Book Recommendations · Dyslexia · My Books

Disability Inclusive Fantasy Romance Recommendations

“Why highlight disabilities?

It normalizes disability.

It provides a window into life with a disability.

It raises awareness and understanding.

It increases accurate disability representation.

It allows us to see a new perspective.”

~Mary Mecham

As someone who struggles with dyslexia, anytime I find a character who also struggles with dyslexia I feel seen, even when the author gets things wrong.

I get it. A lot of people think dyslexia has to do with your eyes or vision (it doesn’t–I love that explicitly states that it does not have to do with intelligence or vision). Yes I get a little bit annoyed that this false hood persists but I really appreciate that the author tried! (For those of you wondering it has to do with the way the language center of the brain processes information.)

However to avoid spreading false information I feel it is imperative for authors to do their research especially if they don’t have experience with the specific disability they are portraying. We want to do all of those things in the quote above, normalize it, raise awareness, increase representation and provide a new prospective.

When I first began writing The Wolf’s Golden Deception, I did not set out with the intention to write a book about someone with a disability, however as I dug into the myth and did some more research I realized that losing a limb would be perfect for my story. Except I was hesitant at first. What did I know about such things? I don’t have a close relationship with anyone who has had a similar experience.

So I did what I always do when searching out information, I turned to the all-knowing internet. However I didn’t want generalized medical information about it, I wanted real personal accounts. I watched people on You-Tube share their stories and read numerous personal accounts, both for those who had experienced snake bites and for those who had lost a limb. I was touched by all of their stories and grateful for the opportunity to learn more as I did my best to portray what it might have been like for my character Mira.

For more information about dyslexia feel free to visit these sites: Dyslexia–Symptoms and Causes, 10 Symptoms of Dyslexia, What is Dyslexia?

Sweet & Swoony Retellings

Inclusive fairytales I’ve read and enjoyed!

The Wolf’s Golden Deception by Alesha Adamson

Stolen magic. Broken trust. Can love save Rafe and Mira from being consumed by the Wolf’s deception? Or is it already too late?

For months, Lord Rafe has been ensnared in a deception that he wishes he’d never fallen for. But what else could he do to protect his family? What started out as something seemingly harmless became achingly complex when he fell in love with Princess Mira. Refusing to see her hurt by his poor choices, he made the painful decision to stay away from her.

Mira still doesn’t understand why the man she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with vanished after the end of the midnight balls. When he finally returns contrite and ready to court her, she wants to forgive him and regain what they once had. But Rafe is accused of a shocking crime and banished just as a tragedy strikes that changes Mira’s life forever. Now they must meet cloaked in secret if they wish to be together.

Can they solve the mystery of the Wolf before time runs out, or will their secrets and their forbidden love be exposed, making things more precarious than ever?

*Representation: Main character loses a limb.

Poisoned: Snow White’s Story by Mary Mecham

A poisoned apple and true love’s first kiss were only the beginning to Snow White’s story…

After a handsome prince swoops in to save the day, Snow can’t help but feel like something is still missing in her life. She begins to wonder if “happily ever after” really exists, because what she is experiencing certainly isn’t the idyllic life she imaged a princess would have. With each passing day, Snow feels an increasing desire to escape the pressures of the castle and return to the brothers who live in the cottage in the woods.

Snow adores the youngest of the brothers, who cannot speak and has an inexplicable, infectious joy about him. Oliver’s grouchy caregiver doesn’t want anyone to get close to their family, and continually rebuffs Snow’s kindness. Snow can only hope that the unlikely friendship of these two brothers will be the key to unlocking her heart and happiness.

*Representation: Prominent character has an intellectual disability.

Becoming Hook by Mary Mecham

A pirate, a pixie, and a plot to foil Peter Pan…

James Hook never meant to become a pirate, and never dreamed that he would turn against best friend, Peter Pan. Every adventure and eternal youth awaited them… until a pixie exposes a shocking revelation. Tinkerbell’s information forces James into acknowledging that, far from being the benevolent hero he painted himself to be, Peter Pan was kidnapping innocent children.

After accepting the traumatic loss of his hand and of the family he can barely remember, James deserts Pan. In the fight to rescue the Lost Boys, Hook will risk everything, even if that means becoming the most notorious villain in Neverland… or losing the fiery pixie who is stealing his heart.

Can the original Lost Boy vanquish Neverland’s greatest threat?

*Representation: Main character loses a limb.

Turret by Camille Peters

Princess Gemma has been trapped for years within a magical turret, a fate she deems fitting for a sickly princess with little purpose. The enchanted walls offer security, which she’d do anything to maintain, for though she knows she should want to escape, her prison seems far safer than the outside world. But the magic of the tower has begun to fade, bringing with it not only unpredictable dangers but the very real possibility that soon Gemma will be forced to leave the prison she’s grown to trust.

The tower’s shifting magic isn’t the only thing changing, for the longer Gemma spends with her faithful guard, Quinn, the more she realizes that her feelings for him are inappropriate for one of her royal status. But the deeper her feelings for her guard grow, the more Gemma yearns not only to escape the tower in order to see more of the world beyond, but to break through the walls she’s built around herself.

