Monthly Recommendations | June 2017 | Retellings/Re-imaginings

Monthly recommendations is a Goodreads group hosted by Kayla Rayne and Trina @Between Chapters. If your interested in Participating in this, check out the Goodreads Group. In June we are focusing on Retellings. You could also go with re-imaginings, as this topic is not exclusive to books that are a direct remake of the original. Feel free to throw in any book that follows along to a classic story, fairy tale or mythology that you love.

So here are my Favourite retellings. I really enjoy all of these books so I hope you add them to your TBRs! I Haven’t read many retellings but the ones I have are some of my favourite books.

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The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you know I am a huge fan of The Land of Stories. Children will absolutely love this book – in fact, they might want to live in it! – but that doesn’t mean that it is only suitable for children. If you enjoy imaginative and fantastical stories full of magic, humour and adventure then you will probably adore The Land Of Stories! It really is a wonderful story for anyone who has ever loved fairy tales. I’m really looking forward to the Conclusion book next Month, World’s Collide.

My Review of The Wishing Spell

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Tales from the Kingdoms by Sarah Pinborough

The first is a retelling of Snow White, the second is a retelling of Cinderella and the third is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I loved all of these books. There is enough of the original stories to be recognisable, but Sarah Pinborough has cleverly embellished and twisted them. Taking its cue from the Brothers Grimm, these are dark and sexy and brutal, but certainly not the one that most of us might remember. The locations are well described and atmosphere is used well, and characterisation is well done.

The only problem that I had with these books is that it does not seem to know which audience it is written for. A first approximation guess would be that its written for young adults/teenagers given that the language and sentence structure used is fairly basic, the character development two dimensional, but then you get a sex scene. We are not talking anything explicit, but it’s certainly the kind of scene that the parents of a 13 year old might object to.

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The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Cycle series is such an interesting mix of magic and folklore and mystery and thriller. I guess you could say there’s an element of magic to the story, but it never feels like outright magic? There are ley lines, energy readings, tarot cards and psychics, trees that speak Latin, and people who pull items from dreams, but it’s all woven into a very realistic rural Virginia setting in a way that feels totally normal.

Gansey and his friends, Adam, Ronan and Noah, are all searching for something paranormal and Blue might be the one to help them find it. They are all out to find the remains of a long dead Welsh king, one who can grant them wishes and bring them power.

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Fruits Basket Manga by Natsuki Takaya

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This was a really cute series and very creative. I loved following the story of this incredibly large and extremely dysfunctional family. I became completely immersed in all of the different story lines and each featured family member or friend’s unique issue.

The series tells the story of Tohru,  an orphan girl who, after meeting the Sohma Family, learns that twelve members of the Sohma family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac and are cursed to turn into their animal forms when they are weak, stressed, or when they are embraced by anyone of the opposite sex that is not possessed by a zodiacal spirit.

If you’re looking for a heart-warming, sometimes hilarious, other times heartbreaking manga series, try Fruits Basket. Once you get over the premise, if you think it sounds silly, you’ll love it.

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Pandora Hearts Manga by Jun Mochizuki

The series ended with twenty-four volumes having been originally released in Japan. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with this series. I started reading every little moment that I had. I have never seen a more twisted take on Alice in Wonderland. And the beauty of it is that Jun Mochizuki does this without taking away the sense of wonder and innocence involved in discovering a world that isn’t what you thought it was. The Abyss is terrifying, but it’s also, in a way, beautiful. Just to clarify, This is not a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland or a variation on it. The plot uses elements from Alice in Wonderland to tell a completely original story.

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Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Sweetly (Fairytale Retellings, #2)

This is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel. I loved this book so much. I still need to read Pearce’s other retellings. But I’m looking forward to more of these.

A YA novel that’s a retelling of Hansel and Gretel in a contemporary Southern Gothic setting. The characters are interesting and well-developed, and the plot is intriguing. Parts of the story are more than a little creepy. A quick read that’s recommended. I still need to read Pearce’s other retellings. But I’m looking forward to it.

Jackson Pearce takes the very bottom layer of your everyday fairy tale – Hansel & Gretel, in this case – and applies many beautifully crafted layers of her own, complete with intrigue, mystery, a few supernatural twists, a splash of romance and a modern setting – creating a wonderful, brilliant, captivating and utterly marvellous novel which I would recommend to all fantasy and fairy tale retelling fans.

