Tag Archives: Retelling

A Fortnight of Fright 2015 | Book Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin (Angela from Angela’s Library)

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Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2015

Thanks for checking out the THIRD annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, Angela from Angela’s Library is sharing her review of THE FALL by Bethany Griffin!


A Fortnight of Fright 2015 | Book Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin (Angela from Angela’s Library)Title: The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Publishing Info: October 7, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Library
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 26, 2015
Related Posts: The Fall

    Madeline Usher is doomed.
    She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.
    Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.
    In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

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Hi everyone! For today’s post for A Fortnight of Fright, I’m excited to share with you a review of one of my favorite Halloween reads, The Fall by Bethany Griffin. This book combines two things I absolutely love: a retold classic and a seriously creepy haunted house.

The Fall is a novel-length retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Madeline Usher, the protagonist, has always known there is something not quite right about her ancestral home. It seems to have a will of its own and a desire to impose that will upon its inhabitants. The house lives through the Ushers, feeding off of their emotions and doing everything it can to ensure the family stays on the property and under the house’s control.

This tie between the Ushers and their home takes a heavy toll on the family. It’s the fate of all Ushers to slowly go mad, and Madeline and her parents suffer from strange fits and trances. They experience fainting spells and fevers and are plagued by extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and even the touch of clothing on their skin. Time and memories slip, and reading is impossible because the words swim on the page. The family’s strange condition is so acute that they keep their own staff of live-in doctors, who are a little mad themselves and prey on the Ushers in their own way.

As Madeline grows up, she learns more about her house’s dark power and becomes more and more determined to escape it. She knows there must be a way to outsmart the house and free her family from its horrific legacy; she just has to figure out what that way is. The harder she struggles against the house, though, the harder the house fights back, finding ways to trap her and confuse her.

Each chapter is written from Madeline’s perspective, but the chapters aren’t in chronological order and jump back and forth between Madeline’s point of view at age 9, 18, 12, etc. This may sound like a strange way to tell a story, but it makes sense for the book. It lets the reader experience the story just like Madeline does – piece by piece, confused and disoriented. Like Madeline, just when you think you’ve caught the thread of the story you’re interrupted, taken off of your path and turned in a different direction. It throws you off balance, and you have to get your bearings again and figure out which Madeline you’re dealing with. Is it the Madeline who suspects the house is trapping her like a fly in a spiderweb? The Madeline who loves the house and trusts it to keep her from harm? The Madeline who is trying to escape? You don’t know what to expect from one chapter to the next.

Griffin does a fabulous job of making the house sentient and terrible, building it into as much of a character as Madeline, her family, and her physicians. The house thinks, feels, and is capable of taking action. It listens to the stories its occupants tell, redirects them when they get too close to the secrets it doesn’t want discovered, and occasionally throws tantrums, tremoring and convulsing and locking people in rooms. It can even influence people and put thoughts in their head, using them to fulfill its own purposes.

I love The Fall’s spooky gothic vibe. There’s an oppressive undercurrent of horror and dread that never completely goes away. The house corrupts everything within it: bright new dresses fade overnight, lace crumbles, and previously normal visitors slowly grow mad and twisted. Children’s swings sway eerily of their own accord, suits of armor fling axes at hapless passersby, and ghosts of long-dead Ushers lurk in the shadows. There are even old messages, presumably from the house, transcribed by Ushers of years gone by:

“The surface of the desk is covered with scraps of parchment. I read the first. I love you. […] I pick up another. I know you. […] The next one: I watch you. Dozens of scraps of parchment are scattered over the desk. I love you, I know you, I need you.”

If you want a book that will give you shivers this Halloween, The Fall will certainly do the trick. It’s creepy, atmospheric, and a worthy homage to Poe’s original. Just make sure not to read it before bed – it might just keep you up at night.


 

 

Thanks, Angela! Great review. I really enjoyed this one as well and I really loved how atmospheric it was! 
I reviewed THE FALL last year for A Fortnight of Fright too! You can see the full review here: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I’ve been re-reading The Lunar Chronicles in anticipation of WINTER’s release in November and I’m having the best time! (Pssst check out the Lunar Chronicles (Re)Read Along if you want to join in for CRESS and WINTER!) I’m re-reading each book on audio and I’ll be reading WINTER in print when it comes out and it’s been so much fun reliving one of my favorite series!

Since I’ve already done one formal review of SCARLET back when I first read it, I’m switching things up a bit with a bit more feeling and a little less analyzing with “10 Things I Felt About” SCARLET!

