{Review} The Faerie Tale Collection Series by Jenni James

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Check out today's interview with Jenni James!

There will be 25 books in the Faerie Tale Collection series!

The Faerie Tale Collection is available on nook and Kindle for $2.99 a tale.  
What a great deal!

Since I'm reviewing all five books in one go so you get my thoughts on all of them for Fairy Tale Fortnight, I'm limiting myself to two paragraphs of thoughts/summary-mix per title.  
See the Summary Wrap-Up at the bottom of this post for a full summary of each title!

All of the books so far in the Faerie Tale Collection series have had unique spins on the tales, which is something that intrigues me most about them!


This one is the most paranormal of the series so far, since it features a werewolf of sorts.  Only...the Beast character isn't really a werewolf, but cursed to take on the shape unless someone can fall in love with him in that form before his thirtieth birthday.  When I first heard that he was a werewolf, I groaned, too, but it really isn't like that.  I enjoyed seeing the dynamic between Cecelia (Beauty) and Prince Alexander (Beast) as it shaped and developed.

The new twist here is the fact that Cecelia and Alexander already know one another--and they mutually dislike one another, too.  Alexander comes across Cecelia in wolf form during a rough patch in her life and begins sympathizing with her.  The two begin to meet and become friends.  Cecelia doesn't realize that he's Alexander in disguise, and when Alexander becomes nicer to her, she's confused as her affections split between two different beings.  I admit that I have a soft spot for this element in fiction; you often see it in superhero stories, etc.  I liked the additional element here and feel that I  haven't seen this take on Beauty and the Beast before.


Another tale with a unique spin from Jenni James.  This one is hard to talk about without spoiling things, but essentially...while Aleyna (Sleeping Beauty) sleeps, she doesn't know that she's under an enchantment.  She goes through life as though living each day anew, never realizing that everything around her is fake and that her castle was destroyed, along with everyone she loves.  When people visit her castle, they see her wandering as a ghost.  Prince Darién is dared to go to the ruins with three of his friends who know he's afraid of ghosts, and the revelations that are revealed stun everyone.

I thought the spin on this one was unique as well, and a careful blend of paranormal (ghosts) and fantasy (unicorns, etc.).   Darién grows a lot throughout the story.  His Achilles' Heel is his fear of ghosts, so the fact that he finds himself falling for the ghostly Aleyna frightens him.  Only through his relationship with her can he begin overcoming his fear.  There's also a new war coming as Aleyna begins to awaken.  At times, there's a lot going on, but there are also more characters involved than in most of the stories in the collection.  This one is really hard to give thoughts on without spoiling a lot!


My favorite in the collection so far.  Rumplestiltskin has never been my favorite fairy tale.  Until the amazingness of his character was made present in ABC's hit TV series Once Upon a Time, I never expected to like him at all, but I began feeling for him and his backstory.  I admire Rumplestiltskin even more after reading Jenni James' take on the story.  Our Rumple, whose given name is Fredrico, comes from a family of cruel rulers.  To prevent the family from continuing on this path, Fredrico is cursed into a twisted form.  He's banished from the family and hides in the castle, lurking and stealing food with the help of a sympathetic maid as his younger brother, Marcus, rises to power as a ruler as cruel as their father.  When Marcus hears it declared that a maiden named Aubrynn can turn straw into gold, he locks her away and puts her to the test. Fredrico finds himself drawn to Aubrynn and assists her in every way he can. Together, they learn magic, discover the meaning of true love, and bring down the wrath of a psychotic king.

There is so much new stuff going on in RUMPLESTILTSKIN! I love that Rumple is related to the royal family, that's he cursed, that the magic behind the spinning is part of the enchantment. There's a sort of Beauty and the Beast twist going on, which adds another layer to the story for me. Because of the mix of elements both new and strange, old and familar introduced to the story, I was completely intrigued and blew right through this one. My favorite by far!


