Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Following the death of Ursula, the Dark Fairy comes to Morningstar castle to try and convince Nanny and Circe to help kill Aurora. Meanwhile in Morningstar castle, Circe is taking care of her Odd Sisters while they are unconscious. Learning that Maleficent is headed to the castle, Oberon (the Tree Lord), the Fairy Godmother, and Aurora’s fairies decide to also make their presence known. When Maleficent arrives, she tries to explain why she needs to kill Aurora starting with her past as Nanny’s child. As we learn more about Maleficent’s past, we begin to understand why she is so angry all the time and why she has become the villain in her story.

I think that out of all the villain stories, Maleficent has always been the villain that has received the most sympathy. While I don’t agree with her actions, I also think that the way Valentino describes why she feels and acts the way she does is so heartbreaking and beautiful. I think that this book really makes these books into a series for me.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

When they haven’t heard from Circe, the Odd Sisters go to Ursula. Ursula agrees to help them with the condition that they help her get back at her brother, Triton. With the intention to take the soul of his daughter, Ariel, Ursula forms her plan. But when someone from the past begins to investigate what is going on, things will become a lot more complicated.

Firstly, I LOVE the idea that Ursula hates Poor Unfortunate Soul. It is such a staple of Disney music, and to have it be something she eye rolled over is EVERYTHING. I also really like that we were able to see how all of these stories are interconnected. Secondly, (spoiler alert?) did Ursula die in the original movie? I swear, that didn’t happen. But I feel like I am not able to give a great review unless I rewatch the movies again.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

The Prince has always had everything handed to him. He has never had to work to get girls to like him and never had to worry about the staff around him. But when he begins to see Circe, a pig farmer’s daughter, he feels like he was cheated. However, Circe is the sister to the Odd Sisters, which leads to them cursing him and his palace. As the Prince becomes the Beast, he slowly falls down a spiral until he can find the woman who will help him break his curse. Although the Odd Sisters will do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening.

In the first book, the Odd Sisters did play a role, but a lot of it was in big part was from the Queen. However, in this one, the Sisters play a much bigger role towards his Villain backstory. I also wasn’t expecting the Prince and Gaston being best friends, that was quite the surprise, but Valentino does a very good job of making it work with the original story.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Today’s story is about the Wicked Queen from Snow White. Growing up, the Queen always believed that she was ugly and a waste of space. Her mother died during childbirth, and her father, who was a Mirror Maker, never forgave her for the death of his wife. When the King came to see the Mirror Maker, he fell in love with the Queen and they got married. Upon their marriage, the Queen became the stepmother of Snow White. But when the King goes to war and didn’t return, the Queen fell into a deep depression, and her path to coming out would change her fate forever.

It is incredibly interesting to me that they made the Queen such a martyr. I was kinda surprised by the adult themes, but I also understand that when Snow White came out in 1938, we were more open to talking to children about those types of things. I will say that the ending was a huge shock to me, but I’m not sure if that’s because it has been a moment since I have seen the movie or if Valentino changed/created it for her work.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Villains Series by Serena Valentino

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read:9/11/21-10/30/21

How I Found It: Amazon

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Ugh, this is so cute. These books are supposed to be the origin stories for all of the Disney villains. At the time of writing this review, there are 8 books in the series. I know that there is supposed to be 1 more book that will come out during the summer of 2022. I am not sure if that will be the last one, but it is the only date I have seen for future additions. I am also reading these in the order that is listed on Goodreads. If that order is wrong, please bear with me, I have never read the series before.

Firstly, the amount of thought that went into the production of the books is INSANE. The jackets are a matte black which isn’t the most child friendly because they will hold any oil that is on your hand and look kinda gross, but it is a very beautiful cover. The jacket has a version of the villain and the hardcover has another version of the villain. For example, on The Fairest of All, the Queen on the jacket is beautiful, but underneath, the Queen on the hardcover is the old hag that had the apple. Absolutely beautiful and so unique, I am definitely a huge fan of that decision. It is also really cool because these books are published though Disney, so they have insanely accurate drawings from the movies, which also makes them *chef’s kiss*

Secondly, the pages are a little on the thick side. While that makes them great for children because they will hold up better for fast turners, it does make it a little awkward for adults who read often. I understand the purpose, but it is a little awkward until you get down with the thickness.

UPDATE: The next book of the series is going to be about Captain Hook. It is called Never Never and will be released in July 2022. There is no update on whether this will be the last book in the series.

Edit: The next few sections were listed on another post, but moved to this one. These are my thoughts on the series as a whole.

Firstly, the age range I most commonly saw for the series was 12+. I would say that is more or less accurate. There are times where it felt like the writing was a little immature for that age, but there were other times where I felt like there were more adult themes that needed to be considered (things like suicidal thoughts/ murderous thoughts, depression and other mental health illnesses, etc.). I think that overall, middle school age could probably handle everything that is presented in the books. On the flipside, the books do sometimes feel difficult to read as an adult. The writing feels simplified at times, so while you can read it as an adult, it is hard to stay into the book in my opinion.

