Category Archives: Retelling

Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection) – Marissa Meyer

Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection) – Marissa MeyerTitle: Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: February 2, 2016 by Macmillan
Source: Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 2, 2016
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), Heartless, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1), Renegades (Renegades #1)

The enchantment continues....
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

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By now, we all know how much I love The Lunar Chronicles so it was definitely a bittersweet read for me knowing that this was the very end of new content for the series. (Although now we do have graphic novels to look forward to so that helps!) Some stories worked better for me than others and I had really hoped for more than just one piece of a story that took place after the end of WINTER. I suppose I should have known since we were talking about only one epilogue here but really everything else came before CINDER happened. Actually, correction: I was looking for more present-day to post-WINTER stories… Like stories from another character’s POV or extra tidbits or deleted scenes. Once story was Kai’s first meeting of Cinder from his POV so that was fun but you know me — I’m just greedy for more new things! Anyway, here are my thoughts for each short story!

 

THE KEEPER: This was such a lovely way to kick off this collection of stories! I know that STARS ABOVE is an anthology of some previously released stories and some new ones and I loved that it started off with a new one! I believe these go in chronological order according to the Lunar Chronicles time line (that would make sense) so it was awesome to see even more backstory before GLITCHES. Without giving away spoilers, THE KEEPER mainly tells the story Michelle Benoit and when Scarlet first permanently locates to her grandmother’s house. It spans about seven years from when Scarlet is six until she is thirteen. I loved this added backstory and extra knowledge! It was also fun to see how Scarlet acquired some of her trademarks like her hoodie… and gun.

GLITCHES: This isn’t a new story (I first read it on Tor.com a few years back) but I wanted to read all of the stories, no matter if they were old or new. This one really tugs at my heartstrings! It’s the story of when Cinder first arrived at the Linh residence and (among other things), my heart just breaks for her. She didn’t choose to be a cyborg and she’s categorized as inhuman just because has some robotic limbs and enhanced abilities. I always love learning more about Cinder… And I’m reminded again how awful Adri is.

THE QUEEN’S ARMY: This is another story that I’ve already read thanks to its release on Tor.com! It’s definitely a much different experience reading it now than when I first had. I feel like my first read, I didn’t really know this was about Wolf somehow? Maybe I didn’t know his real name until later and then it dawned on me… Either way, obviously I have everyone’s full stories now so I am quite aware! Again, this is another situation — like THE KEEPER — where knowing what I know from WINTER (and the rest of the series), my heart just goes out to these characters even more. I feel so bad for Ze’ev and what was done to him and it’s wild to see the beginning of his story and what leads him to his job with the Queen’s army and ultimately, how he ends up with Scarlet. Quick and enjoyable.

CARSWELL’S GUIDE TO BEING LUCKY: This story doesn’t quite bowl me over, which is funny because it’s Throrne! I think I want more sarcasm and humor whereas this shows more of his natural charm (also endearing but not as snarky and funny). I do like this story though! It shows a nice soft side of Thorne that even he didn’t know he possessed. I love his obsession with Rampions. I feel for him and his relationship with his parents. His background really sets him up for the person he becomes (or I suppose it’s a good backstory from what we already know of “Captain” Carswell Thorne)! Very endearing and lovely.

AFTER SUNSHINE PASSES BY: Awwww, I feel so bad for Cress! I do love how really everyone is getting their own back stories here… But I’m also anxious for the epilogue!!! Ahem. Anyway, this was another new one and we see little nine-year-old Cress, as we learn from the books, heading off to her satellite. Most of this has already been laid out in CRESS but it was very touching to see it directly from Cress’s POV. Sybil is heartless, as always, and I just felt so bad when Cress got left there for the first time! Nine is YOUNG. The little song in here was quite delightful and that’s where this story gets its name.

