Before Happily Ever After Blog Tour stop: Review and author guest post

Hello everyone, Paul R. Hewlett here. I am very pleased and excited to be participating in the Before Happily Ever After Tour hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader Not A Writer. I have never participated in something like this and am really enjoying it. Don’t forget to check out the Dreaming of Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Me, My Shelf and I, or the Christmas Books Giveaway Hop also hosted by Kathy and Laurie at Laurie Here. Also make sure to enter award-winning author Crystal Marcos’s giveaway for a Kindle Fire (or $150 Amazon gift card) and more! Today I am going to review Book 1 of the Before Happily Ever After series: Through the Mirror and into Snow (Snow White). We also have a guest post from author Ann T. Bugg. Since we will cover a lot of material in this post, with no further ado, here is Ms. Bugg’s author bio and some information about her books.

Author Ann T. Bugg

Ann T. Bugg is the Queen of her castle in southern Minnesota where she lives with her Knight in shining armor (who has come to her rescue more than once) and her own little Princess Valerie. The pets in her magical kingdom come in all shapes and sizes, as do all the critters that make their way out of the enchanted forest. Horseback riding, long walks with her dogs (Otter and Dottie pictured above) and embroidering are on her list of hobbies, but writing will always be her first love.

Ann also writes Women’s Fiction under the name June Kramin.


Book 1

Book 1: Through the Mirror and into Snow (Snow White)

When best friends Valerie and Samantha discover a magic mirror in Val’s 100-year-old barn in southern Minnesota, they eagerly go through it. Immediately they run into the young Snow White, who has just escaped the huntsman. The girls vow to help her find her father, knowing the dangers that await. On their journey, the fun-loving double-trouble duo quickly discover they are caught up in the middle of their favorite fairy tales.

Having the knowledge of the stories as their only weapon, Val and Sam help two other princesses, make a surprising friend and discover they have a fairy godmother of their very own.

Book 2

Book 2: Into the Forest and Down the Tower (Rapunzel)

It’s time for Samantha’s summer visit again. Both she and Val are anxious to see if they will take another magical journey through the mirror. After learning of a problem with one of the horses, Odette makes her appearance and tells the girls it’s up to them to help him.

What Charlie needs is something that can only be found in their magical land. It can’t be given to them; they have to solves riddles and discover the answers themselves. A family of elves guides them, but even elf powers are limited when it comes to what stands between the girls and what they seek.

Trolls and unicorns were everything they imagined and more, but rescuing Rapunzel from her tower was an added bonus they never saw coming.

Book 3

Book 3: Off to Camp and Discovering Art (King Arthur)

Valerie and Samantha are disappointed that their schedules were not allowing them to spend a week together this summer like they have done every year since they were young. Their parents are able to plan a weekend camping trip towards the end of summer. The girls are happy for the visit, but sad to think they can’t go through the mirror this year on another adventure. They discover the magic is not only within the mirror, but within themselves when they are together. Merlin the magician shows up to take them on their quest to help Arthur find his true identity and his place in Camelot.


Now for my review. 5 of 5 stars. I loved this book which might seem like a surprise since, on the surface, it appears to be geared toward girls. I will say that girls, young and adult alike, will love this book. But I must also say that any lover of children’s/middle grade books will love it as well. The premise is fun and entertaining. I loved the modern day take on classic fairy tales.The characters are endearing, the imagery is outstanding, and having Marcus the gnome tell the story is very clever.

What I liked best: I loved the personalities of Val and Sam. They were typical children with great imaginations, which is really fun to see. The card/board game they play is priceless. I loved the interjections by Marcus the gnome. It really makes the story with his comments. Okay, call me immature (my wife does) but I laughed out loud at Val’s stretch in the seven dwarves home followed by a “slight musical from her behind.” Very funny!

What missed just a bit: Not really anything to mention here. If anything, the story is geared a bit towards girls more that boys. Once one gets boys to read it however, they will like it too.

Overall: I loved the book. I loved the happy ending, I loved the clever title (which didn’t hit me until near the end of the book), and I loved the story. I know Through the Mirror and Into Snow is a good book when the main characters are like my good friends. I raced through the book, enjoying it, anxious to see what happens to the girls, but felt a bit sad when it ended. I will eagerly read the next book in this cute series.

Now for the guest post from Ann T. Bugg:

My path to publishing is an ugly tale – like most.
It was encouragement by friends and family that led me to try to pursue publishing for my 1st middle grade book. When you have no publishing history, it’s not easy to get anyone’s attention. I actually gave up for a few years but still continued to write the books. I”d write a middle grade then a women’s fiction. Shampoo, rinse, repeat. Writing was the fun part – the other stuff could wait. My daughter, friends & my mom enjoyed them – that was enough for me at at he time. 
I had a women’s fiction that everyone went crazy over so, sidetracked for a while, I sent out queries like I was firing off a t-shirt cannon. I couldn’t get agents to give me the time of day on my query. I was sure if I could get them to read a few pages, I’d have them. Finally trying publishers, I had my 1st hope when DAW said it was indeed publishable, but not by them. The time travel element was not sci-fi enough for their line. I sold it with the 2nd publisher I tried. I was thrilled to have a home, but sadly, they didn’t do middle grade so those were still on the back burner. 
Doing research on more women’s fiction led me to a call for submissions with another publisher where I supplied a link to a website I made up with a dozen synopsis’ for novels I had completed and not queried yet. She caught the link to my middle grade books there and asked if she could see book #1. Of course I was thrilled someone wanted to read it – even more so when she wanted to sign my whole series. I had almost given up on it. They were small, but amazing & I knew they were going places fast. I haven’t been let down.

Currently I have 3 small presses that I love and use for various things. I don’t know that I’ll try the agent route again or not.

Tour Giveaway
All 3 Books
Print available to US only, Ebooks available Internationally
Ends 12/12/12

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Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Thanks for the great review. I hope you like 2 & 3 as well.
    So great of you to host the interview!
    Happy reading!
    Ann T Bugg

  2. Hi June,
    You’re welcome! I just finished book 2 and loved it as well. I will review that here at the end of the week. Thanks for the guest post and letting us host a stop on your blog tour. Best of luck and I look forward to more adventures from Val and Sam 🙂

    Paul R. Hewlett

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