Posts

Showing posts from February, 2018

Review: A Dance of Silver and Shadow

Image
Now that I've recovered from the chaotically delightful Entwined Tales Launch Party, it's time to get back to reviewing Melanie Cellier's booksA Dance of Silver and Shadow: A Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses is the first book in the Beyond The Four Kingdoms series. It takes place a few years after the events of The Four Kingdoms and is told from the perspective of Lily, one of the twins that Alyssa took care of in The Princess Companion. It turns out that Lily and her sister Sophie secretly have a telepathic link with each other that they received from a fairy godmother at birth that allows them to talk to each other in their minds no matter how far apart they are. Though this sort of bond may seem intrusive to some, the two princess sisters love each other dearly, and their secret superpower only brings them closer together.


"The Twelve Dancing Princesses" was one of my favorite fairy tales when I was a child. I've seen several adaptations of it, …

Entwined Tales Launch Party on Facebook

Image
I had a very interesting evening, celebrating the release of the Entwined Tales series on Facebook with the six lovely authors of the books from the series. I've never seen a release party quite like this before, but then, I've never seen a book series quite like this either. Each author has her own independent set of fairy tale novels, which brought them together based on their similar story content. They combined their talents to create an original series about a bumbling fairy godfather who goes around granting unwanted gifts to princesses from six different fairy tales. Some of the fairy tales they picked are rather obscure, such as "The Goose Girl" and "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," (which was turned into a live-action movie called The Polar Bear King in 1991, but I wasn't a fan of it). Of course, the one I'm looking forward to the most is inspired by my favorite fairy tale, "The Little Mermaid." Coming March 5th, A Little Merma…

Princesses of the Animation Industry

Image
What are the first names that come to mind when you think of the people behind your favorite fairy tale princesses? The Brothers Grimm? Hans Christian Anderson? Walt Disney? Don Bluth? John Musker and Ron Clements? Considering how empowering so many of these stories are to women, it's surprising that the overwhelming majority of people behind them are men. The recent success of Patty Jenkins behind the 2017 Wonder Woman movie and the inspirational writing team of Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna behind the CW's princess culture-inspired Crazy Ex-Girlfriend series got me wondering why Disney has so few women behind its own female-driven classics. Even independent princess filmmakers like Don Bluth and Richard Rich got their start at Disney, making it virtually impossible for anyone to find much success in the animation industry without working there or at another major animation studio first. In an industry that's so biased toward men, animation ingenues like myself bar…

Story Saturday: "Mermaid's Redemption"

Image
"Mermaid's Redemption" Once upon a time, there was a mermaid princess who fell in love with a human prince. As a royal, she had the unique ability to transform her shimmering turquoise tail into legs whenever she chose. When the prince met her, he was drawn to her delicate features and passionate demeanor. She sang sweetly to him in the language of her people, and he became hers forever, refusing to even look at the other princesses who came to court him. They were married soon after, but that is only the beginning of the story. In their many years together, the mermaid princess refused to tell her husband anything about her family or where she came from. Though he never stopped being curious, he soon learned to stop asking.
One day when the couple was taking a walk along the beach, the mermaid noticed something glittering in the water. It was a message in a bottle with a pink shell attached to it that she recognized from her home kingdom. She immediately opened it to s…

Review: The Princess Game

Image
I completed The Princess Game: A Reimagining of Sleeping Beauty in record time, solidifying my current obsession with Melanie Cellier's fairy tale princess books. This is the last book in her Four Kingdoms series, but not the last to take place in Melanie's extended princess universe. The Beyond the Four Kingdoms series is still in progress, which means there will be plenty of new literature to look forward to in this realm of fairy godmothers and suspense. However, this book still marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. So, how does The Princess Game hold up in comparison to The Princess Companion, The Princess Fugitive, and The Princess Pact?


There were a few notable differences that stood out to me right away. It's the first book in the series to be written in first person format, which probably should have been done earlier because the other books were clearly meant to be from the perspective of the princesses, even going so far as to occasionally switch…

The Desire To Be Free

Image
While compiling songs for my next princess karaoke medley, it occurred to me that an overwhelming amount of princess songs are about freedom. It's no secret that freedom is a common theme among fairy tales and princess-like characters, but the concept goes much deeper than that. What's particularly interesting about it is the fact that it applies just as much to characters who were born princesses as it does to the ones who found their freedom by becoming princesses. The desire to be free is such a universal concept that it transcends status, power, or race. Everyone can feel as though they are trapped at some point in their life.


The beautiful song written for Princess Jasmine in the retired Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular show was entitled "To Be Free" (which got replaced by "These Palace Walls" in the inferior Broadway production)  The song's opening line, "Lucky bird inside a gilded cage," is recited with perfect irony because telling someo…

Story Saturday: "The Princess Trap"

Image
"The Princess Trap" Once upon a time, there was a princess who loved two things--eating and training with the royal guards. On the rare occasions that the kingdom had a festival, the royal seamstresses would struggle to create something flattering for the princess's unusual figure, but she didn't mind. She kept herself strong and healthy by sparring with her favorite knights and even won several matches against them. Since she came from a kingdom that often went to war, her parents didn't mind that she did not meet the dainty expectations of a princess.


