Happy Book Lover's Day!

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

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

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

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 i

Review: Palace of Lies

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 sh

Do Princesses Encourage Vanity?

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

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

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

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)

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

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…

Entwined Tales Launch Party on Facebook

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." On March 5th, A Little Mermaid b…

Review: A Dance of Silver and Shadow

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, …

Review: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast

All good things must come to an end. Thus, I have completed the last book released so far in the Beyond the Four Kingdoms series by Melanie Cellier. There are more books coming out later in the year, so I will be reviewing those in time, but this will be the last one for a while. A Tale of Beauty and the Beast is directly linked to its prequel, A Dance of Silver and Shadow. It is told from the perspective of Sophie, Lily's twin sister, who was introduced in the first Four Kingdoms book, The Princess Companion. As a direct result of the events from A Dance of Silver and Shadow, Sophie is forced into an unwanted engagement with a "Beast" who was once called Prince Dominic and must live in his mysteriously isolated castle. The story draws inspiration from the original fairy tale, the Disney movie, and the mythology that Melanie has developed within her series.

In A Tale of Beauty and the Beast, Sophie still possesses the same ability to telepathically communicate with her t…

Review: A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling

One week after the Entwined Tales Launch Party that I attended on Facebook, the book I was waiting for finally became available to read! A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling is the fifth book in the Entwined Tales series, but I cheated and read it first because I was less interested in the fairy tales that were adapted in the previous books. If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that I have a very strong affinity to the story of "The Little Mermaid."A Little Mermaid is a very unique take on it. It has the same basic premise of the youngest mermaid princess giving up her voice for legs so that she can get closer to a human prince she rescued from drowning, but this time, Princess Clio is not in love with the prince she rescued. In fact, she deems him rather foolish for managing to fall off his own ship during his birthday celebration. Clio does, however, have a huge crush on a merman with a similar name to the human prince. Due to a misunderstanding, the incomp…

Review: Cinderella and the Colonel

Cinderella and the Colonel by K. M. Shea was one of the freebies given away at the Entwined Tales Launch Party on Facebook. K. M. Shea is an independent author who writes fairy tale adaptations. Her contribution to the Entwined Tales series was A Goose Girl, which is based on a fairly obscure fairy tale, but I skipped ahead in that series and only read A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling. I was a bit skeptical about Cinderella and the Colonel because it seemed like such an odd name for a book but figured I might as well give it a shot since it was free, after all. The book turned out to be just as odd as its title. For the first three-quarters of the story, it bore virtually no resemblance to the famous fairy tale. Unlike in other adaptations, "Cinderella" seemed to be the main character's given name, as opposed to "Ella." There were no references to her working by the cinders or being abused by her stepfamily. In fact, she refused to be pushed around by anyone.

The m…

Review: The Little Selkie

Mermaids are huge right now. Yesterday, I wrote a short story about a siren. Today, I'm going to a Mermaid Museum to promote Freeform's upcoming Siren series. K.M. Shea, the author of Cinderella and the Colonel from the Timeless Tales series and A Goose Girl from the Entwined Tales series, decided to take the story of "The Little Mermaid" in a new direction with her fifth Timeless Tales novel The Little Selkie. Unlike the Entwined Tales version of the story, A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling, The Little Selkie reimagines the little mermaid and her family as selkies, beings from Celtic mythology who have the ability to transform into seals by putting on seal pelts and taking them off to become human. This obscure mythology was featured in the 2014 animated movie, Song of the Sea.

Dylan is not like other selkies. Instead of a seal skin, she was born with the pelt of a sea lion. In Dylan's world, sea lions are less respected among selkies, but she compensates for it by b…

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 …

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…

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…

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…

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…

Review: The Green-Eyed Prince

About a week ago, Brittany Fichter temporarily released her novella, The Green-Eyed Prince, for free on Amazon Kindle. Not wanting to pass up a good deal, I decided to check it out. You might recognize her name from my reviews of The Autumn Fairy and Silent Mermaid. At this point, I would still say that The Autumn Fairy is my favorite Brittany Fichter book. The Green-Eyed Prince is a retelling of "The Frog Prince" set in the world of her Classical Kingdoms Collection. Since it's a novella, it was much shorter than the other books she's written, but the exotic names and made-up words she used to create a new culture took some getting used to. Overall, I found it enjoyable, but not outstanding.

The Green-Eyed Prince is told from the perspective of a woman named Kartek. Kartek is the "jahira" of her tribe, which I understood to be her culture's version of a princess. She has the ability to heal the sick using a magical jewel that she inherited from her moth…

Review: The Siren and the Scholar

I was so thrilled when the sequel to The Little Siren came out that I couldn't wait to read it. So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed the Faraway Castle series by J.M. Stengl. The Siren and the Scholar takes place six years after the events of The Little Siren. It is inspired by "The Little Mermaid," and it's my favorite adaptation of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale that I've read of it so far. The book catches up with Kamoana and Tor, the titular siren and scholar that were introduced in The Little Siren. Just like the mermaid from the fairy tale, Kamoana becomes human to find Tor again. However, instead of giving up her voice, she gives up her memories of him, so she must find him without even know who she's looking for. His memories of her are wiped as well, causing a lot of frustration on his behalf as an intellectual.

I loved the romance and emotion that went into this story. Kamoana and Tor had forgotten their time together but felt empty as a resu…

Review: Unfinished Fairy Tales

When Aya Ling, the author of A Little Mermaid from the Entwined Tales series, placed her novel The Ugly Stepsister on sale, I was hoping not to get too carried away. After all, the book looks like it could easily be a watered down Gregory Maguire wannabe. However, as soon as I began to read the first paragraph, I was instantly hooked on this wish-fulfillment fantasy. Instead of another fairy tale retelling from an alternate perspective, the Unfinished Fairy Tales series is more like a live-action princess movie, in which an ordinary girl travels to another world and transforms into a princess. Even though the series is called Unfinished Fairy Tales, the books do not tell different stories like the Four Kingdoms or Timeless Fairy Tales series. Instead, all of the books are direct sequels about the same character and the same fully fleshed out "Cinderella" world, meaning that if you got hooked on the story from the beginning like me, you will be frantically jumping from one bo…

Review: The Princess Search

The Princess Search by Melanie Cellier is the unplanned fifth novel in the Four Kingdoms series. It came out last week, and I couldn't wait to read it. It is supposed to be a retelling of "The Ugly Duckling," but it was no more the story of "The Ugly Duckling" than The Princess Fugitive was "Little Red Riding Hood," but the lack of predictability only made the story more enjoyable. The setting felt both familiar and new at the same time because most of the other books in The Four Kingdoms had a side character who was a prince or princess of Lanover, but since the main character in this book was not royalty, she had travelled to parts of the kingdom that the readers have never seen before. It was particularly nice to see the rambunctious youngest princess Celine again, who played a large role in both The Princess Game and A Dance of Silver and Shadow. Since all of her sisters had married off, she was eager to find wives for her two brothers so she coul…

Review: The Firethorn Crown

The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doué is the third adaptation of I've read of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" with the first being Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George and the second A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier. All three books turn the mysterious underground world of glittering trees from the fairy tale into a nightmarish trap that they must find a way to escape. When I first read "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" as a little girl, I loved that the twelve sisters had a magical land they could escape to and find happiness that they didn't have in the real world. To me, that was the heart of the story, not trying to be free from a curse. That said, I didn't exactly dislike any of the adaptations I've read since it's always nice to see new takes on old stories.

