sharing!
If you ever watched Once Upon a Time this has a similar set up of new background into the characters and multiple characters from different genres hanging out together.
I really do like the sound of this series. I will have to try to pick it up at some point.
My only complaint is there is not audiobook for it. I love my audios
I really enjoyed this series when I did read it a while ago
It has been so much fun really. Great to have a bunch of characters you know interacting with one another.
Great review! I also really enjoyed this unlikely pair – as you said, Seth’s origin story was really well done. And Lavender was (for me) a surprise – I just really loved her. I’m enjoying this series so much!
Lavender was a surprise as you said. I liked her so much.
HAPPY SERIES ANNIVERSARY, Kate! I love the Transplanted Tales!
Little Miss Muffet is next and that should be a lot of fun too.
This sounds like a really interesting read!