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The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)I absolutely love this Series! This book pulled me in immediately and captivated me through the end. Nevernever (Fairyland, to us Mundanes) offers so much potential as a setting. The Nevernever is a domain of unreality. This is Inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I was struck by Julie Kagawa’s immense imagination and creativity in The Iron King. She successfully creates a dynamic magical realm that I can visually immerse myself in. I cannot wait to read the next books in the series!

I would recommend this to those who enjoy the kind of unreality of A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Alice in Wonderland.

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Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)This is a Retelling of The Wizard of Oz. That was so much fun! The idea sounded a bit silly to me at first, but the story is in no way simplistic.

Each character in Dorothy Must Die is re-imagined to fit in with the horror theme. The cast of villains were all scary in their own right; Dorothy is this evil, attention seeking and power hungry villain who doesn’t bat an eyelid at brutalising people and revelling in it.

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Current Unread Retellings on my TBR

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 Mirror Mirror Geekerella

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I hope to get around to a few of these soon. And that’s all for this list! Have you read any of these retellings? What recommendations have I missed off that you also enjoy? Which on my TBR list should I get to first? If you have any other retellings to recommend, leave them in the comments.

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Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Halo (Halo, #1)Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication Date: August 1st, 2010
Series: Halo, #1
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Format: Paperback
Pages: 485
Rating: 3
Date Read: 11/04/2014
Links:

Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when three angels, Ivy, Bethany and Gabriel are sent from heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness. They work hard to conceal their true identity and, most of all, their wings.

But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls for the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him?

Things come to a head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There′s a new kid in town and he′s charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he′s after Beth.

The angels and Xavier must work together to overcome the dark forces – but will Beth survive the battle?

′Halo enchanted me from the very first page. ′Claudia Gray, #1 best-selling author of Evernight series.

This book takes place in a fictional Town, Venus Cove. Nothing ever happens in this quiet, sleepy town until three angels – Bethany, Gabriel and Ivy – are sent to Venus Cove from Heaven on a mission to shelter the town against the gathering dark forces of Lucifer’s demons. But soon their mission is threatened when the youngest and least experienced angel Bethany, falls in love with Xavier Woods, the school captain of Bryce Hamilton.

“One of the most frustrating words in the human language, as far as I could tell, was love. So much meaning attached to this one little word. People bandied it about freely, using it to describe their attachments to possessions, pets, vacation destinations, and favourite foods. In the same breath they then applied this word to the person they considered most important in their lives. Wasn’t that insulting? Shouldn’t there be some other term to describe deeper emotion?”

The two quickly become a couple even though it defies the laws of Heaven and the story revolves completely around their forbidden love until the arrival of Jake Thorn, a transfer student which changes everything.

Though this book was not perfect it had many strong points. The romance at times was overdone, the “I would die without you” stuff can get annoying after awhile, but I found the characters and circumstances very refreshing and real. I also enjoyed the plot and was propelled to keep reading.

“That was one of the saddest things about people–their most important thoughts and feelings often went unspoken and barely understood.”

Also, I did really enjoy the characters and challenges they went through. The characters are quite likable. Unfortunately, I had some problems with Bethany. I know she’s supposed to be naïve due to her inexperience on Earth, but she can be quite aggravating at times.

Her two siblings’ differing personalities, stern Gabriel and gentle Ivy, were well-done and interesting contrasts, and while they didn’t have any development, they were very true to the myth-linked personas the author builds for them. I liked both of them throughout the book. Bethany’s character, however, seemed to get more annoying and less strong with every chapter.

“Sometimes it’s better to stop trying to make sense of things. Life isn’t clear cut, there are always grey areas.”  

Bethany and Xavier’s relationship… I wanted to love it. It was very sweet, very cute, but I just couldn’t get over its lack of depth. It is so easy for authors to write impassioned descriptions of feeling, or glowing physical praise, or declarations of eternal love and loyalty. But when these things have no foundation, they also have no meaning. Bethany and Xavier had no foundation beyond the standard “fated love/infatuation at first meeting based mainly on how beautiful and witty the other person is.” And then from there it dives right into the “can’t live without you or I’ll shrivel up and die because I need you, you are my soulmate” stage.