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Scarlet by Marissa MeyerTitle: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: February 5, 2013 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 9, 2015
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1), Renegades (Renegades #1)

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

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10 THINGS I FELT ABOUT SCARLET

  • CAUTIOUS. I’ve loved all of the books (of course) BUT I remembered that Scarlet was my least favorite heroine and I couldn’t remember why. I was a bit nervous to find out where that feeling came from!
  • FORGETFUL. Ummmm, I forgot a LOT about Scarlet’s story line. I pretty much remembered the train scene and the action at the end haha! Okay, that’s exaggerating — I did remember more than that but everything was super fuzzy so I was excited to sort of re-discover it!
  • DOE-EYED. Oh, hello again, Thorne. How I love you so.
  • WOLF-INCLINED. I forgot how much I really liked Wolf in this book. I’m not sure why he didn’t seem to make a more lasting impression on me during my first read. Possibly because he’s more reserved, closed-off, and less in the spotlight. Wolf’s got a lot more history and secrets than Kai so seeing him as the love interest for Scarlet was a very different experience and I loved his protectiveness! I can’t believe I forgot that.
  • FRUSTRATED. Not gonna lie… This was my reminder why I didn’t like Scarlet as much as the other heroines and I think the audio didn’t help. Scarlet is very “head towards a goal at full speed”. I’m not saying in her situation that I wouldn’t be but that’s something that the more I read, the harder it is witness. Scarlet really has a one-track mind to save her grandmother and it started to wear on me when she really started making very bad decisions and easily losing her cool. (Maybe it annoys me because that’s probably how I would actually act haha! But still — hard to read sometimes.)
  • INVOLVED. Another silly thing that I don’t know why I thought it… From my first read, I felt like there was a lot less Cinder in the book but from my re-read, I felt like it was about half Cinder’s story, half Scarlet’s. I think when I read SCARLET for the first time, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect so to lose part of Cinder’s POV was probably more noticeable. Now that I’m more comfortable with the story being split up amongst the heroines, I feel like Cinder was much more prominent in SCARLET!
  • AMUSED. The banter between Cinder and Thorne is delightful. You know I love snarky guys and Thorne is absolutely perfect. Charming and funny — oh yes. Cinder has a sarcastic sense of humor and doesn’t take any of Thorne’s crap so the back and forth between her and Thorne cracks me up!
  • HORRIFED. I forgot how violent some of these scenes actually are!! I’m usually okay with some gore but eeek, it was a bit cringey. Not in a bad way but woo boy, you gets some gory details!
  • AWESTRUCK. I love, love, love how these story lines come together throughout this series. More and more pieces fall into place how these seemingly un-related girls all share pieces of the same story. Marissa Meyer is a master storyteller and the pieces fall into place flawlessly!
  • EXCITED. I think CRESS might be my favorite book of the series so far so finishing SCARLET just made me even more excited to continue on with the series!! 

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Re-read it!

I don’t think SCARLET tops CINDER for me but it’s a very small adjustment there — I love all of these books and I adore the stories they tell. This series is so worth the read and re-read!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SCARLET

             UNDER THE NEVER SKY

#TLCReadAlong | Scarlet Quotes + Art

I’m sure you’ve been inundated by now with my updates for the Lunar Chronicles Read Along that I’m hosting but now is time for less of the promo, more of the fun stuff that I really wanted to include in the read along!

In case you’re not familiar, September is all about SCARLET! The whole month is dedicated to the second book in The Lunar Chronicles and people were already finished with this back in August — wow!! I loved the enthusiasm for SCARLET and really for CINDER too! I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes from the book and some fan art (no spoilers)!

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scarlet quotes   scarlet marissa meyer

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What are you favorite quotes from Scarlet? Have you seen any amazing fan art? Send them my way! I’d love to see them!

#TLCReadAlong | Cinder’s Cyborg Features

I’m sure you’ve been inundated by now with my updates for the Lunar Chronicles Read Along that I’m hosting but now is time for less of the promo, more of the fun stuff that I really wanted to include in the read along!

In case you’re not familiar, August is all about CINDER! The whole month is dedicated to the first book in The Lunar Chronicles and I sort of love how many people have finished the book already because they just couldn’t stop reading! (You really, really liked it!!!) Hey, that just gives us more time to discuss, flail, and fangirl for the rest of the month, right? Right!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinder quote  cinder quote

I even took the time to create some fan art! I am having SO much fun with this!


