Tag Archives: Fairy Tales

A Prince on Paper Book Review

Love sometimes comes when we least expect it. It also comes from the one person who we do not see coming.

A Prince on Paper, by Alyssa Cole, is the third book in the Reluctant Royals series. Published in 2019, it follows the love story of Nya Jerami and Johan von Braustein. After a family scandal, Nya left home for New York City. Returning for a wedding, she discovers that she is not the only passenger on the plane. Johan, whose stepfather is the King of Liechtienbourg does not exactly have the cleanest of reputations. Johan’s best friend is the groom and Nya’s cousin is the bride. Their first meeting does not go well.

In order to protect his country and his younger half-brother’s future as King, Johan fake proposes to Nya. She accepts, knowing that it is nothing more than a ruse. But as they spend time together, the engagement becomes real, as do their feelings. The question is, are they bold enough to reveal what is in their heart or will they walk away?

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On a scale of 1-10, the hotness factor is a six, whereas the previous books in the series were a nine or ten. However, Cole’s writing is so easy to read that it made that number not seem so bad. I appreciated that both Nya and Johan came with emotional baggage, which made their relationship seem real and fraught with enough complications that I needed to read on.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

A Prince on Paper is available wherever books are sold.

P.S. I love that Johan is a redhead. It’s about time that redheaded men got some love.

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Flashback Friday: The Royal House of Windsor (2017)

The image of royalty is that of fine clothes, jewels, titles, and opportunities that the average person does not have. But anyone looking closely would see that that experience is far more complicated than what the media portrays.

The Netflix six-part miniseries, The Royal House of Windsor, aired back in 2017. It tells the story of the British royal family starting during World War I and ending in the present day. Going into great detail, it reveals the family trauma, the scars, and the behind-the-scenes drama that is only that is generally kept from the public.

I liked this series. Adding onto what is already known, it is a deep dive into the Windsors and reveals the humanity underneath the press and the imagery that is created by the PR machine. It’s that humanity that allows us to see them as someone we can relate to as opposed to someone who is the image of far-away perfection.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: The White Princess (2017)

When we are told of fairy tales, of Princes and Princesses, of Kings and Queens, most of the narratives end in the same way. The reality of this world is not as black and white and far more complicated.

The 2017 Hulu miniseries, The White Princess (based on the Phillipa Gregory book of the same name), is the story of the marriage of Elizabeth of York (Jodie Comer) and Henry VII (Jacob Collins-Levy). It starts off as a marriage of convenience, to end a decades-long civil war. The obstacles are many: Henry’s controlling mother, Magaret Beaufort (Michelle Fairley), Elizabeth’s love for another, and the belief that a missing York heir could unseat Henry from the throne.

If this union cannot bring England together, it could mean another generation who will know nothing but bloodshed and death. When a young man appears, claiming to be Elizabeth’s brother and the rightful heir, the fate of the nation rests on the shoulders of the young Queen. Does she follow her heart and the husband whom she has fallen in love with? Or does she choose her family over Henry?

This series is so good. The acting is superb, the drama is nailbiting and the power behind the throne is the women. What they lack in rights and a voice, they make up in intelligence, fortitude, and a backbone is nothing short of badass.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The White Princess is avaliable for streaming on Hulu.

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Happy 10th Birthday, Once Upon a Time

Fairy tales are part of our childhood. Stories of heroes and villains, princes and princesses, witches, wizards, dragons, etc. fill our young minds with images of faraway places where magic, true love, and happily ever after are the norm.

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Once Upon a Time. The show starts as many narratives of this ilk start. Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) is racing to awaken his beloved, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) from the sleeping curse placed upon by The Evil Queen (Lana Parilla). As with the traditional tale of Snow White, she is awaked by true love’s kiss. It appears that their life together will be long and happy. But the Queen is not done with her stepdaughter. She places an ever greater curse on the land, taking away their memories and tearing loved ones apart.

But there is a light in the darkness. A savior will arise, break the spell and give the Queen what is coming to her.

The beauty of this series is that it took the basic characters that we have come to expect and flipped them on their heads. Everyone within this world is human, and complicated. The female characters are empowered, capable, and not even close to their damsel-in-distress predecessors. The baddies are not just evil for evils sake. They have made choices, for better or for worse, that have led them to become considered evil by others. The stories we think we know have new layers, jagged edges, and twists created seven seasons of some of the best television I have ever seen.

Happy 10th birthday, Once Upon a Time!

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Tokyo Ever After Book Review

Many girls dream of becoming princesses when they are young. But what happens when you discover that you are a princess?

This is the jumping off point of the new YA novel, Tokyo Ever After. Written by Emiko Jean, the book was published last month. Izumi “Izzy” Tanaka is a high school senior living in a small town in California. One of only a handful of Asian-Americans students in her school, she is used to the not so polite questions and stares she receives from her her classmates.

Raised by her single mother, she never knew her father. That is, until her best friend does some digging. Izzy’s father is the Crown Prince of Japan. Before she knows it, she is in Tokyo, meeting her father and family that she never knew existed. The world of the Imperial family is an ancient one, bound by rules, traditions, and expectations that are a 180 from the middle class life she knew in the United States. Torn between the life she knew and the life that she could have, Izzy has to make a choice.

