The Return of the Frog Princess – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Today, I’m happy to be bringing you a review of The Return of the Frog Princess by E.D. Baker, which is a new book in the Tales of the Frog Princess series. Ms. Baker is also doing a guest post over at Nerdy Book Club today. You should check out her post about not always having to write “what you know”.

Book Cover: The Frog Princess Returns - Tales of the Frog Princess by E.D. Baker - Pink background - Vignette picture of the Princess with the Frog prince on her shoulder talking to a fairy

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Synopsis

Two weeks after Emma’s birthday, Prince Eadric — having been turned from a frog into a human again — is still in Greater Greensward. One day, a beautiful princess named Adara arrives at the castle in Greater Greensward for a visit, claiming to be Emma’s distant cousin. But Adara has other motives that threaten Emma and Eadric’s blossoming romance.

Meanwhile, something is very wrong in Greater Greensward. Crops are dying, streams are drying up, and large sections of trees in the enchanted forest are withering — all because the Fairy Queen has disappeared. Without her, there is no peace in the magical kingdom, and dangerous foes threaten to take advantage of her absence. Only brave, tenacious Emma with her knowledge of the land can restore order . . . but first she must set out on a journey unlike any before.

Brimming with lovable characters and page-turning magic, The Frog Princess Returns will bring a whole new batch of readers to E. D. Baker’s highly acclaimed, wonderfully popular world of Frog Princess series.

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Review

I’ve enjoyed the Tales of the Frog Princess series ever since I read them back shortly after they were first published so I was thrilled to hear that there was another book coming out in the series! The Frog Princess Returns doesn’t disappoint! Fans of the series will love this latest story.

While it didn’t have that extra little pizzazz I need for a 5-star rating, it’s a strong 4.5. There’s intrigue, secrets, mystery, fairies, dragons, and adventure. What more could you want in a story?

All of our favorite characters have returned and we’ve added a few new people, such as Princess Adara who’s on a mission. The characters are well-developed, fun, and easy to like. The settings are magical with just enough descriptions that you can imagine them easily.

The story line moves along at a decent pace and there’s a twist in the end that even though I didn’t necessarily like the character to begin with, I didn’t see the twist coming!

If you’ve read the series before now, this does not take place at the end of the series. This takes place earlier in the series. Emma and Eadric aren’t married yet, but they’ve had some of their early adventures. I’d place it right around the time of book three.

It’s a great addition to the series and whether you’re finding this series for the first time or are just excited about the new story, I highly recommend this one! So much fun!

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this title. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions are my own. ***

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Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars

This is an incredibly great middle grade fiction book about a young girl with her first stirrings of a crush on a girl and all the confusion that comes with that and trying to figure things out.

Book Cover: Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee - purple background - two girls, one dressed as Romeo and the other as Juliet, dancing in the foreground

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Synopsis

Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.

 

Review

I thought this was an absolutely wonderful book and a delightful read! I read about this book on Facebook when the author posted something about being asked to tone down her presentation in a school in a conservative town. Immediately, I sought the book out on Amazon and bought the Kindle version.

Our main character, Mattie, is a very complex character. She’s not liked by the “popular” crowd, but she doesn’t seem to mind too much. Instead, she has her friends Tessa and Lucy to hang out with and she’s okay with that. Until she meets Gemma at a costume party the “popular” crowd was having that she wasn’t actually invited to. All of a sudden there’s a change in her. She doesn’t even really see it at first; Lucy points it out to her. Even then, she’s still not sure and struggles with whether or not it’s true. I liked that the author showed us Mattie’s struggles.

The supporting characters are well-rounded and developed enough that they do not come off as flat, two-dimensional characters. The settings in this book had great descriptions without going overboard. The plot line moves along at a steady pace. At no point did I think that it was moving too slowly or too fast.

This is an incredible book for tweens and early teens who may be struggling with their sexuality and what all those feelings are inside. Yet, it’s not at all preachy or condescending. The author does a really great job keeping a balance between examining what Mattie’s feeling without the sole focus being on just her sexuality. There’s a good balance between other things in life too, her schoolwork, her play rehearsals, etc.

I highly, highly recommend this middle grade fiction for all ages really. It was incredibly well-written and a wonderful, delightful read.