For my first “bonus” read along post, I wanted to talk about some of Cinder’s cyborg features! She has a lot of interesting stuff and some of it could really come in handy! 

LIE DETECTOR
I think Cinder’s built-in lie detector is one of my favorite things! It’s a scientific thing so it really works off of interpreting human reactions and delivery (it’s sci-fi so we’re science-based here) and I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be able to use that feature! Then again… do I REALLY want to know when everyone is lying to me? Maybe sometimes not knowing is better…

STORAGE
Sure, you can wear pants with pockets or carry a bag, but Cinder has compartment storage in her leg. It certainly came in handy a few times throughout the book and I think that could be a great hiding place for special things! (Although could be kind of creepy to get used to.)

A COMPUTER IN YOUR HEAD
Cinder essentially has a computer in her head. She can access the internet at any time, look up information, get directions, track ID chips… now THAT would be super handy. I don’t think I’d want to be a cyborg and hardwired, but think of the wonders that could do!

http://thisoneofmarvels.deviantart.com/art/Cinder-431798751    

image left | Credit: ThisOneofMarvels Deviant Art
Image right | Credit: charmspeakers via Tumblr


Which of Cinder’s cyborg features would YOU want? A lie detector? Computer in your head? Metal limbs for extra durability?? Let’s chat!

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I’m sure by now you know that The Lunar Chronicles is one of my all-time favorite series out there. I’ve grown obsessed over the years and yet somehow, I hadn’t re-read any of the books. With Winter coming out this November and bringing the series to a close, I knew I wanted to stack up some re-reads back to back to back to refresh my memory of the details of the series and also just to enjoy the books all over again.

I’ve already done one formal review of CINDER back when I first picked up the series in January 2013 so I thought I’d compile a mini-review with some more feeling-related thoughts since you can see my initial review for my first reactions!

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Cinder by Marissa MeyerTitle: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: January 3, 2012 by Macmillan
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 20, 2015
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1), Renegades (Renegades #1)

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.

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10 THINGS I FELT ABOUT CINDER

  • NERVOUS. Why nervous? It’s always a scary thing for me to re-read a book or series that I fell in love with. The great thing about this is that it wasn’t one single book — Since The Lunar Chronicles is a series, I’ve been falling more and more in love with these books and these characters over the years, but it’s always a big deal to re-read a favorite for the first time! I’m scared it won’t be as good as when I first read it. (I totally had nothing to fear. It’s still awesome.)
  • FAMILIAR. I loved starting this re-read and totally falling back into this world. It’s always so wonderful to revisit a world that I love so much and it was really fantastic to have that feeling again!
  • FRESH. Despite the fact that I’ve read this book before, it still felt like a very fresh tale to me. It’s been more than two years since I actually read CINDER so it was really fun to start the series over from the beginning! It was nice to rediscover all of these things again.
  • IN-THE-KNOW. Of course I already knew the big surprises scattered throughout the book so they didn’t seem as epic to me… But it was really neat to read the book already knowing what they were! It allowed me to pick up on things that I hadn’t seen on my first go around.
  • IMAGINITIVE. My mind wandered a bit more while I was listening (I read the book on audio) because I was already familiar with the world-building and the characters. I think I got to dig deeper into everything and let connections form and ideas expand!
  • SASSY. I don’t remember Cinder being such a sassy and sarcastic character! Maybe I didn’t read her voice in that tone when I was reading the print version but… I kind of liked it! Rebecca Soler narrates the audiobooks and she was just fantastic! I’m really excited to listen to her portrayal of other characters.
  • SWOONY. I’ll admit that Cinder and Kai were my least favorite couple throughout the series but I finally got into their romance in CRESS. Re-reading CINDER? I don’t know why it took me so long! Did the narrator really bring everything to life that much more? Is it because I already know about their relationship and I finally got to the point of swoons? Whichever way you slice it, I really got into their romance on my re-read! They seemed to have so much more chemistry than I initially felt!!
  • EXCITED. I still love all of the action that takes place here! Cinder is a fantastic heroine and I love her attitude and determination. She loves her family (well, the family that treats her well) fiercely and she will stop at nothing to help and protect them… which creates some very high-tension moments!
  • AMAZED. I still love how this story comes together and everything it sets up for the rest of the books. Knowing what I learned from SCARLET and CRESS really allowed me more insight and I love seeing how much of those books are already established in CINDER but it’s hard to see until you read them. The layers are really fantastic and I’m constantly impressed with Marissa Meyer’s writing!
  • IN LOVE. Yes, I’m still in love with this book! And this series! It just makes me even more excited to read all of them all over again and I’m even MORE excited for WINTER. (Is that even possible???)

