"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Monday, June 29, 2020

Book Review: Dancing and Doughnuts - by Rachel Kovaciny

Howdy, y'all!

I'm here today to review the second book in Rachel Kovaciny's Once Upon a Western series! I reviewed the first book Cloaked HERE, and she is publishing the third book in July, so I decided that it was high time that I checked out the mystery here. If you couldn't tell, her books are fairytale retellings in a western setting, so no magic! Now that is a true challenge. I hope that you enjoy my review!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free!

Dancing and Doughnuts - by Rachel Kovaciny:
Jedidiah Jones has been drifting ever since the Civil War and is looking for work. Just something that will pay enough to get him through to the next town, but he is willing to work hard. The surprise is all his when he finds some people willing to pay fifty dollars for just solving a mystery. It doesn't seem like it would be too hard to find suspects in such a small town. Now, who would want to hurt the Algonas's dance hall by spiking their cider?
Genre: Western, Fairytale retelling.
"Haul back on them reins a minute, Sheriff."
Characters: 9. This is a retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses, so as you would imagine, there are a lot of characters. What I love about this is that it isn't overwhelming. The main character Jedidiah Jones can't keep track of all of the Algona girls, and that is realistic, because twelve is a huge number! I loved the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers vibe that I got with the names. We get other characters developed besides them, which I really appreciated because I know that with my writing because I know all of my characters I want the audience to know them, too, but it doesn't work that way.
'I wondered why, since she seemed amply able to read minds, she hadn't used her clairvoyance to find the culprit herself.'
My favorites:
Jedidiah Jones: He was such a fun protagonist! Being in his thought was the perfect setting for this story and really got to know him in this short time. Bonus, you should totally picture him as Bobby Darin... just sayin.
Alice Algona: I love her sense! She was down to earth and reasonable and her character was perfect.
Rest of the Algonas: I really liked Clara, and the differences we were able to see between them.
I'm not going to talk about any more of them, you just have to see for yourself!
Words: 9, have I ever mentioned that first person is my favorite point of view? Well, it is. Any guess what, this is first person! Ah, I love it. Jedidiah's narration is so natural, you fall into the story instantly. No bad words at all!
Quotes: 8, 'I had no notion of what I would do next, but sometimes looking like you're busy goes a long way. That had been one of the first things I'd learned as a soldier.'
I can personally tell you, that this is a good piece of advice. It's taken me awhile to learn it, but it goes a long way.
Content: 10, there are some mild fights and characters get intoxicated. Both are shown as not good, and is perfectly clean!
Originality: 9, ah, this story! Everything about it was so creative, and it is just brimming with fairytale elements, all without the magic! Such a neat plot. I thought that I saw where it was going, but I was only partially correct!
Good For: Fairytale lovers, western lovers.
Age Range: Absolutely all and any ages!
Overall Score: 9!
"I know it's twelve to one, but I've been outnumbered before and lived to tell about it."
Bonus thoughts:
This was a rollicking good time! I'm so glad that I read it, even though it took me a while. I had been in a little reading ditch (do you like that term? I just came up with it) and this was so refreshing.

There you go! I recommend this to all of you! Now it's your turn to settle down and talk: what is your favorite fairytale and one of its retellings? Have any of you read this?

Thanks for reading my review! Stay safe and healthy. Happy trails!



  1. This sounds like a really good one! I enjoyed Cloaked a lot, and I'm hoping to read this one soon, but the library is taking forever to buy it for kindle...

    1. If you liked Cloaked, you'll love this! Oh, I feel your pain on waiting for your library to get books! It seems like I'm always waiting for some book or movie.

  2. OOH! This sounds really good!
    (Also I LOVE THE NEW HEADER. IDK how long you've had it because I'm kind of bad at reading people's posts...*cries* BUT SO CUTE!)

    1. Oh, it is!
      (Aw, thanks MK! :D My sister made it for me and I've only had it up for a few weeks. And psst, I'm bad at reading posts, too, so no worries!)

  3. Oh, I always want to read these books, they sound delicious...but this sounds REALLY delicious. I love The Twelve Dancing Princesses! It's one of my favorite fairy tales and I've always wanted to retell it. And first person narration is my favorite too! (High five, for we are outnumbered and must stick together.) And fairy tale retellings in historical settings without magic are the BEST! It's so cool to see how creative the author is with it. My favorite fairy tale retelling, The Perilous Gard, does the same thing with Tam Lin (one of my favorite fairy tales), where there's no magic (although in Tudor England, rather than the American West), and it's so creative and I adore it!

    1. Right! I can't believe that it took me this long to read it because I love fairytale retellings plus mysteries are my jam! I'm also looking forward to her Snow White retelling which released today. (High five back at ya, my fellow first person enthusiast! It is such an immersive writing style, I love it. <3) Oh, The Perilous Gard sounds simply fascinating! I need it now, please and thank you. Exactly, writing these the authors really need to get artistic, and they do!

  4. It's a blast right! And leaves you craving doughnuts.

    1. Absolutely! Even for people who don't like sweets, it makes you want them. :)


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