Book Review: Rebel Rose by Emma Theriault

Title: Rebel Rose (The Queen’s Council #1)
Author: Emma Theriault
Genre: Historical fantasy/fairytale continuation
Intended audience: YA
Dates Read: 17/02/21 – 21/02/21
Rating: ★★★★


I know a lot of people didn’t like this book and honestly I can see why. This continuation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was at times hard to reconcile with the original cartoon movie. But I still enjoyed it for what it was, perhaps because in this version it was far enough away from the movie for me to treat as something separate.

One of the main complaints I saw about the book is that the character of Belle is so far removed from the vivacious, outspoken character we know from the movie. While this is true, I could accept that while Belle was outspoken within her village, that now trying to fit into royal society and not knowing her way around, she became a little more subdued.

Some of it was a bit predictable and I knew who the villain was from chapter one or two. Having said that, I had assumed his motivations were the complete opposite of what they turned out to be, and I felt what I had expected would have made more sense than what transpired.

Once I got used to the idea of Disney characters set against real world events, I enjoyed the historical setting. It does make things a bit grittier, but I thought it worked. I did wish we got to see a bit more of the side characters – Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Potts all make appearances, but I would have liked more.

Despite those niggles, I found the writing quite engaging. Maybe that was because this was the kind of story I needed to pull me out of a two-week reading slump. Whatever the reason, I found myself ignoring chores and staying up a bit late to finish this one. Now knowing how the series is intended to tie together, I’m interested to see how the other Disney properties are tied into this one.

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“I cannot expect people to do for me what I cannot.” // Review of “A Whole New World” by Liz Braswell

Title: A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1)
Author: Janella Angeles
Genre: Fantasy/Retelling
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 22/12/2020– 26/12/2020


Ahh, I hate it when a book has so much potential it doesn’t live up to. To be fair, for the most part it was engaging and I did enjoy it. But I had so many little niggles that kept pulling me out of the story.

For those unfamiliar with Disney’s Twisted Tales series, each book takes a well known Disney property and asks “What if?” about a certain aspect of it – in this case, what if Jafar had got to the Genie’s lamp instead of Aladdin?

I wasn’t quite sure what this book was trying to be. The writing felt middle-grade, but the characters were aged up (Princess Jasmine refers to being nearly twenty at one point). The writing style was very unsophisticated, too, and never gave a sense of place. It was really modern, with phrases like “you guys” peppering it (what modern Princess would use “you guys”, let alone one from a so-called “ancient” city?). These are things that don’t bother me in a cartoon movie but a book requires something more.

It also bothered me that every time the characters referred to Princess Jasmine, they called her “the royal princess”. Every. Time. Let’s not use tautology, okay? The royalty is implied in the word “princess”.

Having said that, I enjoyed the overall ideas and the way the story was twisted. The last third was pretty engaging, as Aladdin and Jasmine’s army started to find its feet and the action started ramping up. I did find Jafar’s defeat a little rushed, and a bit too easy, but I did tear through to the end, so that’s something.

I’m still interested to try the other Twisted Tales. This was the first one written, and it’s also the one with the lowest rating on GoodReads. There are also a few different authors writing them so that might also make a difference.

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#MirthMusicMon – Let it flow – #mondayblogs

So… I’m not actually that into Star Wars…? I like Doctor Who, but apart from that, I enjoy my sci-fi earth-based. But just because I’m not into it, doesn’t mean that thousands of people are lining up to see the new Star Wars movie when it comes out this week. A friend of mine and I were watching various John Williams-related videos on YouTube yesterday and then we stumbled across this gem. Enjoy! (And join us for MMM over here)

#MirthMusicMon – A Change in Me – #mondayblogs

So today I had this moment when I discovered that there was an extra song written for the Beauty and the Beast musical in 1998, when Toni Braxton joined the cast. Somehow, despite loving this musical for somewhere between fifteen and twenty years, I have missed this until now. And it’s a really pretty song, too! Here is Susan Egan, the original Broadway Belle, singing it (only audio, unfortunately):

I’m auditioning for a production of Beauty and the Beast later this year, and now I know this song, I want to play Belle even more!

In keeping with the BatB theme, this is a SNL sketch that I found. It… does kind of devolve into ass jokes, but it starts off pretty funny, and sometimes you need to just be immature, right?

You can join us for MMM over at the linky.

#MirthMusicMon – Pirates edition

So it’s Friday night and I’m going on holidays tomorrow and will have limited Internet access. That’s not stopping me from scheduling a Monday post however! To be honest, I was a bit stuck on what to use for today’s post, so I was just scrolling through YouTube’s “recommended for you” pages and after a couple of related videos, ended up here. Enjoy!