“A man in love can do extraordinary things, I don’t care if you’re an angel, you’re my angel, and I won’t let you go.”

The plot was so slow and dragging sometimes that I couldn’t get as captivated in it as I wanted to. The story moved along rather slowly. I kept wanting it to pick up the pace, especially since the reader has over 480 pages to go through. It felt stalled in many chapters with no steam left to push it along.

Ignoring my problems with the book, the ending had some redeeming qualities. The final battle was somewhat interesting. The story itself had a decent premise. However there was very minimal action until like the last 100 pages. I actually did enjoy parts of this story, and some of the characters and premises had great potential. I liked it enough to read it through the end. However at the same time I was expecting so much more from this story.

However, I thought that potential was utterly destroyed once Beth met Xavier. She’s supposed to be a divine being, an angel sent to Earth to battle the dark forces and rescue humanity. Instead, she enrols into a high school, meets a boy, and for the majority of the book it’s all about her getting butterflies from looking at him, obsessing about the way she looks, getting jealous over his relationship with his ‘deceased’ ex-girlfriend.

All in all this was an interesting book. I would recommend this to those who enjoy romance, especially supernatural romance.

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Top Ten Tuesday #6: Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start but Haven’t

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week bloggers share a list of books for the prompt given. Today’s suggested topic is:

Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t (topic originally done March 2013) — anyone else have a mile long list of series to start like I do?

I’ve tried to pick series that have been out for a while or at the very least have a couple of instalments already out, so I’ve ignored a lot of recently released first instalments which I want to read as well.

No matter how hard I try, or how many books I read, I can never seem to make a dent in my TBR list. So it’s no surprise there are tons of series I’ve yet to get around to, even more than the ten I featured for this week’s theme. These aren’t in any specific order either!

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The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Shameful confession time, I’ve never read The Hunger Games. This one does seem to get great reviews so I feel like I really must read it soon. It seems as though everyone has read these books except me.

imagesThe Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Honestly, I have started the first book in this duology. I started book one last year but then didn’t continue. I still remember I enjoyed it, so I have no idea why I haven’t finished it yet.

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The Silver Trilogy by Kerstin Gier

Despite the fact that the author is new to me, I’ve been hearing great things about her books, especially this series. The reviews are great and they have been constantly recommended to me.

imagesA Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

This is one that I’m actually planning on starting next month! I own a physical copy of the first book in this duology but I haven’t gotten around to it. I do love the sound of the story.

imagesFallen Series by Lauren Kate

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I actually own Torment & Rapture, the only reason I haven’t started this series yet is because I don’t actually own the first book. I have to admit that the reviews I’ve heard of this series are mixed, so I’m a little on the fence about starting it, but I’m certainly interested enough to give it a try.

imagesThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S, LewisImage result for the chronicles of narnia book series covers

I have heard so many wonderful things about this book. I can’t wait to finally get around to it! I’ve been wanting to read this series for years and I love the Movies.

imagesAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Image result for anne of green gables covers series

I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages, but I never get around to it. This is described as a classic coming-of-age story so I definitely need to read the Anne of Green Gables series.

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The Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix

Related imageThis series has 7 books, and that makes me nervous to even start it! I own the first 5 books but have yet to gather the courage to start.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This is another series I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. I own the first book in this series, so I’m planning on starting reading it soon.

imagesPercy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

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Everyone raves about this series, so I’ve heard a lot about it and watched the movie Adaptations. I can’t to finally start this series soon! I’m actually extremely ashamed of the fact I haven’t read this series. So I will definitely read this.images

Thanks for reading this list. What are some series you’ve been meaning to start? Have you read any of these series? What did you think? Do you have any of these on your TBR as well? Let me know in the comments! Also, Let me know what series I need to bump up to the top of my list.

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Decluttering Books 123-133 | Down the TBR Hole #10

This meme is hosted by Lia @ LostInAStory. The aim is to declutter your Goodreads To Be Read shelf. You sort the books on this list on date added (ascending) and do a weekly post discussing a few of them. Read the synopsis and decide whether or not you want to keep them.

Anyway, it works like this: Go to your goodreads to-read shelf, Order on ascending date added, Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books, Read the synopses of the books, Decide: keep it or should it go?

