Tag Archive | Illustrated

The Road to Bremen! (by Kelsey Bryant)

The winner for the giveaway of a signed paperback of Common is . . . Raechel L.! Congrats, Raechel! The winner has been contacted. Thanks so much to everyone who entered! Stay tuned for more giveaways because I love sharing the bookish love! ^_^

Speaking of bookish love, I’m here with a review of a lovely novella/children’s book which released TODAY, and is a retelling of The Bremen Town Musicians! GUYS. I LOVED THIS LITTLE BOOK. ❤

The Road to Bremen by Kelsey Bryant

Utterly charming! A tale full of heart. ❤

I’ve always loved the fairytale of the Bremen Town Musicians, the old donkey and dog and cat and rooster on the road to become musicians in Bremen. I have fond memories of hearing an audio version of the story, and a particular picture book I found fascinating with pictures I remember vividly.

So when I heard Kelsey Bryant was writing a retelling of it, I was ecstatic! Her pen skillfully brought this story to life in this novella-sized children’s book, complete with charming illustrations by E. Kaiser Writes.

I loved how it felt true to the original tale but brought out new and unexpected things too, with some excellent twists and turns! It has its own share of excitement and adventure and, yes, peril at times! But it still feels so absolutely cozy at the same time, which made me happy. 🙂

The Road to Bremen is like a golden sunbeam across a field of wheat on a quiet summer day. It just FEELS lovely. You want to bask in it as you read. It’s rich and well-written and draws you along like a breeze calling you to the shade of the forest. You can feel the dust of the road and you’ll smile or laugh at the quiet humor or the banter between these larger-than-life (but so REAL!) animal characters as they go on their adventure.

The characters are so loveable! Etzel the donkey, from whose perspective the story is told, absolutely stole my heart. I just love this donkey and his voice! He has so much character. Jager the dog is sort of mournful but funny. XD Katarina is so CAT-like and prim, and I loved the dog-vs.-cat references. And then Rudiger is so extremely vain and always quoting Aesop and it’s great. XD I just love them all! You have to read this to meet them! There are a couple of human characters, of course, who add to the story, but I won’t spoil anything by talking about them. 😉

Also, I love that it’s set in Germany and how there are German words thrown in here and there. I felt so immersed in the forest and town and roads and setting. It made me think a little of Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings and made me feel at home. 🙂

I totally recommend this if you enjoy retellings and need a quick, novella-sized read, or if you have children in your life. I feel like it would be a wonderful book to read aloud!

Just— *hugs book* It feels totally classic and makes me happy! ^_^

Disclaimer: I beta-read this book. I was not required to write a review and the opinions are my own.


About the Book

Their lives are saved by a dream. But only friendship can make that dream a reality.

Once upon a time…

Etzel the donkey is getting old, but he works hard on his farm—until the day Herr Hoffman decides he is no longer worth keeping. With no choice but to escape, Etzel sets off on the road to Bremen to seek his fortune as a musician. On the way, he rescues three other animals—a dog, a cat, and a rooster—who are also old and destined for death.

Will these four new friends find their success and worth as musicians in Bremen? Or does the road hold something better?

Based on “The Bremen Town Musicians” from the Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Ideal for kids from 7 to 11 years old, but great for all those young at heart.


About the Author

Kelsey Bryant lives in Central Texas, but being one-quarter German, she’s always wanted to visit Germany. Bogged down during the crafting of a much longer book, Kelsey started writing a retelling of one of her favorite fairy tales, “The Bremen Town Musicians,” to resuscitate her creativity. She rather liked the result.

Kelsey is the author of the Six Cousins series and Suit and Suitability, part of the Vintage Jane Austen series. The Road to Bremen is her first book for children. Besides writing fiction, Kelsey is a copyeditor, a martial arts instructor, and an avid student of the Bible. Visit her at kelseybryantauthor.com or on her blog, Kelsey’s Notebook.


Links

Purchase on Amazon (paperback or ebook)

Add on Goodreads

Announcement Post on the author’s blog!


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Thanks for reading! 🙂

The Ordinary Princess (Fantasy Love Feb. Challenge 4)

FantasyLoveFebruaryReadingChallenge

And now for the 4th and final blog mini challenge for the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge, which is to reread or rewatch a fantasy favorite movie or book, and share in a blog post what’s so fantastic about it that made you want to re-adventure with it.

