Book Recommendations: Retellings

Top Ten Tuesday(76)

Hello fellow book lovers!

Time for a couple more book recommendations! Woohoo! I absolutely love giving out book recommendations but unfortunately I don’t have a ton to ever recommend usually since I read so many different genres and sometimes I don’t like the book! However, I have a decent amount of retellings that I adored so I wanted to share a couple of them with all of you!

I will provide links to my full reviews of each book if you want some more details!

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Alice (The Chronicles of Alice #1) by Christina Henry

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This is one of my most favorite books of all time and definitely one of the top retellings! This is a very, very dark, horrific, and graphic version of “Alice in Wonderland” where the characters we all know and love are twisted versions of themselves. I have to say it’s one of the most unique retellings I’ve ever come across since it takes elements of the original story and does so many different things with them including making them absolutely horrifying.

So if you’re a fan of Alice retellings and aren’t afraid to see the darkest side of it then definitely check this one out!

You can read my full review of “Alice” here.


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Another wonderful “Alice in Wonderland” retelling that is also an origin story for the Queen of Hearts character. While the beginning half of the book was pretty slow and filled with descriptions of food and moony eyes, the end half was full of action and plot twists! It was really fun getting to see all of the different characters come into play as well!

You can read my full review of “Heartless” here.


The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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This is an AMAZING “Aladdin” retelling where the genie is a female and falls in love with Aladdin. However, there is plenty of action and great world building so this isn’t just a romance focused story! On top of the unique plot there is Khoury’s beautiful writing, seriously it’s just so gorgeous and made reading this book such a breeze! There is also some kickass feminist themes as well since Princess Caspida and her Watchmaidens are basically Robin Hood and are super badass.

You can read my full review of “The Forbidden Wish” here.


Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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A “Peter Pan” retelling that centeralizes around the character of Tiger Lily, it’s narrated by Tinkerbell as she watches Tiger Lily grow and eventually watches the romance the develops between her and Peter Pan. It’s a very warped version of Neverland that we see in this story it’s dark and very saddening. Overall I highly recommend reading this one just for the unique take on Neverland as well as the story of Tiger Lily but be warned you’re probably going to cry!

You can read my full review of “Tiger Lily” here.


Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry

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Another “Peter Pan” retelling but, as the title states, it’s the origin story of Captain Hook. Like with “Alice” Christina Henry takes the Neverland we all know and love and flips it upside down, this is a dark and very gritty version filled with many horrors both monstrous and more realistic. Trust me when I say you probably won’t be the biggest fan of Peter anymore……

You can read my full review of “Lost Boy” here.


Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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This is it’s own unique story but it also weaves in four other retellings throughout as well. That’s right, four! We get to see Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Hua Mulan, and Jane Austen’s Emma and while I can’t really speak for the Emma retelling I can tell you the other three are well represented within the main story line. I recommend checking this book out for the great story and world building alongside the retellings too!

You can read my full review of “Kingdom of Ash and Briars” here.


The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

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This is a “Little Mermaid” retelling with a F/F romance and quite a bit of Norse mythology weaved in as well. While I did have a couple problems with this book I generally did really enjoy it and thought it was a really unique take on the “Little Mermaid” story as well as adding in a bunch of original elements as well.

You can read my full review of “The Seafarer’s Kiss” here.

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Have you read any of these books yet? What did you think?

What are some of your favorite retellings?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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ARC Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

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Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

review

**** Big thank you to Duet Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

**** Potential Trigger Warning: Abuse/Violence in a Relationship****

This was a very unique and enjoyable book that is a retelling of The Little Mermaid with an F/F romance as well as some Norse mythology! How does that NOT grab your attention immediately?

PLOT

So as I already mentioned I thought the plot for this story is extremely creative because not only do we see a lot of unique twists on The Little Mermaid tale but we also see a world based off of Norse mythology. I loved how this was it’s own story but we still got to see some plot points similar to the original tale!

I also really loved the setting with the various sea creatures and the mermaids themselves. It was fun to have the story told from the perspective of someone that lives underwater, just something different!

Overall though I found the story to be very engaging and fast paced, it’s also a very short book so it’s definitely a quick read! My favorite part was easily when Ersel makes a deal with Loki, the God of Lies, and must be very clever in order to outwit the trickster god. Something about characters outwitting powerful gods is always fun to read about!

The world building was also very interesting, while it wasn’t expanded upon a whole lot we do know it’s based off of Norse mythology since the Norse gods are present. I also really enjoyed the bits where we learned about the mermaids’ world and Ragna’s very viking-esque world too. I wish there would have been a little more depth with the last two but I’m content enough.

Overall the reason I rated this 3.5 stars instead of 4 or 5 is because I felt that the story was a little rushed and could have used a little more complexity in my opinion.

characters

The characters were fun enough and I really loved both Ersel and Ragna on their own and together. Ersel is very brave, clever, and learns to overcome her flaws and Ragna is straight up fierce but I’d expect nothing less from a shield maiden.

I’d also just like to add that I loved Loki too but then again when do I ever not love Loki’s characters?