Number of books on my TBR shelf: 1742

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Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1)

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom…

Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance. 

This one’s tough! I actually own this book, so many people seem to love it and the concept sounds interesting. I’ve had it on my TBR for ages and haven’t picked it up yet. If you’ve read this, let me know what you thought of it in the comments. For now I’ll keep it.

Do I own it? Yes

Verdict: KEEP

Priority Level (1-10, 10 meaning Top Priority)? 4

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The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of Stars

Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy, is back with The Chaos of Stars—an enchanting novel set in Egypt and San Diego that captures the magic of first love and the eternally complicated truth about family.

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family.

Blending Ally Carter’s humor and the romance of Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly, The Chaos of Stars takes readers on an unforgettable journey halfway across the world and back, and proves there’s no place like home.

It still sounds interesting, I still have the intentions of getting to this one someday… because the premise and the plot seems really good.

Do I own it? No

Verdict: KEEP

Priority Level (1-10, 10 meaning Top Priority)? 6

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Gods and Warriors by Michelle PaverGods and Warriors (Gods and Warriors, #1)

From a time of myths and ancient magic will come the legend of the lost city of Atlantis, tales of gods and warriors – and the rise of a hero.

His sister is missing. His dog has been killed. High in the Greek mountains, Hylas is running for his life.

The mysterious black warriors want Hylas dead. So begins his quest across land and sea with only a girl and a dolphin by his side. But the warriors are relentless. Why are they hunting Hylas – and how will he survive?

Even though the premise sounds really intriguing and I am fairly interested in the subject here, this is the case of “too many books, not enough time”. Since the answer to “Do you really plan on reading it?” is: I don’t know, I think I’ll just have to remove it from the list.

Do I own it? No

Verdict: REMOVE

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The Future of Us by Jay Asher

The Future of Us

It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long—at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right—and wrong—in the present.

I’ve been excited about this book for ages. I just never got around to reading it! It still sounds interesting, so I’ll keep it.

Do I own it? No

Verdict: KEEP

Priority Level (1-10, 10 meaning Top Priority)? 9

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Geography Club by Brent HartingerGeography Club (Russel Middlebrook, #1)

I knew that any wrong action, however slight, could reveal my true identity…

Russel is still going on dates with girls. Kevin would do anything to prevent his teammates on the baseball team from finding out. Min and Terese tell everyone they’re really just good friends. But after a while, the truth’s too hard to hide – at least from each other – so they form the “Geography Club.” Nobody else will come. Why would they want to? Their secret should be safe.

Russel Middlebrook is convinced he’s the only gay kid at Robert L. Goodkind High School. Then his online gay-chat buddy turns out to be none other than Kevin, the popular but closeted star of the school’s baseball team. Soon Russel meets other gay students too. There’s his best friend, Min, who reveals she’s bisexual; Min’s soccer-playing girlfriend, Terese; and Terese’s politically active friend, Ike.

But how can kids this diverse get together without drawing attention to themselves?

“We just choose a club that’s so boring nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it. We could call in the Geography Club!”

Geography Club for anyone, gay or straight, who’s ever felt like an outsider — a fast-paced and funny tale of teenagers who may not learn any actual geography in their latest club, but who discover plenty about the treacherous social terrain of high school, and the even more dangerous landscape of the human heart.

I have been meaning to read this one for ages, since I watched the Movie! I’ll keep it.

Do I own it? No

Verdict: KEEP

Priority Level (1-10, 10 meaning Top Priority)? 10

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Star-Crossed by Francis Kelly

Star-Crossed

A romantic anthology of epic love stories through time

Featuring tales from Greek mythology to 20th century artists and from Shakespearean characters through to 19th century poets, this is a book for teens and twenty-somethings who may be well versed in 21st century romance, but will be reassured by discovering that finding true love has never been easy.

When I first put this on my to-read shelf, I was so interested in this and wanted to read it. But I never got around to it and now it is no longer so high up. I am just no longer interested in reading this. Maybe in the future I will eventually want to read it and can add it back on but for now I don’t see it happening.

Do I own it? No

Verdict: REMOVE

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The Hollow by Jessica Verday

The Hollow (The Hollow, #1)

A love like no other…

When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead…and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again…but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her – one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

This one has been on my TBR for ages and although I haven’t gotten around to it, it still seems like it would be a great read. So I am going to keep this one!