I picked . . .

The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye

“You shall be ordinary.” So proclaimed the fairy Crustacea at the christening of Her Serene Royal Highness, Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne. And ordinary she was. With mousy brown hair, a turned-up nose and freckles, Princess Amy was nothing like her six blond, beautiful princess sisters. She was so ordinary, in fact, that no prince could be found to marry her. But that didn’t bother Amy. Who wanted to marry a stuffy old prince, anyway? Amy had other ideas about how to spend her life. Like running off to the forest . . . and an enchanting adventure all her own.

–Summary from the back

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I first read The Ordinary Princess in April last year, and fell in love with it instantly. ❤ I was so tempted to reread it the moment I finished it, but refrained… and now this was a perfect chance to pick it up again.

So last night I did, and devoured it all over again in an hour and a half. It’s a short read, but oh so lovely!

How can I even DESCRIBE it? It’s probably my favorite little fairytale-esque story ever. Yes, it’s THAT good.

It just has this perfect fairytale feel — it’s like an original fairytale with some nods to a few classic ones, such as starting out with a Sleeping Beauty-esque christening with fairy gifts etc. (The king even makes a reference to his great-great-something-grandmother, who evidently WAS Sleeping Beauty! Isn’t that perfect? <3) And something like the song Cinderella sings in the new Cinderella movie, and a few other things.

It has all the classic fairytale feel, and yet it’s a totally original fairytale, turning many of the old plot devices on their heads! To say much more would be to spoil the marvelous tale, but be assured that whether you like new or old tales, it will satisfy you either way.

In the author’s note, she says she wrote it one spring in an apple orchard in blossom in Kent, England, and that it practically wrote itself. All of this makes perfect sense. It’s exactly the sort of beautiful little tale that would be perfect to be made in a blooming apple orchard in England! It just FEELS like that.

It has this fabulous writing style, like many old fairytales and yet even better somehow, which is simultaneously beautiful and hilarious (don’t ask how. It just is). I don’t even know how the author did it, but it just has this perfect FEEL. There’s not a single thing I dislike about it.

And the illustrations!! It was also illustrated by the author, and they’re just the most darling, beautiful, yet simplistic and perfect drawings ever! ❤ They perfectly capture these lovely medieval fairytale kingdoms and characters. (It’s just the sort of setting I love the most in books!)

ordinaryprincessillustrationMMKaye

Then the characters, all of whom are fabulous. Even the side characters have a lot of spirit to them, from the myriad councilors and ministers of two different kingdoms, to the king and queen, to the adorable animal friends of Amy, a red squirrel (one Mr Pemberthy) and a crow (Peter Aurelious), to the fairy Crustacea, the old fairy of the waters with hornrimmed spectacles who tends to drip and be somewhat cranky when she’s held up in traffic trying to reach the christening. (Seriously, the whole thing is fabulous like that.)

The heroine, (Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne; a.k.a. “Amy”), the Ordinary Princess herself, is quite fun, and then the eventual hero, Peregrine! Oh my goodness, Peregrine was so wonderful! His lines, so British and fantastic, and only he would be met eating ice cream in the middle of the night in the midst of the leftovers of a banquet! So much wonderful. And they two of them together are just perfect and sweet and funny. I love them so much. ❤

The story itself is simply a rollick. The perfect fairytale mix of whimsical, fun, lovely, and slightly worried hoping everything will turn out all right, but being fairly sure it will, with a few twists which are absolutely perfect. (I know I keep using that word, but I will not apologize — I can’t think of a better one.)

The writing, style, setting, humor, sweetness, illustrations, characters, story, dialog — it’s just all so fantabulous, I can’t get over it!! *flails around*

I simply can’t describe how perfect it is, and the only thing for it is for you to read it yourself.

If you love fairytales new and old, fun little books, a touch of adorable sweet romance, a bit of “English” feeling and wonderful dialog and humor, and just an all around lovely read, you simply MUST read The Ordinary Princess! It’s sweet, adorable, lovely, gorgeous, hilarious, and just all-around PERFECT.