This version of Cinderella continues the tradition set up by two of my favorite retellings, ELLA ENCHANTED and the movie Ever After.  Our Cinderella, Eleanoria (or Ella for short) knows Prince Anthony before the ball.  It steers closer to Ever After in the fact that there is a secret identity, only this time, it's Ella that doesn't know that she's hanging out with a prince.  She just knows him as John, the village boy she always beat at horse raising.  Anthony, of course, remembers Ella, and doesn't understand why she's wearing servant's clothing and so downtrodden now considering the family she comes from.  He befriends her initially to discover the truth behind what's happened to her, but their friendship evolves into something deeper and longer-lasting.  Another Ever After spin is the way one of the stepsisters isn't evil, but able to help make Ella's life slightly easier.  This time around, Ella helps her out as well.

There's good chemistry between Ella and Anthony, even as lurking secrets fester.  I also enjoyed the inclusion of Anthony's mother, who has a good, kind soul.  I like the fact that in this retelling, the prince's parents aren't gung-ho about him marrying and trying to form an alliance with another country.  Instead, the queen genuinely wants the best for her son, which was an element I liked a lot.  There's no magic pumpkin, no fairy godmother, no secret dress.  Everything is known, at least in some capacity, which changes the dynamic with Cinderella's stepmother, with our Cinderella's outlook on the ball, with the way our Prince must juggle his two identities from the girl he's rapidly falling for... It's a fresh spin on a very played-out tale.


This fairy tale is the first to twine together another fairy tale, which will have repercussions on future tales today.  Check out today's interview with author Jenni James for more secrets about this interesting turn of events.  Hansel and Gretel are older in this tale, no longer children tossed out by their parents due to a lack of food, etc.  Instead, Gretel is the long-lost princess from a war-torn kingdom, discovered as a lost child and taken in by Hansel's family.  Over the last year, Hansel has found himself with feelings that are no longer brother-like, much as he tries to stamp them out.  When his father brings home a new wife, everything changes.  There's something off about her, something wrong.  She hates Gretel and wants to toss her out, but Hansel will do anything to save but her and his father before it's too late.

When I saw the age of the characters and the inclusion of a princess in hiding, I wondered where Jenni James was going with this retelling.  There are, once again, the inclusion of new, original elements to the tale.  And the gingerbread house...I haven't seen anything quite like this one!  The creepiness reminds me of the sticky candy sweetness from Jackson Pearce's SWEETLY (my review).  I don't want to spoil things here, but the way things connect in this version intrigue me.  This is also the first time I've seen this retold where Hansel and Gretel aren't from the same family, where Gretel is a princess in  hiding.  All of these elements added a new factor to the tell.  The fact that the father is enchanted by the new wife he brings home is a very familiar twist to many fairy tale fans, but not a twist often seen in Hansel and Gretel.  All these new additions help bring an old tale alive again, while still retaining the flavor of a traditional fairy tale.

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, SNOW WHITE, THE FROG PRINCESS, and THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES  will be the next four published titles in the series!


I really like all of the covers in this collection!  They look very fairy tale-esque and you can clearly tell, for the most part, what tale they're from without ever seeing the title.  
I like the way the series logo appears on each cover, too.
These covers get better as the series progresses.  
My favorite "current covers" are CINDERELLA, and HANSEL AND GRETEL.
Which are your favorite covers?

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:
(series information)

Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out June 4, 2012
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Purchased

A prince by day and a wolf by night— 

Prince Alexander has been turned into a werewolf and has one year to find someone to love the beast and break the spell, or he will be a wolf forever. He has nearly given up achieving the impossible, knowing no girl would ever fall in love with such a monster. 

Just when he is about to abdicate the throne to his cousin, he meets Cecelia Hammerstein-Smythe, while a wolf, and begins to hope for the first time in months. Can he balance both worlds as a human and beast, gaining the love and trust of a girl who has every reason to despise him? 