Do I own it? No

Verdict: KEEP

Priority Level (1-10, 10 meaning Top Priority)? 4

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Darkest Fear by Cate TiernanDarkest Fear (Birthright, #1)

Vivi’s animal instincts are her legacy—and maybe her downfall—in this start to a romantic fantasy series that will appeal to fans of The Nine Lives of Chloe King.

Vivi has known the truth about her family—and herself—since she was thirteen. But that doesn’t mean she’s accepted it. Being Haguari isn’t something she feels she’ll ever accept. How can she feel like anything but a freak knowing that it’s in her genes to turn into a jaguar?

Now eighteen, Vivi’s ready to break away from the traditions of her heritage. But all of that changes with the shocking, devastating deaths of her parents and the mysteries left behind. Vivi discovers family she never even knew she had, and a life open with possibility. New friends, new loyalties, and even romance all lay ahead—but so do dangers unlike anything Vivi ever could have imagined

Re-reading the synopsis, I just don’t think I will ever be interested enough to ever pick it up..so this one I’m thinking is going to go.

Do I own it? No

Verdict: REMOVE

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The Sight by Judy Blundell

The Sight (Premonitions, #1-2)

A pair of supernatural mysteries from National Book Award winner Judy Blundell.

Gracie has premonitions.

They’ve haunted her since before her mother’s death, and she can’t get rid of them. She doesn’t know how to deal with them and she doesn’t want to–they’ve never led to anything good. She never knows whether she’s seeing the past, the present, or the future–it just comes to her.

But Gracie is forced to try to use her premonitions. Her best friend, Emily, disappears, and the premonitions lead to the only clues to where she might be–and how she might be saved. Gracie’s long-absent father returns, and his history seems mysteriously linked to the disappearance of a student many years ago–and the recent appearance of a body. Gracie’s premonitions can lead to answers…but they can also unearth some dark secrets better left unknown.

In these two novels, now in one volume, National Book award winner Judy Blundell takes readers on a suspenseful journey where premonitions become a matter of life and death.

I don’t even remember when (or why) I put this book on my TBR. But I re-read the synopsis and I’m not too impressed, so I think this one has to go!

Do I own it? No

Verdict: REMOVE

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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Book Thief

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. 

I have had this on my bookshelf for a while. I definitely want to read this but I am waiting for the time when I can sit down and just immerse myself in it.

Do I own it? Yes

Verdict: KEEP

Priority Level (1-10, 10 meaning Top Priority)? 8

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I have removed 4\10 books from my TBR this week. If you enjoyed this & would like to see what else is on my Goodreads TBR, stick around for more.

RUNNING TOTAL OF BOOKS REMOVED: 55

Have you read any of these books? If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear your opinions about them. How do you feel about my choices? Do you think I’ve Made the right decisions?

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TBR Jar Wednesday – June 2017 – An Author’s Odyssey by Chris Colfer Favourite Lines #TBRJW

TBR Jar Wednesday.jpgLast week I reviewed An Author’s Odyssey by Chris Colfer, Which you can read HERE, So this week I will be sharing my Favourite Lines from the book.

“No one ever stops being a student in the classroom of life”

“You choose to grow from tragedy – and it takes a very strong person to do that”  

“The Fairy-tale world has faced many troubling times in recent years, but never anything like this. It was the first time in history that happily ever after seemed impossible to regain.”

“Alex had only agreed to her brothers plan because their options were so limited. The closer they got to actually going through with it, the more doubtful she became. It was one thing to travel into the books of classic literature, but an entirely different endeavour to go into short stories written by her brother.”

Daylight, Thank Goodness,” the Cyborg Queen said. “I haven’t had a solar charge in weeks!”

“Quick Question,” she said. “Is this story based on anything that happened in real life? Anything that might have happened between us?”

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Link Up

Post your link here and visit the other blogs to help them vote on their next read. Since I can’t actually add a linky, Please link up in the comments!

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July 5th you will have the chance to vote on my July read. Want to join me? That would be awesome, you can find all the details HERE.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Hope you have a great day and Happy Reading!