The narrative is somewhere between What a Girl Wants and The Princess Diaries. I truly loved this book and Izzy as a main character. The tension between her want to fit in with her new relations and being true to herself felt very relevant to me as a reader. I loved the details of the Imperial Palace, the images were so visceral that I felt like I was there with Izzy.

Do I recommend it? Yes .

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The Heir Affair Review

Fairy tales end with the line “they lived happily ever after”. But as anyone who has ever been married can tell you, the wedding is only the beginning.

The Heir Affair (the sequel to The Royal We), by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, was published last year. It takes place right after the first book ended. Nick and Bex are newlyweds, but life is not all sunshine and roses. The scandal that nearly ended their engagement has forced them to go into hiding. When they are forced to return to London, Bex knows that she and Nick must face the music. Adding to their troubles is the revelation of a family secret and a question of succession.

I loved this book. I didn’t think it would have possible to top The Royal We, but somehow the authors were able to. As a reader, I was able to relate to the characters because it is the story of an imperfect family, who, at the end of the day, are no different than any other family. I wont spoil the ending, but I will say that it humanized these people, instead of elevating to images of royal perfection.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flashback Friday-Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001)

In our world, when we think of princesses, we think of a certain type of character. She is a dainty, angelic young woman, usually a damsel in distress who is waiting for her beloved to rescue her. She has no agency, does not have much of a character arc, and walks off into the sunset in some version of happily ever after.

In 1995, Xena: Warrior Princess premiered and destroyed the stereotypes. An off-shoot of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena (Lucy Lawless) is a warrior princess with a less than clean past. Seeing the need to redeem herself, she fights against evil with the help of Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor).

Back then, this show was revolutionary. As a female character, Xena (and Gabrielle by extension), broke the mold. She was everything the classic princesses were not. There was also an element of romance between the main characters, opening the door for LGBTQ characters and viewers.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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My Favorite Movies of 2019

Going to the movies is sometimes akin to stepping onto a roller coaster. Sometimes you love the film your seeking. Sometimes you hate it.

My favorite movies of 2019 are as follows:

  1. The Farewell: The Farewell is my favorite movie of the year because it is heartfelt, genuine and thoroughly human. In the lead role, Awkwafina proves that she can play much more than the comic relief.
  2. Avengers: Endgame: If there was a perfect way to end a film series, this film is it. Balancing both action and narrative, this thrill ride is pure perfection.
  3. Judy: Renee Zellweger is an absolute shoe-in for the Oscars as the late film icon Judy Garland. Disappearing in the role, she tells the true story of the final years of Garland’s life.
  4. Downton Abbey: Transferring a popular television show to the big screen is often easier said than done. The Downton Abbey movie is the perfect film bookend to this beloved television program.
  5. Harriet: This biopic of Harriet Tubman is nothing short of tremendous. In the lead role, Cynthia Erivo is Harriet Tubman.
  6. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: This final entry in the Skywalker saga is not perfect, but it ends with both a nod to the past and an open door to the future.
  7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The late Fred Rogers was more than a milquetoast children’s TV host. He taught generations of children in ways that go beyond the classroom. Inhabiting the role of Mister Rogers is Tom Hanks, who reminds viewers why we loved him.
  8. Joker: In this re imagined world from that Batman universe, Joaquin Phoenix adds new layers to this iconic character while talking frankly about mental illness.
  9. The Song of Names: Based on the book of the same name, the film follows a man who is trying to discover the secrets of a missing childhood friend.
  10. Frozen II: This sequel to the mega-hit Frozen was well worth the six year wait. Instead of doing a slap-dash direct to video type sequel, the filmmakers expanded this world in new ways, making the story even more relevant.

This will be my last post for 2019. Wherever you are, thank you for reading this year. May 2020 be bright and hopeful.

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Sophia, Princess Among Beasts Book Review

In a traditional fairy tale, the princess/young female heroine is not an active character, in spite of being the lead character. She is a passive character, reacting to what is happening to her and waiting for someone else (i.e. the prince) to rescue her.

Sophia, Princess Among Beasts, co-written by James Patterson and Emily Raymond was released in July. Sophia is a teenage princess who loves books, her widower father and her people. Then her kingdom is invaded. Sophia is taken into a world in which beasts that only exist in storybooks live. Somehow, she must return to her world and save her kingdom from the coming invasion.

Initially, I didn’t know what to think of this book when I picked it up at the library last week. As a writer, I have heard of James Patterson, but I had yet to read any of his books until I started this one.

To say that I was impressed with the novel is an understatement. It is well written and has some predictable elements of the traditional fairy tale/fantasy genres. However, there are elements in the narrative that make the story stand out from the traditional fairy tale/fantasy story.

As a feminist and a writer, I appreciated Sophia’s story arc. She may start out as the typical fairy tale princess, but does not end the story as one would expect.

I recommend it.

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The Bloody Chamber Book Review

Fairy tales are often though as stories for young children. One note characters and predictable plots are often the hallmarks of this genre. But, if a writer can think out of the box with three dimensional characters and unexpected plot twists, the adult reader may be as engaged as the child reader.

Angela Carter’s 2011 book, The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories is an adult twist on the traditional and sometimes simple fairy tales. Pulling from a number of well known fairy tales, Ms. Carter’s adaptations are dark, sometimes violent and not for young children.

Did I like this book? Well it was short, but the length of the book is usually not a determining factor. In truth, the book was simply okay. But if I am looking for fractured or adult fairy tales, I would not go back to this book.

Do I recommend it? No.

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