Ella Coach has one wish: revolution. Her mother died working in a sweatshop, and Ella wants every laborer in the Blue Kingdom to receive fairer treatment. But to make that happen, she'll need some high-level support . . .
Prince Dash Charming has one wish: evolution. The Charming Curse forced generations of Charming men to lie, cheat, and break hearts -- but with the witch Envearia's death, the curse has ended. Now Dash wants to be a better person, but he doesn't know where to start . . .
Serge can grant any wish -- and has: As an executive fairy godfather, he's catered to the wildest whims of spoiled teenagers from the richest, most entitled families in Blue. But now a new name has come up on his list, someone nobody's ever heard of . . . Ella Coach.
I loved this book SO much for many different reasons! And I’m going to try something new and format my review in bullet points to really drive home my thoughts on Disenchanted.
-This book has all of the adventure, humor, and heart of Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel but still manages to feel completely different, which I think is incredible; the land of Tyme is so huge that each land truly feels like a different kingdom! They have their own cultures, histories, and landscapes, and it’s exciting to get to experience various parts of Tyme. Plus there are two maps!
-There are three POVs (Ella, Dash, Serge) that alternate in various lengths instead of chapters, and it was satisfying to see them begin to interweave while also getting the full scope of the story.
-I loved Ella! She was an amazing, well-realized main character: passionate, brilliant, and while she sometimes spoke too quickly or out of anger, her heart was always in the right place.
-I loved what Megan Morrison did with Ella’s family- it’s not the typical evil stepmother and stepsisters. Ella’s dad is alive and remarried, and she has a stepbrother and stepsister. It’s also more a case of growing pains and misunderstandings rather than them being “evil”. I really loved watching the evolution of their relationships.
-I loved Prince Dash! He was handsome but awkward, and his relationship with Ella (and his kingdom) really grows and flourishes. He takes the time to listen to her, even if he doesn’t agree. Plus there are well earned swoons ;) I loved Dash’s mother too. And the fairy godfathers Serge and Jasper, who I TOTALLY SHIP (and yes, it’s a legit ship!). Also, the head godmother Jules reminded me of the fairy godmother from Shrek 2. What a piece of work.
-I loved everything about the Blue Kingdom: the boarding school, the castle, the Glass Slipper, and the focus on the workshops and business class. It was unexpected and very dark and Dickensian at times, including one particularly harrowing sequence. I really appreciate that Megan Morrison never talks down to her readers. These are mature (but not inappropriate) books and deal with tough subjects much like the Harry Potter books did- through a fantasy lens.
– Disenchanted does a wonderful job of capturing a diverse group of characters within its pages, everything from race to culture to class. There are hints of an LGBT relationship too. The world feels multicultural and racially diverse, and the differences in custom and culture between each kingdom is illustrated nicely. Even the groups of fairies vary with regard to their own customs.
-At the crux of Disenchanted, however, is the issue of class and ethical dilemmas. Would you rather buy quality goods for cheap if the workers are treated abysmally or pay more for better goods if you know that the workers are treated fairly? This is what Ella is fighting for, for very personal reasons.
-The book made me emotional at different points- I laughed, I gasped, I almost cried- but last 60 pages are particularly fantastic. I love a good courtroom scene!
-Most of all, I loved all the small details. This world feels lived in, with a rich history that I’m dying to know more about. It’s timeless but modern and I love all the allusions and details from the first book and from fairy tales. I can’t wait to see what else is in store in the land of Tyme!
Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes' honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned!
Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together--and work apart--in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.
I’ve been holding onto this mini review since I read the book in April 2014 and with the sequel coming out in May, it seems like the perfect time to share! I was so very impressed by The Nethergrim. It was darker and grimmer than I expected, but had that thread of hope in it that reminded me of both the first Harry Potter and the Seven Realms series. I was drawn in from the start and thought it was such an enthralling adventure. I loved Edmund and Katherine and Tom, though I felt desperately sorry for him. They were believable albeit very brave 14 year olds. I loved the legends and the magic system. And I just loved the writing, it was crisp and melancholy, menacing and exciting. I also thought the story wrapped up nicely for a first book while leaving plenty of adventure to be had. Highly recommended for fantasy fans, it’s the kind of book I would have loved in middle school that can still be enjoyed and appreciated by adults. To wrap up, I thought a little quest music was in order (primarily from 0:01-0:55)!