But even if she finds the courage to fight for the life she wants—one filled with possibilities far more beautiful than she’s ever allowed herself to imagine—there’s one final obstacle for her to overcome…for she’s not the only one who has created walls. Though she’s striving to lower hers in order to allow her guard in, Quinn is determined to protect her from his devastating secret by keeping her out.

*Representation: Main character struggles with chronic illness. Another main character begins to go blind.

Beacon by Camille Peters

As the daughter of a lighthouse keeper, Marisa spends her days exploring the different locations the enchanted lighthouse takes her to—as well as developing her magical ability to manipulate water. But when her magic inadvertently causes a tragic accident, she chooses to pay penance by giving up both her voice and her magic.

For years, Marisa is content with her self-imposed silence…until the day she saves Prince Owen from drowning. What begins as a noble rescue soon entangles her in a fake engagement…one whose promised reward might not be worth the risk should Prince Owen’s intended discover their deception.

Marisa makes every attempt to protect her heart during their façade, but the endearing prince makes it increasingly more difficult to remember it’s nothing but a ruse. The closer they become, the less of a charade their relationship feels, and the more Marisa misses the words that are no longer hers, yearning to finally free herself from her guilt and reclaim her voice.

*Representation: Main character experiences a traumatic event and stops speaking.

The Sorcerer and the Swan Princess by Lucy Tempest

A usurped princess. A mercenary sorcerer. A fate neither expected.

As a crown princess, Ava has always anticipated betrayals—but never from her own twin. The unspeakable treachery comes the night Ava meets her true love, when Lina hires the infamous sorcerer, Lord Von Rothbart, to turn Ava into a swan, and takes her place.

Kept across the mountains in Dietrich’s castle lake, Ava’s repeated attempts to escape, to return to her prince and life, keep failing. But in the last time Dietrich recaptures her, she gets close enough to glimpse the terrible truth of what she left behind—starting with that of her prince.

Yet, it’s Dietrich’s true motivations and the unique bond that forms between them that shock her the most.

Will she reject their burgeoning feelings and trust to undo his efforts and reclaim her kingdom? Will he risk the consequences of freeing her from his curse? Will their love survive the demands of duty, and the toll of resentment and threats? Or will it fade away with the moonlight at sunrise?

*Representation: Main character’s foot was injured and never healed properly

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

*Representation: Main character has cerebral palsy

More Inclusive Fairytales TBR:

A Curse of Gold and Beauty by Mary Mecham

What if Rumpelstiltskin and the miller’s daughter fell for each other?

Meg is cursed, bewitched with breath taking beauty at the cost of absolute obedience to her father. Rhys, her best friend, is also cursed. He is able to spin straw into gold, but each pump of the treadle exacts a terrible price. Two souls were never so perfect for each other, but fate seems determined to pull them apart.

When the King holds Meg hostage and demands gold, she must decide… Is she willing to let Rhys suffer if it saves her own life or will she accept the King’s punishment and let Rhys go free?

*Representation: Main character has rheumatoid arthritis.

Use this link to download the e-book for free!

The Moonflower Dance by Lea Doue

A beastly curse. A dangerous secret. A princess with a plan.

Princess Neylan is fed up with meddling sorcerers. With more knowledge about the dangers of sorcery than any of her eleven sisters, book-loving Neylan never imagined she would lose her heart to a man who’d been cursed, much less one she’d never met. Won over after months of correspondence, she joins Master Healer Keir in a distant kingdom, confident her presence will be the cure. But when her attempt to break his beastly curse fails, she turns to an unforeseen ally who offers a solution that will grant her the knowledge she seeks … or else destroy all chances of happiness forever.

*Representation: Side character is paralyzed.

The Wilting Captive by Abigail Manning

A duchess, a beast, and a castle full of hungry hostages…

Duchess Mirabel Brantley has spent nearly all her life being sheltered due to her fragile health. With no hope of ever living the life of adventure she dreamed of, Mira agrees to an arranged marriage with the neighboring duke of Dhurin. Their betrothal celebration might have been pleasant if they didn’t already despise each other, but it also might have helped if the entire party wasn’t taken hostage…

The ex-prince Conan has been left beaten and scarred after his partnership with the criminal group, the beasts. With a hunger for vengeance against the Ruby Realm and a never-ending craving for power, Conan seizes the entire Dhurin castle with the help of an enchanted gift. His terms are simple; hand over Dhurin, and the hostages live. Refuse and… well, the guests will learn why he was favored by the beasts.

Mira is a prisoner at her own party, but they might not be in as much trouble as they thought when a lone caster offers up her powers as protection. With the ability to cast her magic into living plants, the caster selects a simple rose to contain her gift. With only the dwindling lifespan of a rose keeping the hostages from being torn apart, it’s only a matter of time before matters get grim. Can Mira convince their captor to set them free before their time runs out? Or will they simply wilt with their rose?

