Tag Archives: Retellings

Beauty and the Professor by Skye Warren

Overview

Title: Beauty and the Professor
Author: Skye Warren
Series: A Modern Fairy Tale Duet #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceRetellings
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

There’s been some Cinderella tales crossing my shelves over the years. They’ve always been fun, cute and adorable. But this definitely took the cake for cuteness. There is just something about Erin that is sweet and naive, without being painfully innocent.

I love that the Professor in this isn’t quite considered hot, he’s too scarred to be traditionally yummy. But, Warren is amazing at describing her male lead in such a way that he is still completely drool worthy. This is my first book by her, and just her ability to weave character descriptions that I can’t get out of my head has put her to the top of my wishlist.

As soon as Melinda makes an appearance in this tale, you know that she’s bad news. But idiot write anticipate how catastrophic the evil with would be. In fact, every moment that she appears, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. And a bit of frustration at Blake’s inability to realise the potential problems that will arise from her scorned woman bit. I mean, seriously dude, how clueless can you be!?!?

If you’re looking to pick up this book and add it to your reading shelf. I can highly recommend that you do so. But be warned, the ending is not only a cliffhanger. It’s kind of heartbreaking. It most definitely hit me all in the feels, and I can’t wait to read Falling for the Beast.

<- More Skye WarrenFalling for the Beast ->

Image source: Kobo

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Overview

Title: These Violent Delights
Author: Chloe Gong
Series: These Violent Delights #1
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Mystery, Retellings, Young adult
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

I need to start this review by saying that I really, really don’t like Romeo and Juliet. I mean, other than Wuthering Heights, it may be one of my least favourite stories. They’re just so…. irritating. Which means that the fact that this is a retelling of that story put this on the backfoot to begin with. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, but I wasn’t mad about it like so many other stories I’ve been reading lately.

Although I couldn’t quite fall in love with the characters in this. I DID love the world building. And the story line. And pretty much everything other than Roma and Juliette. And the romance aspect. I’m just not a huge fan of the whole crossed lovers storyline. And the betrayal and such…

I would love to read more flappers stories. And the fact that this one is set in Shanghai just makes it all that much more intriguing and unique. I mean, the 20s aren’t an era that I’ve read much of… let alone the 20s in Shanghai and all of the politics that occurred there. Mix in teo rival gang heirs and the paranormal element… it was a pretty good sell.

Although I loved like 90% of this book, I found it incredibly hard to connect to the characters. And I do tend to find if I can’t connect to the characters, then I don’t hugely care what happens in the end. Which, ultimately is why I feel like this is a try again kind of book.

<- More Chloe GongOur Violent Ends ->

Image source: Goodreads

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Overview

Title: Ayesha at Last
Author: Uzma Jalaluddin
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceMuslims, Retellings
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2018

Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice, and, indeed, anything Jane Austen. Which means I’m always happy and intrigued when I get the pleasure of reading a retelling of her classics. The fact that this was one of those books that I just had sent in a miscellaneous box… it left me feeling incredibly happy and over the moon. And, yes, I am completely obsessed with Jalaluddin now. She is an amazing writer, and once I sunk into this book, I struggled to put it down.

I’ve not read a lot of stories which feature Muslims. It’s definitely a cultural outlook that I am slowly increasing in my reading. But it is still incredibly sparse. Reading a retelling of a well-loved classic with this spin on it gave me an even greater understanding than I had expected. Not only was it a storyline that I already loved, but it was a cultural reality and life that I am completely fascinated by. (To be fair, I’m fascinated by anything that is not my own reality, hence the reading of a lot of books.) This window into another world also reminded us that pride and prejudice exist for everyone, no matter what their own cultural and social realities.

Unlike Pride and Prejudice, I didn’t find any of the “villains” in this story to be particularly villainous. Yes, they were a little difficult to stomach in moments, but you could also understand what drove them. Often it was small-mindedness. But it was still painful to read about, and the characters weren’t likeable. They were just… somehow more understandable. I love when the “villains” of a story are like this – it reminds you that often the “bad guys” in your own life have their own drivers and needs. It might not be exactly good and kind, but it is a little more understandable and relatable. It also takes an amazing writer to write characters that are completely unlikeable but totally understandable.