In all of Tyme, from the Redlands to the Grey, no one is as lucky as Rapunzel. She lives in a magic tower that obeys her every wish; she reads wonderful books starring herself as the heroine; her hair is the longest, most glorious thing in the world. And she knows this because Witch tells her so---her beloved Witch, who protects her from evil princes, the dangerous ground under the tower, even unhappy thoughts. Rapunzel can't imagine any other life.
Then a thief named Jack climbs into her room to steal one of her enchanted roses. He's the first person Rapunzel's ever met who isn't completely charmed by her (well, the first person she's met at all, really), and he is infuriating-- especially when he hints that Witch isn't telling her the whole truth. Driven by anger at Jack and her own nameless fears, Rapunzel descends to the ground for the first time, and finds a world filled with more peril than Witch promised ... and more beauty, wonder, and adventure than she could have dreamed.
If you love fairy tales, adventure, whimsy, emotionally complex characters, and imaginative world building, you have to read Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel!
You must know by now that I absolutely adore fairy tale retellings. That alone drew me to Grounded, along with the adorable, vibrant cover. But when I read that Megan Morrison had been developing the land of Tyme for over 10 years, co-founded a Harry Potter fanfic site back in 2003, and had a fantastic blurb from Leaky Cauldron founder Melissa Anelli my curiosity was at an all time high. If Melissa believed that Grounded was as imaginative and charming and all-encompassing as Harry Potter, it had to be… right? I am so happy to say that it IS!
I don’t think I’ve ever read another book that I would more readily give to fans of Harry Potter. It’s not even anything like the wizarding world. It’s the intangibles, the whimsically detailed world building and sense of history, the fascinating characters, the dichotomy of good and evil and the realization that there is a very large gray area in between that gives credence to the comparison. Grounded is also incredibly well written, funny, and exciting. It’s an exhilarating MG fantasy and a pure delight to read. I was swept away on this magical, emotional journey that I hadn’t expected!
Morrison’s Rapunzel reminded me of a mix of Rapunzel from Disney’s Tangled and Cress from The Lunar Chronicles, but with more attitude. She has only known her perfect, magical life in the tower and everything that Witch has ever told her. When a thief named Jack appears at her tower claiming that her life is a lie, Rapunzel is furious but it sets off a chain reaction that kick starts her adventure. It’s actually frustrating to read at first since you know that Jack is right, but you really earn Rapunzel’s story this way.
Watching Rapunzel change and experience the world is fascinating. She is suspicious and naive but Jack reluctantly teaches her on their quest and Rapunzel learns how to be a friend to others, and how to trust her own instincts as well as other people. She wrestles with weighty ideas such as morality and love and grief, all in age appropriate but thoughtful ways. And she and Jack are a liiiittle too young to ship (there isn’t romance in the book to speak of) but their gradual friendship is heartwarming and of course I hope it blossoms in the future! They both have courage and charisma to spare.
Grounded is a funny book with charming locales and characters. It’s also quirky- Rapunzel has a pet frog and is a great jacks player. She is often blunt to the point of being rude, but incredibly full of life and love. There are princes and towers and fairies and secrets and lost loves. There is a lot of action and traversing the country. The Ubiquitous store seems right out of Diagon Alley. And as with every good book, there is more to Witch’s story that meets the eye.
The world feels BIG but you never feel lost in it as a reader. I wanted to explore it all, learn more about the Hundred Year Day, the different realms, the magic and history of Tyme. It’s going to be a companion series so we’ll get to meet new main characters and hear their stories while old friends pop in and out. I’m so excited by that concept!
It’s a joyful book but it’s dark at times and doesn’t shy away from the notion of death, much like Harry Potter. It’s smart, descriptive, and full of fairy tale magic. I can’t recommend Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel highly enough, it’s one of my favorite books of the year! I bought a finished copy immediately after returning my library book :)
Saville despises the bolts of velvet and silk that her father loves- he's always prized them more than he's ever loved her. Yet when he's struck ill, she'll do anything to survive, even donning boys' clothes and begging a commission to sew for the king.
Piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants led by a man who cannot be defeated. And they're marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. But Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.
Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. She tricks them into leaving, but tales of the daring tailor's triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And mere stories won't deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.
Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.
