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2014 Reading Challenge

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Enchanted

Enchanted (Woodcutter Series, #1)
by Alethea Kontis

It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past – and hers? (goodreads.com)

This is the first time in what feels like forever, that I have sat down to write a blog post about a book I have just finished reading. As much as I had hoped to do nothing but read during my week-long Christmas holiday, that’s been proving to be difficult. I have cleaned out closets and rooms, cooked, baked, and had one of my dearest friends over, and time for reading has just not been found. Although I did pick up Enchanted. The book I was delighted to receive with a matching bookmark from the Book Depository in November, which prompted the author to send me a matching signed bookplate… I finally picked up to read this week!

Bad lighting, but trust me, it matches the hot pink on the cover (and my HAIR)!

Honestly, as much as I had read reviews saying this book was charming, I was really worried that it was going to be the same-ole-same-ole when it comes to girl meets boy and wants nothing else but said boy from the second they meet. The summary on the dust jacket (and above) just does not do this book justice. I bought this book because people whose opinions I trust completely wrote positive things about the story. This made me curious because I love fairy tales and magical stories and I wanted so much to find that within these pages.

Oh, boy did I find magic and charm and was honestly enchanted by Enchanted. The way the story is written, paced and plotted just swept me away. The characters were ever so charming and delightful and I loved Sunday to pieces. I loved her mother, Seven, despite how severe and cold she seemed. I loved the story of Sunday’s family and her sisters; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I loved the Prince, Rumbold. I loved his three friends in the castle. I loved Sunday’s brother Trix. I loved so much about this book. I truly, truly did.

I swear to the gods that I could hear this book narrated by Julie Andrews as I read it. I felt like I was reading a really fantastic Disney movie. It just made me feel so happy. Even then ending brought tears to my eyes – tears of happiness. That feeling you get when you just experienced one of the best movies or tv specials that just made you so happy. The kind of tears I get when the Sesame Street gang shows up at Fozzy Bear’s mother’s house on A Muppet Family Christmas. Tears of joy and excitement.

Some of this book reminded me of the brilliance of Lisa Mantchev and her Théâtre Illuminata series. There are the same kind of FEELS and MAGICS throughout these pages that I felt in that other series.

I just love the way so many fairy tales were woven together through this story. I had so much fun trying to pick out what references went with which story. I felt like I was finding hidden treasure each time I recognized a reference to a well-known tale. I’m silly that way though, I get excited about stuff like that. Some references were pretty obvious but others, slightly more subtle and I loved trying to find them and figure them out.

Enchanted was such a delight to read, it truly was and I am so happy that I bought it, even when I thought I would be disappointed. It’s books like this, a hidden gem of a book, that make me so happy I love to read.

One of the many awesome things about this book is that it reads like a stand alone novel. There are some open ended whatnots that can be pursued in other books, but you don’t have to continue on the journey if you don’t want to. I think Enchanted would make a great bed time story for kids – it’s really not risqué or tasteless at all. You could do a chapter (or half) a night. It’s so sweet and magical, I wish I had had this read to me as a kid. Although, if you DO want to continue on the journey, Goodreads has shown me that there are another two books in this series on the way. Yay!

Goodreads also showed me that there are a bunch of not-so-happy reviews of this book. This makes me sad because I loved it so much I felt heartbroken that others couldn’t connect with the story. I am also happy that I looked at these reviews AFTER I had read the book because they may have added to my worries of what I would find when I opened the book. For example, so many people are going on and on about INSTA-LOVE! And you know what? Generally I would be all over that band wagon, because you, my readers, all know how much I loath that element in a novel. But, people, this was the Frog Prince story. And ALL fairy tales have people falling in love with their One True Loves all the time. There’s something about the setting of a fairy tale that makes this less…annoying? I didn’t even think insta-love once while reading this book. I saw a young girl befriend a talking frog who would listen to her. A young girl, who was the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and seemed to have a million people in her family, therefore she would be GRATEFUL to find a FRIEND who would listen to her and not judge her based on her family. I didn’t see INSTA-LOVE I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOUUUUU!!!! at all when I read this.

Then again, I had a fairy tale state of mind going on. I didn’t have a young adult romance novel state of mind. And now that I am thinking about it, I honestly feel these are two different sort of “insta-loves” and yet I can’t quite figure out how to explain WHY they are different. They just ARE. (So deal with it.)

If you want to read a charming, fairy tale, fantasy, then by all means, pick up Enchanted and let your imagination believe in magic for a while. Meanwhile I shall be be counting the days until I can get another book from this series in my hands. (And I can’t help but wonder if the next books will feature different daughters?)

Woodcutter series

  1. Enchanted
  2. Hero -  2013
  3. Beloved - 2014

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