The Firethorn Crown tells the story of Princess Lily, who is aggressively pursued by unwanted suitors. As far as princess heroines go, Lily is pretty cookie cutter…

Story Saturday: Book Relaunch!

Instead of bringing you a new short story this Saturday, I am celebrating over 500 likes on my Facebook page with a relaunch of all the novels I wrote! The covers have been completely redesigned using stock images and Photoshop. I have also lowered the prices for all the Kindle versions. This weekend only, I have a special promotion happening in which the first book I ever wrote, Elf Princess Roweena, and my poetry anthology, Castle>, are completely free! You can find the complete list on my Amazon page.

I was inspired to do this relaunch by fellow author Lyssa Chiavari of Snow Wings Publishing who created the new cover for Elf Princess Roweena. She referred me to some resources about indie publishing, and I realized how much self-publishing has changed since I wrote my last book, Blood Red, back in 2013. It's a lot easier to market yourself as a writer now thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing and other online marketing resources. Since I will be working on my screenwriting again at

Review: Crown of Ice

My friend who helped me with my book relaunch yesterday also referred me to some wonderful princess stories that Snowy Wings Publishing distributes. The first one I chose to read was Crown of Ice by Vicki Weavil because I was burnt out on Disney's Frozen and eager to read a more faithful adaptation of "The Snow Queen."Crown of Ice delivered exactly what I was hoping for. It gave me a new twist on a classic tale while still remaining true to the essence of the story. The characters were rich and full of life, and the book had lots of suspense on every page.

Crown of Ice is the first book in a trilogy called The Mirror of Immortality. From what I've read so far, the trilogy is off to a very strong start. This book is told from the perspective of Thyra Winther, more commonly known as the Snow Queen. Instead of making her another trite misunderstood heroine, Thyra begins as an antihero who is fully aware that her intentions are not pure. She lies and manipulates shameless…

Review: Magic at Midnight

Fellow author Lyssa Chiavari, who helped me with my book relaunch, recently released a YA fairy tale anthology called Magic at Midnight containing various fairy tale adaptations by her and other authors from Snowy Wings Publishing. Generally, anthologies tend to be a mixed bag. I know some other authors that I follow have contributed to fairy tale anthologies, but I mostly avoid them because I worry I might not like all of the stories if I'm not familiar with most of the contributors. Despite having a multitude of authors, Magic at Midnight was fairly consistent in tone, but I was surprised to learn that the tone was very different from the fantasy image portrayed on the cover of a young woman in a ballgown running into the sunset. Instead, nearly all of the stories contained elements of sci-fi or horror, which is not usually my cup of tea, although I do enjoy my fair share of sci-fi if I'm in the right mood. I am of the personal opinion that princesses do not mix well with va…

Review: A Goose Girl by K.M. Shea

It's been a while since I attended the Entwined Tales Launch Party on Facebook, yet the only book I had read from it until now was A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling. Instead, I spent the past few months catching up on the authors' other works. This week, I finally read the first book from the Entwined Tales series, which, if you're not familiar with it, is a series of six fairy tale adaptations written by six different authors about characters who must deal with the trials and tribulations of an oafish fairy godfather named Mortimer. The first book in the series is A Goose Girl by K.M. Shea, based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale "The Goose Girl." I've become familiar with K.M. Shea's writing style as of late, and while I enjoyed some of her books more than others, I must say that this was a very fun read. I became reacquainted with the "Goose Girl" fairy tale recently after reading a version of it in Magic at Midnight last week, so I was eager to se…

Why Kilala Princess Should Be an Anime

Amid all the recent Kingdom Hearts hype in anticipation of the new game, I learned that there was once a Kingdom Hearts anime series in development that never made it to production. This has been the case for many princess ideas that never quite made it out the door, such as the "Princess Academy" short and the unreleased episodes of Disney Princess Enchanted Tales. The series would have been inspired by the Kingdom Hearts manga that was released in 2009, which got me thinking about another Disney Princess manga that could have made a terrific anime. Kilala Princess came out in 2005 and told the story of a girl whose wish to be a Disney Princess came true. She found a magical tiara that was guarded by a prince named Rei who was searching for the true princess to save his kingdom. The tiara allowed her to travel to the worlds of Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine, collecting jewels for its seven spikes so that it would regain its full power.

Kilala Prin…

Review: A Beauty Among Beasts

I was recently offered an opportunity to read A Beauty Among Beasts by Melanie Gabrell. I went in with no expectations except that it would be an adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast."A Beauty Among Beasts mixes several genres that would work fine on their own, but not necessarily together. It takes place in Nazi Germany and tells the story of Anna Klein, the sensible daughter of a book merchant. Anna has several siblings like Beauty from the original fairy and is the most humble of all of them, requesting a rose as a gift from her father's travels instead of jewels or gowns like her sisters. Unfortunately, that's where most of the fairy tale similarities end.

As a Jewish woman, it made me a little uncomfortable to read a fairy tale set during the Holocaust. Sure, I've read The Diary of Anne Franklike most other Jewish girls my age, but that was about a real person, and I don't much enjoy my reality clashing with my fantasy. Of course, that doesn't apply t…

Review: An Inconvenient Princess

It took a few months, but I finally got around to reading Melanie Cellier's contribution to the Entwined Tales series. It was from Melanie Cellier's Facebook page that I first learned about Entwined Tales, a series of six fairy tale adaptations by different authors about a family who was "blessed" with the magic of the worst fairy godfather ever, Mortimer. I had read all of Melanie'sotherbooks as well as the first book in Entwined Tales,&#160A Goose Girl by K.M. Shea, and A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling, the fifth in the series. An Inconvenient Princess by Melanie Cellier is the sixth and final book, so I've now read half the books while skipping over the middle three. The novels work just fine as stand-alone stories, so I didn't particularly feel like I was missing out on anything from the ones I haven't read. An Inconvenient Princess is an adaptation of "Rapunzel," but in this version, the long-haired heroine is more of a comedic sidekick than a main …

Review: An Unnatural Beanstalk

I finally finished reading the rest of the Entwined Tales series, starting with An Unnatural Beanstalk by Brittany Fichter in anticipation of the sequel to her Autumn Fairy book, The Autumn Fairy of Ages, coming out on Tuesday. I hope to have the rest of my reviews for Entwined Tales up by the end of next week. An Unnatural Beanstalk didn't have the same light-hearted comedic tone as the others in the series, but that wasn't too surprising considering that both of the other books I read by Brittany were pretty dark. It followed the same structure about one of the woodcutter's daughters receiving an unwanted magical gift from her fairy godfather Mortimer and turning her entire life upside-down as a result.