I absolutely adored this novel, and it is one that I look forward to reading again and again. There are so many fine details that pepper throughout this book that I found really intriguing and fun. I absolutely adored this and am kind of sad that it was over so soon. Which for me, is the mark of a truly amazing story.

<- More Uzma JalaluddinHana Khan Carries On ->

Image source: Booktopia

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Overview
Geekerella (Once Upon A Con, book 1) by Ashley Poston

Title: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Series: Once Upon a Con #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceRetellings
Dates read: 28th June – 12th July 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Quirk
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Mark looks between me and my doom with this proud grin on his face.

Synopsis

Geek girl Ellie Wittimer lies and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new II Starfield II movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle is determined to win… unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons – before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another incompetent heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake – until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, GEEKERELLA is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Thoughts

This was just too cute for words. Cinderella, cosplay, cons… not only was this a fantastic retelling. But it was also a great love story to all of the fandoms and geekdoms out there. There was even a great point in this about the fact that you should NOT judge another fan or their level of fan hood. A fan is a fan, and we get to do it in anyway we want. Something I’m perpetually happy about.

I had to keep pausing in my reading of this story. Mostly, because knowing Cinderella like I do… I kept feeling that point when things were about to be horrible. And I just loved Elle so much from the very beginning. I didn’t want the horrible things to happen to her… even though I knew that they would. But, as with all good stories…. it ended okay.

This was a wonderful teen story. It was one that captured all of that teen angst of finding oneself. That feeling of not belonging and being a bit incomplete. And just… figuring it out. We all do it throughout our lives, but it’s so much more intense in our teen years… I like that this story had characters that were ACTUALLY teenagers. Not characters that were that age… but seem so much more mature. It was fantastic. But yet, not too teen angsty that as an adult you’d want to put it down.

I absolutely adored this story and I can’t wait to get into The Princess and the Fangirl… its looking like another cute and adorable book. One that I know will hit all the same emotional ticks that I love.

<- More Ashley PostonThe Princess and the Fangirl ->

Image source: Fantastic Fiction

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

Overview
Image result for by blood we live book cover

Title: Snow, Glass, Apples
Author: Neil Gaiman
In: By Blood We Live (John Joseph Adams) & Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Horror, Retellings, Vampires
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: He rode with a small retinue: large enough to defend him, small enough that another monarch – myself, for instance – would not view him as a potential threat.

Synopsis

This is the true story of Snow White… one that will leave you feeling seriously uncomfortable.

Thoughts

I’ve read quite a few theories that state that Snow White is a vampire. Which seriously makes a deep, dark, twisted kind of sense. Apparently Gaiman feels the same. And this completely supported the theory in the creepiest most disgusting of ways possible. I’m glad that before I started reading this, there was actually a bit of a warning… it definitely helped prepare me for the ick factor that this awesome short story had.

Not only does this short story deal with vampires, and snow white. There is also necrophilia and all sorts of hints of bad things that I don’t necessarily want to think about. Again, seriously glad that there was a disclaimer at the beginning. But it didn’t stop me from being unable to put the story down and stop thinking about it.

This retelling is dark, twisted and truly glorious. I have not been able to stop thinking about it since I finished it. Which is probably one of the many reasons why I loved it so much. That, and, you know, I just tend to love everything I’ve read by Neil Gaiman.

<- By Blood We LiveThe Master of Rampling Gate ->

Image source: Fantastic Fiction

Beautiful Beast by E.J. Hill

Overview
Beautiful Beast (Beautiful Queens, #1) by E.J. Hill

Title: Beautiful Beast
Author: E.J. Hill
Series: Beautiful Queens #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Magic, Retellings
Dates read: 1st – 8th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: ARC, eBook, Novel
Publisher: E.J. Hill
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Dear, it is nothing you have done.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

My name is Kalista. They call me the beast.

