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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ten Fairytale Retellings I've Read/Want To Read

From Becca's Shelves...


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

This week's topic is Ten Fairytale Retellings I've Read/Want to Read (or fairytales I want to be retold or fairytales I love).


Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer - I actually can't remember if I read this one this year or last (I'm getting old, okay?), but I remember really being blown away by what happens in Belzhar!

The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - EASILY A TOP FIVE CONTENDER FOR FAVES OF 2015. READ THIS BOOK INSPIRED BY A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS AND THANK ME LATER. 

Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt - I can't for the life of me remember which fairytale this is a retelling of BUT that's just because (I'm getting old, remember?) I had never heard of that fairytale before. Fascinating premise.

Splintered by A.G. Howard - ALICE IN WONDERLAND WITH TWO SCRUMPTIOUS LADS. 

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige - Wizard of Oz retelling, which completely fell flat for me. I HATE THAT BECAUSE I LOVE WIZARD OF OZ. 


Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine - Of Metal and Wishes is a Phantom of the Opera retelling, and let me just say, I was NOT expecting to be blown away when I first picked it up, but it was one of the best books I read in 2014. I'm currently reading the sequel and it's just as great and gruesome!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I repeat. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. PLUS SARAH J MAAS' GENIUS-NESS. SERIOUSLY WHERE IS BOOK TWO? HMMMMMMMM?

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter - I really love Gena Showalter, zombies, and Alice in Wonderland, but unfortunately Alice in ZOMBIEland just didn't do it for me. 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - ALL OF THIS SERIES. ALL THE THUMBS. BEST RETELLINGS. Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. 

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund - I know Jane Austen's Persuasion isn't technically a 'fairytale' but this is a retelling of it, and a fabulous one, at that. 

So what are some other fairytale retellings that I missed? What are some of the best you've read? What are some that you're looking forward to?

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Monday, August 3, 2015

DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy \\ A Must Read

by Paola

DUMPLIN
by Julie Murphy
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (September 15, 2015)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
Willowdean Dickson has always been comfortable in her own skin...until a gorgeous guy likes her back. Now, when insecurities are rising to the surface, the only way Will can combat them is by joining the one event that places her front and center: The Miss Clover City beauty pageant.

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that Willowdean is my favorite female main character ever. She's so flawed and I loved her for it. She has a lot of ups and downs with her body image and this is so refreshing and relatable. Even though this book encourages you to love yourself regardless of your physical appearance, it doesn't do so by undermining the struggles that come with it. Will's journey is not easy but it is brutally honest. I loved every second of it.

The three big themes in this novel are family, love, and friendship. I loved the family dynamic in this novel. Willowdean's mom is a complex character (which is not typical with YA books) and their relationship is very realistic and slightly tumultuous. Even though the romance has a purpose and moves the story forward, I wasn't a big fan of it. I felt like the love interest wasn't one of the strongest characters so I was unable to connect with the romance because it. This was not the case for the friendship. I loved the way friendship drama was featured in this book. I don't want to give away too much but every friendship in this book made my heart sing.

The only thing that I didn't love about this novel was the ending. I felt like the pacing was nice and slow for about 99% of the book and then it picked up dramatically. I'm a little disappointed that the last few pages covered so much ground but I enjoyed the rest of the book so much that this wasn't a big deal.

Dumplin' delivers such a important message, one that I want to shout from a rooftop and share with as many people as possible. I think anyone, regardless of age or gender, will benefit from it. I definitely did.
Paola

Friday, July 31, 2015

An Underwhelmed/Meh Letter To Public Enemies by Ann Aguirre...

From Becca


PUBLIC ENEMIES
Immortal Game #2
by Ann Aguirre
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (August 4th, 2015)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

In Book 2 of the Immortal Game trilogy, Edie must learn the rules of the game . . . and then play better than anyone else.

Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where belief makes your nightmares real. Hungry for sport, fears-made-flesh are always raising the stakes. To them, human lives are less than nothing, just pieces on a board.

Because of her boyfriend Kian's sacrifice, she's operating under the mysterious Harbinger's aegis, but his patronage could prove as fatal as the opposition. Raw from deepest loss, she's terrified over the deal Kian made for her. Though her very public enemies keep sending foot soldiers--mercenary monsters committed to her destruction--she's not the one playing under a doom clock. Kian has six months...unless Edie can save him. And this is a game she can't bear to lose.

