Tag Archives: Retelling

On the Same Page: Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede

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     ON THE SAME PAGE: SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED by Patricia C. Wrede
A very visual fairy tale

For December, On the Same Page read Alyssa’s favorite, Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede. I had a lot of fun reading this one which I actually didn’t expect when I first started (was hesitant about the fairy tale (sometimes they just don’t work for me) and the Elizabethan language) but I actually easily slipped into the book. Patricia C. Wrede’s adaptation of this fairy tale was so much fun. The characters were absolutely fantastic and one of my favorite parts but the other was her imagery. I really felt like I could picture the story as I was reading it and it was very visually striking! So today for our On the Same Page post, I’m sharing a few of my favorite images with you that I would include on my SNOW WHITE, ROSE RED Pinterest board! !


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I just love this gorgeous artwork of Snow White, Rose Red, and the bear! These pictures are absolutely stunning and I LOVE the first picture because that’s almost exactly how I pictured their cottage too!


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I just LOVED the feel of the cottage. I mean, it wasn’t like that was even a focus but I could just really picture it in my head! Smash all three of these pictures together and that’s about what I could see in my mind!


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I also loved picturing the woods and the transition into Fairie! I’m not exactly sure what Fairie would look like but I’m guessing a bit more ethereal, maybe more stunning, maybe more distracting, maybe all of the above! These were some gorgeous forest pictures that made me feel like I was about to cross the border into Faerie!


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So I was just searching images and Pinterest trying to find something that would relate to Edward Kelly and John Dee and… they are ACTUAL people!

I didn’t know that! (Am I bad history student or is this not common knowledge? I thought it was neat!) John Dee was an actual advisor to Queen Elizabeth I in the late 1500s/early 1600s. He was a mathematician, astrologer, and philosopher. He took Edward Kelly under his wing in 1582 and the two began to delve into “supernatural pursuits”. They came up with the Enochian language which was said to have been given to them by the angels.


Hope you had fun checking out Snow White and Rose Red today! Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts about Snow White and Rose Red today too!
Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Amy (Tripping Over Books)

The Fall – Bethany Griffin

The Fall – Bethany GriffinTitle: The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Publishing Info: October 7, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 28, 2014
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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I’ve actually read very few original Edgar Allan Poe stories but when I was looking for a good, creepy Halloween read, I immediately turned to THE FALL, a retelling of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, for a good book with just the right amount of scary for me. See, I’m a total chicken when it comes to the scary. I like creepy, but I don’t like my books (or movies or TV shows) to be too scary. Fortunately, Bethany Griffin’s THE FALL was just the perfect mix for me!

I actually can’t really compare too much to the original Poe tale since I haven’t read it, but upon finishing, I definitely wanted to! The book revolves around Madeline Usher and her family. The chapters are quite short and each one details a different point in Madeline’s life from her childhood all the way through teenage years, meeting up with the “present-day” story line in the novel. Sometimes it’s hard to jump around from age to age, but I think just focusing on Madeline and not having a second point of view in the mix really helped and I also found it really interesting to slowly get the pieces of how the family curse worked, how it affected Madeline and her family, and getting that information in a strategic way. I’m always impressed when authors are able to manipulate a timeline like that to remove things from chronological order in order to maintain a mystery.
At times, the short chapters seemed like both a blessing and a curse. I really like short chapters because especially during times when I don’t have a ton of time to read, the short chapters really help me feel like I’m making progress with a book. At the same time, having so many chapters did make me feel like I was progressing really quickly and then it came as a surprise how much of the book I really had left. I’m not saying I would have done it differently but it was definitely something that I was aware of while reading.

I think the reason THE FALL worked so well for me as a good, creepy book was how much the actual house itself was involved in the story. I am not a ghost person. I don’t handle ghost stories well because they’re just too real and I always get a little too creeped out. There were ghosts in THE FALL, but really the culprit behind all of the actions — and actually part of the reason why the ghosts are even present — is the house itself. There’s more to the curse and the explanation as to why, but that’s more for the reader to experience! Anyway… I just really enjoyed how the house was its own character. It had its own reasoning, a sense of feeling, and it interacted with the other characters. I loved its daunting presence and exactly how big of a role it played in the book.

The other characters were fascinating as well. Madeline was a very interesting character, being the main point of view as well as the “favorite of the house” so she had the most insight to the curse and everything that went on in the book. The interactions of the other characters and the house was really interesting as well. I was totally sucked in, analyzing exactly how the curse affected each person in turn and how the house chose to manipulate each of them.