An Unnatural Beanstalk is an adaptation of "Jack and the Beanstalk," but without the fantastical elements from the fairy tale. There are no man-eating giants, no golden eggs, and no beanstalks that tower into the sky. It's quite a shame because those are the…

Review: A Bear's Bride

Of all the samples I read from the six authors who attended the Entwined Tales Launch Party, I liked the works of Shari Tapscott the least. Therefore, it did not come as much of a surprise that A Bear's Bride was my least favorite book in the Entwined Tales series. "East of the Sun and West of the Moon", the story it was based on, is an obscure and somewhat odd Norwegian fairy tale about a girl who gets engaged to a polar bear who turns human at night, but she is never allowed to see him in human form. It has rather loose morals compared to the fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm in which characters usually get rewarded for doing good deeds and punished for doing bad. The heroine clearly defies the wishes of her betrothed but still defeats the witch who cursed him and gets her happy ending. The fairy tale was turned into a live-action movie in 1991 called The Polar Bear King, and it is one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life. Everything from the acting to the s…

I Reread The Princess Diaries After Watching the Movie Again

I have kind of a strange relationship with The Princess Diaries. I saw the Disney movie when it came out in 2001 and more or less forgot about it for at least five years until I had several hours to kill at Barnes & Nobles one day and read the a handful of the books by Meg Cabot. So, unlike many fans of the series, I didn't get into the books as a result of the movie or vice versa. I simply happened upon them at different times because I was bored and looking for entertainment. Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against The Princess Diaries. It just isn't one of my favorite live-action princess movies. It wasn't until at least another five years after I read the books that I saw the movie again, so there had been too much time between viewings for me to properly compare the two mediums even though I knew Disney had changed a lot of the source material. I decided to remedy that yesterday and by rereading the first book shortly after another viewing of the film on Ne…

Review: A Beautiful Curse

A Beautiful Curse was the last book I read in the Entwined Tales series, and it might just be my favorite. The sample I read from author Kenley Davidson at the launch party was a novella called The Countess and the Frog. I liked the progressive characters as well as the humor, but it was lacking in magic and whimsy. A Beautiful Curse contained all of that and more, which made Davidson's writing truly shine. It was based on the fairy tale "The Frog Bride" by the Brothers Grimm, which, though similar, is not exactly a reverse telling of "The Frog King." Instead of teaching a message about responsibility, "The Frog Bride" is about embracing your differences. It tells the story of three princes who must pass a series of tests to inherit the throne from their father. The youngest prince, who is considered the good-for-nothing runt of the family, passes the tests by taking advice from a talking frog he meets in the woods that turns out to be a beautiful pri…

Review: The Autumn Fairy of Ages

The Autumn Fairy of Ages is the sequel to The Autumn Fairy by Brittany Fichter. It's pretty similar to the first book aside from a new setting. Where The Autumn Fairy took place in the human world where Katy was raised and fell in love with her childhood friend, Peter, The Autumn Fairy of Ages takes place in the enchanted world of the fae where Katy hopes to find her new home. I appreciated that the book contained a brief in-universe explanation of why the spelling of the word "faeries" was changed to "fairies" in most contemporary prose even though it was derived from the word "fae" because "humans have trouble pronouncing it."  For the most part, I would say that anyone who enjoyed the first book will probably enjoy this one as well. It introduced a lot of new characters, but not a whole lot has changed for the ones we know. Katy and Peter are still fighting against societal norms to prove their love for each other, and Katy still feels lik…

Review: Princess Academy

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale is the first Newbery Award-winning princess book I've read since Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. To me, it felt like the book was trying a little too hard to become a modern classic, even though it obviously succeeded. It's not quite what you would expect from a princess book, as it is not a fairy tale adaptation and doesn't contain any familiar characters. For the first few chapters, it seems to take place in a completely non-magical world. I didn't enjoy the beginning of the book very much, but it grew on me as I went along. Though it is not one of my favorite princess books, I can understand how it won so many awards. If I had to compare it to something I've read in the past, it's most similar to Matilda by Roald Dahl.

Princess Academy tells the story of Miri, a simple mountain girl whose village gets selected by the king's priests for the prince to find his future bride. Per Danlandian tradition, all girls in the mo…

Review: Queen of Athelia

Only a few short months after I had finished her addictive Unfinished Fairy Tales series, Aya Ling released a surprise bonus novella called Queen of Athelia to bring Kat's story to a full close. Even though the book is listed as the fourth in the series, it is actually the fifth, as there was another novella that took place in between the first two books called Princess of Athelia. Like that one, Queen of Athelia takes place entirely in the kingdom of Athelia with no references to goblins or trips back to the modern world that Kat grew up in. As a result, the story is surprisingly realistic, focusing on her responsibilities as a mother and heir to the throne with her husband, Prince Edward. It felt less like a fairy tale than the others did, but Aya Ling included a tongue-in-cheek joke about that in the narrative in which Kat points out that fairy tales always end with the wedding because no one wants to hear about all of the messy non-magical things that happen afterward.

The pre…

Review: A Crown of Snow and Ice

A Crown of Snow and Ice is the third book in Melanie Cellier's Beyond the Four Kingdoms series. It tells the story of Princess Celine, a character who has been present in many of her previous books. Celine is the little sister of Celeste from The Princess Game, Clarisse from The Princess Fugitive, Cordelia from A Midwinter's Wedding, Frederick from The Princess Search, and the best friend of Sophie and Lily from The Princess Companion, A Dance of Silver and Shadow, and A Tale of Beauty and the Beast. After reading about her so much in the past, I already felt like I knew her pretty well, but this book still had some surprises to offer. Like Melanie's previous books, it takes many liberties with "The Snow Queen," the fairy tale it's based on, and places more focus on Celine's relationship with Prince Oliver than the on the chillingly dangerous Snow Queen herself. As such, it is a very different retelling of the story than Crown of Ice by Vicki Weavil or Di…

Review: The Last Dragon Princess

I was recently offered an opportunity to read an advance copy of The Last Dragon Princess by Cynthia Payne. It's a good time to read about dragon royalty considering that Netflix is releasing their original animated series The Dragon Prince later this week. The Last Dragon Princess currently has a release date of October 2nd. I think it will have a lot of appeal to people who enjoy dragon lore. It's not exactly written in the format of a fairy tale, but it instead incorporates Greek mythology and a lot of fantasy style world building. I think it would be most enjoyed most by people who liked stories such as The Handmaid's Tale and Game of Thrones. Though not nearly as explicit, the book incorporates similar themes of conquering kingdoms and using women as a tool to continue important lineages.

The Last Dragon Princess takes place in a world of people known as "hisgeii." Those among them who are "shifters" have the ability to transform into dragons at wil…

Review: The Rose and the Briar

After falling madly in love with J. M. Stengl's Faraway Castle series, I signed up for her Advance Reader List and had the pleasure of previewing her upcoming novel, The Rose and the Briar. This "Sleeping Beauty" adaptation is the third book from Faraway Castle with a few subtle nods to Ellie and the Prince, the first book in the series. It tells the story of Rosa, a young lady with the ability to control plants who is burdened with the task of caring for Zafira, a sleeping princess with dangerous latent powers. Zafira reminded me of the title character from the 2016 horror movie The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, which also featured a powerful Sleeping Beauty character that turned out to be best left asleep! However, this book had a much better protagonist and a far more interesting story. Rosa's unique abilities were a pleasure to explore. They were reminiscent of Poison Ivy from Batman. The love story in the book was also clever and sweet.

There are two versions of the…

Review: Ogre Enchanted

Long before the bumbling fairy godfather Mortimer bestowed troublesome magical gifts on his changes in the Entwined Tales seriesGail Carson Levine graced us with the incompetent fairy godmother Lucinda in her captivating "Cinderella" adaptation, Ella Enchanted. Today, she is writing as much as ever. Last week, she released a companion novel to Ella Enchanted called Ogre Enchanted, which explores some of Lucinda's previous magical follies. The story is a very loose reverse adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast" about a healer named Mistress Evora who doesn't believe in getting married too young. When the troublesome fairy Lucinda overhears her turn down her friend Wormy's marriage proposal, she is cursed to live as an ogre with a time limit of roughly two months to agree to a marriage proposal if she does not wish to remain in this state forever.