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TBR Jar Wednesday – June 2017 – Review: An Author’s Odyssey by Chris Colfer #TBRJW

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An Author’s Odyssey by Chris ColferAn Author's Odyssey (The Land of Stories, #5)
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 12th, 2016
Series: The Land of Stories, #5
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 448
Rating: 4
Date Read: June 16th, 2017
Links: Goodreads |Author’s Website | Book 1Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4

In the highly anticipated continuation of the Land of Stories series, Conner learns that the only place to fight the Masked Man’s literary army is inside his own short stories!

When the twins and their friends enter worlds crafted from Conner’s imagination, finding allies no one else could have ever dreamed of, the race begins to put an end to the Masked Man’s reign of terror. Can the twins finally restore peace in the fairy tale world?

My Review:

Okay, so first of all: these books are amazing. I absolutely love the series and the way of writing is funny and imaginative. In this 5th novel of The Land of Stories, Conner and Alex go on an adventure inside of Conner’s short stories to raise an army against the masked man and his band of literary villains.

Alex and Conner Bailey once again face a great challenge. After the Masked Man unleashes an army of literary villains and takes over the Land of Stories, the only and best chance the twins have to save the land is to recruit characters from Conner’s stories that he wrote based around his adventures.

One of the things that I loved about this book is how much is revealed about these characters, specifically Conner, as the twins traverse his stories. At first, the stories have a very shallow, although exciting premise, but as they continue their travels more about who Conner is, his experiences and feelings about his life reveal themselves in elements of his stories.

“An author’s Odyssey” takes us on all new adventures, so vastly different than the fairy tale world, while also bringing a bit of comic relief to what could have been an overly grim story. Getting to travel into Conner’s stories was so much fun! This Series  has grown amazingly in its plot complexity, writing, and storytelling. It really is impressive.

I thought this was an outstanding book. The final climax of this book was awesome and provided some much-needed information and closure for one character in particular and then we have an ending that if you hadn’t gotten the memo by then surely told you that this isn’t the final book due to the tremendous cliff-hanger at the end.

Recommended to readers who love middle grade epic fantasy, fairy tales, and by this point, people who love pirates & science fiction.Image result for hearts line

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Review: Beyond the Kingdoms by Chris Colfer

Beyond the Kingdoms (The Land of Stories, #4)Beyond the Kingdoms by Chris Colfer
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015
Series: The Land of Stories, #4
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 422
Rating: 5
Date Read: August 4th, 2015
Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | B&N |Author’s Website | Book 1Book 2Book 3

Fairy tales are just the beginning.

The Masked Man is on the loose in the Land of Stories, and it’s up to Alex and Conner Bailey to stop him…except Alex has been thrown off the Fairy Council, and no one will believe they’re in danger.

With only the help of the ragtag group of Goldilocks, Jack, Red Riding Hood, and Mother Goose and her gander, Lester, the Bailey twins discover the Masked Man’s secret scheme: He possesses a powerful magic potion that turns every book it touches into a portal, and he is recruiting an army of literature’s greatest villains!

So begins a race through the magical Land of Oz, the fantastical world of Neverland, the madness of Wonderland, and beyond. Can Alex and Conner catch up to the Masked Man, or will they be one step behind until it’s too late?

Fairy tales and classic stories collide in the fourth adventure in the bestselling Land of Stories series as the twins travel beyond the kingdoms!

For me, the first three books in this series were completely unstoppable, the pace, the characters and the story were all flawlessly interwoven to create wonderful storybooks – because that is what they are – good old-fashioned style story books.

Alex and Conner Bailey are about to face their greatest foe yet. With the Masked Man on the run and the terrible secret behind his identity possibly revealed, Alex and Conner have been a bit stressed trying to figure out what he’s up to, find him, and capture him. However that might just be easier said than done with Alex’s powers on the fritz and the Masked Man using a potion that lets him vanish into storybooks.

There is a man on the loose called the Masked Man because of the mask he wears to hide his face. This Masked Man is trying to create an army of evil villains from famous fairy tales such as Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan.

I liked this book because they went into the stories that I knew growing up. And I also liked that Alex and Connor went into Oz and got the Tin Woodman to help them. There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like, so it was a good book. I hope more people could read this series, because it is wonderful.

