Magic Mirrors Blog Tour: The Princess and the Invisible Apple Tree

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You may have heard rumblings around the interwebs about the Seven Magic Mirrors multi-author-and-book-release party?

Well, if you haven’t then you’re in for a treat. Starting YESTERDAY, seven lovely and unique retellings of Snow White are being released into the wilds for your reading pleasure! Over the next few days, I will be reviewing four of those seven stories. I really wanted to sign up for all seven, but… to read and review that many books — even short ones — was quite impossible in such a short time. Even four was probably a bit more than I should have signed up for, BUT I’d already read three of the four as a beta-reader or judge for the Five Poisoned Apples contest… so I figured semi-re-reads would probably go faster. And the stories are novellas, as opposed to full-fledged novel-length books, so that helps, as well.

What are the Magic Mirrors?

The Magic Mirrors are seven retellings of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by six different authors, each unique in tone, setting, and moral. From the light hearted and twisted to dark reimagining to futuristic mashups to non-magical historical fiction, this collection has something in it for every reader.

Anyway… on to today’s featured Snow White retelling: The Princess and the Invisible Apple Tree by Meredith Leigh Burton.

Princess Snowdrop didn’t mean to murder her mother, but she believes she that the apple tart she got from a rosy-cheeked peddler with a beautiful voice was the cause of her dear mother’s death. In grief, her father leaves the palace, only to return home a year later with a new wife and stepdaughter. Snowdrop is horrified by this strange turn of events. But when Rachel, her new sister, reveals that she owns a magic mirror that was given to her by a peddler who sounds very similar to the one with the tart, Snowdrop is more determined than ever to find out what really happened and how she and Rachel could have been linked long before they ever met.

Seven things I love about this story (because seven stories, seven dwarfs… get it?)

1. I love the complexity of this story. There is so much going on, and I almost wish the story were twice as long so that I could really just savor the various plot twists and surprise reveals.

2. I love that the stepmother isn’t evil. Barbara has some skeletons in her closet, and she trusted the wrong person, but she is not the jealous queen or the villain of this story, and I liked that. She is desperate and has been forced to do some terrible things to survive, but though her first aim is to protect her daughter, she is unwilling to sacrifice Snowdrop in order to attain that goal.

3. I love that the author did not shy away from putting some darker elements into the story, and I love how delicately she handled those elements. Without ever saying the words, this story carefully explores the difficult decisions Barbara has to make when trying to provide for herself and her daughter after her husband dies. It also deals with the theme of vanity from a whole different angle, as Barbara and her daughter struggle with self-esteem about their images and the sacrifices they think they have to make in order to hold onto their beauty.

4. The sister element. I really loved how Ms. Burton wove in a beautiful sister story into this tale. Snow White didn’t originally have a sister of any kind, and it would have been easy to make the stepsister the villain, but that isn’t where she chose to go with this story, and I think the entire plot was stronger for that decision. There is darkness in both girls’ pasts, but that darkness does not define them.

5. Snowdrop. I have a confession to make. Snow White is not my favorite fairy tale. Before agreeing to judge the last Rooglewood fairy tale contest, I probably would have told you that Snow White is my LEAST favorite fairy tale. I think this is mostly because of the Disney version… that annoying voice… shudder. But in reading 27 retellings of this story, I have learned that there is a wide variety of different lessons and viewpoints to be seen in this story I always kind of dismissed as being pretty boring and straight-forward. So, when I tell you that I really like the Snow White character in this story, you know she has to be impressive. Snowdrop is thoughtful, kind, and unassuming. She is beautiful, but she is one of those people who just sort of barely acknowledges her own beauty. It is never one of her own considerations, though others notice it. Her regrets torment her, and she has a temper that flares quickly, but it dies down just as swiftly and she is quick to make amends if she can.

6. Rachel. Rachel’s story is more complex and perhaps the more heart-wrenching one, and she is definitely the sister I felt more drawn to. She’s the kind of character you just want to reach into the story for and give a big hug, because she needs one.

7. The romance between Lawrence and Barbara (the king and stepmother). Their story is quieter and more in the background of the book, but the glimpses that we do get of it are simply beautiful. It is such a sweet, redemptive sort of love story, and y’all know I’ve got a soft spot for redemption stories!

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I loved quite a few other things about this story, but to mention them would be to give away far too many spoilers. So instead, I’m just going to recommend that you go grab a copy of this book and read it for yourself!

Make sure you don’t miss any of the stops on this magical tour!

Five Dragon Eggs

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~ jenelle

Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage by Morgan Huneke Blog Tour

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Carrie Mouse has been told by her parents never to go down the hill to the big house where the humans live. But Carrie Mouse is curious, and her friend, Martha Squirrel makes going down the hill seem like such an exciting adventure! So one day, Carrie disobeys… but will her curiosity lead her on the adventure she is searching for, or will she learn a far more valuable lesson?

I have to preface this by saying that this is the first thing I’ve read by Morgan Huneke. I know! This author of sci-fi, fantasy, and fairy tale retellings has been on my TBR list for a while, now, but – as with many things – well… you’ve seen my TBR pile of just the books I own that I haven’t read yet. I’m working on it, okay?!

So, when I got the chance to be an ARC reader for her new children’s picture book, I jumped at it, because I KNOW I can read children’s books pretty quickly! haha.

