Book Reviews

Unbirthday Book Review

This was book was my pick for January as part of the #fairytalereadingchallenge. If you missed the post about the challenge, you can check it out here.

About the Book

What if Wonderland was in peril and Alice was very, very late?

Alice is different than other eighteen-year-old ladies in Kexford, which is perfectly fine with her. She’d rather spend golden afternoons with her trusty camera or in her aunt Vivian’s lively salon, ignoring her sister’s wishes that she stop all that “nonsense” and become a “respectable” member of society. Alice is happy to meander to Miss. Yao’s teashop or to visit the children playing in the Square. She’s also interested in learning more about the young lawyer she met there, but just because she’s curious, of course, not because he was sweet and charming.

But when Alice develops photographs she has recently taken about town, familiar faces of old suddenly appear in the place of her actual subjects-the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar. There’s something eerily off about them, even for Wonderland creatures. And as Alice develops a self-portrait, she finds the most disturbing image of all-a badly-injured dark-haired girl asking for Alice’s help. Mary Ann.

Returning to the place of nonsense from her childhood, Alice finds herself on a mission to stop the Queen of Hearts’ tyrannical rule and to find her place in both worlds. But will she able to do so . . . before the End of Time?

My Review

While I enjoyed this book, I did not think it was as good as some of the other books in the Disney Twisted Tale Series. I liked the way it portrayed Alice – an intelligent girl not easily swayed by whatever those around her believed. I loved that she was a photographer, and I liked how the author used Alice’s photography to connect her with Wonderland.

I also like how each Wonderland character had a real world equivalent, and I especially liked Katz.

This book had a fair amount of silliness, which of course is on par with the nonsense of Wonderland, and for a minute I was afraid I was not going to like how the book ended. The ending was unexpected, but satisfactory. However, the book is quite long, right at five hundred pages, and I think some of the silly stuff could have been cut without taking away from the story.

Also, I think I had pretty high expectations for this one after reading and loving Straight on Till Morning so much. It was enjoyable, but not my favorite of the Twisted Tales.

Have you read Unbirthday? What did you think of the book? Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

My 2021 Reading Goals

For this year, I have five main challenges I’m participating in:

  1. The Book-olopy Challenge

This challenge is based on the Monopoly game. There is a printable game board with spaces that have reading prompts. You choose how many books you want to read per month and make that many plays on the board to determine what kind of books you will be reading.

I rolled the dice three times and came up with these three prompts:

*College Corner – I’ll read Freaky in Fresno. *Fae Fairway – I’ll read Whisper. *Retelling – I’ll read Unbirthday.

You can find out all the details about this challenge here.

2. The Unread Shelf Challenge

I have participated in this challenge for the last several years, and the idea is to read unread books from your own shelves. I have a ton of unread books on my shelves, so this challenge is perfect for me.

My first pick for this challenge is Unbirthday by Liz Braswell. You can find all the details about this challenge here.

3. The Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge

The challenge is a little different this year. Instead of having random prompts, you go through some evaluation exercises and create your own list of prompts.

There are also some prompt lists for various types of reading. Since my reading time is my relaxing time, I’ll be checking off the prompts for “Reading for Comfort”, and my first read for this challenge is Little Women.

You can find all the details about this challenge here.

4. The Beachcomber’s Mystery Reading Challenge

The idea behind this challenge is to fill up four “beach bags” (cards with prompts). Each beach bag has a theme: Detectives, Victims, Weapons, and Crime Scenes. As you find each thing from the cards in your books, you mark it off.

My first pick for this challenge is The First to Die.

You can find all the details for this challenge here.

5. The Fairytale Reading Challenge

This is the challenge I am hosting! 🙂 This is a monthly challenge – each month has been assigned a fairytale, and you can read the original fairytale, a retelling(s), or both.

January’s fairytale is Alice in Wonderland. My primary read will be Unbirthday by Liz Braswell, but I would also like to reread the original story as well as Splintered by A. G. Howard and The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. Check out all the details and get a printable bookmark here.

What about you? What reading challenges will you be participating in this year? Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

Introducing the Fairytale Reading Challenge!

For 2021, I am hosting a reading challenge! Since I write and love to read fairytale retellings, I decided to make that the theme for the challenge. 🙂

The challenge is pretty simple. Each month has a fairytale assigned to it, and you can choose any retelling of that fairytale to read for that month, or read the original fairytale. If you are feeling ambitious, you can read both. 🙂

Feel free to share the graphic on social media with #fairytalereadingchallenge. I’ve also created a printable bookmark with all the prompts which you can find below.

I’ll be participating in the #unreadshelfchallenge again this year (more about this to come in another post), and I’ve selected mostly unread books I have on my shelf for this challenge. Here are my picks:

My Picks

January – Unbirthday by Liz Braswell (Alice in Wonderland)

February – A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, Rebel Rose by Emma Thieriault (Beauty and the Beast)

March – Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Peter Pan)

April – Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, The Wish Granter by CJ Redwine (Rumplestiltskin)

May – Entwined by Heather Dixon Wallwork, House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (The Twelve Dancing Princesses)

June – Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan (Sleeping Beauty)

July – Part of Your World by Liz Braswell (The Little Mermaid)

August – Hood by Jenny Elder Moke, Sherwood by Meagan Spooner (Robin Hood)

September – Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George (Red Riding Hood)

October – The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad, The Stolen Kingdom by Bethany Atazedeh (Aladdin)

November – Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (The Frog Prince)

December – Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige, Conceal, Don’t Feel by Jen Calonita (The Snow Queen)

If you’re looking for books to fill a specific prompt, check out the Epic Reads list and the Fairytale Central list for some more options.

What about you? What fairytale retellings are you planning on reading this year? Let me know in the comments!