However, I do wish there was more development with the characters. Yes, we get to see some of them overcome their flaws and that always adds some complexity but I would have liked to have gotten some more insight into the characters somehow.

romance

I REALLY loved the romance in this story, plain and simple! As I mentioned above this is an F/F romance mainly but Ersel, the main character, is bisexual. I personally thought it was portrayed well but I can’t say truthfully since I am neither. Still I thought the author did a good job! I shipped Ersel and Ragna a lot I thought they were both great characters on their own and together they were even better.

The only real problem I had with the relationship is that at one point they both hit each other, which IS abuse I don’t care if it’s heat of the moment it’s never okay. So I’d say there’s a trigger warning for abuse in this story. I also didn’t really like how it was glossed over as being alright and they’re 100% fine afterward.

in conclusion

I really enjoyed this story and found it to be a wonderfully imaginative retelling. It was a fun, quick read! I also think the cover is gorgeous, FYI!

What I Loved:

  • Fast pacing
  • Creative world building and story
  • Great F/F romance
  • Diversity with F/F romance and bisexual character
  • Inclusion of Norse mythology
  • Good characters

What I Didn’t Love:

  • I thought the story could have been a little more complex
  • Plot felt rushed at times
  • One instance of abuse with the main relationship

RECOMMEND

I do recommend reading this book since I thought it was fun and something very unique! Really my only real big complaint is that one instance of abuse/violence in the main relationship.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

May Releases I’m Excited For!

Top Ten Tuesday(55)

I’ve decided to do a post up the beginning of each month about upcoming releases, I used to do them up way ahead of the time (like the first half of the year etc.) but it’s much more exciting to talk about them when they’re coming out right away! Plus May is PLUMP full of some amazing releases!

I’ll link up each title to their Goodreads page so you can check them out or add them to your TBRs as well! Also keep in mind these are ordered by release date from the beginning of the month to the end.

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Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Into the Water

So I really enjoyed “The Girl on the Train” but it wasn’t something that completely blew me away like, let’s say, Gillian Flynn’s books. However, like I said I did like it and people who didn’t like it are saying this new book of hers is even better so of course I’m excited to read it! Especially since I love dark, twisted, and slightly confusing mystery/thrillers!


Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)

This one sounds super unique and exciting, it’s about a bunch of kids in an experimental procedure to help insomnia and end up getting trapped in a dreamworld with their worst nightmares. This just seems like it’d have a super eerie atmosphere too!


The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Release Date: May 4th, 2017

The Seafarer's Kiss

This was SUPPOSED to be released on the 30th of this month and I do have an ARC of it but now I have to hustle up and read it right away since it’s May 4th. Anyways though this is a short retelling of The Little Mermaid with a F/F romance!


The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Release Date: May 16th, 2017

The Love Interest

This sounds like a really fun twist on a YA trope! It’s about two guys who were “trained” as love interests and must both compete for the same girl but end up falling for each other.


Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Release Date: May 16th, 2017

Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)

Okay must I explain this one? I think we are ALL pumped for Renee Ahdieh’s new book! There’s a lot going on in the plot but mainly it’s set in a type of Japanese style fantasy world where the main character dresses as a boy in order to infiltrate an enemy clan in order to exact revenge. It sounds like non-stop action and is almost guaranteed to be a five star read!


Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

Release Date: May 16th, 2017

Violet Grenade

A homeless girl, Domino,  is offered a spot in a Madam’s girl’s home where she competes with other girls to gain the Madam’s approval. Everyone in the home has secrets but Domino’s is the worst of them all.

I’m not 100% sure what exactly this book is supposed to be about but it sounds super interesting, I like when all the characters are dirty, twisted, secret-keeping manipulators!


When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Release Date: May 30th, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi

This book seems like it is going to be fun, heart-warming, and absolutely adorable! It’s about two Indian-American teenagers whose parents have arranged for them to be married.


One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Release Date: May 30th, 2017

One of Us Is Lying

When I first read the premise I was 100% sold on this book because it sounds almost EXACTLY like The Breakfast Club but with detention ending in murder.  It just sounds awesome!


House of Furies by Madeleine Roux

Release Date: May 30th, 2017

House of Furies (House of Furies, #1)

I’m down to read anything that is remotely creepy since there aren’t enough YA Horror books! This one is about a boarding house where the owner and staff pass judgement and execute their guests……


Dark Breaks The Dawn by Sara B. Larson

Release Date: May 30th, 2017

Dark Breaks the Dawn

YA fantasy with magic powers, shapeshifting, wars, and evil kings! I’m worried this may be another standard YA fantasy book but one can hope……


Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Release Date: May 30th, 2017

Royal Bastards

Basically this book’s title is self explanatory, it’s about the kingdom’s royal bastards teaming up to prevent a civil war. Sounds fun since we usually read more stories about true-born princes and princesses but never the King or Queen’s bastard children!

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Are you also looking forward to any of these books?

Have you read any of them yet (ARCs etc)?

What are some May releases I didn’t include that you’re looking forward to?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy