Monday, April 30, 2012

Fairy Tale Giveaway!

Today I’ll be hosting my VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY! Somehow I’ve managed to run a blog for over a year without ever hosting a giveaway!
YOU get to choose your prize. You can pick any fairy tale retelling I’ve reviewed that is valued under $10. Sorry international peeps! I love you—but I can barely pay for shipping to the US (yep—I’m that poor!)
And if I get 100 followers, I’ll throw a party and give all of you digital hugs and cupcakes (because while I may be poor, I make some mean cupcakes)!
For your convenience, I’ve provided a list of every fairy tale book I’ve reviewed. I believe the majority of these are available in paperback, making them eligible for the giveaway! (You can find the Rafflecopter below)
  1. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
  2. The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler
  3. A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn
  4. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
  5. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
  6. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
  7. East by Edith Pattou
  8. The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson
  9. My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
  10. My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison
  11. The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn
  12. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  13. Snow by Tracy Lynn
  14. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale 
  15. Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley
  16. Spindle's End by Robin McKinley
  17. Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl
  18. A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine
  19. Beastly by Alex Flinn
  20. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
  21. Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
  22. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  23. Zel by Donna Jo Napoli
  24. A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
  25. Winter's Child by Cameron Dokey
  26. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
  27. Entwined by Heather Dixon
  28. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  29. A True Princess by Diane Zahler
  30. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon, Dean, and Nathan Hale
  31. My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski
  32. Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
  33. The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott

Author Interview: Jessica Day George

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As a finale of sorts to Fairy Tale Fortnight, I have one of my all-time favorite authors on the blog! If you guessed Jessica Day George, then you’re right! I’ve reviewed all her books, which you can find here! (Note that she has maintained a 5 star average rating on this blog because she IS that good!)

Jessica Day George earned a BA in Humanities/Comparative Literature from Brigham Young University, where she enjoyed classes in Pottery and Old Norse, and dutifully forced herself to take Algebra and Biology. Originally from Idaho, she now resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, their young son, and a five pound Maltese named Pippin.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (4-30-12)

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Finished This Week

Starters by Lissa Price

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott

Hurray for lots of reading this week!

Currently Reading

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

It doesn’t look like I’ll have a review of Toads and Diamonds up before the end of the day, but that’s okay! That just means one at the end of May!

To Read

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

My goal is that by the end of May I’ll be back on track for my Goodreads challenge! If I get these done, I’ll be well on my way!

 

What are you reading this week!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Note to FTR Participants & Review Link-up

I haven’t been the best hostess these past months. Last month wasn’t a good blogging month for me, and I’ve been forgetting about the FTR (Fairy Tales Retold) challenge this month, despite Fairy Tale Fortnight going on and posting my button in every single review I’ve done!

Because of this, I haven’t had any discussion posts up. Just thinking about discussion posts drives me crazy, and to be honest, I’m not the best at coming up with long, thoughtful posts like that.

So I’m passing the reigns on to you! If you’re interested in volunteering your fairy-tale filled brains, let me know! I have this fancy-schmancy guest-posting form, or you can email me at debzbookshelf@gmail.com

Now, on to the link-up! Add any of your reviews from March and April! I’ll do my best to comment on each and every one!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Author Interview: Zoë Marriott

imageToday I have an extra special guest! Zoë Marriott! She's written some pretty awesome fairy tale retellings. Seriously. Once you're done reading this interview and my reviews of Shadows on the Moon and The Swan Kingdom, go to your nearest book store or library and get a copy! But before we get to the interview, take a moment to learn exactly why Zoë's awesome!

I grew up with an older sister and a younger brother who ganged up on me mercilessly whenever they could get away with it (teaching me to fight dirty at an early age). We had a small menagerie of rescued strays ranging from canaries to kittens, all of whom I liked much better than my siblings. I struggled between being a princess (because I liked frilly dresses and tiaras) and being a tomboy (because I could run faster and spit further than any of the boys). I resolved this by being a princess whenever my hair had grown long, and being a tomboy whenever my mum noticed how long my hair had gotten and chopped it off with the kitchen scissors.

