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!

My Stories

Once Upon A Time… (Part 3)

And here is the final installment in my fairy tale for Fairy Tale Day. If you missed the first two parts, you can find them here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 3

The next morning, Maria reached into the SATCHEL she had packed and pulled out the lovely new dress the medicine woman had given her. A deep purple with golden roses embroidered across the dress, it was finer than any anything Maria had ever owned.

“We can’t have our princess looking like a peasant,” the old woman had said.

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After she was dressed, Maria went out and found the medicine woman. Today they were going to find Edward’s real parents. They rode out to the very edge of the castle grounds where a tiny cottage stood up against the wall.

At first, Maria thought there was no way in, for all she could see where great GREEN bushes. But when they got a little closer, she could see a simple wooden DOOR. Once they reached the door, the medicine woman dismounted.

“Wait here,” she told Maria. She went and knocked on the door. It opened just a crack, and then the medicine woman disappeared behind it.

After what seemed like forever, the medicine woman came out. She smiled and nodded at Maria before climbing onto her horse.

As they headed back to the castle, Maria admired the beautiful LANDSCAPE, all green and bright, with the castle rising up from it like a shimmering jewel. She couldn’t believe she was the true heir to it all.

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That night the king held a grand party. All the nobles of the land were there. The villagers gathered their instruments and entered the ballroom to play. They had only finished one song when Will stepped forward.

“And now we present to you the true heir, the Princess Maria!” Gasps and whispers filled the ballroom.

The medicine woman came forward and told what the king had done all those years ago. When she had finished, a CLOAKED FIGURE stepped out of the SHADOWS and pushed through the crowd. He stopped before the king.

“Is this true?” he asked.

The king tried to speak, but his throat closed up and he could only nod. The figure threw back his hood and everyone knew why the king couldn’t speak. The cloaked man was the great wizard Griffin. No one dared question him.

Griffin reached out his HAND to Maria. “Come, Princess. It is time to reclaim your throne.” Cheers filled the ballroom, and the party resumed.

The next day the king sent out a royal proclamation stating that Maria was his true heir and would be treated as such. The punishment for rising up against Princess Maria would be DEATH. Edward was reunited with his real parents, and the king was reprimanded for his lies. A council was formed to keep him in line. And Princess Maria had a life she’d never dreamed possible. Eventually she married Will, and they lived happily ever after.

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Reading Challenge

Fairytale Bingo Reading Challenge

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With National Fairy Tale Day coming up tomorrow (February 26th), I felt it appropriate to share one of the other reading challenges I’m doing this year to help me get through the #unreadshelfchallenge2018.

This is a bingo challenge, and it’s the second bingo challenge I’ve done. There are two ways to complete the challenge. You can either choose to get a BINGO (five squares in a row- horizontally, vertically or diagonally), or you can choose to complete the whole board.
fairytale bingo

I’m going to focus on completing a BINGO for the next month or so, but am aiming to complete the whole board by the end of the year. I have already read Spindle by Shonna Slayton (and loved it 🙂 ), but that’s the only square I’ve filled in so far.

The Fairytale Forum facebook group (ran by Ashlee Willis and Shonna Slayton) is hosting this challenge. If you love fairytales, you should definitely check this group out.

And tomorrow, I will be posting an original fairy tale to my blog. Be sure to check it out! 🙂

How will you be celebrating National Fairy Tale Day? Let me know in the comments.

 

Beauty and the Beast Series

Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea

The fourth book in the challenge is Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea. This is an indie book. Since my own book will be an indie book, I’ve been looking for some good ones to recommend. I’m really glad I discovered this one!

This book is a very unique take on the Beauty and the Beast tale. The beauty, whose name is Elle, is a spy. She falls through the roof of the Beast’s castle while on a mission. Her leg is injured in the fall, so she has to stay at the castle until she recovers enough to walk. There are several servants who take care of her. They wear masks as a part of the curse, and of course, they meddle trying to get Elle to fall in love with the Beast.

A lot of new things were woven into this tale, but there was also a lot of things from the classic story. It was entertaining and even amusing at times. I recommend it to all Beauty and the Beast fans, and to anyone who loves fantasy.

Also,  K.M. Shea has several other fairytale retellings, many of which I have on my TBR list. You can find out more about her books here.

Questions: Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it? Have you read any other books by K.M. Shea? Let me know you thoughts in the comments!

Note: Sorry it’s been awhile since I last posted. I haven’t been online much because of vacation and other crazy life things! My Hunted review will be posted later this week, so be on the lookout for that!

Book Reviews

Three Fairytale Retellings Worth the Read

I know I had a book list last week, but I wanted to post another one with my favorite fairytale retellings.  I love fairytale retellings and that is the subgenre I most enjoy writing, so I thought it fitting to post a few of my favorites.  For right now, I am just posting a short list, but I will post a longer list later with all of my favorites.

1. Sisters Red  by Jackson Pearce. Loosely based on Red Riding Hood,  this the story of two sisters who fights the werewolves that kill young girls.  Full of action, suspense and romance, the sisters’ bond is tested as they each come to grips with who they are meant to be.

2. Beastly by Alex Flinn.  This is a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  A sweet book full of heart, it was made into a movie a few years ago.  While the movie is cute, the book is definitely better!

3. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. A retelling of the Twleve Dancing Princesses, this story takes you to another time and place.  A magical story with humor and romance, it is a read you won’t forget.

There are so many good fairytale retellings, so be looking for my longer list within the next couple of weeks.