Kalista has been cursed by a powerful sorceress and is now a prisoner in her own palace. As petals fall from an enchanted rose, her fate and the sorceress’s victory draw nearer. But Kalista refuses to be defeated so easily and uses her own magic to push against the bindings. Yet what if it is not enough and the only way the curse might be shattered is through the help of another?

When Arawn crosses into the beast’s domain, he has one motive: revenge for his brother’s death. But as he draws nearer to the beast and is surrounded by invisible servants, magical banquets, and an enchanted forest, he realizes that this beast is much more complex and much more human than he first thought.

As their paths intertwine, Kalista must risk opening her heart to another, while Arawn must learn to see past his hate and prejudice. Together, they struggle against spells, wolves, and time itself to break the curse. If they fail, Kalista will fall asleep and will never again wake.

Thoughts

I received this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I got this book as an ARC through Book Sirens. It’s the first of (I’m hoping) many books that I receive in this way. And boy, was it a great way to start getting books through this group. Books that will, hopefully, blow me away like this one did. Because I definitely plan on adding more E.J. Hill to my reading lists! It was brilliant and beautiful. The kind of book that most definitely swept me off my feet and left me feeling giddy, happy and just… complete. Like all good books do.

You can never really go wrong with Beauty and the Beast retellings to my mind. It is still one of my favourite fairy tales, and I have honestly loved each and every retelling that I have had the privilege of reading. Yet, this was somehow my favourite. The motif of roses is strong and repeated throughout, Hill is able to seamlessly weave different aspects of the Disney original throughout her words. And there are just generally so many parts of this retelling that are… well, impossible to step away from. It’s fantastic, wonderful, and, yup, is making me rave about this fantastic retelling.

Doing a gender swap on the Beauty and the Beast was a great and intriguing way to start off this retelling. That, and the fact that the curse placed upon the ‘beast” was brilliantly described in this story. I love that by starting with the curse and a child being cursed, you were able to feel so much more sympathy and fear for the characters in this story. I also like that Kalista is portrayed as the beast, even though she is physically unchanged. The multitude of different gender comments that this made left me smiling like a fool the whole way through reading this story.

Not only were the fairy tale aspects of this story brilliant, but I also loved the characters. Arawn and Kalista slowly fall for each other in this beautifully organic way. And although you already know some of the background for each of the characters, you only slowly get the full stories revealed. I can’t wait to see what Hill does as a follow up to this fantastic novel! I have all of my fingers and toes crossed in anticipation!

<- More E.J. HillUntitled ->

Image source: Goodreads

Ice and Embers by Melanie Karsak

Overview
Ice and Embers by Melanie Karsak

Title: Ice and Embers: Steampunk Snow Queen
Author: Melanie Karsak
Series: Steampunk Fairytales #2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Retellings, Steampunk
Dates read: 19th – 29th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Clockpunk Press
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: “You’re very kind.”

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

When actress Elyse McKenna fell in love with Lord John Waldegrave, she was prepared to keep their liaison secret. What she wasn’t’ ready for was how her newfound love would rock her relationship with her dearest friend, Doctor Kai Murray.

With the 1814 London Frost Fair in full swing, Elyse and her troupe at the Ice House Theatre find themselves at the heart of the excitement on the frozen Thames. But when an exotic ship captain, whose vessel is trapped in the ice, turns her attention to Kai, everything Elyse thought she knew about her feelings for her old friend gets flipped upside down.

While the Ice House Theatre’s production of A Midwinter Night’s Dream thrills the London crowd, Elyse’s life begins to take on a distinctly Shakespearean turn.

Elyse must find a way to discover the truth about the captain, Kai, John, and her own feelings if she hopes to escape the Thames with her heart intact.

Ice and Embers is a retelling of the classic Snow Queen fairy tale set in Regency London.