I decided I was going to be a writer as soon as I finished reading my first book -- THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE by Enid Blyton -- and mad as it sounds, I never changed my mind. The first story that I wrote was about a rabbit and a pig having a party. The second was about a girl who found a pair of magic shoes which made flowers grow wherever she walked. I live in a peaceful little house which has the sea on one side and marshlands on the other. Both landscapes provide inspiration for my work. For company I have two cats, one named Hero after the Shakespearian character, and the other Echo after the nymph from the Greek myth. I also have a sprocker -- a springer/cocker spaniel cross -- called Finn, but normally he's known as the Devil Hound. I sing a lot, talk to myself a lot (writers are allowed to do this) and read a lot, usually when I'm supposed to be writing.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: The Swan Kingdom by Zoë Marriott

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Shadows fall across the beautiful, lush kingdom after the queen is attacked by an unnatural beast, and the healing skills of her daughter, Alexandra, cannot save her. Too soon the widowed king is spellbound by a frightening stranger, a woman whose eyes reflect no light. In a terrifying moment, all Alexandra knows disappears, including her beloved brothers, leaving her banished to a barren land. But Alexandra has more gifts than she realizes as she confronts magic, murder, and the strongest of evil forces, and is unflinchingly brave as she struggles to reclaim what is rightfully hers. Fantasy lovers will be held in thrall by this tale full of visual detail, peppered with a formidable destructive force and sweetened with familial and romantic love.

A new voice in fantasy weaves a rich, entrancing tale of a girl with powerful healing gifts --- and the courage to use them to save her ailing kingdom.

It’s so difficult to find words to properly describe my love of Zoe Marriott. This book was absolutely stunning. It’s hard to find a single fault within these pages. The writing was gorgeous. I knew it would be, but I loved it much more than I ever thought I could’ve. It flowed so gracefully, and told the story beautifully.

All the characters were amazing. They were realistic, but at the same time most certainly belonged in a fairy tale. Alexandra was a wonderful, strong heroine. Though I found her a bit stubborn at some times, for the most part I enjoyed reading of her journey. Oh, and Gabriel. I want a Gabriel. He’s the perfect prince charming!

My one complaint is that it ended too quickly. I would’ve been happy with 100 more pages for the ending to play out more thoroughly. The ending was still very powerful and one of my favorite parts, but it was so quick, and I may have enjoyed it more if it had been more thought out.

This book felt familiar, like an old friend, but at the same time was very fresh. It’s a very original retelling that will capture the hearts of many!

stars

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Book Review: Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott

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Sixteen-year-old Suzume is a shadow weaver, trained in the magical art of illusion. She can be anyone she wants to be -- except herself. Is she the girl of noble birth, trapped by the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Even Suzume is no longer sure of her true identity. But she is determined to steal the heart of the Moon Prince, and exact revenge on her stepfather for the death of her family. And nothing will stop her. Not even her love for fellow shadow weaver Otieno, the one man who can see through her illusions...
Set in a faery tale version of ancient Japan, Shadows on the Moon shakes up the Cinderella story with its brave, resourceful and passionate heroine.
A powerful tale of magic, love, and revenge set in fairy-tale Japan.
This is probably one of the darkest Cinderella retellings out there. That being said, it’s also one of the best. The emotional journey that Suzume goes through is astounding. She starts out as a timid girl and grows to be a strong young woman.
The writing captured me right away! From the moment I opened the book, I knew it would be hard lot to love. It was powerful and fluid and told the story in an almost magical way.
This book was very dark and heavy, but not at all in a bad way. After a reading session of about 5 chapters, I’d feel overwhelmed by everything that went on, and I’d need to take a break for something lighter, but at the same time I’d want to keep going, because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next!
While I was reading, I would fall so deep into the story that I would forget it’s a retelling of Cinderella until I’d take a moment to stop and realize all the subtle elements of the fairy tale weaving their way into the plot.
MATURE CONTENT:
This book was just dark. It starts right off with lots of murder, and it doesn’t get much happier as the story progresses. There’s cutting, which made me shudder because I’m just scared of sharp things in general. Revenge is a big theme of this book, and it isn’t taken lightly.
There’s also some sexual stuff, but it was very quick and not very explicit, so I didn’t mind it that much. (Oh, and there’s also a cross dresser of sorts. Kind of weird…)
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I received an ARC to read and review, and received no compensation for this review

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Fairy Tales--Part 2

Last Wednesday I showed off some fairy tale books I’m looking forward to, and this week I’ll be doing the same, with some exciting upcoming releases, all from Bloomsbury!image

 

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors
Why I Want It
Ummm, who doesn’t want the magical ability to make chocolate milk? I do! This sounds like a sweet read!

 

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Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
Why I Want It
In case you haven’t noticed, I practically worship Jessica Day George. She’s one of my favorite authors and I’m so excited for this final installment in her Princess series!

 

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Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
 
Why I Want It
Ecstatic is an understatement! I was giddy when I first saw the announcement! I think the cover is gorgeous, and it sounds amazing! Can’t wait to get my hands on this one!
princess academy
And there’s a new cover for Princess Academy to match Palace of Stone! A lot of people have said they don’t like it, but I really like it. Plus, it comes with an excerpt from Palace of Stone!

 

 

 

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

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"You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They're lies. All lies." Twelve-year-old Jenny has spent the last two years as an adventurer helping magical kingdoms around the universe. But it's a thankless job, leaving her no time for school or friends. She'd almost rather take a math test than rescue yet another magical creature When Jenny is sent on yet another mission, she has a tough choice to make: quit and have her normal life back, or fulfill her promise and go into a battle she doesn't think she can win.