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Re-read it!

Let’s all let out a huge sigh of relief that CINDER was just as wonderful as when I first read it. WHEWWWW. Okay! (Not that I really doubted it that much but you know.) This series is just so well done and it’s one of the few that I’m SUPER impressed with as far as plotting goes. There are so many elements that have been established from the beginning and the sequels aren’t just extra books — they’re really extra layers, exposing secrets that were there from the start and expanding on current plots.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE CINDER

             HARRY POTTER 1

On the Same Page: Peter and the Starcatchers | Peter Pan Retellings

For May, On the Same Page (Alyssa, Amy, and myself) read PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson as our book of choice. May was a busy month for all of us so we thought it might be nice to read a good middle grade — something fun but not overly heavy — and PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS ended up being our choice! I actually listened to it on audio thanks to the copy I downloaded from AudioFile’s yearly week of free audiobook downloads a year or two back. I was especially happy to listen to PETER on audio with Jim Dale doing the narration! It took me a bit to shake the feeling of Harry Potter since I had just finished a series re-read on audio and Jim Dale voices those as well, but I quickly got into the swing of things once the story started up!

For my On the Same Page post this month, I wanted to share some Peter Pan retellings! I’ve actually read quite a few even though Peter Pan isn’t really one of my favorite tales (or Disney movies haha). Somehow I end up reading a lot — maybe it’s just a popular adaptation? Whichever way you slice it, I wanted so share some good ones, some unique ones, and a personal favorite of mine!

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PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson | This was our selected book for this month and it was really a lot of fun! I don’t read a LOT of middle grade, but this was really cute and a great sort of prequel to Peter Pan and how it all began. I did feel like the beginning was a bit slow to pick up but I absolutely fell in love with the ending! (That’s where most of the parallels to the original story were.)
Peter Pan similarities: Main character Peter, orphan Lost Boys (though they’re not called this quite yet), pirates, island natives, magic dust, and more that I won’t divulge because discovering those at the end made the conclusion really special for me!

TIGER LILY by Jodi Lynn Anderson | This was one of the first Peter Pan retellings I ever read and I absolutely ADORED it. I really need to re-read someday because it was just so wonderful and beautifully written. The book focuses more on Tiger Lily than Peter Pan (as you may have guessed from the title) and everything feels a bit more real somehow while still including that Peter Pan magic.
Peter Pan similarities: Main character Peter, Tiger Lily + community, Lost Boys, Tinkerbell + jealous Tinkerbell, Neverland, intrusion of Wendy

SECOND STAR by Alyssa B. Sheinmel | SECOND STAR is actually a contemporary retelling of Peter Pan which I was very interested in before picking it up. The story was interesting but I do admit that I had a bit of a hard time with this one. I felt like things were a bit TOO parallel considering it was a contemporary adaptation and I had hoped for a bit more original story. I’m not sure if I’d recommend the book since I struggled with it some but it was definitely an interesting way to adapt the fairy tale to a modern contemporary romance.
Peter Pan similarities: Main character Wendy, Peter character, John and Michael, “Lost Boys”, Tinkerbell (Bell), “Jas” (James Hook), “fairy dust”

ON MY TBR

              

HOOK’S REVENGE by Heidi Schulz | I still haven’t read HOOK’S REVENGE but I’ve heard so many good things about it! It’s another middle grade adaptation but this one is geared more towards Captain Hook instead of Peter Pan — and actually Hook’s daughter. It sounds just adorable and I really hope to read it sometime soon!

ALIAS HOOK by Lisa Jensen | ALIAS HOOK is an adult retelling once again focusing on Hook. I haven’t read it yet but it looks like it’s a story of redeeming Captain Hook’s besmirched good name. So Hook is good and Peter Pan is evil? Very interesting! I’ve been itching to read this one but it also looks like it’s had some mixed reviews so I’m not 100% sure about it quite yet.

HOOK & JILL by Andrea Jones | I believe HOOK & JILL is an adult romance! I’m not quite sure how that would go but I’m also kind of interested. For some reason I’m just drawn to the Peter Pan retellings and I always want to have a little more sympathy for Captain Hook. I’m not quite sure who Jill is…? But it makes me curious to find out!!

