A must-read middle grades fairytale series

Have you read this charming (and fantasically written) series by E.D. Baker? If not, you really should. I just finished the second book, Unlocking the Spell (Bloomsbury, October 2012) and the series is just as great as I remember. I love Annie even more now.

You can find a complete review of The Wide-Awake Princess HERE.


The Wide-Awake Princess (Wide-Awake Princess, #1)In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie—blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic—can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen's true love to kiss her awake.

But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn't possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father's guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family . . . and perhaps even find a true love of her own.


I can't post my review of Unlocking the Spell until closer to the book's release date, but I want to go ahead and say I loved it. The review will post on the release date (October 2, 2012). Until then, you could see my full review from Goodreads.
Unlocking the Spell: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess (Wide-Awake Princess, #2)

Now that Annie has helped her sister Gwendolyn (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) wake up from the 100-year curse by finding her beloved prince, you would think that things would get back to normal. Think again That beloved prince, Beldegard, is stuck in the body of a bear and the only way that Annie can be free of the two irritating lovebirds is to help--by finding the evil dwarf who cast the spell. Luckily, Annie has assistance from handsome prince Liam, and she has many tricks up her non-magical sleeve . . .


Review: Daughter of the Sea (Berlie Doherty)

Product Details:
Reading Level: MG
Pages: 128
Publisher:March 7, 2000 by Laurel Leaf
ISBN: 9780440227946
Source: library book
Read it in 2 horus



Daughter of the Sea
Gioga is a gift from the sea to the childless Jannet and Munroe--but only a temporary one. The couple treat Gioga as if she were of their own flesh and blood, not understanding that they would need to let her go before long. When it comes time to return their daughter to her rightful home, desperation sets in. No amount of toil and bloodshed, however, will distract Gioga from the longing she feels to return. . .


Wow. Where to begin with this one? Um…

I really wanted to like this book. I promise I did.  I haven’t read any selkie stories, so I was pretty stoked when I found this one on the shelf at the library. I also thought the hidden references to Irish and Celtic mythology was promising. In fact, I was a little excited… but then I started reading the book. Whoa Nelly.

The story is ok. It’s not all that exciting, but it wasn’t horrific either. There was a plot and a few interesting characters that made things lively. I’ll be honest though, some parts of this book just freaked me out. For instance, right up front when the old man finds the baby in the water and brings her home. What happens? His wife tries to breastfeed the babe to “see how it feels” (direct quote) and magically starts lactating. Now, this woman is described as someone in her 50s or older. I was totally freaked out by that scene. It just screams psycho in my mind, but whatever. I’m sure that scene was found someone in mythology, or at least I hope it was because it was too weird otherwise.

I did enjoy searching for the parts of the story that were based on mythology. The author did a really good job of weaving everything together so that it became difficult to tell what was an original idea and what was myth. I was already familiar with the story of Sedna from Inuit mythology, so when the crazy lady told Gioga about how her kinfolk (the seals) were made, I got that reference right away. The flip side of this is, however, that since this story is based on so many different myths from various cultures, it feels choppy in some places. There were just key parts of the plot that didn’t fit perfectly. And with only 128 pages, it was hard to form any connections to the characters. They all felt flat. In fact, it read like a myth in the fact that it’s a telling of events and not a story per se.

I read this book in a few hours while riding in the car on my way to Orlando. Normally I fall asleep instantly when in a moving car, but I thought I would make good use of my 2.5 hour ride this time. While I can’t say I wasted my time (because my only other option was sleeping in the car), I can’t say I used it in the best way possible either. I had other books I could have read. If this book had been longer and left me with the same feeling at the end, I would have been furious with the time I spent reading it. But since I really didn’t have anything else to do, I say it was ok. Not one I would re-read or recommend to anyone, but ok.   


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Review: Fury's Fire (Lisa Papademetriou)

Product Details:
Reading Level: YA
Pages: 243
Publisher: July 10, 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780375868627
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Read it in 1.5 days


Fury's Fire (Siren's Storm, #2)At the end of Siren's Storm, the Sirens were defeated, and now the town of Walfang is once again a peaceful beach community.

Or is it? Gretchen and Will are still haunted by the memories of the night the Sirens were destroyed—Gretchen because she can't remember what happened and Will because he doesn't know how to tell Gretchen what he saw. He doesn't even understand what he saw, but he does know now that Gretchen is more than what she seems, more than a human girl. And at the same time, he is more in love with her than ever.

Gretchen knows there's something wrong, too. She feels like an alien in her own body, but she doesn't know why. And she feels a presence stalking her at every turn. Have the Sirens returned to Walfang? Or has some other force come to claim her?

I really like this series! The mermaids in this story are terrifying! It’s no wonder that Lisa Papademetriou calls them sirens. They are vicious. In Fury’s Fire, the suspense factor is amped up to a whole new level. I loved that some of the old characters that seemed so stable in the first book (Siren’s Storm) have deeply troubling secrets that surface in this book. That really added to the mystery that shrouds Fury’s Fire.

Another thing that I liked a lot was the growing romance between Gretchen and Will. They finally crossed passed that “friend” line and realized that they felt deeper feelings for one another. It wasn’t one of those overly sweet fakey romances either. It was believable and flawed, which made it perfect. I also liked that the new character, Mafer. She was a great compliment to the story, even if she didn’t have a large part. I hope we see more of her in the next book. Another character I want to see more of is crazy Kirk and Angus. Kirk adds so much to this story that it’s hard to imagine a book without him. Angus is just nice comic relief.

I have to admit that the biggest surprise I found in Fury’s Fire was the mythology element. Yep, that’s right: Mythology. Gretchen had a run in with Calypso in Siren’s Song, but now she is battling against Circe. Oh, and don’t forget the HUGE role that the Fury’s play in this tale. Now that was a complete shocker—and I’m usually pretty good at figuring out plots. I knew there was something special about one of the characters, but I never guess that outcome. I geek out over mythology and mermaids, so when you combine the two, I don’t know how to handle myself. I thought the inclusion of Circe as an antagonist was clever and well handled.

This is not the series for you if you want rainbows and kittens with your mermaid story. These mermaids are hardcore killers bent on destroying men. In fact, the seek them out and slice them up with their razor sharp teeth and claws. How’s that for the warm fuzzies? If you like darker stories that develop slowly, then you should give Fury’s Fire a try. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.  

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Random Thoughts: Awesome Book Covers- More Mermaids

Back by popular demand (haha)...

I saw this feature on a blog a few months ago and thought it was clever. I enjoyed looking at the pictures and imagining them as book covers. I couldn't help but wonder what type of book might be created based on the images.

So here is my version of that post/meme. I do wish I knew who started it so I could give proper credit, but I think I stumbled on it by chance. If anyone knows, please leave me a comment so I can give credit to where it is due.

So, right now I am all about the mermaid books. I found a few more images that I thought would make amazing mermaid-ish book covers.  What do you think?


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Next week: Fairytales

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