This was a super quick, fun, and quirky book. I didn’t know anything about it besides it had an awesome title and cover, but that was enough to make me pick it up just in time for Fairy Tale Fortnight!

It was action packed and tons of fun! Jenny is an Adventurer, and as such, has the responsibility to keep peace among the many magical realms. This leads her on many strange quests, which result in things such as being stabbed by a unicorn horn and having her mouth removed by a lunatic clown.

And speaking of clowns, Klarr sure was creepy. A clown with no mouth who has cursed practically everyone elses mouths off. I’ve never liked clowns, but I think Klarr has just ensured that I don’t head to the circus any time soon! (And as I type this, my friend who is, in fact, a professional clown (yes, I know), is liking my facebook status…)

Other than that, I loved all the characters. They were fun and definitely belong in fairy tale worlds. Anthony was definitely a favorite. He reminded me very much of Chrissy from My Fair Godmother. He’s the side-kick/helper who manages to get by doing the bare minimum, while spending most of the time with something trivial (in his case, candy!)

The writing was fun and light, and carried the story with ease, and lots of humor. There were many moments when I was smiling a cheesy grin or giggling out loud. All in all, it was a fun and very unique adventure, and I look forward to going on another adventure like that sometime soon!

stars

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Author Interview: Diane Zahler

imageGuess who stopped by the blog and left us a special surprise! No, not the Easter Bunny. Diane Zahler, author of several middle grade fairy tale retellings, which are pretty awesome if I do say so myself! Check out my reviews of The Thirteenth Princess and A True Princess, then you’ll know why she’s awesome. If you still doubt me, read all about her!

I grew up reading children's books and never wanted to do anything but write them. Then I got a contract for THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS and A TRUE PRINCESS, and then PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS and another (yet unnamed) fairy-tale retelling. Magic does happen! I live in the country with my husband in what is aptly nicknamed the Bug House. Visit my website at www.dianezahler.com.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fairy Tale Poem

Hello peoples! I completely forgot to post anything yesterday! But never fear—Debz is here! And with a strange little poem I wrote yesterday in my poetry group! And guess what—it’s all about a fairy tale that you may recognize!

The girl cried
in the dungeon below
bent over the
spinning wheel
weeping, weeping
turning straw damp
I appear behind
a pile of hay
and beckon to her
She looks up, stunned
I slyly grin
and offer to her
what she desires most
“I will save you another day
“Spinning this straw
“into gold” I say
“But you must make it
“Worth my time
“And give me
“Something dear to you”
She gives me her necklace
Dotted with rubies
Worthless junk
But I accept
I will get a better reward
in the end
I begin to spin

It hasn’t been super polished, but my fellow poetry peoples seemed to like it.

What did you think?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings

A couple days ago Misty made a Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings Vlog! I was inspired to make my own list of favorite retellings. So here we go!

10. Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale

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9. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

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8. My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

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7. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

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6. Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

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5. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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4. Entwined by Heather Dixon

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3. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

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2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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1. Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

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I would’ve had long blurbs about why I loved these books, but I think you guys should just check these out for yourself!

What are your favorite retellings?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Fairy Tales--Part 1

Both this Wednesday and next, I’ll be spotlighting some upcoming Fairy Tale books that I’ve been lusting after!

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Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Why I Want It
From what I’ve heard it sounds like it’s based on the Frog Prince and incorporates lots of other fairy tales. Sounds fun, right? Plus the cover is gorgeous!

 

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The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Why I Want It
I heard somewhere that it’s a mix between Narnia and Shrek, 2 of my favorite childhood obsessions! (Plus, it’s written by the guy from Glee, which I’m obsessed with)

 

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In A Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz
 
Why I Want It
It’s a companion novel to A Tale Dark and Grimm, which I enjoyed. This one features Jack and Jill, making their way through several well-known fairy tales in an unforgettable fashion.

 

Stop by next week for a peek ate some more Fairy Tale books I’m looking forward to!

Book Review: Rapunzel’s Revenge

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Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother.

Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall.

And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond.

Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you’ve never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.

For some reason I convinced myself I wouldn’t like this book. Being a graphic novel, I thought that the writing wouldn’t be that good, because it would rely too much on the pictures to tell the story. And from the few low resolution images I’d seen on the internet, I thought the illustrations were only gonna be so-so. I was SOOOOO wrong. This might just be my favorite Hale book!

This book told a story that anyone would want to listen to. I read this as a bedtime story to my little sister, and she kept asking for more and more. She loved all the pictures and jokes. She was turning pages faster than I could read them!

The words and pictures worked together so well. On their own, they could tell an okay story, but together they told an amazing story!