One day, the king and queen decided to take their daughter on a royal vacation. Since the kingdom had been at peace for a while, they were starting to grow bored of the monotony. When the queen suggested the far-off island of Keye, an advisor warned her that there had been many rumors of princesses traveling to that island with their families over the years and never returning. This piqued the princess's inte…

I Tried IGK's Foamo To Get Mermaid Princess Hair

Image
I don't generally write about cosmetics because I don't use them very often. Even though I may have a bias toward natural beauty, I can certainly appreciate the lovely aesthetics that skilled makeup artists are able to create. In fact, when it comes to anything I could wear that would make me shimmer and sparkle like a faery princess, I actually have a pretty low resistance. When I regularly frequented the princess-themed attractions at Walt Disney World, I used to go to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and ask to be pixie dusted by one of the Fairy Godmothers in Training far more often that what someone would probably consider healthy. That's why when I first heard about Foamo Holographic Hair Foam from IGK, which turns your hair sparkly and iridescent, I scoured the internet for weeks impatiently awaiting its release.


I first heard about Foamo from a viral Facebook video entitled "How To Be a Mermaid in 2018." There were a lot of things about it that appealed to me…

Review: The Princess Pact (and Novellas)

Image
After reviewing The Princess Fugitive last week and seeing how much notably better it was than The Princess Companion, I found myself hooked on Melanie Cellier's Four Kingdoms series. I have completed the next three books in the series, Happily Ever Afters: A Reimagining of Snow White and Rose Red, The Princess Pact: A Twist on Rumpelstiltskin, and A Midwinter's Wedding: A Retelling of The Frog Prince. Though The Princess Pact is the third full-length novel in the series, the two novellas act as the perfect bookends to link it to the second and fourth novels, respectively. I was pleased to find that the pacing and suspense in all three books were fairly consistent with The Princess Fugitive, and the links between the protagonists made each new story feel more welcoming than the last. The more I read the series, the more it feels like coming back to visit a beloved land instead of exploring a strange and unfamiliar one.


The Princess Pact tells the story of Marie, who was first i…

Mysticons Played Its Fans Like a Violin

Image
When writing about shows that haven't ended yet, there is always a risk of analyzing something that may no longer be valid a few weeks later. This has happened to me twice with Once Upon a Time when I pointed out that Tiana did not appear to be a princess by birth in the series, which turned out to be false a couple of weeks later and later that their Rapunzel storyline wasn't actually about Rapunzel, whose storyline turned out to be covered the following week. Despite these minor incidents, though, I have never felt quite as duped by a TV show as I did with last week's episode of Mysticons entitled "Twin Stars Unite." You may recall my post about the new princess in Mysticons, in which Proxima, who had mainly been a background character up to that point, was revealed as Princess Arkayna's long-lost twin sister. The writers proceeded in having us believe this lie for an unprecedented five episodes, which translates to over a month in viewing time, before reve…

Story Saturday: "The Forgetful Princess"

Image
"The Forgetful Princess" Once upon a time, there was a girl named Delia who woke up one morning and found that she couldn't remember anything about her life. She took the bus to school and couldn't remember which class she was in, so she wandered the halls aimlessly for few minutes.
"Are you lost?" asked a sporty-looking boy.
Delia nodded sadly. The boy directed her around the corner to where her first class was, but when she reached the door he described, she realized she had almost entered the boys' bathroom. She heard him snicker from around the corner as another group of guys came out pointing and laughing at her. Humiliated, Delia ran into the first classroom she saw and sat down at a desk.
It turned out to be a math class. The class was given a pop quiz, but Delia realized that she couldn't remember how to solve any of the equations. Later, the teacher called on her and asked her to recite the quadratic formula. She thought she knew, but she …

Review: The Princess Fugitive

Image
I recently had the pleasure of reading The Princess Fugitive, the second book in the Four Kingdoms series by Melanie Cellier. You may recall that I reviewed the first book, The Princess Companion, last month. Since every book in this series is a retelling of a popular fairy tale, The Princess Fugitive was inspired by the story of "Little Red Riding Hood." However, it's quite clear from the book that there was no easy way to convert a fairy tale about a poor little girl visiting her granny into a novel about a cold and calculating princess. The book actually had very little to do with "Little Red Riding Hood" outside of a few superficial elements, including a prized red cape that the main character likes to wear often.


I was very impressed by how fast the pacing was in The Princess Fugitive compared to The Princess Companion as well as the heightened levels of suspense. Perhaps that was because it had a more interesting main character. Princess Ava was actually …

Rejoice! Once Upon a Time Is Finally Ending!

Image
Let me tell you a story. Seven years ago, I attended the world famous fan convention San Diego Comic-Con for the first time. I had just moved to California, and I finally had access to this magical heaven of geekdom. As I eagerly perused the event list to figure out what I would do first, I found a panel for an upcoming series about fairy tale characters living in the real world called Once Upon a Time. I knew right away that this was the panel for me. It was held in a small room, and getting in was easy since no one had heard of it yet. I even had the opportunity to ask the creators a question after their presentation. At the panel, they aired the entire 40-minute pilot three months before anyone else would watch it on TV. I was so proud to be one of the first people to see it. The main character, Emma Swan, who happened to be the daughter of Snow White, blew me away with her inner strength and insecurity. All I could think about was how grateful I felt to be alive during a time when…

Review: Aladdin The Musical

Image
In 2003, an amazing stage show based on the 1992 animated classic opened at Disney's California Adventure park called Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. Sadly, that show recently closed in 2016 and was replaced with a Frozen stage show. Now the only opportunity to see an official Disney stage production of Aladdin rests in the hands of the 2014 Broadway play, which I saw on tour tonight at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. This new musical production barely had a chance of winning my favor in my heart because I was already such a huge fan of the retired Disneyland version. My low expectations were barely met. I found the new musical to be inferior to the Disneyland show in every possible way.


I had a pleasant experience with the theater itself. It was my first time at the Pantages, even though I've lived in California for over seven years. The layout is very similar to Disney's El Capitan Theatre, where they screen the latest Disney movies. The theater staff was friendly, an…