Thoughts

I must admit that The Snow Queen is one of my all time favourite fairy tales. Which meant that a steampunk adaptation of it was immediately going to draw me in. Particularly when the other two adaptations I’ve read by Karsak (Curiouser and Curiouser and Wolves and Daggers) were just so damn good. And you know what? This didn’t disappoint. It was fantastic and wonderful and did absolute justice to the original fairy tale (thank goodness).

Although the original fairy tale focuses on two children, I loved that Karsak bought this into adulthood. It wasn’t necessarily sexual (although there were moments of that), but Elyse’s battle and journey was that little bit more intense and serious because she was an adult. That, and the fact that it was partnered with Shakespeare, although I probably didn’t pick up on all of the references because I’m a little bit “eh” about The Bard. It was all very well done and completely seamlessly executed.

It may have taken me a bit over a week to read this novel, but the majority of it I actually read in one night. A night when there were thunderstorms overhead and the rain beating down on my tin roof. Which was an absolutely perfect setting for the Frost Fair on the frozen river Thames. Something about the winter setting and my own winter nest was really nice and fun. Cuddling up beneath my blanket while listening to the rain pour down and having my heart beat alongside Elyse’s… it was something very beautiful and thematic. Or at least, my fanciful heart felt so.

This doesn’t have as much of a steampunk feel as Curiouser and Curiouser. It’s a little more a regency feel with a few dashes of steampunk thrown in. Yet, I liked it. It was a nice way to show different classes and people within the same social setting and whilst I loved the Bandersnatch, I don’t think Elyse would have been so suited with so much machinery around her in her adventures…

<- Curiouser and CuriouserBeauty and Beastly ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams by Dax Murray

Overview
A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams by Dax Murray

Title: A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams
Author: Dax Murray
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, LGBTQI, Retellings
Dates read: 31st July 2020
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Moon Cat Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: She is not delicate.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

A sweeping LGBTQ and polyamorous retelling of “Swan Lake”

Strange things can be said of the forest that spans the border of two kingdoms long at war. An evil sorcerer has mad it his dominion, or an elegant enchantress has claimed it as her domain and grants wishes to those who chance upon her, or maybe the forest is guarded by an ancient and wrathful spirit.

Katya calls the forest home, living a life of magic and charms with her partner Ivan. But a threat looms over their forest, some darkness and danger that Ivan swears to protect her from. Katya finds herself caught up in a web of grudges and deception spanning generations, but most dangerous of all is the beautiful princess who stumbled into their woods. A princess who sets Katya’s heart fluttering with both desire and fear.

As forces rally to rescue the princess or got to war, Katya must take measure of her own powers and decide what she is willing to sacrifice. Will she retreat to the safety of what’s familiar or give up everything she knows to spread her wings and fly?

Thoughts

It took me a little while to get into this story. And then a little while to get the different characters and their roles straight in my head. Particularly when Alexi comes into play – I really never noticed how much I relied on gendered terms until I read this. Now I want to read more full length novels that don’t use gendered terms for all characters – I need to get my head completely around such an idea.

I knew that this was a Swan Lake retelling. I didn’t expect to love it so much. And I most definitely didn’t expect to have a mad desire to rush out and watch the movie immediately after finishing the novel. I’m sure I saw it on one of my streaming services… this novel reminded me of all the hope and love that the movie made me feel when I was just a kid.

This is a beautifully intense and emotional novel. It highlights the different ways we can love and when love can actually conquer all. It also shows where love can blind as well. I loved that this story was so multi-faceted when dealing with the question of love. Multi-faceted, complex and truly, deeply beautiful.

One of my favourite themes throughout this novel is the idea that love is seeing someone for who they truly are. And accepting them. There were numerous non-loves throughout where it was the idea of someone, rather than actually the someone which made them think love. Love is about who the person is, not who you want them to be… and Murray is able to highlight this brilliantly in this beautiful novel retelling.