*Representation: Main character deals with celiac disease.

Maiden of the Sea by Sarah Beran

It all started one dark and stormy night…

After a foolhardy rescue attempt in the middle of a raging storm, Ariel found herself crippled and robbed of the one thing she had always taken for granted–her legs. As an initiate to the Daughters of the Creator, she strove to find meaning and purpose in her life through service to others, and tried to convince herself that saving the life of the Earl of Ashland’s young son was worth the price of her legs. But despite all that, in her deepest parts she still dreams of the day she will be able to dance again. Twelve years later, a meeting with the mysterious (and probably completely untrustworthy) Captain Lesard leaves with her greatest wish fulfilled: he can restore her legs to her for three days if she agrees to help him find the treasure hidden in Davy Jones’ locker–but the cost is her voice.

Davy Jones, heir to the Earl of Ashland, has been on the trail of Captain Pierre Lesard for almost a year, ever since he discovered the nefarious pirate had been the one keeping his cousin Pan captive. Lesard has evaded capture twice, but the newest trail leads Davy and his friend John Childs to the island country of Maregar. Davy remembers well the site of his near death, and the voice of the girl who rescued him still haunts his dreams at night. With Lesard as his excuse, he can finally return and express the proper gratitude to the girl who saved him all those years ago.

When their paths collide, Ariel and Davy race against Lesard to find the locker and the treasure he believes is hidden inside. As her time slips away, Ariel is forced to make a choice: Will she take Lesard’s offer and have her legs restored permanently? Or can she give up the dream she has been holding onto for years in order to once again save Davy’s life?

*Representation: Main character suffers a severe leg injury.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

*Representation: Main character has a limb difference.

The Theft of Sunlight by Instisar Khanani

I did not choose this fate. But I will not walk away from it.

Children have been disappearing from across Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer—even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule.

Yet the court holds its share of surprises. There she discovers an ally in the foreign princess, who recruits her as an attendant. Armed with the princess’s support, Rae seeks answers in the dark city streets, finding unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges street thief with secrets of his own. 

But treachery runs deep, and the more Rae uncovers, the more she endangers the kingdom itself.

*Representation: Main character has a clubfoot.

The Scarred Prince by Erika Everest

A bitter and reclusive prince. A determined intruder. An unlikely friendship.

His face scarred from a witch’s curse, Prince Sebastian retreats inside his castle, resentful and angry. He shuns contact with everyone except the Red Hoods, the elite soldiers he trains and leads.

Four years ago, Sienna was kidnapped. Still traumatized by her ordeal, she needs to learn to protect herself to feel safe again, and she wants the Prince to train her.

Reluctantly, Sebastian agrees.

But long-held beliefs aren’t so easy to cast aside. Can the bitter soldier and the haunted girl overcome their demons? Or will their pasts rip them apart?

*Representation: Main character has severe burn scars.

The Golden Ball by Erika Everest

A disguised princess. A friend in need. A desperate plan.
And one entitled prince standing in their way. 

To save her friend, Princess Natashya travels across the continent and goes undercover as a servant, Asha. But the enchanted golden ball that could help them is in the possession of the Prince, and his price for relinquishing it is the one thing Asha doesn’t have… time.

As the Midsummer Ball approaches, so does the deadline. Natashya’s involvement is risking her own Kingdom, but is she risking her heart as well?

*Representation: Main character has autism.

The Princess Vow by Erika Everest

Princess Aurora is not going to wait for a prince to rescue her.

Trapped in an enchanted sleep, Aurora uses her magical link to twelve other princesses to find out how to break the spell. But she also has to contend with the mysterious man who visits her in her sleep. Is he her protector as he claims, or is he her jailer?

Meanwhile, Aurora’s sister Rosebud and their friend Sienna are on a quest to find her. The three must work together to uncover the secrets of the past if they want to have a future. They made a blood vow to each other, and they are going to fulfil it: No princess left behind.

No matter what it takes.

*Representation: Main character deals with depression.

Pirouette by Kenely Davidson

It was just a dance. But in Caelan, dancing changes everything.
Especially if you’re a princess.

Princess Ilani is cursed. She can no longer dance, and is therefore considered worthless. Forgotten. Invisible.
Until her twelve sisters are trapped in a deadly game with a breathtaking prize—a royal bride and an empire for the taking, if a man is willing to risk everything for a chance to win.

Only Ilani can see the sinister forces at work behind the scenes and the danger lurking beneath the smiles of the court. But who will listen to a cursed princess? No one, that’s who. No one except a strangely compelling foreigner, whose motives remain shrouded in secrecy and mistrust.

As darkness gathers and deadly plans come to light, a fierce princess and a dangerously charming spy may be the only ones who can save both their kingdoms from the malice and magic of a treacherous adversary.

*Representation: Main character’s legs were broken and never healed properly.

The Cursed Prince by Aya Ling

Can a disabled mage save a prince from a terrible fate?