Saville’s father is the best tailor in Daniver but he can’t seem to abide by the rules set in place by the cities tailors guild; so he decides to move Saville to Reggan, a city that has no such guild. Shortly after they arrive, the tailor falls ill and becomes completely paralyzed. It doesn’t take long before Saville is almost out of patience, money and food. Knowing that the only thing she can do to survive is the one thing she hates the most, sewing. She decides to follow through with her father’s plan–get to the king and prove to him that she is the best tailor in all the land then gain his trust–and his money. This proves to be problematic because girls are not trusted to touch the king let alone take his measurements. Saville must dress and act like a boy to wins the commission of the king.
Saville’s only friend is Will, a young homeless boy she takes in off the streets. The duo become quite the team and even though Will discovers Saville’s biggest secret but he swears to never tell.
Rumors begin in the city about an impending war with giants as big as trees and a mysterious new Duke who claims he is the rightful heir to the throne. Will is convinced the giants are real but Saville doesn’t believe in giants–they’re just fairy tales right? Wrong. When the giants make their first appearance in the field outside the city, the townspeople are frantic, the giants have picked someone out of the crowd and are tossing them around like a rag-doll. By the time Saville reaches the field, she is horrified to discover it’s Will the giants have in their grasp. Still dressed as a boy, Saville outsmarts the giants and saves Will. When the king finds out what has happened, he rewards the young tailor with the princess hand in marriage.
The events that follow will take the reader on a non-stop adventure through the castle’s long lost secret passageways, over castle walls and into the giants camp, and up close with the feeble king of Reggan.
I have to be honest here, the only reason I read this book is because I set up an author event with Sarah McGuire. This book may not have come across my radar any other way, but I am so glad it did!
Before the first chapter was over, I hated Saville’s father the Tailor. He loved his fabrics far more than his daughter and that didn’t sit well with me at all. He is a cold, unloving character and it’s sad that the Tailor is her only family left and he seems to not care for her at all. Perhaps that’s what made Saville the lovable, tough as nails heroine she turned out to be. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good fairy tale with a strong female heroine. I was pleasantly surprised with this debut author and can’t wait to see what else she comes up with!
Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that's been left to rot and forgotten by the world.
But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon's eye: the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it...who will it be?
Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.
Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent's daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon's eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.
Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen's daughter, Evie, doesn't know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she's a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal's little tricks.
Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he's not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon's eye.
Carlos: Cruella de Vil's son may not be bravest, but he's certainly clever. Carlos's inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon's eye and ending the banishment for good.
Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon's eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She'll just need a little help from her "friends." In their quest for the dragon's eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain't so bad.
The Isle of the Lost follows the children of Disney’s meanest villains. The villains and their children have been banished to an island and trapped under a dome so they can never leave. The “good” Disney characters like Belle, Beast, Sleep Beauty, and all their children live across the river in Auradon. The story follows Mal, Maleficent’s daughter, Jay, son of Jafar, Carlos, son of Cruella de Vil, and Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen. On the island these kids are learning to be just as bad as their parents.
The book is a really fun read especially for those who love fairy tales and shows like Once Upon a Time. This is a new take on the lives of our favorite villains, and even better we get to see what their children are like. The kids of the villains try their hardest to be just as wicked as their parents to make them proud. Just because these Disney villains have kids don’t think they’ve gone soft. They are just as bad as they were in their stories and are doing their best to make their kids just like them. Mal, Carlos, Jay, and Evie all have interesting dynamics with their parents. These villains aren’t exactly the warm and fuzzy types, and all of the kids are just dying for their parents’ approval.
I really enjoyed seeing the adventures and schemes that the kids got up to. They go through quite a change during the book and learn that they don’t always have to do everything on their own and they don’t have to be like their parents. They all start to become a little more comfortable in their own skin.
We also meet Ben, the son of Belle and Beast, the future king of Auradon. Ben is conflicted because he doesn’t know if he’ll be as good of a leader as his father. He starts to wonder about the way the kingdom is run, and questioning whether or not his father’s way is really the right way. I loved the glimpses into Auradon. All these characters are supposed to be living their “Happily Ever Afters” but nothing can ever be perfect. There are many citizens of Auradon who are not happy with the way things are.
When I finished the book I realized that it’s a prequel to a Disney Channel movie “The Descendants” since I liked the book so much I will probably check out the movie too. Just to see what Mal, Jay, Evie, and Carlos are up to.
Another note, if you get the chance to listen to the audiobook, do it! The narrator is great, she has that dramatic fairy tale voice that really draws you into the story.
About Melissa de la Cruz
MELISSA DE LA CRUZ is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling series Blue Bloods, which has three million copies in print. She spent many summers on Shelter Island, which served as the inspiration for the fictional town of North Hampton. She lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with her family.
