The Wishing Spell, by Chris Colfer

colfer the wishing spellSeries: The Land of Stories # 1
Genre:  Children’s Fantasy
Published:  July, 2012
Goodreads | Amazon CA US UK | Audible | Indigo | Barnes & Noble

Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.

The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  4 / 5
Format:  Paperback
Started:  September 6th, 2016
Finished:  September 10th, 2016
Wine Pairing:
  A light crisp Moscato – chilled super cold, please! And maybe a cupcake with sprinkles. 😀

To Grandma, for being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I’ve ever received: “Christopher, I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer.”

These are the first words you see on the third page of this beautiful little book, and I’m fairly certain can also be traced back to the beginning flickers of adoration I have for this treasure.

The Wishing Spell follows Alex and Conner Bailey, the adorable and completely opposite Sixth Grade twins who stumble into the Land of Stories full of every fairy tale imaginable from their childhood. Playing out as a children’s version of the TV show Once Upon A Time, the fairy tales are not as they appear in the books and have very different endings from what we’ve all known before. Written in an easy to follow and appropriate voice for the intended audience, it still swept me off my feet and I fell head first in love with this book.

“A villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.”

Filled with adorable humour with both innocence and maturity, wonderful adventures that tease the imagination and dance with our inner child, and a unique perspective on classic tales, Colfer delivers splendidly and finishes perfectly. I cannot wait to one day own the entire series and share them with all my future nieces, nephews, and (perhaps) even my own children. Either way, all kids I know shall have a magnificent library with this series, and we shall all love them together.

“The world will always choose convenience over reality. It’s easier to hate, blame, and fear than it is to understand. No one wants the truth; they want entertainment.”

And uhm I’m sorry, but did you know that CHRIS COLFER NARRATES HIS OWN AUDIOBOOK?! AND IT’S PERFECT!

I’M SWOONING.


Bonus for anyone who remembers our Bad Romance May:

(Because Katelynn has officially broken)

Gazing around a perfect little stream ahead of them, to their amazement, was a herd of unicorns. They were beautiful: white with silver horns, silver hooves, and silver manes.
Conner’s forehead wrinkled, and his mouth dropped open. “Oh, jeeze,” he said. “That is the most obnoxious thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”
“I want to pet one!” Alex said, and ran toward them.
“Alex, be careful!” Conner said. “They could have rabies!”
“Unicorns don’t have rabies, Conner!” Alex said.
“You don’t know where those horns have been!” Conner called out.

*snickers* They may not, but someone else sure does. *maniacal cackling*

I obviously have not blocked the events of May from my memories well enough. I’m ruined.

Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones

jones howl's moving castleSeries:  Howl’s Moving Castle #1
Genre:  Fantasy, Children’s
Published:  January, 2009
Goodreads | Amazon | AudibleIndigo | Barnes & Noble

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  5 / 5 – how can this not be an instant favourite?
Format:  Paperback
Started:  April 12th, 2016
Finished:  April 13th, 2016
Drink Pairing:
 A light moscato

Howl’s Moving Castle is my all-time favourite anime, and when Annika said I needed to read the book I had it in my hands the next Monday.

If you haven’t seen the anime (in which case YOU NEED TO ASAP), Sophie is the oldest of three sisters and is the only one to remain working at her step-mother’s Hat Shop.  Her talent with hats is unprecedented and she earns quite a reputation for herself.  Despite her talents she has little confidence in herself.  Being the first of three daughters is viewed as a misfortune in their town – you will be the first to fail, the least beautiful, and the most unlikely to succeed.  Using this as her crutch, Sophie tends to favour discussions with her hats instead of customers and their gossip, keeping to the shadows and avoiding confrontation.  When she takes a particularly bad attitude one day and offends the Witch of the Waste who comes to buy a hat, she is cursed to age sixty years and cannot tell anyone about her curse.  Without being able to explain her situation to her family, she sets off to find the Wizard Howl and his moving castle – the only wizard left strong enough to break her curse.

The anime follows the same premise of the novel but it changed some of the underlying plot to suit an anime style better.  These few changes compounded to give the same ending with a different theme.  Personally after reading the book I consider the anime to be separate (kind of like Full Metal Alchemist before Brotherhood).  Things are mostly the same up until the anime decided to change from the novel (or manga in FMA’s case) and it’s just different.  Not better, not worse – different.  I’m not giving away any spoilers either because it was so unexpected and wonderful and magnificent I was practically crying reading it.  Howl’s Moving Castle is two very different beasts depending on whether you watch or read it, and that just means I have more Howl and Sophie to love.

If you love a magical adventure with wizards and witches and castles, Sophie is a wonderful heroine that steals your heart as she learns she’s more than the unfortunate first of three sisters.  There is always more to a person, and you are never only what you’re told you are.

I’m sorry it’s short but Howl’s Moving Castle in both anime and book form come with the hightes of recommendations I can give that I have no idea what else to say.

Also, half way through I realized that Howl’s attitude in Jones’ book was incredibly similar to David Tennant’s representation of the Tenth Doctor:  he’s incredibly fussy over his hair, he’s always in blue and silver suits, and his tendency to ramble and give everyone nicknames that can flop between complimentary and complaining depending on his mood..!  See if you can un-see it, because I can’t.

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