THE PRINCESS AND THE GUARD: I think this was the longest novella so far and I absolutely loved it! Obviously this is the story of Winter and Jacin, their childhood together, and the events mostly lead up to WINTER. We find out exactly how Winter got her scars and witness the specific event, learn more about her decision not to use her Lunar gift, and more about the incident that led to that decision. I also fell even more in love with Jacin. I LOVE his protectiveness of Winter and I think a big part of that is because they’ve also always had a good friendship… and you know how much I love best-friend-to-more stories! He also has some pretty smooth moments. I was so glad to see more of him and even more of Winter’s and Jacin’s friendship/relationship. Absolutely touching.

THE LITTLE ANDROID: This had even more Little Mermaid parallels than I remember! Maybe I was looking for the more thoroughly this time now that I knew how the story went. Still not quite my favorite, possibly because the main focus isn’t one of the main characters though we do see mention of Kai and an actual appearance of Cinder herself. I think I would have liked a longer story so we could enjoy more plot! But isn’t that always my request with short stories from my favorite authors!?

THE MECHANIC: “The mechanic that was going to change everything”… Little did he know! This story was just plain adorable. It’s Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s point of view and I just loved his instant attraction to Cinder not in spite of but because she was different from the other girls that usually fawn over him. You know me, I love a good tomboy and it’s always great to see a character appreciate a tomboy and love her for who she is! This was just adorable to see and I love how many little things are slipped in there that made me think of the rest of the series and smirk. Just you wait, kids!

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW: This epilogue was absolutely PERFECT. It was everything I could have dreamed of and just filled my heart with so much happiness. I had several guesses for who was getting married but this actually wasn’t the first wedding I expected but it was of course, absolutely perfect. I truly teared up during the ceremony because it was just so lovely and I’ve become so invested in these characters throughout the series. It was also so wonderful just to see everyone all together again and NOT in grave peril! Their friendships are truly touching and I just love this crew and I always will. What a fabulous way to close out the series.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Anthologies & collections. It’s so great to have a bind-up of all of these novellas in a beautiful hardcover! I’m usually not one to read a bunch of short stories but I think that’s growing on me!
Left Me Wanting More: New content. There were a bunch of new stories included but I was super duper hoping for more content that took place during/after the series. That epilogue though!!!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I always love more additions to The Lunar Chronicles. These books just make me so happy and the epilogue was the absolutely perfect way to wrap up this series!!

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BOOKS LIKE STARS ABOVE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

GRAVE MERCY    STEELHEART

Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) – Heather W. Petty

Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) – Heather W. PettyTitle: Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) by Heather W. Petty
Publishing Info: September 15, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 11, 2015

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.
Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…
FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.
FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.
FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.
FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.
OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

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LOCK & MORI was really interesting and quite the fun book! Sherlock Holmes is one of the classics that I truly appreciate (I’m a mystery girl. What can I say?) and I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Sherlock Holmes because A STUDY IN SCARLET was the first book review that I ever posted on my blog (and what an embarrassing review it is)! Though I’m not Sherlock-obsessed (no TV shows for me and yes, I know I need to read Ellie Marney’s books soon), I still try to jump onto the Sherlock adaptations that I see because it seems that they’re always just so enjoyable!

LOCK & MORI really hooked me right from the beginning! It was just such a fun read and I really appreciated how the characters, their personalities, and their roles in the books were adapted to fit a more contemporary setting and for the young adult age range. I usually have a hard time not picking YA mysteries apart because I feel like there are so few situations where a teenager wouldn’t turn to authorities for assistance so I really liked how LOCK & MORI handled how that all played out! It was fairly logical how Mori and Sherlock ended up on the case and kept it hush-hush between them.

The mystery itself was interesting as well! I’m always guilty of trying to solve a mystery and sniffing out the culprit so it was great to read about a plot that really kept me guessing and kept just enough clues hidden so that I was still interested but the secret wasn’t handed to me. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out why these murders were happening and how it tied into the characters. I really love when the mystery ties back into the main story line so that was a lot of fun to see how it all connected!