Blessed with—or doomed to—eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less of a blessing than it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.
A brand-new introduction from Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked, and additional bonus materials make this special edition of Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting a must-have for lovers of the book and a great way to introduce a new generation to a classic.
This book has never gone out of print and has sold 3.5 million copies in the US only. Four decades later, the question Natalie asks in Tuck Everlasting (“What if we could live forever?”) is still a source of constant intrigue.
What if you could live forever?
In Tuck Everlasting, Winnie is given the opportunity to drink from the spring and live forever. While we don’t know her definite reasons for skipping out on it, getting to see what the Tucks have gone through, what they have to go through still to keep it hidden, I can definitely see why she choose to live out her natural life. The Tucks seem wonderful on the surface, but I think they’re all really sad underneath.
So my first instinct would be to say yes, serve me up some of that magic water, please! *sings* You and I are gonna live foreveeeeeeer. I’d get my loved ones in on it, start planning some trips around the world, you name it! I really do think it’d be a party… but how long can it remain that way.
We see the effect it’s had on the Tucks. I honestly believe I’d end up just as sad and tired after a while. And what if people start resenting me for showing them to the spring? What a burden!
So while thinking about dying terrifies me, I don’t think we’re born equipped to live more years than we’re meant to. I don’t think our souls could take it. Too much to bear.
Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.
What I liked about this story was the way it transported me to summer time as a 13 year old. It made me reminisce about bike rides around the neighborhood, with the sun shining on my face, trips to the local public pool and to the park…the feeling of freedom and innocence all rolled into this one book.
Drew was such a likable, sweet character. And this is the first summer of her life where she feels she’s missing out on life. So with the help of her new stranger friend, Emmett, she begins a life outside her family and their Cheese Shop. But Emmett is not exactly an open book when it comes to his life. He just appears suddenly when he wants and without warning, and she doesn’t really know any details about him, aside from the fact that he’s nice to her and knows a lot about rats. She does know somehow that she can trust him though. And because of this, when he finally spills his guts, they embark on a scary adventure together. I say scary because I wouldn’t have had the guts at that age to do what they did.
I also really liked the side characters in this story a lot, especially Swoozie and Nick, who loved Drew just because she was Drew.
Overall this was a fast, sweet, engaging story. The ending wasn’t your typical HEA, but it was real, which is most important. I really loved how engaging and honest Dana Reinhardt’s writing was and I’m definitely going to look into getting her other books.
We meet Liesl the night after the day her young father has died. That same day she is visited by a ghost, Po, an eight year old boy who lives on the other side, the territory between life and death that runs parallel to the living world. Po has come to tell her that her father is stuck on the other side, and that she is the only one who can help him cross over. A couple of wooden boxes. Some ashes. Some magic dust. A ghost, its pet, and a boy who forgot to wear a hat in the cold. From these seemingly odd, random characters Oliver weaves the enchanting story of how, with the aid of Liesl, these elements come together over the course of one week to restore love and luster to a world gone grey and heartless.
In her first middle-grade novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver magnificently blends the otherworldliness of The Graveyard Book and the bravery of The Tale of Despereaux with the emotional resonance of Charlotte's Web into a wholly new, unforgettable story that glows with its own rare magic.
Lauren Oliver takes us on a magical adventure with so much heart at its core. You can’t help but root for this young girl. Liesl is such a sweet, bright soul. The friends Liesl makes on her quest to fulfill her father’s wishes are just as endearing. Po is so funny! He is very sarcastic for a ghost. Will is just a lonely boy who needs someone to care about him. These three unlikely friends have to deal with some pretty awful people in their lives. Evil stepmothers and abusive guardians, you can’t help but hate them. I really felt like I was on this journey with them.
I loved the way the boxes kept switching hands. I looked forward to seeing who would end up with each of the boxes. The imagery I got from this book was so vivid! The illustrations throughout the book also helped in that department. They were amazing and depicted the characters and emotions really well. They helped bring the story come to life even more.
I don’t read many Middle Grade books, but I plan to get myself a finished copy of this one to keep on my shelves for my family. It was really heartfelt with a great message of love and hope.
And check out the BEAUTIFUL book trailer!! With an original song inspired by the book!!
Thanks to Yara from Once Upon a Twilight for the opportunity to read and review this book as part of her book tours. :)
About Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader. Before I Fall is her first published novel. She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.