While I was at uni, the PotC soundtrack was a staple in my study music playlist. Nothing like some swashbuckling to get you in the mood to write art history or gender studies essays. Anyway, when I moved off campus and into a real house, my housemate at the time showed me this one. It takes a minute to get used to, but then it’s really cool!

Us MMMers hang out over at this linky. Feel free to join in! I’m off now to continue packing my bag (clothes that needed washing are finally dry, wheee!).

~ Emily

#MirthMusicMon – Isabella for next Disney Princess!

I was browsing Facebook on the weekend and one of the pages I follow linked to a story about a corgi who visited Disneyland. This is one post about it, though not the one I was reading. The one I was reading linked to another very cute Disneyland video, this one of a little girl totally putting Gaston in his place when she lined up for a photo and autograph. It’s awesome. Gaston is one of my favourite Disney villains, but he certainly needs a few more sassy little girls telling him off.

When I went to look up the video, I found this one made by the same person. This guy improvised a song about the incident. I always take my hat off to people who can come up with stuff off the top of their heads. I have a friend who does it a lot and I am eternally jealous.

As a bonus, here’s the original Gaston song.

Feel free to join in on Mirth and Music Monday and join us at the linky.

~ Emily

#MirthMusicMon – Not a tale I distort

I’m scheduling this post in advance because I’ve been in Sydney all weekend and am only now on my way home. Probably more about that on Wednesday, since I did a little novel research while I was there. But anyway, yesterday we saw The Lion King on stage (I deliberately booked further back so I could have an aisle seat and have animals walk past me during The Circle of Life, something I’ve wanted since going to see the original Australian production about ten years ago and being stuck upstairs, away from the wildlife). In light of that, I thought I would share a song that is in the show, and in the 10th Anniversary edition DVD, but not the original movie. This is Zazu singing The Morning Report (ignore the fact that Simba’s voice is clearly different; they had to get a new kid because obviously ten years later, the original kid-Simba was 20-something and his voice had broken).

Ah, poor Zazu. Join us for Mirth and Music Monday by clicking here. Yay!


#MirthMusicMon – Flash Mob! and #ROW80 Statement of Intent

This week on Mirth and Music Monday, a video that was shared by either the Disney page or the Lion King page on Facebook earlier this week. I can’t remember, I follow them both. Anyway, it’s the new Australian cast of The Lion King flash mobbing their fellow plane passengers on a trip back to Sydney with a rousing rendition of The Circle of Life. I wish I had been on this plane.

And for some more Flash Mob fun, here is another musical number:

Mirth and Music Monday is run by the very lovely Regi McClain. Visit her blog for the linky. 😀

row80-2In other news, the new round of Around of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) starts today. My writer friends have instigated a challenge we’ve named “April-o Edit-o” in which we aim to have a fully edited novel by the end of April, at which point we pass it on to someone else to read, but I can’t say I’m stressing too much about whether or not I actually manage this. My goal is still to edit two chapters of A More Complicated Fairytale a week, which will see me finish roughly at the end of May. I’m thinking maybe a release date sometime in August, maybe? That’ll give me time to go back and fix the bits where I’ve just left red exclamation marks, get the non-writing aspects of it all organised… that sort of thing.

But anyway, that’s the longer term plan that goes beyond this ROW80 round. Two chapters a week, that’s my goal. Over the past couple of weeks, people have got used to me basically holing myself up at my desk, so they can continue being used to that. 😛 As for check-ins, I’ll just do them on Wednesdays, when I’ll be doing my usual WIPpet Wednesday post anyway. I never really feel like I have enough to say for two check-ins a week. I’m going to finish this off now, and will be back later in the week!


#MirthMusicMon – “And I’ll be a… HAPPY SNOWMAN!”

I’m actually writing this at a uncivilised hour on Saturday night while I consider going to bed, because I’m sure I will completely forget otherwise. So I’ve become a little bit obsessed with the soundtrack to the newest Disney movie, Frozen. Not so much with the movie itself (it was great but I think Tangled will always occupy the “favourite Disney movie” spot in my heart), but when a soundtrack has that many Broadway names, how can one not? So, for Mirth and Music Monday, I give you a fun song from Frozen, called “In Summer”.

And now I’m going to go and actually clear my bed, and try to ignore the loud techno music coming from next door. I know it’s Saturday, but really, we live in a block of 12 flats. Argh. Maybe I’ll blare the Frozen soundtrack back at them. Anyway. Cheerio for now.wordpresssig2