Evie took some time to grow on me as a protagonist. Unlike Aza from my favorite Gail Carson Levine book, Fair…

Review: A Dream of Ebony and White

Of all the books I've read from Melanie Cellier's Four Kingdoms and Beyond the Four Kingdoms series, I have to say that A Dream of Ebony and White is by far my favorite. This modern adaptation of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" combines all the best things about the original version of the story and contemporary versions such as Snow White and the Huntsman, Mirror Mirror, and Once Upon a Time. The main character's name is Blanche, with means "white," but her nickname is "Snow," allowing her to feel like an organic addition to Melanie Cellier's massive fairy tale world while still paying tribute to the beloved classic character. She is shy and sweet like the Disney version but gains confidence and inner strength throughout the course of the story like in recent adaptations.

What I liked the most about A Dream of Ebony and White is that it took all of the aspects of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" that we already know and inten…

Review: Clara's Soldier

There are only a few short days before The Nutcracker and the Four Realms comes to theaters. In anticipation of this event, I read a recent adaptation of the classic fairy tale called Clara's Soldier by Brittany Fichter, the author The Autumn Fairy. Before I begin, though, I'd like to acknowledge that today is Halloween. I hope everyone reading this is planning to dress up as their favorite princess! While we're mimicking princess fashions of old, the Disney Princesses are dressing down to look like us in Ralph Breaks the Internet. Disney is already cashing in on the princesses' new modern styles making screen-accurate replicas Ariel, Aurora, and Pocahontas's modern clothing available to grown-up women on their site as well as figurine and doll sets of their upcoming Millennial looks. Okay, back to Clara's Soldier.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Clara's Soldier because many of the previous books I've read by Brittany Fichter were dark and depressi…

Review: Goldheart

Kenley Davidson was the author of my favorite book from the Entwined Tales series, so I jumped at the opportunity to read her book Goldheart for free. Goldheart is the second book from her series of fairy tale adaptations called The Andari Chronicles. It is a reimagining of  "Rumpelstiltskin." While my favorite version of "Rumpelstiltskin" is still The Princess Pact by Melanie Cellier, this one is a solid runner up. Kenley Davidson excels at writing stories about capable women with traditionally feminine flaws, which is becoming more of a rarity in modern times. Her characters' weaknesses make them easier to relate to than many of the modern movie princess heroines, who often excel at far too many skills for a well-rounded character. This level of realism also accounts for lack of magic and fantasy in her stories, which is the reason I didn't seek out her books as eagerly as most of the other authors from the Entwined Tales series.

Elaine, the leading lady …

Review: Audette of Brookraven

The Entwined Tales book series introduced me to many authors I had been previously unfamiliar with. Of them, Shari Tapscott was far from a favorite of mine. Still, I couldn't resist when her novel Audette of Brookraven, was being offered for free along with several other books from the Entwined Tales authors as a holiday promotion. Since I didn't have very expectations for it, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy of a read this was compared to the sample novellas from her mailing list. This was largely thanks to the quirky antics of the main character, Princess Audette (not to be confused with Princess Odette). The plot, on the other hand, left much to be desired.

Audette of Brookraven is the fourth book in Shari Tapscott's Eldentimber series, which consists of tales about various princesses from various lands. It's difficult to properly summarize this book because the story is all over the place, which is an issue I've had with all of the work I've read from …

Review: The Marquise and Her Cat

After reviewing a somewhat mediocre book last week from fantasy author Shari Tapscott, I was pleased to find that I thoroughly enjoyed her retelling of the fairy tale "Puss in Boots". The Marquise and Her Cat is by far the best book I've read by Shari thus far. It remains faithful to the original fairy tale while offering a gender-reversed protagonist along with several other fun twists. Before reading this book, I never realized how much I wanted a fully fleshed out adaptation of "Puss in Boots." Though Puss appears in Shrek 2 as well as other spin-offs and sequels from the franchise, the fairy tale itself is still pretty obscure. Even though I had read it a long time ago, I forgot most of the details and never realized how entertaining it could be with just a bit more imagination.

The Marquise and her Cat is the story of Etta, a miller's daughter with two brothers. True to the fairy tale, her brothers inherit very nice possessions from a recently deceased …

Review: Till Midnight

Since I was completely enamored with Aya Ling's Unfinished Fairy Tales books, I was thrilled to learn that she would be launching a new series of fairy tale adaptations. She has quickly raised in the ranks to become one of my favorite authors. Her new Reversed Retellings books portray gender-swapped versions of classic fairy tales, presenting brand new perspectives and challenging outdated gender stereotypes. The first book in the series is Till Midnight, based on the story of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." However, this version has twelve handsome princes who are forced to sneak away at night due to a curse with a female cobbler who must solve the mystery of where they go. I absolutely loved this adaptation and cannot wait for her to release more gender-swapped fairy tales.

Till Midnight tells the story of Alix, a talented young lady working as a dressmaker's apprentice in an attempt to further her career beyond the family trade of cobbling shoes. Even though it is…

Review: Voice of Power

Over the past year, I have been a close follower of the books of Melanie Cellier. She has done a fantastic job of adapting classic princess fairy tales for a modern audience in both her Four Kingdoms and Beyond the Four Kingdoms series. Recently, she has branched out by writing an original series of her own called The Spoken Mage. The series takes place in a world where the written word holds immense magical power, so only noble families with the ability to control magic are permitted to learn how to read and write. It actually bears a few similarities to a screenplay I'm working on for my class at UCLA. The protagonist in The Spoken Mage series is a commoner who should not possess any magical ability, so no one knows what to do when she releases controlled magic through spoken words alone without even knowing how to write.

Voice of Power is the first book in The Spoken Mage series. It tells the story of Elena, an ordinary girl who is happy with her ordinary life. Her only concern …

Review: Traitor's Masque

Traitor's Masque by Kenley Davidson is the first book in the Andari Chronicles. I enjoyed Goldheart, the second book, more than this one thanks to a more concise story and a more relatable protagonist. Traitor's Masque is an original adaptation of "Cinderella." It feels like I enjoy every consecutive "Cinderella" adaptation I read less each time because it's so overplayed. Every storyteller thinks they're being more unique than the last by incorporating a bunch of new twists and turns. If they really wanted to be original, they would use one of the hundreds of other fairy tales out there that hasn't already been adapted to death. That said, Kenley Davidson is still a fantastic author. She wrote A Beautiful Curse, which was my favorite book from the Entwined Tales series. Her Andari Chronicles stand out from similar series of fairy tale adaptation novels because she incorporates a more realistic spin. The world contains no magic and a wealth of k…

Review: Pirouette

I finally completed the third book in Kenley Davidson's Andari Chronicles, and I am pleased to say that Pirouette had everything I felt that the first book, Traitor's Masque, was lacking. Not only is it my favorite adaptation of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" that I've read so far, but it also boasts a disabled princess as the book's main heroine instead of making her a friend or supporting character. The biggest surprise to me after reading the other two books was that the world of the Andari Chronicles does indeed contain magic. It's just that no one in Andar knew about it because their kingdom had magic-blocking properties that they were unaware of. This opened up a whole new set of conflicts that made the story of Pirouette the most engaging, exciting, and suspenseful one in the series so far. I savored every paragraph and finished it wanting more.

Most adaptations of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" alter the original fairy tale by turning …

Review: Pathways

Pathways by Camille Peters is a new series of fairy tale adaptations that is currently on sale for $0.99. I couldn't argue with that price, so I decided to check it out. The book is loosely based on "Rumpelstiltskin" and "The Princess and the Pea." It's different from the other fairy tale novels I've been reviewing in this blog because it lacks the suspense and adventure that they had and focuses entirely on romance. In fact, the story has no villain at all and very little conflict, making it a slow read. It seems like something that would be right my alley with my love of princesses and romance, but none of the characters were particularly appealing, especially the love interest. By the end of the book, I had absolutely no desire to see Eileen get together with Aiden.