Pretty much everything about this book worked for me! It was such a perfectly dark and spooky book with a fantastic gothic-horror feel and such a great horror read for a person like me who doesn’t like being scared pantless. I was still able to totally enjoy it without getting so scared that I wanted to stop reading and yet it never felt like anything was really missing either. It was really just a great balance for me and one I’d recommend for a creepy read!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new 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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Madeline // Character Obsessions: The House of Usher, mysteries, family, her brother.
I really liked Madeline’s character! I remember feeling a few twinges of “hmmm” while reading, but I admired her determination to fight and figure out exactly what was going on with her family’s curse and trying to survive it. The family traditionally died young, had weird illnesses, and often fell victim to the curse in many ways so it was really interesting to see Madeline go through the same things and at the same time, try to fight it.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Horror. I am not a horror person but I really enjoyed this book! A big thank you to Bethany Griffin for just the perfect amount of scary for a scaredy cat like me!
Left Me Wanting More: From secondary characters. There were plenty of secondary characters in this book but I guess the only thing I could say is that I wish I had felt a bit more connected to them. I actually think the house is the most important character after Madeline so the other characters felt a little pushed to the side (and actually, saying it like that seems totally reasonable considering how the book went! The house really did push them to the side…) but I did want to feel just a bit more connected to some of them.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really enjoyed this one and I hope others do too! If you’ve read the original story from Poe, I’d love to hear what you think of it as a retelling! I think I’ll have to go read the original now so I can compare and be even more delightfully creeped out!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE FALL

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        this dark endeavor       her dark curiosity

Summerfall Release Day!

SUMMERFALL RELEASE DAY TEASER!
a WINTERSPELL novella

I’m so excited to be a part of this release day promo for Claire Legrand’s novella SUMMERFALL! This novella is a prequel to the upcoming WINTERSPELL which release this September and I’m so excited to read them both!

For those of you who don’t know WINTERSPELL is a retelling of The Nutcracker and it sounds SO amazing so I’m really excited to get a prequel sneak peek with SUMMERFALL which is available for purchase TODAY! Here’s a bit more about the novella:

summerfallBUY LINKS: amazon | barnes & noble | books-a-million | ibookstore
CLAIRE’S SOCIAL MEDIA: site | blog | twitter | facebook | instagram | pinterest | goodreads

SYNOPSIS:  Rinka is a faery, passionate and powerful, determined to maintain the tenuous peace between faeries and humans.
    Alban Somerhart is a human, a reluctant king trapped in an arranged marriage, desperate to prevent war.
    Their love could save the kingdom of Cane… or shatter it forever.
    In this captivating novella, prequel to the upcoming Winterspell, Claire Legrand weaves a story of magic, political intrigue, and forbidden love that sets the stage for the rise of a wicked queen and the journey of a human girl named Clara… 

 Sounds awesome, right!? I sure think so! So let’s hop right into the teaser for this exciting new novella…

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summerfall  Winterspell

Oooh yay! I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited for both SUMMERFALL and WINTERSPELL! You can order and read SUMMERFALL today and you can also pre-order WINTERSPELL for when it releases on September 30th, 2014! You can also enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win some swag and prizes!

And don’t forget! You can always pre-order WINTERSPELL too! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Second Star – Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Second Star – Alyssa B. SheinmelTitle: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publishing Info: May 13, 2014 by Macmillan
Genres: Contemporary, Magical Realism, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 9, 2014
Related Posts: The Stone Girl

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

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I’m just gonna come right out and say it… SECOND STAR was a very disappointing read for me. I’m not a huge fan of Peter Pan, but as with any retelling or adaptation, when it’s done well (for example, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and others non-Peter Pan related), I have the potential to fall in love with it. SECOND STAR was not that book for me.

The synopsis sounds exciting, right? Love, loss, lies, dark magic — the back cover even talks about magical realism which I was incredibly curious about and couldn’t wait to see how magical realism really came into play. The sad fact was that it didn’t. This is a contemporary retelling — which I don’t have a problem with at all, except for the fact that too many elements of the original story, which is obviously a fantasy, were forced to squeeze into the plot of a contemporary novel. It’s just too hard to make a contemporary retelling so parallel to that of the original fantasy and fairy tale. Let me explain…