When she was fourteen, Gabi promised she’d do anything to protect Prince Alrik of Arksar. Including falling in love with him, in case true love’s kiss is needed to break the curse. But six years later, Alrik hasn’t expressed interest in any woman. He is content to flirt, but never showed a strong attachment for anyone. And now the witch who cursed him has returned after years in exile…

Time is also running out in Savony, where trolls have broken out from underground, terrorizing the castle. More help is needed to defeat the trolls, but with half the mages tasked to protect Alrik, how will Alix, Sybil, and the princes band together and save their kingdom from an unprecedented crisis?

*Representation: Main character has a foot injury.

Fairest Son by H.S.J. Williams

The Fair and Foul courts of the fey folk have long yearned for one to bring them together in peace, but hopes are dashed when the fairest prince and the prophecy concerning him are laid to ruin. Burdened with shame and sorrow, the prince flees to the cold mountains far above the forests and lochs with nothing but animals and goblins for company.

When a human huntress stumbles upon him in her search for a legendary predator, their fates are intertwined. But she hides deadly secrets, and if he dares to trust her, he may risk the doom of both courts to an ancient evil…

*Representation: Main character is blind.

Sweet & Swoony Fantasy Romance

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Inclusive Fantasy Romances TBR:

The King’s Captive by K.M. Shea

I can turn into a housecat.

It’s a fun magic, except in a world filled with vampires and werewolves, it doesn’t exactly make me a powerhouse. Instead, the supernatural community has classified me as an outcast, which means one thing: picking on me is open season all day, every day.

The local fae are the worst of all, and it’s during one of their regular “capture the cat-girl” sessions that I shift into my cat form and meet HIM for the first time.

Noctus is so powerful his magic radiates off him like a sun, and my fae captors can barely look in his general direction. And then my life gets even more terrifying when Noctus decides to take me with him. As a pet.

Why did he pick today to “adopt don’t shop” a cat?

It gets worse when I realize he’s an elf, a ruling race of supernaturals that was supposedly killed off centuries ago.

But he’s not just any elf, no. He’s an elven king, with heaps of secrets to protect. Secrets that I am quickly learning since he includes his new pet in everything from breaking into buildings to inspect classified paperwork to tracking down sketchy supernaturals.

All this means if he gets even a hint that I’m not a real cat, I’m going to find out firsthand how elves treat their prisoners.

So, escaping Noctus is priority #1. How hard can it be? (Answer: very.)

*Representation: Main character has anxiety and side character is blind.

Grace by Contract by Rachel Rossano

After her father uproots the family to the northern duchy of Brackenhurst, Grace Eldon and her four younger sisters struggle with a new life of hardship. Desperate to keep a roof over their heads amid mounting debts, she and her youngest sister seek employment in the Duke of Brackenhurst’s household despite fearsome rumors.

Scarred and maimed from a terrible fire Silas Isling, Duke of Brackenhurst, buries himself in his work to avoid the stares of pity and fear. When one of the new maids shows no fear at his appearance, he is intrigued. That is until his meddling steward gives her the task of cleaning Silas’ bookroom. It is a most unwelcome disruption since he prefers to be alone.

While a thief plagues his castle, an old nemesis reappears, and enemies invade in the guise of guests. Amidst the distractions and chaos, Grace brings some unexpected order. Once convinced his scars had stolen all hope for love, Silas finds his life forever changed by the quiet maid. Could she love a scarred Duke?

*Representation: Main Character struggles with vision problems, chronic illness and has a limb difference.

Dragon’s Fire by Kimberly Rogers

They survived one curse, breaking another could burn them.

Thalassa and Alina spent one hundred years dancing for a golden dragon. With their elder sister and her huntsman venturing north, they are left to figure out a new place in life. One that might not involve dragons. However, when the dragons are attacked by a shadowy cabal, the sisters choose to join a quest to root out the organization before it can bring war back to the Five Kingdoms.

Lore spent over a century alone save for his human companions, the huntsman and three sisters. A healer and curse breaker, he closed away his emotions after unimaginable loss until one of the sisters dared challenge his rule of detachment. Something he cannot allow. When he discovers an old enemy is involved with the cabal attack, he agrees to help break the cabal’s schemes in hopes the dancer wrapping her fingers around his heart will fall for another.

Their quest becomes more perilous when the cabal uses magic to separate the group and curse the dragons to madness. Thalassa and Alina must each fight for their dragon’s mind. But to survive this curse, they must unlock the secrets of their own heritage before everyone succumbs to dragon’s fire.

*Representation: Main Character is dyslexic.

Gryphon’s Sister by Kimberly Rogers

The curse stole her voice, but breaking it may cost everything she holds dear.

Hidden in the northern mountains, Sybil longs for the day when their curse will be broken. Life with only gryphons as company is not easy. She knows that she is the key to returning her brothers to their human forms but doing so may be impossible. Then everything changes when she saves a stranger.