Like many princess stories, the main character in Pathways starts out as a peasant girl. Eileen is a skilled artist, a lot like Elaine from Goldheart, another "Rumpelstiltskin" …

Review: The Tower Princess

The Tower Princess by Shonna Slayton turns the Shakespearean story of "Romeo and Juliet" into a beautiful fairy tale. Outside of a certain famous Taylor Swift music video, Shakespeare is not the first place most writers turn to when looking to adapt a fairytale, so it was a breath of fresh air for me. Shonna is a huge fan of fairy tales in general and has a wonderful Facebook group for other fairy tale lovers. Her passion is clear in this book through her intricately fleshed out medieval world and original mythology surrounding it. The prologue alone told an expertly crafted fable that developed an intriguing backstory for the troubled kingdom of Morlaix and those who reside within it. Her poetic use of language and world-building drew me into the story before I even met the main characters.

The setting of The Tower Princess reminded me a bit of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. Both stories have protagonists whose lands are blocked by a mysterious forbidden wall. In this story, t…

Review: Princess of Shadows

I was fortunate enough to receive a free ebook of Princess of Shadows  by up-and-coming fairy tale author A.G. Marshall from a promotion on Facebook. Since the book was named directly after the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale,  I was expecting a fairly direct adaptation. Instead, I was blown away by A.G. Marshall's originality. The book is a "fish out of water" story that delves into the creation of mythology and legend. The protagonist wakes up in another time that she knows nothing about, which allows the reader to explore this new world with her. I am a huge proponent of "fish out of water" stories, so the Fairy Tale Adventures series  is one that I will be following closely from this point on. Princess of Shadows  tells the story of a girl named Lina who wields a magic ring and fights goblins in the shadow world. Due to a sleeping spell that allowed her to stay in the protect the world from some dangerous threats, she wakes up to find that a century h

Review: Thief of Cahraman Trilogy

Lucy Tempest is the hottest new author among the indie fairy tale adaptation scene. I was a little hesitant to read her premiere gender-bent "Aladdin" novel Thief of Cahraman because it required me to purchase and read two other novels, Prince of Cahraman and Queen of Cahraman just to find out how it ends. I've enjoyed other trilogies that told a complete story within each book while just leaving one thing unresolved at the end to make way for a sequel, but that was not the case here. It was a bit of a struggle for me to complete all three books within the course of a week so that I could write a review, especially when so few important things happened in the story until the end. In fact, I would even say it would be possible to skip over the second book entirely without missing too much of the overall story. Of course, this is speaking from my own personal preference. If you're the type of person who doesn't like your stories to end in a single book, you might l…

Review: Princess of Secrets

I was so impressed with A.G. Marshall 's adaptation of "The Princess and the Pea"  that I simply could not wait to dive into the next book in the Fairy Tale Adventures series. Princess of Secrets  takes place immediately after the events of Princess of Shadows , so it's best to read these two in order. The book starts out with Prince Alaric's brother, Prince Stefan, sneaking away to find Princess Carina so that she can be Lina's maid of honor in her wedding. Carina is the only friend Lina made after being asleep for a hundred years and waking up to find that everyone she knew was gone. Once Stefan sets off on his quest, the book becomes a whirlwind adventure of magic, romance, and fun that is every bit as engaging as its predecessor. I was amazed by how well A.G. Marshall was able to combine the elements of the original "Frog Prince"  with mermaids, sea monsters, and more. If you recall from my review of Princess of Shadows , Princess Carina is

Review: Just the Way You Are

One of the benefits of blogging about princess books is that I occasionally get recommendations from my readers about books that I probably would never have known about otherwise. This month, that's been a little stressful for me since three of my favorite authors are releasing new books. When I received a recommendation on my "Disabled Princesses" post, I tried to read it as quickly as I could before my reading list explodes. Just the Way You Are by Allison M. Boot was written with the intention of creating positive visibility for disabled princess fans. While it succeeds in that respect, the story itself leaves much to be desired. Allison is a fantastic advocate for people with disabilities, and I think she is a very admirable person for all of the effort that she has put into this. She isn't a bad writer either, but the story structure in Just the Way You Are borrows heavily from common tropes, making it difficult to appreciate as an original fairy tale or adaptat…

Review: The Beast and the Beauty

The Beast and the Beauty follows up Till Midnight as the second book in Aya Ling's Reversed Retellings series, which reverses the gender roles from well-known fairy tales. This book was her take on the story of "Beauty and the Beast" with a male beauty and a female beast. Though Gail Carson Levine did something similar to this with Ogre Enchanted, The Beast and the Beauty is more of a direct translation of the romantic elements of the original story, giving the reader a better opportunity to look at how the dynamics of the characters change when their genders are reversed. A conventionally beautiful man has different problems than a conventionally beautiful woman, and the same applies to a grotesque or deformed man vs. a grotesque or deformed woman. I thought this was a very clever take on the story while still staying true to the most beloved elements of it.

The Beast and the Beauty is the story of Lady Sybil de la Roche, a rich debutant who was cursed by a wicked sorcer…

Review: The Lady and the Wish

Thanks to J.M. Stengl's Advance Readers list, I had the privilege of being one of the first to read the latest addition to her Faraway Castle series, The Lady and the Wish. I believe this book will be available to the public next week, so my review will be just a bit early for those of you who are interested in reading it right away. Unlike the other three books in the series, which were based on popular fairy tales that have had many adaptations created, The Lady and the Wish is inspired by the obscure Grimm fairy tale "King Thrushbeard," which I had never seen adapted in book or media format before this point. I was familiar with the fairy tale prior to reading this book, but it had never been one of my favorites, which might be why I didn't enjoy The Lady and the Wish quite as much as the other Faraway Castle books. Regardless, it was still a very creative and original take on the story while still remaining faithful to its theme of a prideful woman's capacity…

Review: The Last Autumn Fairy

The final book in the Autumn Fairy Trilogy was released a few weeks ago. I've been reading these books since the beginning, so I knew exactly what to expect from this one. Like the rest of Brittany Fichter's work, it was pretty dark for a faery princess story. The main characters were tortured through the entire book until they were ultimately saved by their divine faith in Atharo, who is this world's version of God. For me, the best thing about this series was the beautiful imagery of the magical naturalistic world that the fairies lived in and the elegant floral fashions that they wore. The final book cut back on most of those pleasantries in favor of even more character torture leading up to the final conflict. Therefore, The Last Autumn Fairy was the weakest book in the trilogy for me.

The Last Autumn Fairy chronicles the logical next step in Katy and Peter's star-crossed relationship as well as all of the obstacles that inevitably come with it. Since The Autumn Fai…

Review: Rapunzel and the Vanishing Village

Did you know that the Tangled series might be in trouble? Despite boasting beautiful music, breathtaking artwork, and top-notch storytelling, it is reportedly one of the lowest rated shows on Disney Channel right now. Executive producer Chris Sonnenberg has been diligently reaching out to fans via Twitter to spread more visibility for the show. Loyal fans have also created a new Twitter page to share and discuss news about the series. Don't worry; we're still getting a third season. I just have no idea when. In solidarity of the recent efforts to promote the show, I did some research and discovered that there was a second companion novel released last year called Rapunzel and the Vanishing Village. I had already discovered the first companion novel, Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon, right around the time it was released thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign on Facebook. It did a fantastic job of bridging the gap between the original film and the series. Rapunzel and the Van…

Review: Beast of Rosemead

You may recall my recent review of the Cahraman trilogy by Lucy Tempest, a gender swapped adaptation of "Aladdin" with an overly complicated backstory. Needless to say, I wasn't particularly eager to read her latest book, Beast of Rosemead until I was offered an advance copy in exchange for my honest review. As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised. Beast of Rosemead is the first part of a two-book saga, which is an improvement over the the slow pacing of the lengthy three-part Cahraman trilogy. As the next story in Lucy Tempest's Fairy Tales of Folkshore series, it contains plenty of references to the Cahraman books. While it certainly helps to read those first, it's not hard to figure out what's going on in Beast of Rosemead even if you have no prior knowledge of the series.