The book starts off with Wendy Darling graduating high school. She sees a mysterious boy out in the surf at night (“Pete”) and ends up immediately enthralled with him. Deciding to finally go off and try to find her missing brothers John and Michael (who were supposedly killed in a surfing accident but with little trace of them, Wendy had never believed it), Wendy travels from beach to beach looking for clues and ends up crossing paths with Pete in more ways than one. Enter Pete’s nemesis “Jas” (the Captain Hook character who I would have LOVED more “good to be bad” appeal from) and a love triangle between the three.
Okay, that I can do. But I had some major issues with the book and how things were forced to fit in. First: I could have loved the Wendy-Peter-Hook love triangle. I wanted her to choose between the innocent and the corrupt, but the switch from guy to guy happened way too quickly and I didn’t really feel a genuine connection to either one. I also wanted much more dark side from Jas. He IS the nemesis after all, but turns out just to be a good guy who is perceived as bad when he’s just taken a few wrong turns in life. I guess that’s entirely possible as a contemporary adaptation spin on Peter Pan, but I think I was hoping for a more Machiavellian Hook than unfortunate circumstances.
Second: I hated the drug story arc. What? Drugs, you say? Yes. Drug use in books doesn’t really bother me — I’m not always a fan of it, but it doesn’t usually bother me — but what I didn’t like about it in SECOND STAR was the way it was used and how forced it felt. The popular drug among the surfers is…. “fairy dust”. I felt like the drugs existed solely in the the story to incorporate fairy dust in there somehow and I could have done without all of it. There could have been some other backstory to create the rivalry between Pete and Jas (rival gator farms? I could have totally loved a more comedic retelling like that…) and not used a weird drug plot.
Third: The most interesting thing about this book to me was the mysterious disappearance of Wendy’s twin brothers Michael and John. Wendy never believed that they had died in a surfing accident and so she sets out to find out what really happened to them. The book starts out with this giant mystery and while Wendy really is looking for answers the whole time, the reader gets virtually no clues the entire book until closer towards the end. When I first saw that a mystery was being introduced, I was hoping it would follow a more mysterious path, but it really just felt like a constant back and forth between Wendy and the love triangle, and Wendy and her stubbornness to find her brothers. I felt like she was constantly going back and forth — obsessed with this or obsessed with that — and I just didn’t like her character much at all.

I was hoping for a lot more as the book progressed because I felt like the beginning half was going fairly slowly and when Wendy finally started picking up big clues about her brothers, I was ready to jump back into the mystery. The ending, however, was entirely a let down. It was confusing, it was unclear, and it was very disappointing. I’m not sure if this is where the “magical realism” was supposed to come into play…? Honestly, there was no magic in this book. I mean, that’s fine — it’s a contemporary retelling so really, it shouldn’t have magic, but it was advertised in more than one place so I just had expectations that it would show up.

Really, SECOND STAR just didn’t work for me. I didn’t enjoy the plot, I felt like too many aspects of Peter Pan were forced into the book and in other places that not enough of Peter Pan was present. Retellings are a tricky business and it’s really hard to get a perfect amount of original story and adaptation, but SECOND STAR just didn’t mesh well for me. I was also not a fan of the characters at all and I felt like they could have been so much more developed. Their personalities didn’t shine, no one stood out, and the back stories seemed weak or convenient. The upside was that it was a quick read and the mystery of Michael and John kept me interested although I was ultimately disappointed with how pretty much even story arc resolved.

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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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Wendy Darling // Character Obsessions: Finding her brothers, learning how to surf, running away, boys.
Wendy was just so “blah” for me. I felt like her character didn’t have a lot of depth. She was stubborn, didn’t listen to anyone, and only had two things on her mind (well, three, I guess): Finding her brothers and Pete/Jas. Her emotions and her decisions were all over the place and she just wasn’t a very compelling main character to read about.
Jas // Character Obsessions: Fairy dust, money, surfing, Wendy.
Jas was the Captain Hook character and he could have just been so much more BAD. I would have loved to see a Machiavellian Jas, hell-bent on destroying Pete and using Wendy or a bitter, broken Jas or… anything dark and twisty. Jas was a softie. He may have been Pete’s rival but when it came down to it, he was just an old softie who made a few bad decisions and ended up in a tight spot. Meh. Disappointing.
Belle // Character Obsessions: Surfing, Pete, hanging with the boys.
Belle was the Tinkerbell character in the book and… actually, I guess she was fairly spot on! I guess as far as the movie goes, she had the right amount of jealousy, but honestly as I was reading, it felt like too much. I got annoyed with how jealous and protective she was and it got old pretty fast. She was, however, the only character who seemed to stand out to me in terms of personality. She knew what she wanted, she was happy where she was in life, and she had a fuller backstory than most seemed to have.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Genre-switched adaptations. I was so curious to see a fairy tale reimagined as a contemporary! I’m always interested to see what authors keep and what they change. It didn’t quite work out for me in this case, but I think it’s incredibly interesting and I’m always looking for more!
Left Me Wanting More: Development. Everything seemed so unfinished. The characters felt undeveloped, the plot felt thrown together, the ending seemed totally anticlimactic. It just wasn’t working for me at all.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

I really hoped to find another great Peter Pan retelling but SECOND STAR just didn’t do it for me. I’m always interested to see retellings take on in a different genre so I was so curious about a contemporary adaptation, but it just didn’t work for me. Maybe a little bit of Rufio could have sweetened the deal…?

