Showing posts from April, 2018

Review: Ellie and the Prince/Faraway Castle

The authors I started following from the Entwined Tales Launch Party led me to the discovery of a brand new fairy tale book series, Faraway Castle by J. M. Stengl. As it turns out, her writing style is a perfect match for me. Her books are fast-paced and take place in a magical yet modern setting with a light-hearted tone and lovable characters. The series kicks off with two introductory novellas that can each be completed in about an hour. Cinder Ellie sets up Ellie's backstory for the first novel, Ellie and the Prince, and The Little Siren, which is available for free upon signing up for the author's mailing list, introduces a romance between a mermaid and a human that will take place in the second official novel in the series, The Siren and the Scholar. There is so much to love about this series that I'm not even sure where to begin.

Ellie and the Prince, the first official novel in the Faraway Castle series, tells the story of Ellie Calmer, who was selected to help keep…

Charming and the Decline of Femininity

I've been wanting to write about Charming, an upcoming animated movie for a long time. I first heard about it at the CTN Animation Expo in 2014. However, small animation studios like 3QU tend to have trouble getting their releases off the ground. That might explain why the movie trailer dropped over a year ago without any sign of a release date and then mysteriously disappeared without a trace until last month. According to IMDB, the movie is coming out gradually in various parts of Europe over the course of the next month or so, but there is still no mention of a release date here in America. Despite its limited release, the studio was able to cast some pretty big names, including Demi Lovato, Ashley Tisdale, John Clease, Tom Kenny, and Tara Strong. At first glance, Charming looks like it's just another princess parody from the producers of Shrek, but many of the comments on the trailer revealed some strong opinions that I would like to explore further. Watch it below and for…

Review: Silent Mermaid

When I first wrote Of Land and Sea: The Untold Story of The Little Mermaid in 2009, I never would have expected to be reading so many new adaptations of "The Little Mermaid" years later. As much as I enjoyed The Little Selkie by K.M. Shea and A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling, I must eventually come to terms with the fact that my vision won't always coalesce with every other author's vision of my favorite fairy tale. Sadly, this turned out to be the case for Silent Mermaid by Brittany Fichter. It was significantly longer than the other adaptations I've read, but that was to be expected considering how long The Autumn Fairy, the other book I read by her, was. However, I regret to admit that I enjoyed The Autumn Fairy significantly more than this convoluted retelling of "The Little Mermaid."

Silent Mermaid puts its own spin on "The Little Mermaid" tale by telling the story of a mermaid who was born without a voice as opposed to one who gave it away o…

Do Princesses Ever Get Angry?

As we all know, princesses are the most interesting when written as fully fleshed out characters with a wide range of personalities and emotions. However, some sources claim that princesses, or at least the ones from Disney movies, never experience any feelings other than happiness or sadness. Disney even made this jab at themselves in one of their own movies. In 2007, Giselle from Enchanted was shocked to learn that she was capable of experiencing anger when she left her animated fairy tale world for the grungy reality of modern-day New York City. The implication was that she needed to be a real person in order to experience real emotions. Do two-dimensional princesses really only experience two dimensions of emotion? Let's explore.

To be honest, I find such claims confusing because animated princesses get angry all the time. Ariel's motivation to become human in The Little Mermaid is cultivated by a heated argument she has with her father over whether or not she's old en…

Review: The Autumn Fairy

I took a break from the many fairy tale adaptations I've been reviewing lately to read The Autumn Fairy by Brittany Fichter. Brittany has a fairy tale adaptation collection of her own called The Classical Kingdoms Collection, but it's also refreshing to see an original story for a change. I first learned about Brittany's work at the Entwined Tales Launch Party on Facebook. She contributed An Unnatural Beanstalk to the Entwined Tales series, which is a retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk." So far, the only book I've read from the series is A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling. I was excited to learn that Brittany is working on a trilogy about a fairy since adult books about fairies or faery princesses are something of a rarity these days.

The Autumn Fairy starts out a little rough due to the lack of a proper introduction to the setting. However, Katy is such an empathetic character that it's hard not to become hooked despite knowing so little about her at first. W…

The Renaissance Faire Is in Town!

Where can you go to get transported to the time of princesses and knights and have a whole lot of fun too? The Renaissance Faire, of course! If you've never been to a Faire before, you should definitely go at least once. It's a great opportunity to get out of the house and meet other fantasy aficionados while also having fun with history. Today I attended the opening weekend of The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, California. It was my second time attending this particular Faire. They had many of the same booths, activities, and shows that I assume come back every year. This time, instead of wearing my generic Renaissance dress that I made in high school, I decided to cosplay with my husband as the Fairytale Designer versions of Ariel and Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.

It was particularly fun to cosplay during opening weekend because most people save their character costumes for theme weekends. We got a lot of attention from fans of the movie who recogni…

Review: Swan Lake by K.M. Shea

After reviewing Cinderella and the Colonel, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Selkie from K. M. Shea's Timeless Fairy Tales series, I wasn't sure what to expect from Swan Lake. On the one hand, I did not enjoy two of the three books by her that I had read, but on the other hand, the story of "Swan Lake" is unique because it is performed in dance more often than it is told in prose. My instinct to give this book a chance in spite of Shea's shortcomings as a writer turned out to be spot on. Swan Lake was a real page-turner that stayed true to many elements of the ballet while adding in some modern twists. It is the seventh book in the series, and it is the best one that I have read so far.

Like K. M. Shea's other fairy tale adaptations, Swan Lake features a clever and calculating version of Odette who leads and protects the other cursed swans of the lake. For this reason, she is given the nickname "Swan Queen" like in the ballet, though her shortc…

What's With All the Unicorns?

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic recently began its eighth season, making the unfortunate decision to focus more on the plot of the sub-par movie than the epic new characters that were introduced in the season finale. Even though this colorful series about winged unicorn princesses has been losing some traction over the past few years, the incorporation of unicorns into everyday life has not. Within the past month, I have seen promotions for a unicorn cereal, unicorn ice cream, and even unicorn nail art. There have also been many unicorn-themed makeup kits that popping up over the past few years. Who can forget all the fuss last year over Starbuck's limited edition Unicorn Frappuccino? When it comes to unicorns, you either get it or you don't. There is no in between. If you're wondering why does this generation seem to leap at the chance to add some sparkly pastel-colored magic to their everyday lives, please read on.

For many, it simply comes down to feeling like a pri…

Review: Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea

After completing her mediocre "Cinderella" novel that focused mostly on taxes, I was only going to review The Little Selkie and Swan Lake from K.M. Shea's Timeless Tales series, but then she released Beauty and the Beast for free. I just can't say no to a free princess book, so I read it, suffering through every cold and tedious page. Beauty and the Beast is the first book in the Timeless Tales series, and the lack of experience shows. The book commits many amateur writing decisions and pushes its audience further and further away from the characters as a result. It's probably the worst adaptation I've read of "Beauty and the Beast" in my short life.

K.M. Shea's Beauty and the Beast focuses on a girl named Elle as the "Beauty" character with a well-mannered "Beast" named Prince Severin. As a result of somehow falling through the roof of Severin's castle and breaking her leg, Elle must stay with him as his guest while his …