I've tried a couple more fantasy novels for the Once Upon a Time challenge. Each is a part of a series, but I won't pursue either. There will be plenty of people to love these books, but neither truly engaged my interest.
Daughter of Time by Sarah Woodbury is a time travel novel in which the protagonist Meg gets transported to 13th century Wales and meets Llewellyn ap Gruffydd, the last (Welsh) prince of Wales. There are a lot of implausible elements (I've never met a time travel novel that doesn't have some), and some of them could easily have been avoided.
If you want an Outlander light, you will enjoy the book. In spite of the implausible factors and the modern language Llewellyn occasionally uses, the novel was a quick read, more entertaining for the historical elements than the story itself.
The sense of danger and possibility of betrayal by even members of a family, the inclusion of real battles and skirmishes, and the complicated political landscape were interesting. Of course, then I did a little research to separate fact and fiction.
This book is actually a prequel to the alternate history series that Woodbury wrote about what might have occurred if LLewellyn had not died at Cilmeri.
Fantasy/Time Travel/Historic Fiction. 2011. Print version: 352 pages.
The Wretched of Muiwood by Jeff Wheeler is a fantasy set in a medieval world, the first in a series.
An orphan raised in an Abbey, Lia is a Wretched and a kitchen servant. The explanation of treating orphans as Wretched didn't work all that well. Lia's dream is to learn to read and write, but the Abbot will not allow it. When a young squire is delivered to the Abbey kitchen where Lia works, she saves the young man's life.
The first part of the book was pretty good, but when the adventures started, instead of becoming more interesting, the book became too coincidental, too predictable. The characters development--well, they started off fairly interesting, but the didn't really develop and became sort of pawns for the action. I also had trouble with the magic system, which was too vague and felt forced.
The book ends in a cliff hanger, but I didn't care enough about either the characters or the plot to invest in the next installment.
Fantasy. 2013. Print version: 300 pages.