The illustrations were completely awesome. They were so unique and intricate, and I just wanted to spend 20 minutes staring at each and every page, to absorb all the wonderfulness!

The writing was so much fun. There was lots of humor that kept the story light, while there was also some deep stuff to keep it feeling real.

There’s something in this book for everyone, no matter their age!

stars

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Minimalist Fairy Tale Posters

I’m sure you’ve seen these floating around the internet. They’re pretty awesome if you ask me! Christian Jackson is the designer, and I’ll just say I think he’s a genius! To see the whole collection and an interview with him, hop on over here, while I spotlight some of my favorites right here.

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Which poster is your favorite?

Monday, April 16, 2012

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Finished This Week

A True Princess by Diane Zahler

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon, Dean, and Nathan Hale

Currently Reading

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott (almost finished!)

Starters by Lissa Price (audiobook)

To Read

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

 

As you can see, lots of fairy tales!

My Stupendous FTF Schedule

I figured that since I’ll be celebrating Fairy Tale Fortnight the whole time through, I might as well whip up a schedule, at least for my sanity. You guys can completely ignore it.
April 15th
Kick-Off/Cover Challenge

April 16th
Book Review: A True Princess

April 17th
Minimalist Fairy Tale Posters

April 18th
Book Review: Rapunzel's Revenge
Waiting on Wednesday: Fairy Tales--Part 1

April 19th
Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings

April 20th
Nothing )=

April 21st
Rumpelstiltskin Poem

April 22nd
Nothing )=

April 23rd
Author Interview: Diane Zahler

April 24th
Book Review: My Very UnFairy Tale Life

April 25th
Waiting on Wednesday: Fairy Tales--Part 2 (Bloomsbury Edition!)

April 26th
Book Review: Shadows on the Moon

April 27th
Book Review: The Swan Kingdom

April 28th 
Author Interview: Zoë Marriott

April 29th 
Nothing )=

April 30th
Author Interview: Jessica Day George

Book Review: A True Princess by Diane Zahler

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Twelve-year-old Lilia is not a very good servant. In fact, she's terrible! She daydreams, she breaks dishes, and her cooking is awful. Still, she hardly deserves to be sold off to the mean-spirited miller and his family. Refusing to accept that dreadful fate, she decides to flee. With her best friend, Kai, and his sister, Karina, beside her, Lilia heads north to find the family she's never known. But danger awaits. . . .
As their quest leads the threesome through the mysterious and sinister Bitra Forest, they suddenly realize they are lost in the elves' domain. To Lilia's horror, Kai falls under an enchantment cast by the Elf King's beautiful daughter. The only way for Lilia to break the spell and save Kai is to find a jewel of ancient power that lies somewhere in the North Kingdoms. Yet the jewel will not be easy to find. The castle where it is hidden has been overrun with princess hopefuls trying to pass a magical test that will determine the prince's new bride. Lilia has only a few days to search every inch of the castle and find the jewel—or Kai will be lost to her forever.
This was such a fun little book! It had all the magic and adventure that you look for in a middle-grade fantasy. It wasn’t anything deep and heart-wrenching, but it’s something that will make you smile!
The plot was simple, but had enough to it to keep the reader turning pages. You can definitely tell it’s a retelling of the Princess and the Pea, but it has enough to it that it doesn’t have to depend on that aspect. I also thought it was clever how the “True Princess” stuff is incorporated.
The only thing I didn’t like was the dialogue, which felt stiff and awkward. I think the author was trying to make it sound like what you’d imagine fairy tale characters would sound like, but it didn’t flow as it should’ve.
The characters were all enjoyable to read. Each and every one was unique and kept me interested. Lilia was a strong character, not afraid to embark on a journey to find out who she is. Those who accompanied her made for wonderful companions. I found the romances going on kind of strange (Kai and Lilia? I saw theirs as a brother/sister relationship… )
stars
Check out my review of The Thirteenth Princess
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fairy Tale Fortnight!

imageIn case you haven’t noticed, I love fairy tales! I’m super completely obsessed! Heck, I’m even hosting a fairy tale reading challenge (by the way, it’s not too late to sign up!)

All throughout FTF, I’ll be doing lots of fun stuff, including reviews, discussions, games, interviews, and maybe a giveaway!

To kick off Fairy Tale Fortnight, Misty’s doing a create-a-cover challenge! Man there are a lot of these going on this week! I did one, Team Amity’s doing one, Enna Isilee’s putting one together, and now this!

So I decided to whip up a quick cover for Snow White. I literally did this in 5 minutes, so it isn’t that great, but it isn’t too bad, is it?

SnowWhite

Image from Skye Suicide

I would love to see what kind of stuff you guys are doing to kick off Fairy Tale Fortnight! Let me know in the comments!

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