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SECOND STAR

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Tiger Lily       Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty – Rosamund HodgeTitle: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Publishing Info: January 28, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 12, 2013

    Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
    Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
    With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
    But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.
    As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

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cruelbeauty

Firstly, the cover of CRUEL BEAUTY may easily be one of my favorites. I would say favorites this year, but we’re barely into it… I still think it’ll take the cake! And secondly, people should REALLY not make comparisons to other books like that. It’s definitely an interesting adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, but I couldn’t see the Graceling comparison at all. That was a bit of a disappointment for me… But that wasn’t the reason why I was disappointed with the book.

Yep. I said it. CRUEL BEAUTY was not quite all I had hoped it to be. I know so many people ended up loving this book, but I was one of the ones who enjoyed it, but still had quite a few issues. CRUEL BEAUTY kicks off with Nyx before her wedding day, doomed to wed The Gentle Lord — a demon who has taken control of the kingdom. She’s trained to defeat him all of her life but still may not come out of this marriage alive. I was really very caught by surprise of all of the mythology in this book and… well, mythology really isn’t quite my thing or what I was expecting. Of all of the mythology retellings or mythology-heavy books I’ve read lately, I’ve only really enjoyed one and even that didn’t knock me off my feet so I was nervous right off the bat. I really don’t connect with mythology and I’m not familiar with all of the stories and deities so that tended to get confusing and uninteresting for me.

The other thing that really bothered me throughout the book was sadly Nyx herself. The first half of the book was very repetitive for me, Nyx griping about her plight to marry the Gentle Lord and then once married, to destroy him, but all the while, she’s extremely bitter about it. Nyx is bitter about her father having arranged this marriage for her to be the one essentially sentenced to die instead of her twin sister. She’s bitter with her sister for being the one her parents loved. She’s bitter with her sister for getting their mother’s looks while Nyx resembles her father. She’s bitter with her aunt for stepping in in her mother’s absence and stealing her father’s affections. It was a lot of bitterness and a lot of complaining and when I’m first meeting a character, heavy negative connotations tend to turn me off. It was very hard for me to find Nyx to be a likeable character in the first half of the book and it was really difficult to read things from her point of view.

I’m not going to lie… I almost put down this book and didn’t pick it up again. The combination of my aversion to Nyx and a slow start (something that I continue to struggle with) made me almost DNF this book. I turned to my fellow bloggers who assured me that it did pick up and I really didn’t want to DNF only 30-40 pages in so I continued through and did find that to be true. Once Nyx ventures into the Gentle Lord’s castle, things really do start to pick up and I was definitely captivated by the mysteries that this castle holds. The moving staircases and doors reminded me of Harry Potter and we know that’s always a good thing! The rooms themselves were mysterious and I was definitely interested to see how much the house itself was alive, curious, and dangerous. But… (yep, there is a but) …. It just didn’t quite seem to fit together. There were questions left unanswered, mysteries that didn’t seem to serve any purpose, and the different aspects of the castle just didn’t seem to gel as one giant puzzle. I’m not sure what it was but I kept waiting for some big reveal or for all of these pieces to snap together and it just didn’t really happen for me.

I really enjoyed Ignifex (that would be The Gentle Lord) and his character development. I appreciated that at first glance, he’s just the big, bad demon lord, but like all good villains/antagonists, he has his own story that turns the tables a bit. At the same time, I would have loved to see so much more character development for him. I wanted more evil, more snark, more indecision as to whether Nyx should trust him or not. I wanted to fall in love with him and hate him at the same time. It just didn’t seem strong enough for what I was hoping.

Oh! I can’t believe I almost forgot about the love triangle. I mean, the sort of love triangle…? Let’s just say it’s a bit confusing and either way you put it, I was not really a fan. Both sides of this love triangle seemed a bit insta-lovey. I don’t really like using that term since I do believe in the whole attraction-but-not-quite-love-at-first-sight things, but it really did feel like Nyx fell for both of these parties way too quickly. Or not even quickly, implying that it happened early in the book, but just rapidly — a sudden change. Obviously I was rooting for Nyx and Ignifex to get over their whole death match thing and fall in love, just like Beauty and the Beast! You know it’s coming but the switch just seemed too abrupt. To go from STRONGLY loathing someone all your life to feel affection… I just didn’t get it.

The plot and general idea of the book could have also been awesome too but I felt like the book was written in pieces and somehow these pieces just didn’t quite all fit perfectly together. They all came back to create one story, but they didn’t seem like they fit well, and I’m also upset with the ending. Everything seemed to happen so fast and yet not. It was not a satisfying ending and just didn’t seem to work with how the rest of the book went.