 Which of these Peter Pan retellings & adaptations have you read? What did you think? Are there any other adaptations worth noting that I missed?

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Thanks again for checking out this month’s feature for On the Same Page! We had a blast reading PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS and sharing our thoughts with you! And don’t forget to check out Amy & Alyssa’s posts today too!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places) // Amy (Tripping Over Books)

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

10 Things I Felt About This Book is a mini-review feature to give you a quick run-down of a book without those long, lengthy paragraphs. It’s designed to give you a concise impression without bogging you down and a way to keep reviews creative!

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley PearsonTitle: Peter and the Starcatchers (Peter and the Starcatchers #1) by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson
Publishing Info: August 30, 2004 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Retelling
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 15, 2015

    Don't even think of starting this book unless you're sitting in a comfortable chair and have lots of time. A fast-paced, impossible-to-put-down adventure awaits as the young orphan Peter and his mates are dispatched to an island ruled by the evil King Zarboff. They set sail aboard the Never Land, a ship carrying a precious and mysterious trunk in its cargo hold, and the journey quickly becomes fraught with excitement and danger.
Discover richly developed characters in the sweet but sophisticated Molly, the scary but familiar Black Stache, and the fearless Peter. Treacherous battles with pirates, foreboding thunderstorms at sea, and evocative writing immerses the reader in a story that slowly and finally reveals the secrets and mysteries of the beloved Peter Pan.

10 THINGS I FELT ABOUT THIS BOOK

  • CURIOUS. A Peter Pan adaptation? I’m in! Peter Pan actually isn’t one of my favorite fairy tales or Disney movies, but I really enjoy seeing how people have adapted it. PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS was a sort of prequel.
  • IMPATIENT. The beginning of the book was fairly slow for me. It was good enough but I felt like not a lot happened for a long time.
  • AMUSED. There are some really fun scenes with the pirates out on the water! I really liked seeing Smee and Black Stache’s interactions!
  • ANXIOUS. I wasn’t sure how “faithful” of an adaptation this book was so I kept trying to align the current story with what I knew of Peter Pan. It was both fruitful and pointless all at the same time. Not everything was a parallel but some of those things that didn’t line up turned out to be a good thing!
  • OLD. Not that the story was old but I felt old at times reading it. It’s really hit or miss with middle grade because sometimes I just fall right into the story and other times I feel like things are a bit too silly or unbelievable for me.
  • SENTIMENTAL. I do have fond memories of movies like Hook and the musical version of Peter Pan that carried me through my childhood. Maybe that’s why I enjoy adaptations so much! I wasn’t a huge fan of the Disney version but I keep seeking out other adaptations because they were some big parts of my childhood!
  • CONFUSED. I tried to line things up again! We see characters who are obviously a part of the Peter Pan we know (Peter Pan, Smee) but there are also characters who I don’t (or didn’t) understand (Molly, Black Stache). How does it all come together? Will I find out in future books? Or are they not supposed to be characters from the original Peter Pan? (Some do get explained a bit more towards the end.)
  • IMPRESSED. I really loved how the ending all came together! I actually think I wouldn’t have been as satisfied if the beginning and middle had both been direct retellings of Peter Pan. And again, I’m taking from the movie versions (I know, I know. I haven’t read the book so I can’t really tell you what else might have been there. I’m going off the pop culture knowledge here.) so most of the first half was all brand new to me. I really loved how all of the little things worked themselves out and everything was explained. It was really quite clever!
  • SATISFIED. Again, the ending was really, really great. It just left me feeling so happy and content.
  • INTERESTED. I THINK I want to read the second book in this series. I really didn’t love the first half and I think it would have been a bit hard if I hadn’t been listening on audio, but the way that it ended was really so perfect that I think I want to see where the next part of the story goes!

Have you read PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS? Or another Peter Pan adaptation? Which is your favorite?

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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BOOKS LIKE PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

RED PYRAMID     HARRY POTTER

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) – Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) – Renee AhdiehTitle: The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh
Publishing Info: May 12, 2015 by Penguin
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 11, 2015
Related Posts: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)

    Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.  

