Friday Favorites: Fairy Tale Retellings

new Friday fave
Friday Favorites is a post where I incorporate more of what I love into the blog. This includes films, anime, manga, music, you name it. Anything goes.  It will be an opportunity to share some of the things I love and discuss them briefly or in length, depending on my mood 😉

In light of my recent post Fairy Tales and Why We Still Need Them As Adults, I thought it would be fun to share a few fairy tales and retellings I enjoy in book and on-screen. Keep in mind, that this is one of my favorite genre’s. This is the smallest fraction of titles I enjoy. I hope to explore this in greater length soon!

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What are some of your favorite fairy tales & retellings to read or watch? I am partial to each of the above for various reasons. Be it the element of good overcoming evil or the unique spin given to timeless tales, I find each to be rewarding in their own right.

Happy Friday,

Danielle ❤

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Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

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Alias Grace
By Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Anchor Books
ISBN: 9780385490443
Pages: 486
Genre: Historical Fiction



In Alias Grace, bestselling author Margaret Atwood has written her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work since The Handmaid’s Tale. She takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century.

Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?


While significantly different from my usual reading selections, Alias Grace is a standing reminder that regardless of the past hurdles I have encountered with some of Atwood’s work, I can and do still hold a deep admiration and respect for it.

Set in the 19th century, Alias Grace follows the events unfolding after the conviction of young Grace Marks for her involvement in the heinous murder of her employer and his head housekeeper alongside stable boy James McDermott. Dr. Simon Jordan interviews Grace daily in an effort to restore memories of the fateful day she claims to have no recollection of. There are those who believe in her guilt and those who wish to see her pardoned. But whether Grace is truly innocent or indeed a manipulative and cunning murderess remains a mystery.

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While Alias Grace is a work of fiction, it has been based around the real life case of Grace Marks, an Irish-Canadian housemaid who was charged in the murder of Thomas Kinnear (her employer) and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery in 1843. The trial and conviction caused a large amount of controversy as there were many who believed she was an unwilling accomplice to the murders and that James McDermott was solely responsible. She was pardoned 30 years after being sentenced and relocated to New York. The case is still shrouded in mystery.

It is hard to discuss what Margaret Atwood delivers in Alias Grace to full extent without leaving enough revelation for potential readers. This is a slower paced, character study that immerses the reader into the 19th century and explores the relationship between men and women. It touches on themes of women’s social standing and treatment as well as exploring the practices and changes occurring within the field of mental health.

Grace is a complex and perplexing character with a natural intelligence and intuition that often leaves you questioning her capabilities and motives.  I found myself absorbed in her story and often less concerned with her guilt and more so with what actually happened. Dr. Jordan is equally fascinating with his youthful passion for the evolving mental health practice and asylums and sometimes questionable actions. The point of view weaves between the two with snippets of news-clippings and letters, providing a cleverly alternating perspective that manages a suspicious and uncertain narrative. All of this feeds the beautiful mystery that is Grace Marks elegantly.

“…I was shut up inside that doll of myself and my true voice could not get out.” 


While the leisurely pace and sometimes disjointed narration can require an adjustment period, the end result is an unexpectedly inviting and puzzling experience that challenges the reader to confront those heavier topics and message concealed within. It is a story told in a manner that only Atwood can. Brilliantly patient, yet equally rich and rewarding.

tea cupPairs well with an Irish Breakfast blend served with milk.

Purchase Links: Book Depository

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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Friday Favorites: Anime Series with Fantasy Elements

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites is a post where I incorporate more of what I love into the blog. This includes films, anime, manga, music, you name it. Anything goes.  It will be an opportunity to share some of the things I love and discuss them briefly or in length, depending on my mood 😉


I can instantly drum up a list of 50 series I would recommend. Favorites such as Death Note immediately rush to the forefront and then the list continues to grow. So I have decided to break my favorite anime recommendations down into more digestible chunks. Today I am sharing 10 series that scored a 9 or higher on my MAL list (feel free to add me) that incorporate elements of fantasy.