I think overall, the book just felt very pieced together. The characters didn’t feel very developed. The world building could have totally blown me away but it felt very unfinished. Nothing felt cohesive. It was still an interesting read but this should have been a book that totally wowed me and it just didn’t do that much at all. I don’t think I’ve ever been so torn about a rating or a review because there was so much I had hoped for and did get some, but just not enough to really “wow” me.

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Nyx // Character Obsessions: Defeating the Gentle Lord, staying alive, figuring out secrets.
Nyx was really hard to get along with for me… I just felt like she was too negative for the majority of the first half of the book and it took too long for her to sort of soften. By the end of the book, I had a better opinion of her but it still wasn’t good.
Ignifex // Character Obsessions: Maintaining the castle, imprisoning and yet romancing Nyx, general demon duties.
really liked Ignifex when I first met him. He was evil. He was a demon lord. He had that crooked smile and easy snark. *fans self* But.. as the story went along, his character didn’t really get developed like I had hoped. He did get more layers to his story but I didn’t feel that emanate through his personality. I felt like we were told that this is his history but I didn’t really feel like his character really jumped off the pages like I wanted it to.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Magic Castles. How amazing are magic castles? That was by far one of my favorite things about the book. The castle almost felt like a character itself (although even that “character” wasn’t as developed as I hoped).
Left Me Wanting More: Cohesiveness. My biggest issue with this book is that I felt like nothing really came together. There were plenty of interesting story lines, character possibilities, and sets of magic to explore, but nothing really felt like it came together. This book felt like it was written in large chunks and when those chunks were all merged into one book, they didn’t really quite work together.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I feel like I’m the minority here who was somewhat disappointed in it. A lot of people totally fell in love with this world so I would say definitely give it a shot if you were as excited for it as I was. Just BE AWARE that there is a lot of mythology! That totally caught me by surprise and it kind of turned me off in its own way.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE CRUEL BEAUTY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Crewel        Everneath

Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) – Kendare Blake

Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) – Kendare BlakeTitle: Antigoddess (Antigoddess #1) by Kendare Blake
Publishing Info: September 10, 2013 by Macmillan
Genres: Mythology, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 25, 2013
Related Posts: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1), Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)

Old Gods never die… Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health. Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.  These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.  Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.  Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath. The Goddess War is about to begin.

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I actually feel like I’ve been getting a bit burned out on mythology retellings lately because I really just haven’t been able to connect with them, but ANTIGODDESS seemed to turn that trend around! I think I finally figured out that the thing I wasn’t connecting with on other mythology retellings was the fact that the old worlds of the gods and the modern day worlds weren’t meshing well together for me. What I loved about Kendare Blake’s gods is how well they actually DO fit in the modern world and how much personality they really have!

Thinking back on all of the mythology retellings I’ve read, I feel like there are two ways they can go: Gods pop up in modern times out of nowhere from ancient times OR gods have been on Earth this whole time and are now technically thousands of years old and still look like teens (because let’s face it, we’re reading YA and they’re gods. Of COURSE they’ll keep the young adult look). ANTIGODDESS falls in the latter with gods like Athena, Hermes, Apollo, and more roaming the Earth since the ancient times. The best part about them is that yes, they are ancient, but they’re also VERY modern at the same time. Modern clothes, modern slang, very modern language… And modern sarcasm. I was lucky enough to be on the ANTIGODDESS blog tour and hosted Kendare for a guest post on the humor in her books — It was one of the things that attracted me so much to ANTIGODDESS — and it was wonderful how that sense of humor and sarcasm really helped build real characters for me. Each character really came to life for me, making the book so easy to get into.

I loved how the ancient world and the modern world really blended. If there was a grudge from 2000 years ago, you better believe that god is still holding a grudge now… and has been all this time. Personality traits stick for all those years. Romances are revisited. I felt like I got a real sense of history. I’m starting to realize that I connected more with ANTIGODDESS because we get chapters from Cassandra’s POV AND Athena’s. Instead of tell, tell, tell to Cassandra what happened and why things are the way they are, we get to see Athena’s life. I think this was a big case for “Show, Don’t Tell” — something I somehow didn’t realize until I sat down to really think about it and write my review — but it totally makes sense. For the retellings I’ve read so far, the POV is usually from the character who is finding out about the gods, not who IS a god, so they get a lot of information from other sources. It was really nice to have that background from the main character instead of having to learn everything from someone else and be told as information versus getting that as a piece of a character’s history. I definitely felt more involved!

I also really liked the story that was going on in this book. It was interesting to see the gods losing their power versus a human interacting with the all-powerful gods of Olympus. It was definitely and interesting twist and I loved figuring out the mystery of why they were dying and how it was even possible. I mentioned the characters before, but I’ll say it again — they really felt real with all of their flaws, the sarcasm, the humor. I was actually more of an Athena fan than a Cassandra fan, just because I’m a sucker for banter and the gods totally killed it. Plus, OH HI Odysseus. Who knew Odysseus was so attractive? Be still my demigod-loving heart!