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THE WRATH AND THE DAWN was our selection for April to read together for our On the Same Page monthly read along. I have to admit… I was a bit intimidated by this book before I even began. I heard SO many amazing reviews and reactions for this book that I was already afraid the hype would get to me before I even started. And then I started the book. I’m not going to lie to you guys — the beginning was rough for me. As in, I probably would have DNFed it if I wasn’t reading with my best friends. Thankfully the great thing about being a part of this book blogging and reading community is that along with my BFFs, I had great support to encourage me to keep reading. See, when I had heard all of this hype, I hadn’t heard anyone who had struggled with the beginning so I was wondering if it was just me. Thankfully, we all read on and with reassurances from Alyssa and Amy (who were ahead of me) and pretty much everyone who saw my reading updates on Goodreads, I continued reading and they were all right. It got MUCH better.

I kind of had a hard time shaking off that rough start. I felt a bit dropped in the middle of an unfamiliar setting with a head-strong female lead. Head-strong and willful isn’t a bad thing but characters like Shazi do take some time for me to get to know sometimes. Once I know them, I’m usually all about the determination and ferocity, but I usually need to explore the setting and the plot (you know, make sure I should be on board with their cause) before I start to love them so that was something that took me a while to appreciate. Once I did get to know Shazi though (make that all of the characters), I really did love them and I’m so glad I got to know their stories.

I had a lot of fun once I really started to get into the thick of things. The world-building was quite fascinating, full of rich descriptions, interesting magical elements, and just had a great overall feel. All of the characters really started to shine and I really loved every single one of them — well aside from the baddies, of course — but even the antagonists were incredibly interesting. It took a little time for things to develop but I like how natural it felt to let these things unfold, especially in the case of the romantic elements. Renee Ahdieh’s writing was quite beautiful and it was just lovely to let myself really feel out this world and sort of develop around me.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN concludes with punch after punch and it turned out to be just as thrilling as everyone had promised! Lives on the line, relationships in jeopardy, kingdoms at stake, and really everything reaching its pinnacle all at the right moments. It definitely had me wanting more which is both good and bad since I really enjoyed the conclusion but now I have to wait for book two (which is a ways out considering I read this book even before its publication date). All-in-all, I really enjoyed THE WRATH AND THE DAWN and how Renee Ahdieh adapted 1001 Nights into the storyline. It was a great original story with a hint of that something familiar (even reminded me of Aladdin in a specific marketplace scene!) and although I had a bit of a tough time in the beginning, I do think it’s quite worth the read and recommendation!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Shazi // Character Obsessions: Revenge, freedom, love, justice.
I had a bit of a hard time with Shazi at first. Not because I disliked her but sometimes it’s hard for me to jump right in with characters and she happened to be one of them. Since she’s our main character, I figured her reasons and actions were justified but it took a while for me to warm up to her before I really started appreciating her. I think it’s hard for me to meet a character at a point in their life where they’re just angry, even if their reasons are justified so yes, I did end up loving Shazi but it took me just a little bit!
Khalid // Character Obsessions: Honor, ruling, protection, survival.
Khalid is my favorite character of this book… and it so did not start that way. I really ended up loving his character, appreciating his conflicts and struggles, and really sympathizing with him. I just loved getting to know him and finally understanding all of his interactions with Shazi. I can’t wait to read more about him!!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Middle Eastern influences. I actually don’t think I’ve ever read anything taking place in this region/with these influences! (Have I? Nothing comes to mind right away.) I really enjoyed it! I hadn’t written it off or anything but the region and culture are just so unfamiliar to me that it’s not something I normally gravitate towards. I’m really glad that I enjoyed it so much and Renee Ahdieh really did a fantastic job with all of the world building and lush descriptions of scenery, food, characters — everything. I was totally entranced.
Left Me Wanting More: Interest in the beginning. It wasn’t just that it was a slow start for me. There was something that was actively turning me off when I started the book. I mean, I’m definitely glad that I kept reading and once I understood the plot and why the book started where it did, I was totally okay with it but for some reason it was really hard for me to read with the book starting at that point in the characters’ stories.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book was really good! I’m definitely anxious for book two. If you struggle with the beginning, I really hope you have a situation like I did where it really picks up shortly after that. I ended up really liking the book a lot!

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BOOKS LIKE THE WRATH AND THE DAWN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE WINNER'S CURSE     THE KISS OF DECEPTION


OtSPcirclebanner250I read THE WRATH AND THE DAWN for the On the Same Page monthly read along with my two friends Alyssa & Amy! They have great posts ready for you today to so be sure to check out both of these, especially if you’re excited for the book!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places): The Wrath and the Dawn Quotes
Amy (Tripping Over Books): The Wrath and the Dawn inspired Pinterest board

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles # 3.5) – Marissa Meyer

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles # 3.5) – Marissa MeyerTitle: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: January 27, 2015 by Macmillan
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Retelling, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 29, 2015
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1), Renegades (Renegades #1)

    In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series
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Ahhh, FAIREST. Just what I needed tie me over until WINTER hits the shelves in November this year! I don’t always read ALL of the novellas that are published, but of course I was going to read a Lunar Chronicles novella and was especially excited to find out more about Queen Levana! She’s pretty terrifying in the books so I was especially anxious to see her history and how she ended up the way she is now.