Dear Public Enemies, 

I feel like all of my review letters to books lately have been rather disappointing, but I've read so many EPIC AMAZING FANTASTIC books this year that it's hard to love them all, if anyone knows what I mean. A year ago? Sure, I probably would've loved you, because I was one of the people advocating your predecessor, Mortal Danger. I thought that book was something I'd never seen before, and I truly couldn't get enough of it. Unfortunately that didn't rub off on you, poor Public Enemies. Oh, no, it did not. 

You're the next installment in the Immortal Game trilogy, where Edie Kramer is playing (you guessed it) the Immortal Game, where lots of cray cray supernatural/nightmare/god-like creatures are basically out to get her. I don't really want to talk anymore about your synopsis, because I don't want to spoil book 1 for anyone if they haven't read it. 

Anywho, in my review for Mortal Danger, I praised your main character, Edie, because I really enjoyed her geeky character, but I was mostly just meh about the whole thing this time. She was making lots of rash decisions, which in turn made her annoying, to say the least. I was SMH at all of the dumb decisions she was constantly making. Then, her boyfriend, Kian, does the same things! They don't think things through. I guess this may be my 'adult-ness' peeking through. You were a book chock full of rash decision making and the consequences of said dumb decisions. I remember being really fascinated with all of the creatures your author created for MD, but with you, she just seemed to use the main ones again. I wasn't blown away on the creepiness factor scale, and that was one of the parts that I loved most about this series. 

I'll admit there's been about a year between reading this book and MD, so it could be the time that has changed me and my reading tastes. As of writing this letter to you, Public Enemies, I'm starting to question whether I would still really enjoy MD as much as I did the first time, if I were to read it right now. The characters didn't seem like the ones I grew to care so much about in Mortal Danger. I simply wasn't moved enough by what they were doing to care about what happened to them, and that made continuing to read you even more sad, because I WANTED TO CARE DARN IT! 

Would I recommend people read you? Sure, because as I said I'm not sure if this is a case of "it's not you, it's me" or a time thing or just because you suffer from middle book syndrome. I really don't know, but I think readers should make their own decision on whether or not to read you. As for me? Well, I'm not sure if the last book will be such a huge priority now that I was so underwhelmed by you. This review just makes me sad because I wanted to love you so much and it's reminding me of all the ways I didn't. I believe I originally rated you a 3, but after sitting here and thinking it through, I think you're more of a solid two on the Becca review scale.



Underwhelmed/Meh,


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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Exclusive Excerpt & 10 Chances to Win! // AWAKE by Natasha Preston


Today we are celebrating Natasha Preston's newest YA Thriller, AWAKE, which will be releasing August 4th. 

Natasha has graciously provided us with an exclusive excerpt from the book, and make sure you check out the awesome giveaway at the end of this post!



Excerpt from AWAKE by Natasha Preston

“Come here,” I said, holding my hands out.

Usually she would curl into my side but today she climbed on my lap and laid her head on my shoulder. I was momentarily stunned. We hadn’t been quite that close before. I liked it far too much. Everything about her felt right, natural, and she fit against me perfectly.

“I’m so glad I have you, Noah. You’re the only one I can trust.”

I bit my tongue. The stress and guilt was going to give me an ulcer. Weaving my fingers through her long hair, I replied, “It’s okay. Try not to let it get to you so much. The mind is a complicated thing. The fact that you’ve remembered this much is a huge step.”

“But is it a memory?” She groaned. “It’s driving me crazy, whirling around in my head all the time. Make me forget it, Noah.”

This was it. We were alone in her house apart from Jeremy who was in his room with Amie. I had never had sex before and I was sure I wanted my first time to be with Scarlett but I didn’t want to do this if it was just to take her mind off everything.

“Not like this,” I said, leaning my forehead against hers. She frowned, and I ran my thumb along her jaw. “You mean so much to me but I don’t want our first time to be because you want me, not because you want me to help you forget.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Her arms tightened around my neck. “If you’re not ready that’s fine.”