Beast of Rosemead os the story of Bonnie, Adelaide's best friend from Thief of Cahraman. Unlike Adelaide's story, this "Beauty and the Beast" adaptation is not gend…

Review: Peas and Princesses

I was recently offered an opportunity to read and review the new book Peas and Princesses by up-and-coming author Aleese Hughes. Just as it sounds, the book is an original adaptation of the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea." However, the cutesy title is somewhat misleading when it comes to the tone of the story. The book's villain is truly terrifying and does some awful things, so I would hesitate to recommend it for younger princess fans. Outside of that, it's a quick and fun read for young adults who enjoy fairy tale adaptations. The protagonist is easy to relate and winds up in a similar situation to the main character in last year's Netflix movie, The Princess Switch.

Peas and Princesses is about a village girl named Milly who is forced to enter a competition to replace the kingdom's princess after she ran away. In that respect, it is reminiscent of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy but much darker. This book focuses on the common desire for princes…

Review: Dead Princess Walking

I was recently offered an opportunity to read Dead Princess Walking, the first book in a new series by L.M. Schukraft. The book is an original adaptation of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," but reads more like a cross between the movies Snow White and the Huntsman and The Wizard of Oz. It is a high fantasy adventure featuring a magically inclined Snow White at the forefront. There were lots of fun and colorful characters that reminded me of Disney sidekicks. The biggest downside to the book is that it doesn't have a conclusive ending. However, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger either, which is good because the next book isn't out yet.

Dead Princess Walking introduces us to a unique fae world that reminds me of Oz due to its sleep-inducing poppy fields, magical inhabitants, and history of powerful women. It follows the journey of an empowered Snow White, who awakens her inner magic upon learning about her fae blood. Snow White discovers pretty quickly that her magi…

Review: Cinders, Stars, and Glass Slippers

I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, which is why I put this one off for about a month. I've read quite a few books by Brittany Fichter, so I'm used to her stories being dark and religious without even a hint of comic relief. In the case of the AutumnFairytrilogy and Clara's Soldier, the melancholy thematic elements are often redeemed by touching star-crossed romances that overcome all obstacles. That was not the case for Cinders, Stars, and Glass Slippers, the sixth book in her Classical Kingdoms anthology. Whenever I read a new take on "Cinderella," it feels as though someone is trying to reinvent the wheel. It's a simple fairy tale with a simple message that doesn't always work under the scrutiny of modern feminists. Yes, Gail Carson Levine did it right with Ella Enchantedback in 1998, but even that was turned into an overly complicated movie in 2004 that made a mockery of her simplistic story-telling techniques.

Cinders, Stars, and Glass Slipper…

Review: Unicorns of Balinor

Unicorns of Balinor is a series of children's books by Mary Stanton, who was one of the writers for my favorite cartoon, Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders. The unfinished series consists of eight short chapter books about a girl named Ari who leans she was once a princess from a magical land called Balinor. The story contains elements of Anastasia, Jewel Riders, and Wicked. Though it helps to read them in order, any of the books can easily be enjoyed on its own. Each one tells a complete adventure story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. This is not the only Jewel Riders-inspired book series from the turn of the millennium. Avalon: Web of Magic by Rachel Roberts was another series of chapter books about girls from the real world who also learn that unicorns and magic exist in a different realm. Her books incorporated lyrics directly from the original Jewel Riders soundtrack. The Jewel Riders references in Unicorns of Balinor were more subtle but still present.

The Road …

Review: A Captive of Wing and Feather

Melanie Cellier had been on hiatus from her Beyond the Four Kingdoms series of fairy tale retellings to work on Elena's adventures in The Spoken Mage books. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she went back to her fairy tales sooner than I was expecting with A Captive of Wing and Feather. This adaptation of "Swan Lake" is set in Melanie Cellier's extended fairy tale universe, where Princess Adelaide takes on the role of Odette. Adelaide is the sister of Prince Dominic, the "Beast" character from her book A Tale of Beauty and the Beast, linking her story to the rest of the books in the series. Unfortunately, Melanie has a tendency to shy away from full human-to-animal transformation sequences, which took some of the magic and mystery out of this version of "Swan Lake."

A Captive of Wing and Feather is hard to follow at first because there is so much information to digest about Adelaide's situation. Little by little, we learn that…

Review: The Dragon Princess

The fairy tale retelling/reimagining genre is huge in novel world right now. I realize that most of my reviews cover books in this genre, but putting the word "princess" in the title or having a princess as a protagonist is still enough to compel me to read a book. When I wrote my last novella, The Stolen Jewel, I didn't want to make another adaptation because I wanted to tell my own original fairy tale. In the case of The Dragon Princess by Lichelle Slater (not to be confused with The Last Dragon Princess, which I also reviewed), I would say that the subtitle "Sleeping Beauty Reimagined" is a detriment. I've read other "Sleeping Beauty" adaptations that stray far from the original fairy tale, but here, it felt so forced that the story would have actually benefited from not including the reference at all. The Forgotten Kingdom series stands perfectly well on its own as an original princess fantasy series.

The Dragon Princess starts very slow and to…

Review: Princess of Mermaids

Did you know that today marks the actual 30th anniversary of Disney's The Little Mermaid? To celebrate, I would like to share a book review of A.G. Marshall's Princess of Mermaids with you. I've readmanyotheradaptations of "The Little Mermaid" and even wrote one of my own, but I have never seen a book that managed to pay tribute to the fairy tale and the Disney movie while also telling a compelling original story so effortlessly. Princess of Mermaids is the third book in A.G. Marshall's Fairy Tale Adventures series. Though it works as a standalone novel, I highly recommend reading the other two first. Not only are they fantastic books, but they also paint a clearer picture of the world and characters in this book. Princess Fiora first appeared in Princess of Shadows, originally called The Princess and the Pea when I reviewed it. Her love interest, Gustave, was introduced in Princess of Secrets (originally The Frog Prince) along with some of the mermaids that …

Review: The Siren Princess

The "Little Mermaid" nerd in me could not resist reviewing another adaptation of my favorite fairy tale. The Siren Princess is the second book in The Forgotten Kingdom series by Lichelle Slater. Its prequel, The Dragon Princess, had very little to do with "Sleeping Beauty," so I wasn't too surprised to find that The Siren Princess also had very little to do with the fairy tale it was based on. In fact, it had more in common with Peter Pan than it did with "The Little Mermaid" with a love interest who was none other than Captain Hook himself. This romantic version of Captain Hook was polite and heroic unlike Emma Swan's rough-around-the-edges beau from Once Upon a Time. There were a lot of random name references to Disney's The Little Mermaid, J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, and Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but the characters' personalities bore no resemblance to the ones they were named after. Like its predecessor, I thought …