Damian is a hunted man. When he makes the mistake of trying to protect a mysterious and silent girl, his fate takes an unexpected turn. A foreigner, he’s lived on the run for years. As he grows closer to Sybil, he discovers she doesn’t need a voice to speak. However, he cannot forget his haunted past and the gryphons she claims as brothers are eager to see him gone.

With danger closing in on all sides, will Sybil be forced to sacrifice something greater than her voice?

*Representation: Main Character is non-verbal.

Of Heat and Springs by Kimberly Rogers

A Daughter of Zeus
A Loyal Servant
A Love Daring to Rebel

Athena, daughter of Zeus, is the ultimate strategist. Her mind is her greatest strength in surviving the Storm King’s court. And she proves it by being her father’s most loyal child. Until the day she fails a mission.

Desperate to regain her place, Athena obeys Zeus’ command to bring a recalcitrant weapon smith to heel. Hephaestus of the fire elementals is the greatest weapon smith known to elementals and he is infuriating. Athena’s strength lies in her mind but crossing a water elemental risks drowning. When Hephaestus challenges her loyalty to the Storm King, she thinks she can handle any scheme.

A smith with a magnificent mind is not what she expected. But when they are both accused of disloyalty, Athena faces the most challenging choice of her life. Stay loyal to the father she cannot trust. Or, rely on an unexpected bond and rebel.

*Representation: Main character suffered severe injury resulting in weakened legs.

The Elf King’s Sacrifice by Elisa Rae

The King of Eldarlan hates parties. Superficial conversations and social niceties never come easy for him. When cursed to host human princesses at a party every night, he considers it mild torture until an unusual princess appears one night. Wrapped in a worn robe with bare feet and tousled hair, she intrigues him immediately

Kate had been a princess only a matter of hours before being pulled from her bed by a magical spell. It drops her in an enchanted garden populated by silent elves and princesses of various ages. Attempting to avoid the unsolicited advice of her new peers, she retreats to the dark hedge maze where she encounters her host.

*Representation: Main Character has POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) disease.

Runemaster by Everly Haywood

A kidnapped governess. A goblin prince. A world on the brink of disaster.

Anrid Fray left her sister for an arranged marriage to a dark elf; instead, she is stolen away and accidentally binds herself to a temperamental magic known as the Bifrost. She only wants to find her betrothed, but a harassed Runemaster and a pack of unruly orphans won’t let her leave.

Prince Jael Daemon needs to save his kingdom from strange earthquakes, but the Bifrost protecting Agmon is inexplicably failing. The last thing he wants is responsibility for his wayward younger brother, a naïve human girl, and her homeless goblinborn children who are all in danger.

With the Bifrost under attack and their souls bonded to its fate, can these star-crossed lovers reconcile duty and desire before shadows consume all they hold dear?

*Representation: The goblin children are inspired by down syndrome.

Dragon School: First Flight by Sarah K. Wilson

Join Dragon School. Learn to Fly. Sixteen-year-old Amel arrived at Dragon School just like everyone else – with a dream to ride dragons and join the Dominion Dragon Riders. But Amel has a crippled leg and Dragon School training is gruelling. Before she can even become an initiate, she must complete her First Flight on a dragon. Can Amel survive First Flight and become a Dragon School initiate or will her dreams dash on the rocks below? 

*Representation: Main character has a leg injury.

Phoenix Heart by Sarah K. Wilson


Disabled and rejected in her community, Sersha has never had a best friend. Until one day, a phoenix enters her world, tied to her heart in a way no one can break. Now, this great fiery beast has adopted her as his best friend and he wants to take her away from the world she’s known until now. But Sersha’s village is in trouble and unless she can learn to work with her phoenix friend right now, they might both lose the future they were counting on. Will Sersha’s big heart be enough to forge a bond between them?

*Representation: Main character is non-verbal.

Reader Recommendations:

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Cece Louise

*Representation: Main character is autistic and has a leg injury.

Snow White by K.M. Shea

*Representation: Main character struggles with anxiety.

Guarding Snow by Elizabeth D. Marie

*Representation: Main character struggles with anxiety and depression.

By Winged Chair by Kendra Merritt

*Representation: Main character is paralyzed.

**It sounds liked there are characters struggling with things from anxiety to a limb difference to neurodivergence throughout the whole Mark of the Least series.

Have you read any of these books? Any other books with disability representation that you loved and read? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!

I was pleased and happily surprised at the amount of books I was able to find with such wonderful and diverse representation! A huge thank you to all of these amazing authors who made these books possible and those on the sidelines who helped them (and us) learn and understand the stories behind the disabilities. I hope you are able to find some new and fantastic reads and learn a little bit more about the struggles–seen and unseen–that some people might be facing.

Happy Reading!

Alesha Adamson

P.S. If you want to find more disability inclusive books or find a sensitivity reader check out or follow on Instagram.

P.P.S Want even more sweet and swoony lists directly in your mail box? Click the button below!

Book Recommendations · My Books

12+ Recommendations for 12 Dancing Princesses

“The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is a lesser known fairytale from the Grimm Brothers. It is also known as “The Worn-Out Shoes” or “The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces.” One of the most popular adaptations is the Barbie movie from 2006: Barbie in 12 Dancing Princesses.