As far as this book goes, I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book is great. Also, I love that it’s basically tying together elements from the entire series and building up. There is quite a lot revealed in this instalment in The Land of Stories series. This instalment both reveals a plethora of useful information and answers the many questions readers were left with at the end of A Grimm Warning.

A solid addition to the “land of stories” series. the sheer imagination that went into creating this is very impressive. the author has take some of the World’s best known stories and characters and used them as building blocks to create a truly fun, magical, and unique world. 

This has by far been my favourite book of this series so far. It is so imaginative and creative. I absolutely loved the concept of recruiting characters that were from other literary worlds. It was so creative, and it was just amazing to see the villains and characters I have grown up loving to be re-imagined and recreated into this new world.

All in all, it’s a fun story that moves along nicely, with familiar characters and some hilarious new ones. I strongly recommend this book to readers who love fairy tales and lots of adventure. This is such a great book but this is the fourth book of the series so I strongly recommend to start from the first book The Wishing Spell.

 

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Review: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer

A Grimm Warning (The Land of Stories, #3)A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Series: The Land of Stories, #3
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 448
Rating: 4
Date Read: November 28th, 2014
Links: Goodreads | Book Depository | Booktopia |B&N | Author’s Website | Book 1 | Book 2

The Brothers Grimm have a warning for the Land of Stories.

Connor Bailey thinks his fairy-tale adventures are behind him – until he discovers a mysterious clue left by the famous Brothers Grimm. With help from his classmate Bree and the outlandish Mother Goose, Conner sets off on a mission across Europe to crack a two-hundred-year-old code.

Meanwhile, Alex Bailey is training to become the next Fairy Godmother… but her attempts at granting wishes never go as planned. Will she ever be truly ready to lead the Fairy Council?

When all signs point to disaster for the Land of Stories, Connor and Alex must join forces with their friends and enemies to save the day. But nothing can prepare them for the coming battle… or for the secret that will change the twins’ lives forever.

The third book in the bestselling Land of Stories series puts the twins to the test as they bring two worlds together!

Conner has been sent on a school trip to Germany with the girl he has a crush on and a few others though what they get from the unveiling of the lost Brothers Grimm Stories is not what Conner’s hoped for. Now he and Alex must save the fairy-tale world. Connor was getting along pretty nicely in the Otherworld, and Alex was doing great with her training.

Alex was about to have her welcoming ball; Connor was going on a trip to Germany. A problem comes up in both worlds, The Fairy Tale World and The Otherworld: The 200 years have passed and the French soldiers are ready to take over to The Fairy Tale World. When Connor opens the portal, the soldiers come.

After book two, Connor and Alex Bailey are reunited once again in book three of Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning to fight the greater enemy, Napoleon’s army. After two hundred years of being trapped in a portal by the Fairy God Mother, they must find a way to protect their homeland and defeat Napoleon’s army.

I read this book because I really loved the first two. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy & Adventure.

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Review: The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

The Enchantress Returns (The Land of Stories, #2)The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 6th, 2013
Series: The Land of Stories, #2
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 517
Rating: 4
Date Read: April 18th, 2014
Links: Goodreads | Book Depository | Booktopia | B&N | Author’s Website | Book 1 | Book 3

After decades of hiding, the evil Enchantress who cursed Sleeping Beauty is back with a vengeance.

Alex and Conner Bailey have not been back to the magical Land of Stories since their adventures in The Wishing Spell ended. But one night, they learn the famed Enchantress has kidnapped their mother! Against the will of their grandmother, the twins must find their own way into the Land of Stories to rescue their mother and save the fairy tale world from the greatest threat it’s ever faced.

The first book, The Wishing Spell, took us into a land where we got to read about our favourite childhood characters and find out what happened to them after their happily ever after. We got to go on an adventure with two unlikely hero’s and travel around trying to save the whole world from an evil queen. Alex and Connor Bailey haven’t been back to the Land of Stories in nearly a year, and when they get back things aren’t quite as they had left them.

A year later; Alex and Connor Bailey spent the past year since their last adventure living their lives as normal as can be. On a day when everything seemed to be going great for them, their whole world was turned upside down. Their Grandmother was quick to make sure they were protected and wouldn’t let them intervene in what was taking place in the Fairy-Tale World.