Even if you’re burned out on mythology for the time being, ANTIGODDESS is still a fun retelling and blending of the old and new and totally worth picking up! I’m so glad I was on the blog tour to push me to read it when I was once hesitant about another mythology retelling. I had a blast reading it and I absolutely love Kendare’s characters!

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Cassandra // Character Obsessions: Psychic abilities, the future, Aidan.
Cassandra actually wasn’t my favorite just because she was a little too… Goody-goody for me. She wasn’t ALL goody-goody, but there was just that sense of her personality. Aidan was her protector and she was kind of a damsel. Unaware and vulnerable. I think I just connected with Athena’s personality way more!
Athena // Character Obsessions: Feathers, fighting, reason.  
Athena was pretty badass. I loved how she was wise (obvs. It’s Athena… And she’s also thousands of years old) and she was a take-charge kind of girl (or… thousands of years old woman. Erm… god). I really loved her personality overall and she was definitely my kind of character! The banter between her and other characters (usually Hermes) had me laughing out loud and really connecting with her.
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Kept Me Hooked On: Mythology. Just when I was about to kick it to the curb, Kendare Blake showed me that mythology retellings, when done well, are extremely enjoyable!
Left Me Wanting More: Hmm, I’m actually not sure what. There was a tiny bit of something that kept me from really being wowed, but I can’t really put my finger on it.

Addiction Rating
Read It!

I’m not sure if this is a full-on “BUY” recommendation, but if you come across it somewhere, it’s definitely worth the read and I do recommend it!

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BOOKS LIKE ANTIGODDESS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Everbound          The Red Pyramid

Furious – Jill Wolfson

Furious – Jill WolfsonTitle: Furious by Jill Wolfson
Publishing Info: April 16, 2013 by Macmillan
Genres: Mythology, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 4, 2013

    Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.
    We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.
    We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious.

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I’ve always been interested in mythology even since I was a youngster, so I’ve really been into trying to pick up mythology retellings lately. When I hear about FURIOUS, I was like “HMMM. The Furies myth redone? I’m curious!” Sadly, curious was about as far as it went. I made it about halfway through before I found myself reading quickly, forcing myself to finish.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the myth, the gist of it is that the three Furies were born from the blood and anger of the god Uranus after he was… erm, castrated (I can see why he was pissed) and they are responsible for the eye-for-and-eye type of justice in the world. In the retelling of FURIOUS, they’re three high school teenagers who are “discovered” to have the powers of the Furies deep within them and when the three hone into their skills, they can bring the high school jerks to their knees, right the wrongs of their own home lives, and bring even bigger justices to the world.

It’s hard to judge and say that this could have been done better since I’m not sitting here writing my own retelling, but I just didn’t feel like this interpretation of the myth came off well. All of the specifics and background of the myth were included in the book so it’s definitely thorough and accurate, but as a retelling, I think I wanted it to be LESS accurate. It was so integrated in the original myth that I feel like it almost got boxed in and pieces were forced to fit together that didn’t really go together. Some of the characters felt forced, the situations were the Furies use their power seemed a little silly, and I just felt like as a whole, it didn’t really come together to make one cohesive story. Personally, I would have liked to see a looser interpretation of the myth to fit more of a high school setting since it was drawn up for YA versus a more literal retelling and having some of it feel unauthentic to its setting.

As far as characters go, I didn’t really feel a connection to any of them. Except for maybe Raymond, the main character Meg’s best friend… And now that I’m thinking about it, maybe because he wasn’t a part of the myth so he wasn’t forced into a specific role? The development of the Furies’ powers and how they discover them didn’t feel natural for me and Meg as our main character wasn’t likable. I sympathized with her for the most part, but I mean, they’re FURIES. They’re mad, they want revenge, they want justice. It’s hard to connect with main characters who are basically pictured like bad guys who think they’re good guys.

FURIOUS just wasn’t for me. I rushed through the second half of the book so I could finish it, but really, I just wasn’t interested. I actually found myself not caring what happened to the end but it was going by pretty quickly so I figured I might as well finish. This was close to being a DNF for me but I pushed through it.

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Meg: Yeah, I didn’t really like Meg. She didn’t have much of a personality and once she got “furious” it made it even more difficult for me to like her. She wasn’t terrible but definitely not someone I connected with.
Ambrosia: Ambrosia seemed TOTALLY forced into this book. I think if we did without her character “guiding” the Furies and molding them, it would have been way more interesting, actually. I would have liked to see the girls figure the powers out for themselves, realize they all needed to be together, experiment in their own ways… Ambrosia’s influence and presence in the book was just way too convenient and totally unnatural for my tastes.
Raymond: I actually really liked Raymond! He was funny, outgoing, and the one character who had a real personality. If the story went a different way, it would have been so much fun to read about him but sadly he was put on the back burner through most of the book.