<- More Dax MurrayMore Retellings ->

Image source: Goodreads

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Overview
Ella Enchanted (Ella Enchanted #1) by Gail Carson Levine

Title: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Series: Ella Enchanted #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Book-to-film, Fairy tales, Medieval fantasy, Retellings
Dates read: 31st July 2020
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harper
Year: 1997
5th sentence, 74th page: Her conversation was mostly worries that the earl would marry and have a child who would replace her as his heir.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

At her birth, Ella of Frell received a foolish fairy’s gift – the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day and a half or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.

Thoughts

This is one of those few books that I honestly don’t know if I prefer the movie or the book… honestly, they were just so damn different from one another that it was difficult to find a clear winner. For starters, the movie has Anne Hathaway. But, it is also a lot more grown up and set in a contemporary medieval world that overlays much more closely with ours. The book on the other hand is definitely a lot less mature and filled with characters that have a much simpler, more pleasant characterisation (there really weren’t many messy emotions in this novel). Or at least, that’s how it felt to me.

This is a great, sweet and funny little book. Throughout reading this I had multiple little giggles at the different circumstances in which the characters found themselves. There was just something that was enjoyably cute and sweet about Ella’s narrative voice. Something that made all the horrible, annoying things that happen to her throughout this story seem somehow slightly less. It made them a little less intense and difficult. Which was the perfect balance between serious and playful that a good book should have.

As much as I enjoyed this novel as an adult, I know that I would have absolutely adored this as a kid. There is something light and approachable and just downright fun about this that is seriously enjoyable. Plus, in Ella, there is a great lead character who is everything that I would have looked up to as a young girl. Someone who is smart and kind, funny and independent. And definitely sure of their own mind. It also helped that there was a great little rebellious streak running through her that I find a little too familiar…

Ultimately, this is a great take on Cinderella. And it also had a great sense of “just desserts” at the end of the story. A little bit more revenge-driven than most of the Disney versions of fairy tales that I read. But, also,  a lot more fun, light and PG than the Grimms Brothers fairy tales that fill my shelves.

<- Ogre EnchantedMore Gail Carson Levine ->

Image source: Goodreads

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Overview
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Mermaids, Retellings, Young adult
Dates read: 27th – 28th June 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “Have you known for a while?” Sakura asks.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.

There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody.

Princess Lira is siren royalty and revered across the sea until she is cursed into humanity by the ruthless Sea Queen. Now Lira must deliver the heart of the infamous siren killer or remain a human forever.

Prince Elian is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world, and captain to a deadly crew of siren hunters. When he rescues a drowning woman from the ocean, she promises to help him destroy siren kind for good. But he has no way of knowing whether he can trust her…

Thoughts

I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for a while, and I kind of figured that it was just going to be another cute little retelling. I was excited to read it, but wasn’t desperate to. And then I read this. And honestly… WOW! This is an AMAZING Little Mermaid retelling. I honestly just can’t get it out of my head. It’s dark, it’s fun and it’s weirdly sweet…

Probably one of my favourite things about this novel / retelling is that Lira is completely predatory. She isn’t the nice, sweet, innocent mermaid of the Disney stories. Or even the kind of sad sack from the original Hans Christian Andersen story. Instead, she is tough, hungry and completely powerful in her own right. I also love that she is seriously sarcastic and aggressive in so many, many, many ways. Which, of course means, she fits perfectly with Elian. He’s also a pretty intense predator, and a pirate. Although, in this battle, I think it’s actually Lira that I found more intimidating and powerful… just as it should be.

Although this is a really nice little romance, it’s definitely not going onto my romance shelf. It’s a little unromantic in many places, and although it does still follow that fairly typical YA romance pattern… there is something a little extra about it. Something that doesn’t give me romantic feelings, but rather, happily ever after, big smile feelings…

The world building, characters and story line of this novel is just phenomenal. It made the story completely impossible to put down and forget about. Impossible to forget and stop thinking about. What makes that fact really horrible… this is a standalone. I would love to find out more about how Elian and Lira get along in the new world that they’ve created. Find out more about Lira’s cousin… there are so many more stories I want told from this world!!!

<- The Crooked PlaceMore Alexandra Christo ->

Image source: Goodreads