Review: The Cursed Prince

Aya Ling recently released The Cursed Prince, the third and final book in her Reversed Retellings series. Of the three fairy tales that she covered, I think the "Sleeping Beauty" fairy tale lends itself to gender-reversal the best without changing the themes of the original story because the roles of the protagonists have are not affected by their physical strength or conventional beauty stereotypes. Till Midnight, the first book in the Reversed Retellings series, changed the plot of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" by requiring the princes to battle trolls at night instead of dance at a ball, which made them more conventionally masculine. In The Beast and the Beauty, Lady Sybil attempted to use magic, fashion, and makeup to make herself look more presentable to suitors in spite of her monstrous appearance, which are conventionally feminine things that we never saw the Beast do in "Beauty and the Beast." In contrast, the main character in "Sleeping Be…

Review: Beauty of Rosemead

It's been a while since I read Beast of Rosemead by Lucy Tempest. By the time I got around to its sequel, Beauty of Rosemead, I remembered very little except that the first book was very similar to the Disney adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast." Thankfully, Beauty of Rosemead had more than enough exposition to refresh my memory. As the fifth book in the Fairy Tales of Folkshore series and conclusion of Bonibel's story, I found it pretty enjoyable for what it was. I liked that Lucy shortened this story to two books since the Thief of Cahraman trilogy, her gender-swapped retelling of "Aladdin," ran a little too long with three books to tell a single story filled with exposition. She continues to shrink her garrulity with Princess of Midnight, the next book in the series, which is going to be a single standalone book. Beauty of Rosemead contained some of the same unnecessary exposition as the Thief of Cahraman and put too much focus on the eastern storytelli…

Review: A Princess of Wind and Wave

Happy New Year, princesses! I concluded my 2019 with yet another of my favorite fairy tale, "The Little Mermaid."A Princess of Wind and Wave is the final book in Melanie Cellier's Beyond the Four Kingdoms series and her last book of 2019. Though it wasn't my favorite "Little Mermaid" adaptation of the year, it did focus on certain aspects of the fairy tale that other versions tend to overlook. A Captive of Wing and Feather, the previous book in the series, featured a protagonist who couldn't communicate with humans during daylight hours, which is something that would ordinarily apply more to "The Little Mermaid" than "Swan Lake." Perhaps it was for this reason that Isla does not lose her ability to speak in A Princess of Wind and Wave, making it one of the few "Little Mermaid" adaptations that does not require her to find an alternate method of communication on land such as writing or sign language. Instead, her limitations…

Review: The Stepsister Scheme

After years of reading fairy tale adaptations and reimaginings, I was in the mood for something a little different. I discovered The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines on a list of 20 modern fairy tale books. It stood out for a few reasons. First, the book takes place after the "happily ever after" part of its leading princesses' fairy tales, which gives it a similar feel to Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, in which the princesses are more experienced and willing to fight to keep their happy endings. Instead of focusing on one princess, the book features Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty in a girl-power team-up, giving it a Magical Girl vibe with a stronger focus on friendship than romance. It's also about a bunch of princesses teaming up to rescue a prince, and there aren't as many books out there about that as there should be. Right from the get-go, I knew this wasn't another reimagining of a story I've already heard a million times.


Review: The Mermaid's Madness

After I reviewed The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines, I didn't think I was interested in reading more until I learned that the next book in the series was based on my favorite fairy tale, "The Little Mermaid." Though I reviewed a lot of "Little Mermaid" adaptations lately, I figured one more couldn't hurt. Or could it? I can say with some certainty that fans of the Disney movie would not enjoy this book. The Mermaid's Madness is much darker than the Hans Christian Andersen version of the story, which is really saying something. It unapologetically dashed many of my fairy tale princess hopes and dreams, yet the book was a daring undertaking that focused on an aspect of "The Little Mermaid that often gets left out in other adaptations. This is a version in which our protagonist actually goes through with the proposition to kill her beloved prince in order to save herself.

Since The Stepsister Scheme centered around the adventures of Snow White, Cin…

Review: Princess of Midnight

Did you know that this past Wednesday was National Tell a Fairy Tale Day? That means this is a big week for sales on princess books! I celebrated the joyous occasion by attending another Facebook party with many talented authors. Among those authors, Lucy Tempest released her latest book in the Fairy Tales of Folkshore series promptly time for the holiday. As the newest and shiniest release, Princess of Midnight was the first book I read in honor of National Fairy Tale Day. I had mixed feelings about Lucy Tempest's Thief of Cahraman trilogy and Beast/Beauty of Rosemead duology, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this reimagining of "Cinderella" and the "The Snow Queen." To my delight, I found that it was not only more concise than the other Folkshore novels, but also one of the best adaptations of "Cinderella" that I have ever read.

Princess of Midnight tells the story of Ornella, a minor character from the other books in the Folkshore stories. T…

Review: Dragon's Maid

Dragon's Maid was another one of the book deals I took advantage of for National Fairytale Day. It's the 9th book in a series called Love's Enchanted Tales by Kimberly A. Rogers. In't that the most princessy name for a book series ever? I was able to jump right into the story without feeling like I missed eight books worth of content, so it definitely works as a standalone. It's a romance between a human girl and a shapeshifting dragon who takes on the form of a human man. Judging by the descriptions of the other books on Kimberly's website, most of the ones from this series are about human girls falling in love with shapeshifting dragons, so I'm not sure how much variety it has aside from each book drawing inspiration from a different fairy tale. That said, if Dragon's Maid is any indication of what the other Love's Enchanted Tales books are like, I would strongly recommend anything from this series.

To say that Dragon's Maid is a retelling of

Review: The Silent Princess

Princess League by Mira Crest was another series I learned about through this year's National Fairy Tale Day. The Silent Princess, a retelling of "The Little Mermaid," appears to be the first book, despite the big number "2" on the cover above the title. The Hidden Princess, which has a number "1" on the cover, is scheduled to come out next month. Princess League series is promoted as "Princesses meet Avengers," which sounds pretty similar to another series I read recently. It appears that all the princesses from the series are supposed to have some sort of superpower and that each book ends with some sort of cataclysmic battle that affects the lives of thousands of people. Though The Silent Princess was not my favorite adaptation of "The Little Mermaid," it did bring a few elements to it that have not been done before.

The Silent Princess starts out with a seemingly ordinary girl on land named Marina who is working at some sort of …

Review: A Curse of Gems

If you need something lengthy to read during your extended self-quarantine, A Curse of Gems by Brittany Fichter is a terrific option. I was aware of this "Diamonds and Toads" retelling since its release last year but had little interest in reading it until it was offered it as a deal for National Fairy Tale Day and am so grateful I did. The book contained one of the most compelling love stories I ever read and built an incredibly robust world that was like a mature version of the Isle of the Lost from Disney's Descendants. It had a lot of the usual torture and religious subtext that Brittany Fichter is prone to including in her stories, but it didn't bother me as much it did in some of her other books. I was so engrossed in the characters, world, and elegant literary style that I couldn't wait to complete the uphill climb to the end.

Like many people, I was familiar with the "Diamonds and Toads" fairy tale from the adaptation Gail Carson Levine publishe…

Review: The Storyteller's Daughter

I was recently offered an advance copy of The Storyteller's Daughter by Victoria McCombs in exchange for my honest review. This book is a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin," a story I've read a couple other adaptations of. This version was more similar to the way it was presented in ABC's Once Upon a Time than the loose interpretations I've read in the past. The book also seems more appropriate for younger audiences than some of the ones I've read in the past. It is marketed toward fans of Gail Carson Levine and Jessica Day George, which seems appropriate due to the simplistic storytelling style and first person narrative. There were aspects of it that bugged me as an older ready, but I think it's a great book for teenagers who love fairy tales and princesses. It will be released by Parliament Press on July 14th.