The romance between Mori and Sherlock was cute but I wasn’t totally sold on it. I felt like it just sort of happened and I didn’t really feel the chemistry before it did. They had some nice banter which I always love but it didn’t charge the chemistry for me so when the characters started getting romantically involved, I wasn’t totally feeling it. Throughout the book I started to feel a bit more connection to their romance and I looked fondly upon their time together and how their relationship evolved but I couldn’t shake the fact that it just didn’t quite feel natural. I am excited that this is just the first book in a series (I’m not sure how many yet?) and that I’ll get to see more of their relationship in future books because I was really enjoying it in the last quarter!

I really did forget that this wasn’t a stand alone so the ending was shocking in its own right and also left me hanging a bit… but not enough to be a cliffhanger! I love endings like this where the plot resolves but the book leaves you wanting more. Just perfect! I think it could have done really nicely as a stand alone but I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book! Now that I know the characters and their personalities, I’m excited to explore relationships a bit more — especially after how the book ended — and I’m always up for more mysteries!
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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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Mori // Character Obsessions: Her brothers, intelligence, protecting.
Mori has a lot going on with her family and I really admired her strength and tenacity! My heart broke for her several times over and the abusive scenes were just so hard to read (as they always are). She was a great female lead and I really enjoyed her character overall!
Sherlock // Character Obsessions: Science, logic, mysteries, resolutions.
I really enjoyed this adaptation of Sherlock! I liked how he really was not suave — he’s so intelligent and shows little regard for emotion in the beginning until he comes to care for Mori. Even then, it’s emotion in a much different and less conventional way. It was really interesting to see and I think it made his emotional moments and strong moments that much more flooring.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Sherlock Holmes. I feel like I always love a good Holmes retelling or adaptation! I’m excited to continue this series and it makes me want to sink my teeth into even more.
Left Me Wanting More: Platonic… ness. Is that a word? I don’t know what the proper word is… but I did wish that Lock & Mori were more of just friends instead of their romantic feelings happening so fast. I would have loved to see them learn how to be friends in this book and then start to develop feelings over time.

Addiction Rating
Read it

This was a nice, solid read for me. I really enjoyed it from start to finish and it had a wide range of feelings from serious to light, shocking to funny. It was a really fun book and I’m excited to read more of the series!

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BOOKS LIKE LOCK & MORI

(Click the cover to see my review!)

CLOCKWORK SCARAB    The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter #1) – Megan Shepherd

Video Review: Things I Can’t Explain – Mitchell Kriegman

Video Review: Things I Can’t Explain – Mitchell KriegmanTitle: Things I Can't Explain by Mitchell Kriegman
Publishing Info: November 10, 2015 by St. Martin's Press
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Retelling
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 17, 2015

A complete re-imagining of Clarissa Explains it All as 20-something Clarissa tries to navigate the unemployment line, mompreneurs and the collision of two people in love.
She was a smart, snappy, light-hearted girl who knew it all at fourteen. Now a woman in her late twenties, her searching blue eyes are more serious, but mostly amused by the people around her. The gap-toothed smile that made her seem younger than she really was is gone, but she still lightens up the room. Her unpredictable wardrobe rocks just like when she was a kid, but her fashion sense has evolved and it makes men and women turn their heads.
After leaving high school early, Clarissa interned at the Daily Post while attending night school. At the ripe old age of twenty- two she had it made – her own journalism beat (fashion, gender politics and crime), an affordable apartment in FiDi and a livable wage. She was so totally ahead of the game. Ah, those were the days! All three of them. Remember the Stock Market Crash of 08? Remember when people actually bought newspapers?
All of Clarissa’s charming obsessions, charts, graphs, and superstitions have survived into adulthood, but they’ve evolved into an ever-greater need to claw the world back under control. Her mid-twenties crisis has left her with a whole set of things she can’t explain: an ex-boyfriend turned stalker, her parents’ divorce, a micro relationship with the cute coffee guy, java addiction, “To-Flue Glue,” and then there’s Sam. Where’s Sam anyway?
Things I Can't Explain is about knowing it all in your teens and then feeling like you know nothing in your twenties.

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I’ve been working on my booktubing and decided to do a video review for THINGS I CAN’T EXPLAIN by Mitchell Kriegman! It’s a Clarissa Explains It All continuation in her new adult/adult life and… well, I’ll let the video do the talking! Check out my video review on YouTube!


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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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Clarissa // Character Obsessions: Fashion, job-hunting, journalism.
I mean, that’s pretty legit Clarissa right there. There were some total Clarissa moments and then… some totally where I just wasn’t making that connection. It was hard! It’s also so so so weird reading about Clarissa’s sex life!! Adult + Clarissa was hard to reconcile.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Nah nah nah nah nah! (That’s the Clarissa theme song. For those of you who now have it stuck in your head, welcome to my world!) This was one of my favorite shows of the 90s. Heck, it still is. I need a binge watch…
Left Me Wanting More: Original feel. I just didn’t quite connect to it like I wanted to. Half the time the character just didn’t even feel like Clarissa… but I think it was hard to read and not SEE.

Addiction Rating
Try it

This didn’t QUITE do it for me but… but… Clarissa! It was fun regardless and I think people will have fun reading it. I was hoping for more of that Clarissa feel so I didn’t rate it as high as I wanted to but I think people will still definitely enjoy it!

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BOOKS LIKE THINGS I CAN’T EXPLAIN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

ATTACHMENTS    WHEN JOSS MET MATT

#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

scarlet quotes

 


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

On the Same Page: Howl’s Moving Castle | On Reading Middle Grade

One of the things I really enjoy about reading books with Alyssa and Amy for our On the Same Page feature is the wide variety of books we read. We try to always choose books we’ll think we’ll enjoy but each one of us differs just a little bit in reading tastes so we also try to challenge ourselves at least one book a year to read a little bit outside of our comfort zone. For me, one of those “comfort zone” boundaries is middle grade. I really don’t read much middle grade at all outside of Harry Potter (which doesn’t count. It’s Harry Potter) and the books I grew up with and read as an actual middle-grader. I’ve seen a few that might look interesting but honestly, I will pick up YA over anything for the most part and adult over middle grade too.

So far for On the Same Page, we’ve read three middle grade books (The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, Peter and the Starcatchers, and Howl’s Moving Castle) and I’ve actually really enjoyed them all! It’s definitely renewed my faith in reading a middle grade book every now and then and helped me not to worry that I won’t connect with it because of the age level.

That being said, I have had a hard time adjusting sometimes. I think I really need to put myself in a middle grade reading mode and try to adjust for what I’m about to read. That’s really not a bad thing and I hope it doesn’t come off as negative, but the storytelling is just a totally different style and the focus is always different. Being an avid YA reader (and in adult stories as well), there’s almost always a romance. The middle grade that I’ve read of course focuses much more on the plot and also friendships, family, and finding one’s own confidence and personality. YA is so much more figuring out where a character wants to go in the world, the transition from child to adult, and often times that includes first love and romance. I don’t necessarily need a romance in a book BUT I usually do enjoy it and it tends to bring out another side of my emotions that helps me connect more personally.

I’m definitely always open to reading more middle grade but sometimes it’s hard to make it a priority. I’m really a YA girl at heart with some adult books mixed in but it’s hard for me to pick up a middle grade book and really just be in love with it. Aside from Harry Potter and Walk Two Moons (which I read as a kid so I probably already have that connection to it), I haven’t loved a middle grade book since I was that age. I’m still interested in trying more and I’m glad I have opportunities to read them with other people like we do with On the Same Page!

 Are you a middle grade reader? Or strictly YA/adult? If you do read middle grade, do you only forage into specific genres?

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Thanks again for checking out this month’s feature for On the Same Page! We had a blast reading HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE 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)

#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!

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)

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – Sarah Ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – Sarah OcklerTitle: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Publishing Info: June 2, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 2, 2015
Related Posts: The Selective Collective features The Book of Broken Hearts, The Book of Broken Hearts, #scandal

    The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.
Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.
Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.
When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .
  