I had never heard of the fairytale until I was in college and a roommate suggested I read it. Suddenly I saw the story everywhere, starting with Jessica Day George’s Princess of the Midnight Ball. This fairytale soon became one of my favorites.

For those of you unfamiliar with the original tale, I’ll tell you my quick rendition based off the many versions (including the original Grimm tale) I read for my own adaptation of the tale, The Dark King and the Eternal Dance.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses Tale

Once upon a time, there was a king who had been blessed with twelve beautiful daughters (Because how else are princesses to look). One morning he found that each of his twelve daughters had somehow worn their dancing slippers to shreds. How had this happened? They had been in their room all night long. He demanded his daughters offer an explanation; however, they refused to disclose anything. Though he locked them into their room each night, the problem continued.

Frustrated at having to purchase all twelve of his daughters new dancing slippers each day, he sent out a proclamation. Any man who could solve the mystery of the tattered slippers would be offered a reward and the hand of marriage to the daughter of his choosing. Nobles and princes alike came to solve the mystery. All failed and were put to death (because killing off the unsuccessful makes perfect sense).

Out in the kingdom, a war-weary soldier came upon an old lady as he journeyed. He paused to help her. As a reward, she offered him an invisibility cloak and told him to use it to solve the mystery of the tattered slippers. She then advised him not to eat or drink anything the princesses offered him.

Armed with knowledge, he went to the castle to solve the mystery. As had been done before, he was locked in with the princesses. The princesses graciously offered him bread and wine. He discreetly disposed of the offered food and drink into a (conveniently located) plant. When the sisters went to bed, he pretended to sleep.

At the stroke of midnight, he heard a stirring. Through partially closed eyes, he watched as a portal opened and the sisters began exiting. Throwing on the invisibility cloak, he hurried to follow the youngest sister down the staircase that now descended from their room into a dark wood.

In his rush he accidently stepped on the youngest sisters cloak.

“Ow! Someone stepped on my cloak.” She complained, looking about.

“It must have gotten caught on a nail.” Her eldest sister assured her.

He continued following them into a stunning forest made entirely of silver trees. Amazed, he snapped off a twig.

“What was that?” The youngest sister gasped.

“It’s just the princes, they are so excited to see us that they are cheering.”

They continued down the pathway, entering into a gleaming forest made entirely of gold. After a time, the golden forest gave way to a glittering forest made entirely of diamonds glinting under the moonlight.

Before long, the princesses came to a lake where twelve princes with twelve boats awaited their arrival. The soldier snuck onto the boat of the youngest princess causing the prince rowing their boat to comment upon the princess being heavier then he remembered.

When they finally reached the other side of the lake, they enter an enchanted dance where the princesses danced with the princes the whole night, until their slippers were worn entirely to pieces.

The soldier followed them for the next two nights. On the second night he took a golden twig. Again the youngest heard the snap and complained. Her concerns were put off. On the third night he took a diamond twig that once more does not go unnoticed. At the dance that final night, he took a golden goblet as his final piece of evidence.

The morning of the third day, he went to the king with all that he had found. Elated the king offered the soldier the promised reward, plus the hand of one of his daughters in marriage. The soldier married the eldest princess. And they all lived happily ever after.

But of course there are several holes in this story (as fairytales are wont to have). Holes that several authors answer in interesting and entertaining ways.

Sweet and Swoony Retellings

My Favorite Retellings:

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Rose is one of twelve princesses–sisters condemned to dance every night in the palace of the King Under Stone. Galen is a young soldier returning from war. Together they will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to attend the endless midnight balls. All they need is an invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with silver needles, and that most critical fairy tale ingredient–true love.

This was my first proper exposure to the Twelve Dancing Princesses and will always have a special place in my heart. This book was spell-binding and captivating with surprising twists along the way. All the elements were so beautifully woven that I was convinced that knitting something must have been part of the original tale.

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

I loved this fairytale so much that I was excited to find this second retelling. Juilet Marillier has a lush beautiful way of describing everything. I was transported into this darkly stunning world. It was so well done that it felt not only plausible but real. The characters were lovable and there was a memorable frog! Just writing this makes me want to read this again.

The Midnight Dancers by Regina Doman

Tired of the tight leash that she and her sisters are kept on by their parents, Rachel Durham is seeking for a way out: and one night, she unexpectedly finds one in their Chesepeake Bay home.
As the pull of the night world grows inexorably stronger upon Rachel, her anxious father enlists the aid of Paul Fester (soldier, medic, juggler, and ninja) to find out what his daughters are up to. Paul embarks on a daring but difficult balancing act to win the girls’ trust – before it’s too late.

This book is an exciting and modern twist on the classic tale. I remember it giving me that fairie-portal world feel with a touch of paranormal.

The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell

Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling (if silly) curse, and anyone who ends it will win a reward. Reveka, a sharp-witted and irreverent apprentice herbalist, wants that reward. But her investigations lead to deeper mysteries and a daunting choice—will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul?