Not ready. I wanted to laugh. Just because my experience with women was a long list of one person didn’t mean I didn’t have those feelings. I wanted her but I could see the indecision in her eyes. It wasn’t the right time, her mind was too over the place and I wasn’t going to give her something else to regret about us.

“Scarlett, I love you.”

Her dark eyes widened a fraction before they glowed. “I love you, too.”

“I can wait.” A part of me hoped she wouldn’t be ready. I was betraying her and soon she would find out. Could I let our relationship turn physical? I shouldn’t but I knew it wouldn’t be easy once she wanted to.

Tipping her head up, she offered her mouth. I kissed her long and slow, never being able to resist. She melted against me until her whole weight was pressing me against the wall. I wanted more.

Her fingers dug into my neck as I nipped her bottom lip. She invaded all of my senses, threatening to drive me insane. Everything was Scarlett, Scarlett, Scarlett, and I never wanted that to stop.

Was this what it was like to be completely in love? No one back home showed the can’t-keep-your-hands-off-each-other-stage. I was taught it was because of the over-sexed nation where no one thought anything of walking around with everything on show and we didn’t want that. But I wasn’t so sure. I understood it now, it was the best feeling in the world to be so in the moment with someone, so absorbed in them, that you could explode from being so happy.

She was the first one to break the kiss, when she felt something that I thought would make my face burn with embarrassment. But I wasn’t embarrassed with her. It was a physical action showing how much I wanted her.

“Okay,” she said, breathing deeply. “Um…”

I ran my hands up her back, smiling. “I know and it’s fine. Really. You can stop me whenever you need to. No pressure, remember?”

Nodding, she beamed.

“Anyway, I should go soon.”

“Really?” she asked, pouting.

I was sure my pupils dilated when she pouted, remembering biting her lip in our kiss that had been much more frantic and needy than before.

“I’ll see if I can come back after dinner.”

“You could eat here.”

“And I wish I’d asked my parents before so I could stay.”

She tilted her head in a nod. “But you didn’t so your mum’s cooked for you.”

“Exactly.”

“Okay. Let me know if you can come back and I’ll pick a movie.”

“Sounds perfect.”

And I hated how perfect that did sound.





Title: Awake
Author: Natasha Preston
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Don't miss the latest gripping, high-stakes thriller from Wattpad sensation Natasha Preston, author of the runaway hit The Cellar.

Scarlett Garner doesn't remember anything before the age of four-until a car accident changes everything. She starts to remember pieces of a past that frighten her. A past her parents hid from her...and a secret that could get her killed.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Ib6mjz
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1efnZGg
iBooks: http://apple.co/1VrVyqA

Author Biography

UK native Natasha Preston grew up in small villages and towns. She discovered her love of writing when she shared a story online—and hasn’t looked back since. She enjoys writing romance, thrillers, gritty YA, and the occasional serial killer.

Social Networking Links

Website: http://www.natashapreston.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natasha-Preston/497930476930728
Twitter: https://twitter.com/natashavpreston
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6548349.Natasha_Preston

Giveaway

Thanks so much to Sourcebooks Fire, we have an incredible giveaway for you! We have sets of AWAKE, and Natasha's other thriller, THE CELLAR to giveaway to TEN of you!! That's ten chances to win 2 books!! So the odds are in your favor ;)

Good luck!

US/Canada only
13 years or older

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ten Reasons I Want to Live in a Bookstore


Ten Reasons To Move Into a Bookstore
by Elisa

Recently I moved to the West Coast, near a handful of blessed beaches and palm trees. But debatably just as wonderfully, albeit accidentally, I also moved within walking distance of a Barnes and Noble.

Of course, that fifteen minute walk along busy streets was a doozy with three kids--one of which rode their bike into a ground-covering thorn plant that spanned a block. Which begs the question, what idiot landscaper would unabashedly plant a thornbush for ground cover? All things considered, it turns out a three minute drive with no sweat is even better than a fifteen minute walk of danger.

Aparently, I scored. Because three minutes is nothing, especially if it is to reach the lover of your affair. Don’t act like you don’t know what I mean. I’m far from the only one here who loves a pile of books more than the offerings any other extracurricular man (or woman). I have no qualms publically exploiting this affection and neither should you.