Cecelia detests the prince. She only knows Alexander as the arrogant monarch—the tyrant who has made her life miserable—though perhaps he's changed right before her eyes. He's not as full of himself as he once was. The prince is gentle now... but then again, so is the beast.

Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out Dec. 1, 2012
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Purchased

The sleeping girl has no idea she is asleep. 

After Aleyna witnessed the cruel deaths of her family, she was put to sleep by Ezralon the unicorn. He has been keeping her safe, hidden in the forest, until her true prince could come and rescue her. 

While Aleyna is protected in the forest, her spirit walks the halls of her ruined, deserted castle in a dream-like existence, believing everything is still perfect. However, she is halted in this state—almost as if time were frozen—until the prince awakens her. 

Prince Darién of Lybrooke Court loves a challenge as much as the next man, but believes it will be a fool’s errand to rescue a ghost who is already dead! He’s convinced no one could have survived sleeping thirty years, so what is the point of rescuing a girl who is quite content to haunt on her own? 

Of course, if Darién wasn’t so afraid of ghouls, this whole thing could be much easier to fathom...

Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out Jan. 31, 2013
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Borrowed

A young prince crippled by a witch— 

When Fredrico watches his cruel family mourn his false death and announce to the kingdom their cursed prince has died, is the day he truly embraces his new life and new name Rumplestiltskin. How could he be known by anything else? —His skin is completely rumpled and stilted now. He hides away from the king and queen and grows up as a crippled servant in the castle. 

Years later, his younger brother, Marcus, becomes king and humors Aubrynn’s father when he boasts that his daughter can turn straw into gold. Intrigued Marcus locks the distraught maiden in a tower and declares to the kingdom that if she can transform the straw, he will marry her, but if she cannot he will kill her father. 

Rumplestiltskin is determined to help Aubrynn save her father and marry the king. Now, if only he can remember to keep his real identity a secret and not fall in love with her himself…

Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out Feb. 18, 2013
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Borrowed

A girl with a secret and a prince on a mission 

When Prince Anthony spies Eleanoria Woodston outside her family home dressed as a servant, he knows something is amiss. Pretending to be John, his cousin’s outrider, he decides to take matters into his own hands and figure out why Ella hasn’t been seen at court. And more importantly why the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in the kingdom dresses like a pauper. 

Ella has had her own bout of trials, including losing her beloved father and facing the wrath and jealousy of her stepmother and stepsisters. Becoming a servant doesn’t seem all that bad until the handsome John comes into her life, now he appears to be upsetting everything. Never before has she been so unsettled. Just his presence is making her dream of a life beyond this one. 

When John invites Ella to the ball and she grudgingly accepts, he wonders if he’s truly losing his mind. How would he ever pull off pretending to be John while obviously hosting the ball as Anthony? Especially when the stubborn girl has made it quite obvious she would never attend a ball with a snobbish prince.

Author: Jenni James
Release Date: Out March 14, 2013
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Received: Borrowed

A hidden princess and the boy who saves her life— 

Hansel's father finds a child lost and alone during a violent thunderstorm. After bringing her in from the tempest, he and his son are startled to discover that she is Gretel, a princess of Larkein--the enemy kingdom their own king has just destroyed. Fearful for her life, Hansel pleads with his father to save her. He believes they can make Gretel good by teaching her their ways. His kindhearted father agrees, but with great trepidation. 

Ten years later, Gretel has grown into a lovely young woman who both infuriates and drives Hansel to distraction while he attempts to not lose his heart to her. When the Larkein witch comes back in the guise of a beautiful woman and marries their father, everything is set into a tailspin. Now they must figure out their new stepmother's plans and prevent her from destroying them all before it is too late.

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, SNOW WHITE, THE FROG PRINCESS, and THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES  will be the next two published titles in the series!


  1. I had not heard of this series yet. Your reviews are very helpful in deciding whether I will read them or not---HECK YEAH! I'm going to read them;) Rumpelstiltskin's story sounds very interesting!!!



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