Books



Happy Book Lover's Day!

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I was going to make a post about Elena of Avalor today until I saw on her Facebook page that it is Book Lover's Day. I decided this would be a great opportunity to tell you about some of my favorite princess books, including some by yours truly.


By far, my biggest inspiration when it comes to writing is Gail Carson Levine. Every princess fan should know who she is, since she penned Ella Enchantedone of the most famous princess books of our time. Though it was that book that earned her a Newberry Award, I can't say it's my favorite of her works. That honor would have to go to Fairest, which was a spin-off of Ella, but very much its own story. If you are unfamiliar with her work (which would surprise me if you are reading this blog), Gail specializes in re-imagining classic fairy tales in new and unexpected ways. What if Cinderella had to do everything her stepmother told her to not because she was weak-willed, but because she was under an obedience curse? What if Snow Whi…

Review: The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum

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A few days ago, my friend Kae-Leah, who I mentioned in my "Mermaid Princesses" post, sent me a recommendation and link to readThe Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz books. I was hesitant at first because it didn't sound like a story about mermaids from the title, and older books can be unnecessarily wordy. To my surprise, it was entirely about mermaids, and it was just the right length. I couldn't help but wonder as I read it why no one has turned this book into a movie yet.

The Sea Fairies, written in 1911, explores the adventures of a little girl named Trot and her friend, Cap'n Bill, a sea captain entrusted by her mother to babysit her. The two main characters have a fantastic relationship that is rarely explored in the media. Cap'n Bill does not act like an authoritative figure to Trot. Instead, he listens to her and tells her everything she wants to know about the sea to the best of his knowledge. She trusts him without thinking he is omnisci…

Review: Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon

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The wait for more Tangled episodes ends tomorrow. During the interim, Disney rewarded us for our patience with something unexpected. Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon by Leila Howland bridges the gap between the Tangled movie and the Tangled: Before Ever After special from the television series. The book was a pleasure to read because it was written in a way that anyone could enjoy, as long as they are at least at a middle school reading level. It is written in first person and switches between the perspectives of Rapunzel and Cassandra. I read the ebook version and found it very informative and enjoyable. I highly recommend it if you want to know more of the backstory behind the series.


Rapunzel and the Last Logoon reveals all of the juicy details that were missing from the Tangled series about how Cassandra became Rapunzel's lady-in-waiting. Since half of the book is written from Cassandra's perspective, it answers a lot of questions we might have, such as why she seems to hate Eu…

Review: The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre

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It's no secret that I am a big fan of Gail Carson Levine's work. I read all of her books when I was in high school and college. Just a few months ago, she published a prequel to The Two Princesses of Bamarre. I haven't read that book in many years, so my memory of it is vague, but there were some magical items in The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre that I recalled from The Two Princesses of Bamarre such as the boots that travel seven leagues in a single step and the table cloth that can create infinite food. Other than the enchanted relics, The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre is a terrific stand-alone story that has little to do with The Two Princesses of Bamarre. It shares some similarities to the "Rapunzel" fairy tale in the same way that Fairest does with "Snow White" and Ella Enchanted with "Cinderella." Mostly, though, it is a metaphor for the treatment of the Jewish people during World War II.


In The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre, Peregrine is a girl who was …

Review: Palace of Lies

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Most people are familiar with Ella Enchanted,Gail Carson Levine's feminist retelling of Cinderella, mostly due to the butchered movie version released by Disney/Miramax in 2004. But did you know that around the same time Ella Enchanted became popular, Margaret Peterson Haddix had released another feminist Cinderella adaptation that was every bit as exciting? Just Ella is a thrilling adventure story about Ella trying to escape the castle after the ball to avoid being used as a pawn in a wicked scheme and being forced to marry a prince she didn't love. Years later, Margaret Peterson Haddix turned the series into a trilogy, adding two more books that told equally exciting stories about princesses in the neighboring kingdom of Suala. Palace of Mirrors is a fantastic book about a girl named Cecilia who had been raised to believe that she is the true princess of Suala and journeys to the capital to reclaim her throne from the decoy princess, Desmia, who believes that she is the true…

Do Princesses Encourage Vanity?

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One of the most common criticisms that princesses get from adults is that they encourage little girls to be vain. It's a separate issue from body image because it's about their delicate features and not their shape. In fairy tales, there is always an emphasis on the princess character's striking beauty. She is fair-skinned and raven-haired with big eyes and glittering jewels. Take for instance the '90s board game "Pretty Pretty Princess," in which the goal is to have all of the jewelry in the game and win the jewel-studded crown in order to become the princess. As we all know, being a princess is not just about jewelry. Newer Disney Princess movies tend to place more emphasis on inner beauty than many of the older ones.


Fairest is a book by Gail Carson Levine about a girl named Aza who wishes more than anything to be beautiful. It is a twist on the classic "Snow White" tale, changing her defining trait from physical beauty to a beautiful singing voic…

One Hundred Princesses for My 100th Post

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Today is a major accomplishment for me. I started this blog 100 days ago, and I've managed to write a new post in it every day since then. Some of the topics were easier to come up with than others. I also had to go back and edit some after the fact due to poor proofreading. Speaking of which, I'm really sorry about the disastrous short story from my first Story Saturday post. The whole thing was written on my phone on the way to a Mermaid Art Show event in San Diego, so I was a little distracted. I promise to put more effort into future Story Saturdays, which should be easier now that I will no longer be writing new posts every day. Don't worry, though. I will still keep everyone informed of the latest princess news and review all the new princess movies and specials. Without further ado, in celebration of my 100th post, here is a list of 100 princesses with all of the posts I've made about them (in no particular order). Thank you so much for reading my blog. 1-11: T…

Review: The Princess Companion

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Recently, I received a surprise Hanukkah gift in the form of a new princess book. The Princess Companion by Melanie Cellier is a novel-length adaptation of the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, "The Princess and the Pea" in the vein of Gail Carson Levine's restructured fairy tales, Margaret Peterson Haddix's Palace Chronicles, and Jessica Day George's Princesses of Westfalin trilogy. Similar to the aforementioned works, The Princess Companion is the first book in Melanie Cellier's The Four Kingdoms Series, which contains novel retellings of various well-known fairy tales in a world where every princess is connected through blood or significant events in her life. This is the first book I have read in the series, so I can't comment on the rest of it. However, it is surprising how many of these books were written within less than two years.


The Princess Companion is a unique take on a fairy tale that doesn't have many other adaptations, aside f…

Review: The Princess Fugitive

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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 …

Review: The Princess Pact (and Novellas)

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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…

Review: The Princess Game

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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…

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