Secondly, let’s talk about what is “worth it” in terms of the series. The first 6 books in the series feels like it completes the series. If you wanted the one book leads to another feeling, you can stop buying after the 6th book. The 7th book, Evil Thing, is really its own book. Other than being about a Disney villain, it plays absolutely no role in the series. Cold Hearted uses all the main characters of the series, but it is more of an added story than a continuation. All in all, buy the first 6 books if you want a fluid series, buy all of the books if you want the nostalgia factor.

Thirdly, if I was an editor, what would I like to see next? I already know that the next book is going to be about Captain Hook, but I don’t know how Valentino plans on incorporating his story with the others. I hope that the next book is at least similar to Cold Hearted in the sense that the main characters (Nanny, Circe, the Odd Sisters, etc.) play a role in the story. That was one of my least favorite parts of Evil Thing, in a lot of ways it felt like a waste to the series. I have a feeling that we are no longer going to see the results of Circe’s death, though I do hope that eventually we will get a book that continues that narrative. The question becomes what villain can you use to get that story acrossed, or has that ship already sailed?

In the scheme of things, I would say that the series as a whole is probably a 3.5 out of 5. There are some things that I would have done differently, but it was enjoyable and had good qualities. I think that it is a unique idea and I am excited to see what comes next.

Books in the Series

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince

Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch

Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy

Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch

The Odd Sisters: A Tale of Three Witches

Evil Thing: A Tale of that De Vil Woman

Cold Hearted: A Tale of the Wicked Stepmother

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

An Update

Hi Friends! It’s been a minute. I think I speak for all of us when I say that what is going on with the world sometimes overwhelms me. I think I also speak for all of us when I say that I often times sabotage the things I enjoy doing when I begin to feel overwhelmed. At the beginning of this year, I set a goal for myself where I would read books by a range of authors honoring different ethnicities and religions along the way. And while I went in with extremely good intentions, that put a lot of pressure on me to perform a certain way. It became completely unrealistic, and eventually I fell off the wagon. By a lot. Now we are half a year later, and though I have a whole bunch of reviews written, I still haven’t taken the time to get them onto this blog. That hopefully will be changing soon. It is my intention to put 0 pressure on this blog. Maybe then I will begin posting regularly again. But I do want to say thank you to anyone who stopped by while I was gone. We reached 1,500 visitors all-time and are rapidly approaching another milestone: 2,500 views! It blows my mind that people even care about my opinions on books and I am grateful for the support!

So updates: my Halloween posts this year are going to be a series called Villians by Serena Valentino. Those reviews will begin October 23rd and will posted once a day until October 31st. November (and probably parts of December) are going to be thriller/mystery/horror reviews from my lead up to Halloween. Leading up to Christmas, I will be posting the Once Upon a Book Club Advent Calendar from last year. Posts aren’t going to follow a set schedule for now, right now I need to get more in the habit of writing reviews than trying to keep up with another responsibility.

Thank you for the support, and I will see you all in the next review!

The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood

How I Read It: Print/ Audiobook

Dates Read: 2/24/21-3/2/21

How I Found It: Book of the Month

Trigger Warnings: There are instances of abuse, including manipulation, physical, and sexual abuse.

When I saw the cover of this book, I was all in. I will say that this book is 100% not what I was expecting on a romance level, but I learned a lot about the feelings and emotions of trying to come to the US with the hope of earning the American Dream.

Let’s be real, Anvar Farris was not destined to be a “good” muslim. He questions everything, has differing views on the world, and he never memorizes the Quran. When his parents moved the family to San Francisco, CA, Anvar was ready for the new experience. He fell in love, went to college for English, and felt like he had his place in the world. But when his relationship fell apart after a disagreement of religious beliefs, Anvar finds his life in turmoil. When his mother experiences a very racist situation, Anvar goes to law school to become a lawyer. He ends up getting a case, but hs client ends up dead after a bomb strike in Syria. Feeling helpless, Anvar stops living, forcing him to take charity in order to have a place to live.

Safwa was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. After her mother’s death, her father has to start working for the Americans in order to keep the food on the table. But when he is taken by the Americans, Safwa tries to take care of her crippled brother. Eventually, she has to leave her brother behind, forcing her uncle to take care of him in his last days. When her father returns to her, Safwa has to withstand his wrath. But when she meets a man, Qais, who might be able to get her out of Afghanistan once and for all, she is willing to pay the price. Once she lands in America, she tries to avoid Qais, but the deal that she made continues to catch up to her. She meets Anvar, and the relationship that they forge gives her an idea to hopefully earn the freedom she came to America for.

In my opinion, the book is a little dense. However, I also listened to this book more often than I normally do. I think that this is one of those books that I recommend that you listen to it over reading it, but that may also be what worked best for me. There were times where the timeline was slightly confusing to me, but otherwise, think that this book is pretty easily accessible for the average reader. I think overall, I would give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 2/15/21-2/16/21

How I Found It: Misfit in Love

I had Misfit in Love as one of the books I found on Instagram that I put on my Amazon Wish List. As I was going through and buying some books, I realized that that book was a sequel to this book, Saints and Misfits. I listened to this book solely, so I am basing the spellings of names on how others who have reviewed this book spelled them. Please correct me if I screwed up.

