The Trouble with Toads
Once upon a time a young girl wanted revenge. But first, she wanted to be beautiful.
Twelve-year-old Bettony has read enough stories that begin with ‘Once upon a time’ to know what happens to the ugly stepsisters at the end, and she’s determined to escape that fate by any means necessary—even by magic.
Unfortunately, when it comes to magic, there is no place for regret, refunds, or exchanges. Even if you accidentally turn your older sister into a toad.
If Bettony wants her Happily Ever After to end well, she’s going to have to find a way to turn her sister back into a person before their mother finds out she’s been dabbling with magic and grounds her for life.
Tracking down the family magic turns out to be surprisingly easy. Now, if only it came with directions . . .
THE TROUBLE WITH TOADS (45,000 words) is the first book in a new upper MG series The Secret Stepsister Society. The second book will be released Summer 2013.
Bettony is twelve, and like most 12-year-old girls she doesn't like what she sees when she looks into her mirror. It's far to easy to compare her looks with her beautiful step-sister, Desire. Bettony has compared and found both herself and her older sister, Cadmilla to be lacking. But Bettony has a plan...she plans to sneak out and go to visit her grandmother, something that is completely forbidden, so she doesn't tell anyone where she is going. Now, it may seem odd to you that Bettony is not allowed to visit her own grandmother, but Bettony's mother is simply trying to protect her children from the witch that her mother is. Bettony uses all of her courage to knock on her grandmother's gingerbread door and ask her for a spell for beauty. Her grandmother admonishes her that there will be No refunds, exchanges or regrets, so it's no surprise when the magic accidentally changes Cadmilla into a toad, that grandmother simply refuses to help and sets off on an adventure of her own. It's up to Bettony to discover how to change her sister back, and quick, before her mother notices.
This was a fun book! It's written for middle grade readers, so it's a quick read. The story is engaging, I loved all of the trouble that Bettony gets herself, Cadmilla and Desire into. There's tons of fantasy elements to get your imagination going. I liked the characters, especially how Bettony is kind of accident prone and able to find mischief all around her. The book ended rather suddenly for me, it left me wanting more, so I hope that the next one in the series is as fun to read as this one was!
Author Danyelle Leafty
Danyelle Leafty writes upper MG and YA fantasy, and is the author of THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA series. Danyelle has always loved fairy tales, and prefers stories where someone gets eaten, or at the very least, transmogrified. Much of her inspiration has come from fairy tales, because as G.K. Chesterton so aptly states, "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She also collects books, and one day hopes to make a house out of them. She enjoys learning languages, fiddling with her harp, and perfecting the fine art of mothering. (It's a lot like trying to herd chickens during a lightning storm while a goat stampede is going on.)
One of her heroes is Albert Einstein, particularly for the following quote: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The most important thing is not to stop questioning."
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Labels: Danyelle Leafty, middle grade book, The Secret Stepsister Society series