Unbeknownst to Alex and Connor the evil Enchantress has return to the Land of Stories and is causing havoc all over, ruining the once beautiful land, pushing her plans to take over the world. Alex and Connor must find their own way into the Land of Stories before it is to late and save their friends from her powers.

I love how much more of this world we got to see. With a large focus on the villains of fairy tales we are treated to back stories and twists to the classic tales that we know and love. While some of these villains have nearly redeeming backstories there are others that are evil for the sake of being evil, I appreciated this mix because it’s hard to believe that everyone at one point was good, or that no one is evil for evil’s sake.

This world, with the assistance of the map in the front of the novels, is easy to follow. The plot is clear and concise, and it is easy to visualize each of the kingdom’s as the twins and their companions travel around the fairy-tale world.

However, I do feel that this book did recycle the same kind of plot as the first novel. I do understand that it would be difficult to construct largely different plots in the world, and that repetition is useful in children’s literature, but as an older reader, it is a bit tedious for reading.

I would highly, recommend this series to those who enjoy their favourite childhood stories being twisted and reinterpreted in fun and thought provoking ways.

Overall, The Land of Stories series is a fun read, and book #2 shows some definite improvement in the writing. It was an enjoyable book to read.

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Review: Flush by Virginia Woolf

FlushFlush by Virginia Woolf
Published by: Penguin Classics, Little Black Classics
Publication Date: March 3rd 2016 (First Published in 1933)
Genres: Classics, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 115
Rating: 4
Date Read: June 9th, 2016
Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository

“Things are not simple but complex. If he bit Mr. Browning he bit her too. Hatred is not hatred; hatred is also love.’

Virginia Woolf’s delightful biography of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s spaniel, which asks what it means to be human – and to be dog.

It is one of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics’ huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries – including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.

This story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, Flush, enchants right from the opening pages. Although Flush has adventures of his own with bullying dogs, horrid maids, and robbers, he also provides the reader with a glimpse into Browning’s life.

I have been looking forward to reading Flush for months, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Victorians loved biographies, especially biographies of the eminent: kings, queens and other distinguished members of society. Flush is the biography of such an eminent Victorian. Flush is in fact the biography of a dog. But not just any dog, an Eminent Dog, the pure bred Cocker Spaniel belonging to another eminent Victorian, the poet Elizabeth Barrett who eventually married Eminent Victorian Robert Browning after they’d exchanged an entire volume of love letters; they then went to live in Italy, taking Flush along with them.

The book is a combination of fiction and non-fiction, through which we meet the two nineteenth century poets, revealing something of the early years of their marriage. So if we’re wondering about the unusual choice of biographical subject, the dog rather than his mistress. In 1933, Woolf wrote to a friend: I was so tired after finishing ‘The Waves’ that I lay in the garden and read the Browning love letters, and the figure of the dog made me laugh so I couldn’t resist making him a Life. I wanted to play a joke on Lytton. Lytton Strachey was Woolf’s long time friend and a rather irreverent biographer himself; his Eminent Victorians is a parody of the serious biographical style so beloved of the Victorians.

For drama, the high points in this tale include a period of jealousy when Robert Browning comes on the scene, a terrifying incident where Flush is dognapped and ransomed, and an epiphany of new freedoms for Flush that come when the married couple moves to Italy. A dog’s eye view of their celebrated romance is a nice deflation.

Although it appears so much lighter in tone than many of her other works, Flush does in fact consider social inequalities and the way that society treated and classified its women. Virginia Woolf employs her famous stream of consciousness style to explore women writers, through the point of view of a small, spoiled brown dog. Apparently Woolf drew her inspiration from the two poems that Elizabeth Barrett Browning published about her dog.

Probably the lightest of her works but as this is Virginia Woolf you can expect the odd social commentary, questioning of the human condition and streams of consciousness, albeit from the point of view of a dog.

The prose in this little book is absolutely breathtaking and is, in my very humble opinion, one of Woolf’s most heartfelt, intimate works. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s own written work describing Flush validates Woolf’s narrative and even sublimates the love and devotion that a spaniel and her owner experience.

Anyone who has an interest in 1800s England and Italy must read this book. There are descriptions of country life, city slums, exotic markets, spiritualism, dognapping: snapshots that are spare, elegant and packed with visual imagery in ways that only Virginia Woolf could master.

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