The Storyteller's Daughter is set in a world where everyone has a magical power except for the main character, Cosette. The world reminded m…

Review: Dagger's Sleep

Dagger's Sleep by Tricia Mingerink is the last book I had left to read from National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. It's the first in a series called Beyond the Tales, which seems to be similar to Aya Ling's Reversed Retellings in that they both contain gender-bent adaptations of popular fairy tales. Like Aya Ling's The Cursed PrinceDagger's Sleep is a gender-bent retelling of "Sleeping Beauty." Aside from the basic premise, the two books are different enough to enjoy separately. Dagger's Sleep is a more progressive take on the classic fairy tale. The setting is loosely Native American and incorporates some cultural and religious undertones. It was quite unique for a "Sleeping Beauty" retelling and uses some less popular aspects of the story, such as the 100 year passage of time.

The best way I can describe Dagger's Sleep is that it felt like a cross between Charles Perrault's "Sleeping Beauty" and Disney's Pocahontas. Prince…

Review: The Stolen Kingdom

The Stolen Kingdom is a retelling of "Aladdin" by Bethany Atazadeh. It was recommended to me by one of my readers. Praising it can feel a little self-indulgent due to the many coincidental similarities it has to my own book, The Stolen Jewel. That said, I found the setting and story of The Stolen Kingdom very enjoyable overall. Even though it focuses on the princess from the tale, it is not a gender-bent "Aladdin" retelling like Lucy Tempest's Thief of Cahraman trilogy. It switches to the "Aladdin" character, whose name in this version was Kadin, later in the story. Similar to the Tangled novelizations, the character whose perspective you're reading from changes depending on the chapter. This can get a little jarring because their inner voices weren't all that different even thought their personalities were. I had to go back a few times to check which character was telling the story in that chapter. Aside from that minor nitpick, it is a uniqu…

Review: The Jinni Key

I dove right into The Jinni Keyafter I completed The Stolen Kingdom by Bethany Atazadeh. This book is an adaptation of "The Little Mermaid," but it doesn't work as a standalone story as well as other series adaptations do. Instead of switching perspectives between the two new love interests, the book continues the story from Arie and Kadin's points of view from The Stolen Kingdom along with introducing us to Rena. As much as I liked this book, I would have loved to see some Gideon or Bosh chapters to offer more clarity and perspective on Rena's story. It also felt like Arie's story was dragged out into this book when it could have concluded in The Stolen Kingdom, but that's a minor gripe. I enjoyed The Jinni Key even more than The Stolen Kingdom overall since I'm a bigger fan of "The Little Mermaid" than "Aladdin."

The Jinni Key picks up right where The Stolen Kingdom left off except that now we see the point of view of the "Me…

Review: The Spoken Mage Series

Last year, I wrote a review of Voice of Power, the first book in Melanie Cellier's Spoken Mage series, and decided I wasn't engaged enough in it to read the rest. Then she released all four books at a discount, and I decided to put them aside until I felt the time was right to complete the rest of the series. That time came this week. The recent pandemic has us all locked away in our towers, and we now have more free time than ever before. Even though it had been over a year since I read the first book, I still remembered it vividly. The tale of a girl who can cast magic spells using only her voice in a world where the written word is the only way for most people to access power is hard to forget. I have to give Melanie Cellier credit for keeping each book fresh and interesting while maintaining the same overall tone. Still, I had many of the same issues with the other three books in the series as I did with the first one. I began reading The Spoken Mage because I was a fan of…

Review: Princess of the Rose

Before I begin, please be aware that the book I'm about to review contains extremely sensitive content that should only be read by adults. If you are under the age of 18, please skip this review and refer to my other book recommendations for something else to read. I learned about Princess of the Rose through a promo thread on Twitter for indie authors. Being an indie author myself, I was eager to help promote the work of K.L. Bone. Of course, the title and premise piqued my interest as well. This is the sixth book in her Black Rose series, which I was unfamiliar with. Looking over the reviews, I learned that it is a prequel to the series and that many readers recommended reading it first because the earlier books would have spoiled the ending. With that in mind, I eagerly dove into the dark world of the Muir court. Though it was different from the sort of book I usually read, I was impressed with K.L. Bone's beautiful imagery and gothic storytelling as well as the innocent pr…

Review: Spelled

It's been over a year since I reviewed Pathways, the first book in Camille Peters' Kingdom Chronicles series. Though it wasn't my favorite, I decided to check out the next two books from a box set she released recently with the first three in the series. Spelled tells the story of Rosie, the best friend of the protagonist in Pathways. I remember I found her mildly irritating for trying to force Eleanor to fall in love when she told her repeatedly that she wasn't interested in a relationship. Unfortunately, reading a book from Rosie's perspective makes her flaws even more irritating than in Eleanor's book. She comes off as so much of a dreamer that it reaches the point of borderline psychosis. The romantic moments were charming, but it often felt like I was watching an episode of Crazy-Ex Girlfriend without the redemption arc where the main character seeks psychological help for her obsession.

Rosie is a romantic dreamer who is somewhat full of herself. She com…

Review: Identity

Last week, I read Spelled and brought up some issues with the main character's personality as well as the lack of a direct antagonist. Now that I have completed Identity, the next book in The Kingdom Chronicles, I am pleased to say that my enjoyment Camille Peters' writing has greatly improved. The book has a fantastic protagonist who is easy to relate to and a deliciously wicked princess who does everything in her power to get between prevent the main character's happiness. The book is inspired by the fairy tale "The Goose Girl," in which a wicked handmaiden steals the identity of the princess she serves, but it more closely resembles the novella A Goose Girl by KM Shea, in which a selfish princess forces her handmaiden to take her place against her will. The story of a princess switching places with an underprivileged lookalike is fairly common in movies such as The Princess and the Pauper or The Princess Switch. It is a story that I never grow tired of, and t…

Review: Ella and Ash

If you've been keeping up with my author mailing list, you would have seen that I recommended the book Ella and Ash by K.A. Last before I had the chance to read it. I decided to remedy that yesterday when I breezed through a copy of this short and sweet "Cinderella" retelling. The book follows the Brothers Grimm version of the story instead of the more popular Perrault version that Disney uses, so there was no Fairy Godmother. Ella spends a great deal of time at her mother's grave, where she meets the prince character prior to the ball. Like most modern "Cinderella" adaptations, this book attempts to address the prince's lack of character development that is so often criticized in older versions, but the romance still feels a little rushed. Overall, it's a fairly standard retelling of the fairy tale with a few new elements.

Ella is the same familiar girl we all know who lives with her evil stepmother and two wicked stepsisters, Anna and Drew. She fr…

Review: The Secret Princess

If you've been following my blog for a while, you probably noticed that I posted book reviews almost every week for the past couple of years. All of that started when I received the first book in Melanie Cellier's Four Kingdoms series, The Princess Companion, as a Hanukkah present from a friend. That got me started on a long-running obsession with reading every princess ebook I could get my hands on. I've read and reviewed all of her books since then and was a little disappointed when she switched from her fairy tale retellings to The Spoken Mage series. Now, the world of the Four Kingdoms is back with The Secret Princess, the first book in a new series called Return to the Four Kingdoms that takes place in the same world as her other retellings. The book features Princess Giselle, a minor character from A Crown of Snow and Ice, and it just might be the most perfect fairy tale book ever.

The Secret Princess is a retelling of the underappreciated Grimm fairy tale, "The…

Review: Selkie's Song