A delightful blend of my two favorite fairytales Twelve Dancing Princesses and Beauty and the Beast! I absolutely loved the twist at the end of this book!

My Fairly Dangerous Godmother by Janette Rallison

A fairy godmother can be a dangerous thing.

Some people bomb singing auditions. Sadie throws up on live TV during hers. So yeah, there’s no way she’ll ever be able to face strangers again, let alone the people at her high school.

Her performance on America’s Top Talent is so bad it earns her a fairy godmother through the Magical Alliance’s Pitiful Damsel Outreach Program. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Sadie’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing fairy godmother to save the day—or perhaps make it even more horrible.

Wishes are, after all, unpredictable things.

Janette Rallison became another favorite author when I read her refreshing and hilarious book My Fair Godmother. Imagine my delight when I discovered that her final book in the series meshed “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and “The Little Mermaid”. This is definitely a series I’ve read again and again.

A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier

When Princess Liliana and her twin sister set sail for new lands, she hopes to find adventure and romance. But the people of Marin live under the shadow of a curse–one powerful enough to destroy entire kingdoms. To protect them all, Lily and eleven other princesses are forced to participate in a mysterious and secret tournament.

More recently I was thrilled to discover this unique rendition of the tale. I was sucked in right from the beginning and loved how she made it into a tournament and had twelve contestants as the ‘sisters’. I adored the main character and her twin sister as well as their unexpected connection. When you finish it, you’ll want to immediately grab the next book and read her sisters story!

The Dark King and the Eternal Dance by Alesha Adamson

An unwanted proposal. An unexpected curse. Will Rayna, and her eleven sisters ever be free of the Dark King and this eternal dance.

Rayna is not usually the boldest of her sisters. However, when her eldest sister, Faelynn, seems ready to abandon her own happily ever after and accept the Dark King’s proposal, Rayna knows she must act and take drastic measures before someone gets hurt. Measures that just might cost her her heart.

An intertwined retelling of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses” and of “Hades and Persephone”.

As you might imagine, all the previous books had a hand in inspiring my own retelling. Since it had become one of my favorite retellings, I’d been thinking about how to incorporate it into a fairytale mesh-up idea I had when Camille Peters suggested I join her villain anthology. So of course this idea sprang to mind. Before long, Drake and Rayna had taken up residence in my mind and I’d begun crafting their delightful story.

TBR Retellings:

Kingdom of Dance by Deborah Grace White

Don’t get caught eavesdropping on a dragon—or dancing might be the least of your problems.

With eleven younger sisters, Princess Zinnia usually has little choice but to be responsible. But if she had her way, she’d spend her time exploring the seashore and cavorting with the dragons often found there. When she sees one of those dragons flying mysteriously over her castle one night, the temptation to sneak out after it is too strong to resist. Except, by the time she realizes she doesn’t recognize this dragon, she’s already witnessed something much bigger than she was ready for. And now she’s trapped, her sisters along with her.

After reading the rest of this delightful series I’m eager to begin this last story! Her books are sure to be full of swoony romance and endearing dragons.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses by K.M. Shea

Quinn is a loyal soldier of Farset, willing to risk her life on behalf of her country and squad. So, when a fellow soldier volunteers for a dangerous mission, Quinn joins him. Their assignment is to investigate the nightly disappearance of the twelve royal princesses, a mystery none have solved as those who attempt it vanish. But when she follows the girls, Quinn uncovers the truth: the princesses are cursed, and they’re not alone.

If you are familiar with the fairytale romance genre you have probably heard of, or read K.M Shea. This retelling definitely sounds like an exciting and unique tale to add to my pile!

The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doué

A kingdom of shadows. A soldier sworn to protect. A princess silenced by love.

Princess Lily, the eldest of twelve sisters and reluctant heir to a mighty kingdom, struggles to live up to her inheritance … and to free herself from her mother’s matchmaking attempts. While seeking refuge from an overzealous suitor, Lily stumbles into a secret underground kingdom where she meets a mysterious sorcerer-prince. When she and her sisters become entangled in his dangerous curse, she must find a way to end their nightly dances and prove herself worthy of the Firethorn Crown.

Lea was a part of the Villain’s Ever After anthology with me. I read and adored her book Hansel and the Gingerbread Queen and can’t wait to read more of her books. Especially if it is “Twelve Dancing Princesses”! Her rich fantasy world was simply delightful!

Poison’s Dance by Tricia Mingerink

If he falls to the lure of the curse, the dance might trap him forever.

Alex has survived his first year as high king. The new counsel has improved cooperation between the kingdoms, and peace seems achievable. When the Tuckawassee queen sends him an invitation he can’t refuse, Alex must once again face his greatest threat for the sake of peace.

I’m super eager to read this retelling. Another book I read by her was so exiting, I simply couldn’t put it down. I anticipate this book being just as engrossing!

