Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Melanie Cellier

Once Upon a Time

No matter how old you get, “Once Upon a Time” will always hold magic. Recently a group of young adult authors got together and created The Entwined Tales:

“Every good deed merits a reward, at least according to the Fairy Council. But when a kind woodcutter’s family is rewarded with a grumpy, sarcastic, irresponsible fairy godfather named Mortimer, their lives are changed forever… and not in a good way.

Follow the woodcutter’s seven children as Corynn, Eva, Sophie, Elisette, Martin, Anneliese, and Penelope head out into the world to find adventure, new friends, and their very own happily-ever-afters. Their greatest challenge? Avoiding their fairy godfather’s disastrous attempts to help.”

I love it when books are interconnected creating an instant bond to each additional book that follows. There are six novellas in the series and the last one was just released today. They can all be found on Kindle Unlimited or purchased from Amazon (links included below).

A Goose Girl : A retelling of The Goose Girl by KM Shea

A Goose Girl: A Retelling of The Goose Girl (Entwined Tales Book 1) by [Shea, K. M.]

“As a royal lady’s maid, Rynn has one task: Escort the princess of Astoria to her intended’s kingdom and return home. Unfortunately for the former goose girl, the princess has other plans.

When her charge flees, Rynn’s not only forced to take the princess’s place, but she must also contend with a spiteful fairy horse, a good dose of political intrigue, and Conrad…the mysterious and all-too observant lord who consumes more of her thoughts than he should.

But with war looming on the horizon, Rynn stands to lose more than her heart. Can she convince the princess to return, end the charade, and make peace between the kingdoms? More importantly, can she possibly avoid a death sentence when the truth is revealed?”

This was an impressive retelling with all the details of the original story you love, but from a unique character perspective that made it feel delightfully new. The twists complemented the story making for a diverting adventure.

An Unnatural Beanstalk: A retelling of Jack & the Beanstalk by Brittany Fichter

An Unnatural Beanstalk: A Retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk (Entwined Tales Book 2) by [Fichter, Brittany]“Eva never doubted her place in her happy little world. Born second to a former woodcutters-turned-wealthy merchants’ family, all she ever wanted was to care for her siblings and to play the harp. Unfortunately, when her fairy godfather’s gift-giving goes awry, Eva receives an unusual talent that gets her abducted and betrothed to a loathsome duke with giant plans for the kingdom.

Jack never ventured far from his mother’s farm. But when Eva’s fairy godfather, in an attempt to fix his goddaughter’s plight, forces Jack to take some magic beans and responsibility for saving Eva, Jack finds himself in as much danger as the girl he came to save.”

This is not just another retelling, it took all the components of the story and tweaked them to create a refreshing original idea while still being true to the fairy tale. I felt like the writing was a little young and the story line crawled in spots, but over all a fun twist on Jack.

A Bear’s Bride: A retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Shari Tapscott

A Bear's Bride: A Retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon (Entwined Tales Book 3) by [Tapscott, Shari L.]

“After her father threatens to marry her to a dull farmer, free-spirited Sophie runs away from the only home she’s ever known and sets off into the world, seeking adventure and romance. But instead of excitement, she finds a forlorn castle and the solitary prince who lives there.

For twenty years, Henri has been shrouded in mystery and speculation. He’s a legend, a nightmare, a blight upon his fair kingdom. Though Sophie knows it would be wiser to return home, she’s inexplicably drawn to the man of shadows.

But it doesn’t take Sophie long to realize that falling for the cursed prince might prove to be more of an adventure than she ever bargained for…”

Deliciously spunky and highly entertaining. This was possibly my favorite of the series, and not just because it’s a lesser known fairy tale. The author did a fantastic job of showing Sophie’s growth while still maintaining her wit. She also added a few fantastic improvements that made the original story that much more endearing and enhanced the overall plot.