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Pass.

I just couldn’t get into this one and… I sadly just wouldn’t recommend it.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE FURIOUS

     Everneath       Everbound

The Enchanted Truth – Kym Petrie

The Enchanted Truth – Kym PetrieTitle: The Enchanted Truth by Kym Petrie
Publishing Info: September 18, 2012 by Greenleaf Book Group
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 14, 2013

    In this humorous and insightful tale, a modern day princess finds herself single and asking for magical intervention to change her sorry love life. Rather than casting a spell to bring Prince Charming to her rescue, a savvy fairy godmother gives the tenderhearted damsel an unexpected gift. By entrusting her true thoughts and desires to an unlikely confidant, the young royal soon discovers that the person who could make her life everything she dreamed it would be has been with her all along.
    As author Kym Petrie herself realized, every woman needs a froggy friend and a secret journal—and enough adventures with the girls to keep her heart pounding and her mind racing. Life is meant to be about happy beginnings . . . you can never have enough of them.

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THE ENCHANTED TRUTH was a very quick short story. It encompassed a few fairy tales although its main focus seemed to be The Frog Prince.

How can I review it…? It was so short and I didn’t write my review right away so I barely remember any details. It didn’t have any specific character names so they blur together. It was more of a modern take on a fairy tale, but I didn’t find it that intriguing and it was too short to really make a connection to it, even if it was only a short story.

Overall, the story had a good message which essentially was not to wait around for love to find you and complain about being single. The princess in the story actually had to make a lot of changes to herself before she started finding her “prince” and realize that once she had her own life in order, things started to fall into place on their own. I really liked the message in the story because it’s one I fully believe myself! I truly think that unless you’re happy with yourself, it’ll be difficult to find a partner/significant other and if you keep searching for it, you’re hurting your chances to find it because you may be overlooking what’s right in front of you. Just one of my personal philosophies! 

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Skip it

Eh, there wasn’t much to it so you’re not missing much. It wasn’t awful but I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it.

Rapunzel Untangled – Cindy C. Bennett

Rapunzel Untangled – Cindy C. BennettTitle: Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett
Publishing Info: February 12, 2013 by Cedar Fort
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 9, 2013

    Rapunzel is not your average teenager.
For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is.
Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.

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I was definitely interested to see how a Rapunzel retelling would come across into modern-day, but sadly I was kind of disappointed. I think the main reason is that obviously in the original tale, Rapunzel’s in a tower and she can see what’s outside but can’t go outside. Not a big deal. Trees, forest, birds, etc. In order for a girl to stay locked in a tower in modern times, she becomes incredibly naive about what actually is out there.  Now modern-day Rapunzel is missing vocabulary, technology of all sorts, common phrases and pop culture knowledge, etc. Some of that naivite towards the pop culture & technology was cute, but unfortunately most of it just came off as a little annoying. This actually caused me to not like Rapunzel about half of the time which is a long time to not get along with a character.

The other thing that really put me off was the fact that Rapunzel meets Fane by randomly adding him as a friend on Facebook and then chatting with AND meeting a total stranger. Chalk it up to curiosity and being naive I suppose, but I just didn’t like the message it sends to young readers. I mean, I was one of those stupid kids talking to strangers in AOL chat rooms with my friends (God, AOL. Remember the days?) but never would I meet with them, and as something that’s a real danger nowadays, I just didn’t like that younger audiences may pick up on that idea, thinking it’s cool to add random friends. That being the basis of the entire love relationship for a teenager really turned me off. That could just be me overreacting, but either way I was not a fan.

Overall, I was kind of iffy on the plot at times but I did like how it was adapted into a modern story, especially explaining some of the more magical features towards the end. Even still, not sure I’d recommend it for someone to pick up. I found myself racing through it towards the end, but simply as a means to finish and not because I was enjoying it. It never really grabbed my attention and the motivation to keep reading really wasn’t there a lot of the time.

character_breakdown1Rapunzel: I think my big issue here was just the difficulty of adapting a concept that works well as a fairy tale but didn’t come across well as a modern story. Because of the way it was adapted, I just wasn’t a huge fan of Rapunzel. She was incredibly naive, afraid, and ignorant — none of which were her fault, but it still didn’t help make her character endearing to me.
Fane: Is there a reason Fane had such a fantastical name? Is there something I’m missing? Because he was a totally normal kid in the story. I kept expecting him to burst out with some sort of magical powers or something. He was a big insta-lovey with Rapunzel but not unbelievably so, I guess. Eh. Just not really my thing.
Gothel: Has some serious mental problems. But I guess all evil step-mothers do!