The first thing I can say about FAIREST? Yeah. Levana is certainly crazy… BUT she didn’t have it easy either. I’m not saying that excuses the way she acts, but she’s had some majorly catastrophic and scarring events (oops, no pun intended but there you have it) happen to her and it seriously messed her up. Things also went down at a young age too so these traumatic events really affected Levana long before she was even close to being in a position of power, or even wanting that position. I definitely still fear her but it also made me pity her. Sometimes these kind of novellas sort of justify who someone is in the present story line and while I don’t think Levana is justified in her actions, I do think I understand her a lot more!

Another thing I really loved was seeing all of the other characters in Levana’s story and exactly how she’s tied to them all. It was really interested to see some of the title characters pop up, along with their friends and family and I got little chills and thrills seeing their names there! I think the most interesting for me was actually Channary. I may need to re-read everything again ASAP (kidding, that’s already in the works so I KNOW I will) but for some reason I don’t remember mention of how horrible she was! She was a terrible older sister to Levana and I really wonder how Levana would have ended up if it weren’t for Channary. I’m going to have to hunt down mentions of her in my re-reads!

FAIREST is very much Levana’s story so it’s not a major point in the series as far as plot goes, but I do still think it’s an important story for fans of the series to read. We learn a lot about the Lunar Queen and there’s also a LOT of Winter’s history in here which I was very excited to see since I don’t really know that much about her yet. There were still a few surprises though and it just goes to show you that there’s always more to learn about everyone!

I had such a blast reading FAIREST and that both filled the void and made me even more hungry for more of this series! I loved falling back into this world for a short time to keep my heart whole before WINTER probably chews it up and spits it out in November. In a good way! I CAN’T WAIT!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Levana // Character Obsessions: Appearances, acceptance, love, glamor.
I just loved learning more about Levana. It’s very, very interesting to see where she came from. I love that you can see the very — well, maybe not VALID but certainly obvious — reasons why she is the way she is in the current timeline of this series. Her life has truly been nothing but a constant series of ups and downs and she’s always had to prove herself, even to her family. The whole romance was really interesting and I was actually kind of surprised at how much love meant to her. I guess it makes sense!
Channary // Character Obsessions: Fame, fortune, frivolity, fun.
Did I TOTALLY not remember what Channary was like or was that not explained as much throughout the course of the series? We all think Levana is terrible but Channary surely didn’t make things easy for her. I can’t believe everything that went down between these two sisters! She was no peach herself. (And clearly I needed to re-read everything ASAP.)

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Kept Me Hooked On: Backstories. YAYYYY a full-length novella giving us backstory! GAH. I love it. Hmmm I guess for those who don’t read novellas, I don’t know if it’s “necessary” for the series but it has a lot of really, really handy information and background for Levana, Winter, and even Cinder.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot development. Okay, I know that wasn’t the point of FAIREST, but can you blame me? AMAZING things happen in Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress so I am just spoiled! But I guess you can’t push a plot forward when the book doesn’t even take place in the same time, huh? ;D

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan of the series, it’s a must, in my opinion! I think the knowledge we gain is fantastic and I just loved slipping back into this world before re-reading all the books (before Winter)!

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BOOKS LIKE FAIREST

(Click the cover to see my review!)

SHADOW AND BONE               THRONE OF GLASS

A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing #1) – Rhiannon Thomas

A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing #1) – Rhiannon ThomasTitle: A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing #1) by Rhiannon Thomas
Publishing Info: February 24, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 7, 2015

    One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.
Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.
As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

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I am ALL about fairy tale retellings so when I heard about A WICKED THING — which is a retelling of Sleepy Beauty — I was ALL for it! Thanks to HarperTeen, I received a copy in the mail and immediately made plans to start ASAP! It started off really well and I was immediately intrigued. I really enjoy the fact that the plot started with Aurora’s awakening after 100 years — not just a short while — and she wakes up to a world that’s totally unfamiliar to her, all of her family and friends long gone.