A Beautiful Curse: A retelling of The Frog Bride by Kenley Davidson

A Beautiful Curse: A Retelling of The Frog Bride (Entwined Tales Book 4) by [Davidson, Kenley]“When a bumbling fairy godfather gifts a humble woodcutter’s fourth child with extraordinary beauty, she spends the next eighteen years trying to hide it—behind a book. Now, Elisette is ready to follow her dreams and become a scholar, but her admirers keep getting in the way of her ambitions. Ellie knows better than to rely on her fairy godfather, but she’s desperate enough to risk asking him for help. The trouble is, Mortimer isn’t feeling very helpful. In fact, he’s downright irritated…

After a bit of vengeful fairy magic, Ellie discovers that webbed feet and green skin are even harder to manage than beauty. No one cares what happens to a frog, except maybe quiet, unassuming Prince Cambren, who has enough troubles of his own. Will Ellie find a way to break her curse and live happily ever after? Or will she spend the rest of her life eating flies and living in a pond at the back of the palace garden?”

This was simply that, beautiful. The writing was polished, the characters were delightful and well developed. The plot was charming and surprising. Be aware though, ‘The Frog Bride’ is not the same fairy tale as ‘The Princess and the Frog’, you might want to google it just to orient yourself.  I was a little disappointed with the very end. I felt like their friendship was built so well that you were invested in the transition to something more and it left me feeling rushed and a little let down, but shorter novella’s can feel hurried, overall I really liked it.

A Little Mermaid: A retelling of The Little Mermaid by Aya Ling

A Little Mermaid: A Retelling of The Little Mermaid (Entwined Tales Book 5) by [Ling, Aya]

“All Clio wants is to make her crush—a fellow merman prince—notice her. She isn’t interested in the people on land, much less a certain Prince Lukas, who was stupid enough to fall off a ship on his birthday. But when a bumbling fairy godfather misunderstands her, Clio finds herself in the worst situation imaginable—stranded on land with her tail and voice gone.

And her troubles are just beginning. Not only must Clio learn how to behave like a human, but she also needs to discover the identity of a mysterious assassin, all while guarding herself against flirtatious advances from Lukas, the very person she wants to avoid.”

By the fifth book I’d become invested in the Entwined Tales and the family they’re following. I was especially excited to have one of the books be from a guys point of view and hear about Martin and his unfortunate beautiful gift. However I was sorely disappointed, this story wasn’t about Martin at all. He’s a side character mentioned a few times. It’s also only very loosely based on The Little Mermaid. As a stand a lone story a part from the entwined tales Aya Ling did a good job of helping you imagine what it would be like to go from living in the sea to all of the sudden having legs. But the story overall felt rambly and slow, I didn’t get pulled in like I did with the others in this series.

An Inconvenient Princess: A retelling of Rapunzel by Melanie Cellier

An Inconvenient Princess: A Retelling of Rapunzel (Entwined Tales Book 6) by [Cellier, Melanie]

“Penny knows all about expectation. After all, she’s a seventh child and they’re always blessed, especially in a fairy-favored family like Penny’s. But Penny also knows all about disappointment. Because there’s nothing magical about her at all. She’s perfectly ordinary, even outshone by her own twin, Anneliese.

But maybe being ordinary is a good thing in this case, since gifts from the family’s fairy godfather, Mortimer, tend to lead to disaster. Which is why Penny is filled with dread when she discovers her twin has called on Mortimer for help. Anneliese ran away to find adventure, but now it sounds like she needs rescuing—if only Penny knew where to find her.

But soon Penny has far more problems than the location of her missing sister. When she’s forced to call on Mortimer herself, she’s soon embroiled with a rogue fairy, a tower without doors, a charming prince, and one highly inconvenient princess. With more and more people looking to Penny to secure their happily ever afters, will Penny ever have a chance to find one for herself?” 

Melanie Cellier did a wonderful job weaving Penny and Anneliese into Rapunzel’s story. She always does more than just tell a story, she tells about the heart of people. She captured the essence of a girl trapped in a tower for 16 years and writes her with such whimsy she’s immediately endearing. But then she matches her up with Penny whose felt isolated in her own insecurities for 18 years and the characters are pulling you along into their hearts so you’re apart of their adventure. She does exactly what a young adult author should. You’re so much apart of their coming into themselves that eventually you recognize she’s not just told you a story, she’s told you about yourself.

This was such a fun series to read, and ended as all fairy tales should, with Happily Ever Afters all around, even possibly for Mortimer.

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