10 Recommendations for Fantasy Fans

  1. The first on my list is an absolute favorite. Pandora Hearts is not only a completely pandoraengaging and well executed anime series, but an equally rewarding manga. So you can expect to see it again in the future when I tackle that list. Classified as shōnen, this 25 episode long series combines the supernatural and fantasy to provide a story that is likely to appeal to fans of Wonderland and the eccentric. It boasts a rich plot full of depth and rewarding messages.  Add it on MAL.

2.bbutler Black Butler is another favorite that I am also enjoying and will soon feature on a manga list. It is one of the few series I have collected on Blu-Ray and find easy to rewatch from time to time. Also pairing fantasy with the supernatural, it explores the story of young Ciel Phantomhive (who works for the Queen in Victorian England) and his unusual contract/relationship with a demonic butler, Sebastian. I am constantly drawn back to this odd but somehow endearing relationship, and the unique cast of characters. Add it on MAL.

3. Fate/Zero features one of my all time favorite characters; Saber. So it is no surprise itfatezero makes this list. Depicting a war centered around the Holy Grail, there is no shortage of action as opponents go to battle with the aid of there familiars. This series honestly touches on all aspects of fantasy that I have come to love. It is worth continuing on with Fate/stay night if you find yourself enjoying it. Add it on MAL.


4. Mushishi is an incredible, episodic series & manga that follows Ginko, a mushishi who studies and researches mushi (the oldest living life forms). Each episode is a new story and encounter where Ginko seeks out new cases and assist villagers affected by them. This is a series I easily recommend to long time fans and as an introduction to anime. It is not necessary to watch these stories in order. Add it on MAL

5. My obsession with Sailor Moon is no secret to those who know me. I admittedly own an sailor moonentire Funko collection and decent amount of manga.  I cannot get enough. Following a 14-year-old Usagi and her unique cat Luna, she and her peers are tasked with saving the world from the Dark Kingdom. Now I admit, Usagi is incredibly whiny and often overly dramatic with the most questionable of tactics, but somehow that is part of her charm. Also, I find I am constantly drawn to the show’s villains. Queen Beryl is a nostalgic throwback that I cannot get enough of. If you enjoyed 80s and 90s cartoons, this one is fun! Add it on MAL.

mononoke6. Mononoke, and for once, I do not mean the princess. This is another series that also boasts a heavy element of the supernatural. It follows a “medicine seller” who travels in search of the occult and slays evil spirits called Mononoke. Consisting of 12 brief episodes, I really enjoy this one. Add in MAL.

7. Gate is likely to appeal to fans of fantasy and gaming for good reason. Following thegate appearance of a mysterious portal that opens to unleash medieval warriors and fantastical creatures in Tokyo with devastating consequences,  Youji is charged with leading a special branch of the JSDF (Japan Self-Defense Forces) that must travel through the Gate into the unknown in search of answers and resolution. The result is nonstop fun and action. Add it on MAL

the-ancient-magus-bride-8591-18. The Ancient Magus Bride is stunning and endearing. Currently airing, it is the story of 15-year-old Chise who has been abandoned and then purchased by a magus as an apprentice. This is a hard one to summarize and do justice. While I have heard tale that the story line eventually falters, I am not convinced. I find each episode to be a beautiful adventure filled with new magic and fantastical creatures. The relationships and growth in this one are complex and rewarding. I will be picking up the manga. Add it on MAL.

9. Fullmetal Alchemist is a classic that I am sure most anime and manga fans have fullmetal-alchemistexplored. The Elric brothers try to resurrect their mother through a forbidden alchemy practice, human transmutation. When they fail,  Edward the older brother accidentally traps his younger brother Alphonse’s soul in a suit of armor. Now they are in search of the Philosopher’s Stone in hopes of restoring Alphonse to his body and setting things right.  Add it on MAL.

Kino10. Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World explores various countries and lands through the travels of 15-year-old Kino and her talking motorcycle Hermes. Each episode is a new encounter in a new world with various rules, people and obstacles that eventually lead the two down a wonderful path of self discovery that is executed elegantly. Add it on MAL.

Do you watch anime? What are some of your favorite fantasy based series? Would you or have you watched any of the above? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Friday,

Danielle ❤

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