So, while publicly declaring my bookish passion, I might as well dream big. What if I didn’t just live three minutes from a bookstore, but actually moved into one? Try to imagine this with me--what would it be like to live in one of those huge bookstores?

Here are some compelling reasons you might want to try this:


  1. After a while, touching a screen is just not enough. According to the dystopian YA novel, Awaken, we have something like billions of sensors in our fingers that were made to touch more than screens. Those sensors just gotta be used or WE. WILL. DIE. What a better place to keep my heart pumping than by living in a health-inducing bookstore?

  1. It would entertain the whole family. Being a mom of Littles, there isn’t too much I can do that I love to do with the Wild Things around. But at bookstores and libraries my kids will self-entertain for like, anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours, so might as well try two months to twenty years. (The toy section and Thomas the Train display do not hurt.)

  1. There are plenty of bedtime stories, for those who need to be read to sleep.



  1. I don’t have to worry about them finding us when the store closes, because there are plenty of simple places to hide--namely, behind stacks of books.  In addition, we only would have to raid the gift section to to light the room with smelly candles named “Emily Dickinson’s Sandalwood” or “Lavender Parisian Revolution.”

  1. There is a variety of food and coffee onsite! Now I just have to figure out how to get on the Barnes and Noble eating plan, because the taste is good and I can use all the cream and sugar I want.

  1. I might as well make use of the free internet and cancel my at-home crappy internet service. I hate bills anyway.

  1. There are always celebrities coming to make things interesting. They sign books. They pass-out cupcakes. They give out trivia prizes, buttons, stickers, and free paper flyers I could then staple together into my very own book to sell out of sight near the bathroom.

  1. The comfy chairs. The other rude people who use my favorite chair by the YA books for two whole hours won’t have a chance to get in it before I do because I’ll be sleeping in it all night! Booyah!

  1. No one will make fun of me for saying something dorky like “Booyah” because we, at bookstores, are so elite and educated, we kindly tolerate each others differences and oddities for the sake of the Republic of Books and All Things Holy.

  1. If I don’t know how to handle something, I know there is a book close by to tell me what to do:
  • Kids fighting over the last copy of Percy Jackson? No problem, I’ll just go to the parenting aisle to figure out how to best intervene.
  • Husband annoyed that I seem unsatisfied due to my odd obsession with Stephenie Meyer's vampires? Just find the marriage book aisle, or maybe point him to Game of Thrones to read together.
  • Store Manager trying to kick us out? Surely, I could find a guide for that in the bookstore too.


Now I am kinda hoping my next move actually is into a bookstore.

Wait, are you a fretting defeatist who fears that real live bookstores will vanish entirely, and thus you will be unable to live out this incredible vision I planted in your heart, to move into a bookstore?

One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail. Big bad Fox Books, who can just go to h*ll, has nothing on ebooks and Prime shipping. Can you imagine a remake of this movie? Instead of falling in love via the barely invented internet, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would be falling in love by joining the little Shop Around the Corner with the evil corporate Fox Books to take down the glorious, world-ruling system of Kindles, Nooks, and Crannies (wait--you mean Crannies isn’t a type of book app?). It would almost be like the classic Fahrenheit 451 as a chick flick (but sooo not).



Although this might be an interesting dystopian story for Scott Westerfield, Alexandra Bracken and John Green to team-up writing together, I’m not sure it is necessary.

Don’t fret yet, book-loving friend. I just don’t think a non-tactical version of books will ever fully exist (something we can assure you more on another time, in another post).

In the meantime, feed your book fanatic nature by relating to Ten Things Only Book Addicts Will Understand by Andye and plan the details of your move to a bookstore, as they aren’t vanishing. But even if neither of us ever do move into our local version of the Shop Around the Corner or Fox Books, be assured that we just won’t stop loving them because of what they first gave us--books are our love affair, after all.

What would make you want to move into a bookstore? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ethereally and unequivocally penned by Elisa (@AverageAdvocate) at www.AverageAdvocate.com “Inspiring the average American to change the world.”

She also dabbles in fiction hidden amongst others occasionally at www.LesNomsDePlume.com. She also really needs a new picture, because she hasn’t had red hair in, like, forever.


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