This is a super cute story about a little mouse who, like many children, struggles to understand why she needs to obey her parents. Especially when they are telling her not to do something that seems like a lot of fun. But as Carrie finds out by the end of the story, her parents are not trying to ruin her fun, they are merely trying to keep her safe. This is a story that can help children easily grasp the concept of how there can be unexpected consequences for their actions, and illustrates how boundaries are meant for their good.

In a way, the story reminds me a little bit of Christopher Churchmouse books, but the story is shorter and conveys its message in fewer words.

The illustrations are adorable and reminiscent of claymation cartoons such as Wallace and Grommit. The flat-clay style really brings this story to life, and bright colors are sure to delight younger audiences.

I am definitely going to get a copy of this for my own kids!

7999012_origPurchase Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage


 

Follow the Carrie Mouse blog tour!

Giveaway!

Morgan and Rebekah will be giving away a signed copy of Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage with a handmade Carrie Mouse doll! Second prize is a signed copy of the book only. Be sure to enter the giveaway!

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Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

IMG_4127 croppedMorgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. She is the author of several middle grade novels including the Time Captives fantasy trilogy and one YA fairy tale retelling novella entitled Twisted Dreams. Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage is her first picture book.

To learn more about Morgan and her work, visit:

www.morganhuneke.com

or

www.morganhuneke.blogspot.com

 

About the Illustrator

IMG_4522 - Copy croppedRebekah Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia with her parents, sisters, and yellow Labrador named Sophie. She has been working with Sculpey since age nine, and sells her creations in the Klay Kottage Etsy shop. She also creates and sells stuffed animals and knitted goods. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing cello and piano. Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage is her first book.

To learn more about Rebekah and her work, visit:

www.etsy.com/shop/klaykottage 

or

follow @klaykottage on Instagram

~ jenelle

Blog-o-versary Planning Committee: ask me your questions!

Good morning, dear Reader!

It has come to my attention that this blog will be turning 6 years old on December 4!

Now, technically, I’ve been writing blog posts on an author blog for far longer than that. My very first blog post on my author platform was way back on August 23, 2007! Wow. That seems like a really long time ago. But I don’t count that as my blog-i-versary for a few simple reasons:

  1. I had no idea what I was doing, and I’m pretty sure that the only people who read my blog back then were my mom and a couple of friends.
  2. It wasn’t on THIS blog. Yep, my first author blog was my little blogspot blog.

So THIS blog went live with little-to-no fanfare and its very first post on December 4, 2012.

At that point, I had published exactly ONE book – King’s Warrior.

Since then, I have published the rest of the Minstrel’s Song series, won the Rooglewood Contest of Five Enchanted Roses, and published two short stories through the Fellowship of Fantasy.

I’ve written 835 blog posts here on this blog.

I’ve received 61,000 views and 5,360 comments.

My best day ever was 258 views.

My best month ever was July 2017.

I’ve featured 80 artists/authors on this blog over the past 6 years.

I’ve reviewed 96 books and 48 movies.

I’ve shared approximately 17 short stories.

I’ve participated in 19 tags.

This blog now has 253 email subscribers, and if you add the people who could follow the blog through my facebook page, that number hits very close to 1,000!

These are big numbers. Numbers worth celebrating! And they are all due to YOU, dear Reader. Without you, this little blog would just be my own exercise in futility.

So, thank you, dear Reader.

Now… on to the party planning element… on December 4th, I’d like to have a little celebration of all these lovely numbers, and… eep… I’m thinking about STEALING TRACEY’S IDEA and doing my first-ever vlog. (There will be other things to go along with that, as well – but I’ll announce those things closer to the actual blog-o-versary)

Ahem.

But while the idea of chatting with you all around a campfire and talking about various things is really appealing, the idea of creating a vlog-post is terrifying. And I need time to get it together, which is why I’m posting about it now… so I can try to get it done by Dec. 4. Thus, I’m appointing each and every one of you to my party-planning committee and asking you to shoot questions my way so that I have something to talk about. Otherwise, I’m just going to ramble about my favorite books and movies and be my scatter-brained self… which could be entertaining, I suppose… but I’d rather talk about stuff YOU care about… so fire away!

And… since a call for questions is usually all it takes for my brain to go completely blank… I’m stealing even further from Tracey and giving you a list of topics to get you started:

living in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana, or Illinois
books
movies
being homeschooled/homeschooling my kids
my kids
my reputation for getting lost every time I get in a car
real-life adventures I’ve had
um… books?
authoring stuff?
future plans
Stormcave
my MBTI type…

Feel free to make up your own questions! And I promise that if I get tons of questions I’ll keep the vlog to a reasonable length of time (or at the very least, break it up into reasonable bite-sized pieces and post multiples if that’s what needs to happen).

 

~ jenelle

Word Poem

First of all, last week’s giveaway ended and I want to extend many congratulations to SARAH for winning a paperback copy of Because… Anonymous by Diana Sharples!

Now, on to today’s post…

One of the fun things about being a home-school mom is that sometimes I get to “tag along” on my children’s creative writing exercises. A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter had to write a word poem. The exercise called for her to pick a word, then follow a series of prompts about it to craft the poem. I thought it sounded like fun, so I tried my hand at it. (But instead of picking my own I used her word, because I loved it).

Felicitous Poem (1)

~ jenelle