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Skip it

I really wouldn’t recommend it but it wasn’t terrible. If you feel like trying it, grab it from the library but it’s not really one I’d go out of your way for.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE RAPUNZEL UNTANGLED

           

Tiger Lily – Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily – Jodi Lynn AndersonTitle: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publishing Info: July 3, 2012 by HarperCollins
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 29, 2012

    Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .
    Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
    Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
    With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

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Wow. Simply put, wow. I haven’t felt so many things from a book in a long time, and if I hadn’t seen the reviews from my friends and fellow bloggers, I never would have expected it to come from Tiger Lily. Peter Pan was never one of my favorite fairy tales. I had nothing against it, but I was much more captivated by several other Disney movies. I never expected to be quite so wowed by the story of one of the supporting characters, and one I had never been interested in.

I absolutely loved how natural the book felt. I was totally immersed in Tiger Lily’s tribe, the Sky Eaters, and their ways of life. Everything seemed to perfect, harmonic, and peaceful. Tiger Lily was quite the opposite of what I expected her to be too. In Peter Pan, I kind of figured her for a brat (Tink too, for that matter) and here we see a very strong girl yet also made strong from being an outcast in her own tribe. Maybe that’s why she ended up falling for Peter.

Peter’s story is more or less what we know from the Disney version, except that everything on Neverland (with the exception of the mermaids and faeries) is more realistic and less magical – and that’s something I really enjoyed about the story. I felt like it was a real story and I felt much more connected to it because of that realism.

Then the story takes a much more series turn — and one I never expected or even expected to be so moved by once we were led there — as we follow Phillip and how he beings to seriously affect the Sky Eaters and their core beliefs and ways of life. I was incredibly moved by Tik Tok, which was something I didn’t expect either. Like Tiger Lily, he has his eccentricities, although they are quite different than hers (he’s quite feminine, down to long hair and wearing dresses – yes, cross dressing. It’s true), and — mild spoiler alert — the tribe just never really cares or questions it… until Phillip arrives, preaching about God and the English ways and the way things are supposed  to be. I was quite shocked and found myself deeply troubled by the almost mob mentality that quickly came over the tribe and felt so saddened by it. I don’t want to give things away, but it was quite a surprising topic and I was very surprised at how involved I felt in it.

Then we have the romance between Peter and Tiger Lily. And Tink. And Wendy. Oh the stubbornness, the heartbreak, the conflict. It was all beautifullly and elegantly narrated and I found myself fully engrossed in this book.

My review really doesn’t do it justice at all. I’d really recommend you just go out and read it for yourself! I understand all of the reviews I’ve seen out there now and after finishing, I only want to do two things: First, go back and read other people’s reviews. Let me tell you that you can’t fully appreciate them until you’ve read the book. And second, go buy my own copy of the book. This one was a library copy and usually I’m happy just reading and returning to the library, but this one I want to keep this one with me — and maybe gently loan it out to other people so they can share in this magical story as well!

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Tiger Lily: Wow, just so different than what I expected of her. She was strong, yet vulnerable in a way that no one else could ever know except for Tink. Her relationship with Peter Pan made me nervous because I was scared that right from the start it was destined to fail. I absolutely loved her courage, her bravado, her strength, and her way of life. It was such a joy to hear this side of the story.
Tinkerbell: A fantastic narrator for this story. It was so much better having Tink narrate because we got to see everything that was going on and then some. Tinkerbell being a faerie lets us flit about Neverland but still be connected to the story in a different way than a simple third person narrative would. Also we have a bit of her own story woven in to add that extra bit of oomph to the plot.
Peter Pan: Pretty much what I expected of Peter and it was quite interesting to see how his relationship differed between “all of his women”: Tiger Lily, Wendy, even Tinkerbell. It’s like things were so simplistic with Peter that even he didn’t know what he wanted or what he thought half of the time. It made for quite an interesting angle of the character connections.
Reginald Smee: Smee actually played quite a large role in the book – at least, a lot more than I thought he would. And quite the sinister side of his character instead of the typical lackey we think of him as.
Captain James Hook: Another interesting take on Capt Hook as well. He was much more… human, I guess. We got to see a little more of his backstory (and the “real” story behind the hook) and it really made him much more of a vivid character. I actually loved it!

QUOTES

Quotes taken from Goodreads.com — Criminey, I was way too involved in this book to stop and keep track.  

“Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you’ve ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn’t win. In some places, there is something ultimately good about endings. In Neverland, that is not the case.”

“Sometimes love means not being able to bear seeing the one you love the way they are, when they’re not what you hoped for them.”

“You have to be careful who you meet. You can’t unmeet them.”

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BUY IT

Wow, this book was just soooo good. I’m so impressed, I’m so in love, and I’m so going to recommend this one forever.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE TIGER LILY

CINDER     Cruel Beauty