But… that’s about where the good things stopped for me. I’m gonna be honest. This book did not sit well with me. It wasn’t particularly bad, but after the first few chapters, NOTHING was grabbing or holding my attention. I loved the potential for Aurora but I felt like she never really made it past the idea of a strong heroine. She was constantly overwhelmed with how alone she was in this new world, which yes, that’s totally understandable — I would be too — but it didn’t feel like any smooth transition from scared and alone to take-charge and bold. She flip-flopped back and forth between the two and once she finally turned into this take-charge girl, I just didn’t really believe it. It really just felt like too little too late and everything sort of felt very basic and undeveloped for me.

And that actually goes for the other characters too. Everyone felt very one-dimensional. The queen was supposed to be a baddie, but she just felt very static. Everything she did was horrible and rude and mean and she really didn’t have any redeeming qualities. Not all villains or antagonists have to (*cough*Dolores Umbridge*cough*) but I think I would have liked her character so much more if she had shown a little bit of humanity every now and then or tried harder to be trustworthy. Her blatant selfishness and the fact that Aurora gave in so easily frustrated me quite a bit.

The men in the book were no better. The king didn’t have much development either — which I was okay with, really. He was a big part of the overall plot but that doesn’t mean he has to be a main character — but it was all of the possible love interests that I really couldn’t get on board with that frustrated me most of all. There are three — THREE — gentlemen who are more or less vying for Aurora’s affections. One is the prince who woke her, one is a mysterious boy from town, and one is another prince who is “not to be trusted” (who I actually liked the best because he was deliciously snarky and clever)… and Aurora is kind of involved with all of them. Not all of those relationships are romantic but she’s sort of pulled in all directions and it was just too much for me. I never got to spend time with the ACTUAL love interest (Tristan) — the boy the reader is supposed to like — because there were just so many things going on. I felt no pull to him. I also wanted to feel more sympathetic to Rodric (that’s the prince who woke her) because it was clear that they didn’t really belong together, but they were trying to make things work because he was the one who broke the enchantment and by right should marry Aurora. Finnegan (the scoundrel prince) was my favorite but unfortunately he was the least important. it sounds like he’ll play a bigger part in the next book but I won’t be picking it up.

The story was lackluster. It took a very long time for things to happen and when they did, it didn’t feel like much. BIG events sort of came out of nowhere instead of a constant ebb and flow of character-driven portions to action to world building. I didn’t really feel much of anything was developed. What exactly was “a wicked thing”? (Yes, it was mentioned but it didn’t feel too wicked.) I felt like I didn’t get to know the characters. I felt like the world was essentially any old fairy tale. I felt like the plot didn’t really grow or move or do much of anything. And the ending didn’t even feel like a cliffhanger or a temporary resolution (since it’s a series) — it just kind of ENDED.

Sadly, after all of my original excitement, A WICKED THING was just not the book for me. I really appreciate HarperTeen sending me a copy of this book to review and I wish I could have fallen in love with it but it was quite the struggle to finish because it really just kept dragging for me. It sounds like things may pick up in the second book, but I won’t be picking it up to find out what goes down.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Aurora // Character Obsessions: Freedom, family, magic, romance, adventure.. You may have noticed that in my updates above, I noted that it was making me crave an Aladdin retelling even though I was reading about Sleeping Beauty. Well, when Aurora goes on her little escapades, it just REALLY had an Aladdin feel to me and how Aladdin and Jasmine met, which also kind of made her feel like a poor man’s Jasmine, I think. I wanted her to be so much more feisty and read to take charge and she just didn’t feel like a strong character at all.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Sleeping Beauty. It’s actually not one of my favorite fairy tales (or Disney movies) but it’s been getting a lot of attention with Maleficent coming out last year and I’ve been a bit more interested in it as of late. I wish this book had done more for me regarding a retelling but I’m hoping more retellings come out at some point in time!
Left Me Wanting More: Development. Everything really felt so underdeveloped in this book. The characters, the plot, the action, the setting, the magic system… I just felt so underwhelmed by everything and it made it really hard for me to get into this book. Even if one thing had felt a bit deeper, I think I would have enjoyed it that much more and maybe even overlooked or not noticed the other things.

Addiction Rating
Skip it.

I was SO SURE I would love this one but it really just didn’t do anything for me. The characters fell flat, the pacing seemed off, and I wished there had been so much more to the plot. Sadly, I can’t recommend this one.

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BOOKS LIKE A WICKED THING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        TIGER LILY       CINDER