The Thirteenth Princess by Nina Clare

The true story of the twelve dancing princesses has now been recorded…

Thirteen sisters have grown up hidden away by their Uncle, who rules the kingdom by proxy. When the eldest sister marries, her husband will take the throne. But the king has no intention of giving up his crown.

Maybe I’m biased but after working with Nina Clare for the Villain’s Ever After anthology, I’m excited to give this book a try too!

More Dancing Princesses!

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include this very popular adaptation. The cover of this book is lovely and I tried to read it several years back but for whatever reason I couldn’t get into it. Perhaps I simply wasn’t in the mood for a retelling at that time. If you read and loved this retelling I’d love to hear what made it a must read for you. Maybe I’ll consider giving it another try.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Jenni James

Twelve princesses, one gardener, and a mysterious secret . . . As the castle gardener, Aleck is paid well, has his own room above the stables, and he is able to support his mother and younger brothers and sisters. Why would he risk it all for one girl? For weeks now, Princess Cascadia and her eleven sisters have awakened each morning to swollen feet and tattered dancing slippers without any recollection of what happened. Why would someone do this to them? 

Jenni James always delivers sweet, entertaining, and quick reads! I’m looking forward to giving this retelling a try.

The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler

Zita is not an ordinary servant girl—she’s the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita’s father banished her to the servants’ quarters to work in the kitchens, where she can only communicate with her royal sisters in secret.

This rendition looks adorable.

Pirouette by Kenley Davidson

It was just a dance. But in Caelan, dancing changes everything.
Especially if you’re a princess.

Princess Ilani is cursed. She can no longer dance, and is therefore considered worthless. Forgotten. Invisible.
Until her twelve sisters are trapped in a deadly game with a breathtaking prize—a royal bride and an empire for the taking, if a man is willing to risk everything for a chance to win.

Kenley Davidson’s books seem to have risen in popularity, I’m looking forward to giving her a try soon! (I’m told that there is very minimal language but an over all clean read.)

Mirrored by Alex Flinn

Celine’s life is the stuff fairy tales are made of. She’s beautiful, talented, and brave. Unfortunately, her tale comes complete with a wicked stepmother! When Violet steps into Celine’s life, everything changes and weird things begin to happen to her—bizarre accidents, strange illnesses, and rabid animal attacks. Celine doesn’t feel safe anywhere. It’s almost as if some hateful witch is out to get her.

“Twelve Dancing Princesses” seems to be the back story in this “Snow White” retelling. Any time you read something by Alex Flinn be prepared for all the feels of teenage angst.

Dancer by Kimberly Rogers

A desperate attempt to save a child demands sacrifice.

Imani Tanzer is the closest her young brother has to a mother. When he falls ill due to a vengeful dragoness, it seems almost impossible to save him. Yet when she hears rumors of a dragon healer, Imani risks seeking him out. The dragon gives her a sliver of hope—the curse can be transferred but she and her sisters must leave their family behind forever.

I’ve had several people recommend Kimberly Rogers to me and look forward to reading some of her books!

The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn

Under the stars, in a secret world…

Rowena, the youngest of twelve sisters, loves to slip out of the castle at night and dance in a magical forest. Soon she convinces her sisters to join her. When Sir Ethan notices that his daughters’ slippers look tattered every morning, he is certain they’ve been sneaking out. So he posts a challenge to all the suitors in the kingdom: The first man to discover where his daughters have been is free to marry the one he chooses.

A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

A re-telling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” like you’ve never seen before!

For six hundred years I have dwelt in this prison. Trapped. Helpless. Unliving and undying.

For six hundred years I have watched as cursebreakers come and go. Brave young women all, gifted with powers beyond mortal understanding.

I have watched them die. I have watched them wish to die.

Short Stories:

A Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley

 A retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses in which an old soldier discovers, with a little help from a lavender-eyed witch, the surprising truth about where the princesses dance their shoes to tatters every night.

A book of three short stories the last being the “Twelve Dancing Princesses”. Robin McKinley had always been a favorite read for me. I’m just sad the story is short.

The Dancing Princess by Kendra E Ardnek

Plagued by nightmares for the last few years, Katrine only wanted answers. Instead, she finds herself trapped in a tangled web of melody as she tries to free a cursed king and his brothers. No one deserves existence such as theirs, but dare she risk her very life?

Phew! I made it to twenty-two recommendations. I know that there are even more “Twelve Dancing Princess” retellings and I’m certain more are being written. Drop your favorites in the comments. Which fabulous sweet and swoony retellings did I miss?

* Reader Suggested Recommendations:

A Lonely Dance by Selina R Gonzolez (Mild swearing and violence–Triggers: past abuse off page.)

Till Midnight by Aya Ling

The Midnight Show by Sarah Pennington

The Dark King’s Curse by Wyn Estelle Owens

Curse of the Midnight King by Yakira Goldsberry

Wrought of Silver and Ravens by E.J. Kitchens

Dancing and Donuts by Rachel Kovaciny a historical western retelling

Happy Reading!

Alesha Adamson

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