Janna is the daughter of divorced parents. While she feels like her brother, Muhammad, is her mother’s favorite, Janna feels like she is on her own. When Muhammad switches his major, their father decided to rescind his tuition payments, forcing Muhammad to move home with Janna and her mother and Janna to move into her mother’s room. On top of that, Janna’s crush, Jeremy, who is non-Muslim, is starting to notice her. After Janna’s friend’s cousin attempts to sexually assault her, Janna is trying to understand what has happened to her. A story about a girl’s journey through life and high school, this novel shows that there is no difference between religions or race, we are all just trying to get through the day.

One of the things that I love about reading about characters from different religions and cultures is that we learn that we aren’t that different after all. We are all just trying to make it through life regardless of our lineage. I am excited to read Misfit in Love (which looks like it will be released on the 25th of May), and some of the other novels that S.K. Ali has written. Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 3/2/21-3/5/21

How I Found It: I’m not sure, probably Amazon, but I started listening to it because I knew I already had a print copy

Jamie is an extremely anxious person. He has a huge fear of public speaking, but he is trying to help with the Jordan Rossum campaign. Maya’s best friend is about to go to college and is incredibly busy. Since she doesn’t have a car, she feels completely isolated and alone. So when her mom offers to give her a car if she helps with the Rossum campaign, she starts canvassing with Jamie. But soon, the campaign becomes personal, and they begin to realize that even if they can’t vote, they can make a difference.

Before I get into reviewing this book, I want to start with some transparency. I had read a few reviews before writing my own, mainly because I wanted to find a way to say the things that I was thinking.

I think that the purpose of this book is really good. It opens up the political universe for a young audience, many of whom are unconcerned about their civic duty. It shows them that they can do something to make a difference, even if it feels like you can’t because you can’t vote. The problem is the romance. We spend the entire book having this conversation of dating between different religions and how these are things to consider. But instead of having a conversation of “maybe we should take things slow”, we go with the “deny until suddenly we are humping each other” method. It is not my decision as to which one is best, but it was a real turn off for the book for me.

We had the opportunity to talk about both Judaism and Islam throughout this book, but I felt like they were brushed over. Especially Judaism. While the story revolves around a bar mitzvah, there is not a whole lot of conversation into Judaism or what it means to Jamie. In fact, the only times we really talk about his religion is through his opinions on the anti-semitic memes. There were so many opportunities to expand the conversations surrounding this novel, and it just missed for me. I think overall, I would give this 3.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 1/27/21-1/31/21

How I Found It.’ Once Upon A Book Club

In a letter to the reader, I know that this is a love story between two Jewish teens who are on the precipice of deciding on their future endeavors. Otherwise. I know very little about what is in store for us, so without further Ado, I will see you all with the first gift!

Page 7

“I’m poking a simple gold stud through one earlobe when the envelope catches my eye.”

Today Tonight Tomorrow, page 7

Honestly, I have the exact same earrings in silver on at the time of writing this, so I will definitely be incorporating these into my fashion!

Page 44

I’m not going to put a quote because that is a lot to write, but you can see it all on the gift. Fun fact: my 7th grade teacher made us write notes to our future selves and in that letter I 1) said I should go to Princeton because, as A Cinderella Story taught me, that’s where princesses go (barf), but 2) was convinced that my brother shouldn’t marry my sister-in-law (which thankfully was ignored, and now I am a proud aunt). All-in-all, an interesting memory lane to walk down.

Page 94

“He glances back at me, and with a sweet smile, I dive forward to yank off his armband.”

Today Tonight Tomorrow, page 94

Okay, let’s catch up for a minute. Rowan had a life plan for when shegraduates high school. But when nothing goes to plan, especially when her archenemy, Neil McNair wins valedictorian. with the final senior scavenger hunt looming. Rowan is determined to win her last hurrah.

Why am I obsessed with bandanas? The world may never know. But, I am a happy Elizabeth!

Page 284

“I grab his arm to look at his watch.”

Today Tonight Tomorrow, page 284

I got a WATCH?!?! It is a very beautiful, but simple watch. However, it is hard to adjust, so while I can put it on, it does pinch a little bit.

As for the story. Rowan learns that a group of the seniors are trying to knock her and Neil out of the scavenger hunt, she teams up with him to win. But as Rowan said, opposites are more similar than they think, and quickly they get all caught up in their feelings.

Page 351

“With that, he reveals the gift: a tub of Philadelphia with a red ribbon around it….”

Today Tonight Tomorrow, page 351

I saw this gift very briefly when I was scrolling through Instagram and was sure it was a candle. Let me just say, very happy to be wrong on this one. Also what does it say about me when I immediately thought about putting my wine in it? Pandemic hits hard.

Book Review

I loved this. To have an opportunity to write about something that all of us have felt (feeling like you didn’t do everything you wanted to) and add in a personal twist (stereotypes and general feeling of being the other) and add in a romance is essentially *chef’s kiss*. All in all, I absolutely enjoyed myself. I am going to rate this a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!