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I’ve had a two very different experiences with the two Sarah Ockler books I’ve read so far (THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS being a five-star read for me and #SCANDAL being a two-star) so I really wasn’t sure what to expect from THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS but I had of course hoped to call in the higher star-range but I really didn’t let the hype — my own hopes that it would be on the level of TBOBH and the hype that it was an adaptation of The Little Mermaid — get to me too much.

Firstly, let’s talk about The Little Mermaid aspect — THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS is very much an adaption and not a retelling. This is everything I love in adaptations too! There were pieces of the characters, plot, and setting that I was able to identify as parallels in both stories but CHASING MERMAIDS was very much its own story and had its own tale to tell. It made me smile to see a character named Sebastian but who is also nothing like the crab in personality or the concept of the main character having lost her voice but in a very different way. I loved how Sarah Ockler took those ideas in order to sort of bring the feel of The Little Mermaid in but really create an entirely unique story.

Okay, now into the feelings. I don’t know why but for some reason I expected a little more fluff from this book. Maybe that was The Little Mermaid hype in my head, expecting a Disney-ish feel but Sarah Ockler is definitely not one to shy away from the serious and the real and the raw emotion. (Actually, in an idea world, #SCANDAL would have had more serious and CHASING MERMAIDS would have had more fluff but that really stems from my expectations of the two going in.)  I wouldn’t say that this expectation ruined the book for me but it did hinder my enjoyment in just a tiny way. In another way, though, I appreciated the severity and emotion that Sarah Ockler brought to these characters and this world.

Despite that all, I just didn’t find myself making a big connection to the book. I loved the sleepy Oregon beach town on the fringes of being turned into a commercial tourist trap (and it sort of had a Goonies feel as the kids tried to prevent that from happening) and I really enjoyed Christian and everything that his family drama entailed… But for some reason I had a really hard time connecting with Elyse which is a serious problem since the book is entirely from her point of view. I really don’t know why that was but I just couldn’t seem to get on the same page with her and make that emotional connection. She always felt distant to me. It wasn’t that she was an unlikable character but trying to describe why I didn’t connect is kind of ineffable. It just was.

There were a lot of good things about THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS but the few negatives for me sort of took precedence in my mind. Once I was about 75% of the way through, I sort of felt myself just wanting to be done with the book and that’s not a good sign. I wasn’t excited for the ending and I wasn’t disliking the book but I was just read to be done. It was enjoyable and a really fun adaptation but didn’t leave a huge impression on me.

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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!

summer of chasing mermaids gr updates

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Elyse // Character Obsessions: Music, her voice, finding what feels like home.
I really can’t pin my finger on why I didn’t connect with Elyse but I just didn’t. There was nothing “wrong” with her character but this was one of those times where I felt like I just didn’t quite connect. I actually really liked so many things about her but I can’t find the words to say why we didn’t become friends in this book. I actually think it may be the fact that she lost her voice — not her ability to speak, but she lost her voice when her voice was taken from her. She still stood up for herself and made herself known but of course she’s very different from the way she once was and that part of her I only got to see in flashbacks. She struggles to maintain her voice without being able to speak and I feel like keeping those feelings tucked inside prevented me from liking her a little bit.
Christian // Character Obsessions: His brother, saving the town, sailing, girls.
Christian I did like. His feelings felt so genuine — maybe because he was more forth-coming with them? I really loved his relationship with his little brother too. It was so endearing. He’s not perfect but he’s trying to figure out what he really wants out of life. His family life isn’t easy so it’s just so satisfying when he finally stands up to his father!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adaptations. I really, really love adaptations (vs retellings). I really like seeing those little pieces of a story within an original story. This wasn’t retelling the entire tale of The Little Mermaid but it was so much fun to see inspiration and pieces of it in there!
Left Me Wanting More: Fluff. Stupid, I know, but I wanted it to be a bit fluffier. I think that’s just my expectations versus what was actually written on the pages.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I wasn’t crazy about it but it was a really nice story and I was definitely interested! It got a bit slow for me towards the end, but I did still enjoy the book.

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BOOKS LIKE THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY     GOLDEN

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!

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!

the wrath and the dawn gr updates

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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

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