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…There is my fangirl gushing for the day. 😉

It was just the perfect thing to read for this reading challenge, and February Fantasy Month and all! ^_^

***

I must say, I’ve been very much enjoying the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge, and all the little challenges, and everything, and will be sad to see its end. But enormous thanks to Grace @ Fictionally for hosting it! I’ve been having a blast! 🙂

And although I sadly did not read all of the fantasy books I’d PLANNED to read, due to acquiring some different fantasy-ish books and reading them instead, I still have a few reviews to come in the next day or two! Since I did read The Castle Corona, Wolf Tower, and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, hopefully I’ll review those soon!

***

So how about you? Have you read The Ordinary Princess? What did you think? If not, then what are you waiting for, my good bookworms? Do not delay!

(But seriously though, READ THE ORDINARY PRINCESS. It’s so good. <3)

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Prince of Demargen by E. Kaiser Writes

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Title: Prince of Demargen

Author: E. Kaiser Writes

review

I was struck by how unique this book is! I’ve never read anything like it. I loved the main character, Prince Hess! He was one of my very favorite things about the book. Getting to follow along with his adventures and struggles and watch him grow was awesome. He has such a distinct personality and I loved his sort of dry way of thinking and talking! 🙂 Definitely a deep character right there, with some very compelling struggles. (Also the stable and brawl scene was awesome. Just saying. It was glorious.)

It’s the sort of story you dwell deeply in… Adventure upon adventure, which you’re a part of, living in the land and traveling with Hess as you read along, instead of rushed through. It’s a book that knows how to take its time but be intriguing (I couldn’t put it down!), how to have fun but also be elegant and get at the heart things. The writing has a classic, timeless aura, peppered with fine humor. I loved it!

The book made me feel deeply: I’m not much of an emotional reader, but I cried near the beginning over Hess and his brothers, and laughed at humorous lines and great bits of dialog. (The dialog is great, especially Hess’s…)

The other characters were neat and well drawn too, though I didn’t see much of them (consequence of starting a series in the middle, I suppose…). They were really great to read about together–the relationships were fantastic, as was trying to piece them together… Looking forward to seeing how it all pans out! Hess’s horse Tompte was a great character in his own right–adorable and so loyal! Princess Girta has a long way to go before I’ll be able to like her, but Queen Ilise was cool, and I really loved what little I saw of Kai! I’m super intrigued by him and I simply can’t wait for Reindeer King to release!! *flails a little*

The series is a retelling of The Snow Queen and other such tales, and this particular book is rather like what a sequel to the movie Frozen might be like if it had been a bit different. (So if that idea intrigues you, definitely give it a go!) I love retellings and this one was great. Also fairytales are able to paint certain truths in a way that many other things can’t, and I think this one did a good job at some of that.

I did jump right into the middle of the series, as I haven’t read the first two books yet, and the fourth is not yet released. So I’m not sure if I actually have complaints about Prince of Demargen, or if they will be taken care of by the other books. Time will tell! (I’m wavering between a 4.5 star rating and a 5 star one, but I’m currently settling on 5 and assuming my problems will be swept away by the rest of the books.) A few times things felt to me like they came out of the blue or I didn’t know some characters well, but that may be fixed when I read the first ones, and several things were not wrapped up which I really want to see concluded (like the brothers!!), but hopefully those will be sorted out in the next book. 🙂

So my only complaints that may still remain after reading the other books (we’ll see) would be that a few things felt random or not explained well and I’m still wondering about, and the discussion questions at the end of the chapters dragged me out of the story. I prefer to be immersed in the story (and usually was), instead of yanked out after every chapter, but I ended up being able to skip them, mostly… But still.

Other than those minor things, and being on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book to release (not actually a bad thing. ;)), I loved it!

Overall, Prince of Demargen is a rich unique tale and is a very enjoyable read. I definitely recommend this one and look forward to reading the rest of the series!

(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review, and the opinions are entirely my own.)

factoids

Illustrator: Illustrated by the author — lovely illustrations! Though few, I adore them…

Genre/Category: Fantasy / Christian / Fairytale Retelling

Age Group: Young Adult

Published: 2015

Pages: 408

Series?: Book 3 in the Thaw series (part of The Fairytale Collection). Preceded by Winter’s Child (#1), and Winter Queen (#2); followed by Reindeer King (#4) — publishing soon.

When Read: January 20, 2016 (yes, I read it in a day, despite its length! So hooked…)

Favorite Character: Hess! And Kai.

Other Notes: Read a PDF copy from the author.

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{Goodreads} • {Amazon}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages…

~ The Page Dreamer