5

Waiting on Wednesday: Cress

Hi there!

Every week I participate in Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine). Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme where we get the chance to shine the spotlight on upcoming releases that I’m anticipating.

Today I’m incredibly excited about a book that won’t be released until February 2014!

Yes I know! It is like cruel and unusual punishment that we have to wait that long for Cress by Marissa Meyer!

Cress by Marissa MeyerRapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

The first two books in this series, Cinder and Scarlet, are just fantastic. If you haven’t read these books yet, you definitely should. We all know that I’m a massive fairy tale retelling fan and what better way to retell fairy tales than in a sci-fi setting?! Plus there is so much Firefly connections all over this series it makes me want to dance with delight! Seriously. Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite?! How freaking cool does that sound?!

Cress isn’t scheduled to release until February 4, so I have a while to wait! Oh the agony!

2

YALL Fest Author Interview: Shannon Hale

SQUUUUUEEEEEE!

I’m so fangirling right now!

Why?! Because today’s YALL Fest interview is with Shannon Hale! YES! Shannon Hale!

ShannonHaleThe very Shannon Hale whose book Princess Academy was one of the books I credit with turning me on to Young Adult and Middle Grades fiction! The Shannon Hale who does my favorite genre (fairy tales retold) so perfectly! The Shannon Hale who wrote a novel about a Jane Austen vacation resort (Austenland)!

Seriously, Shannon Hale is seriously my favorite YA author. I even got to meet her once in Orlando at the FAME (Florida Association of Media in Education) conference!

Now do you see why I’m as excited as I am?!

Well, now that you know she’s pretty much my favorite YA author let’s take a look at her interview.

————-

Describe your book in 5 words
Boarding school for children of famous fairytales.

Best writing tip you ever received?
People remember a story for its characters.

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?
“The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks” by E. Lockhart. It’s smart, engaging, and
discusses so many things I was struggling with.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
I have 4 kids (including identical girl toddler twins). My husband likes to wear masks and hide
around the house to scare me. I like to read while lying on my belly. I love the sky. I’m not a very good
speller.

What are you working on now?
The third Princess Academy book.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale Austenland by Shannon Hale

A third Princess Academy book?! YAY!! I adore Miri and all her friends so I can’t wait for this! Also, I think it’s pretty cool that she mentions The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart because I’m currently listening to the audiobook! How cool is that?

I think that Shannon Hale would really fun to hang out with and discuss Mr. Darcy while relaxing in Austenland, but since no real Austenland actually exists (that I’m aware of) I’ll settle for seeing her at this year’s YALL Fest in Charleston, SC on November 9.

If you’re not already planning on going to YALL Fest, you totally should. And if you haven’t already read any of Shannon Hale’s books you absolutely totally should!

7

I Felt So Much Love: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Hi guys!

Can you get any better than fairy tale retellings?! I don’t think so! They’re my favorite genre and I can’t get enough of them!  Espeically, if they’re retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, my favorite fairy tale. Well, that just so happens to be exactly why I felt so much love for Entwined by Heather Dixon!

Entwined by Heather DixonAzalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation. Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest. But there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

When I first saw this book at my school book fair a while back I was knew it had to one day be mine. Look at the gorgeousness of this cover! It screams “READ ME CHRISTINA!” Entwined‘s cover is the quintessential Christina book cover…a girl in a gorgeous gown. I know it’s so girly and silly, but chances are if your cover has a girl in a beautiful gown, I’m going to enjoy it!

Have I mentioned that I loved this book? I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was fabulous. Her voices were just enough and not over done, which can be hard to do. She was pretty soothing with that accent!

What can be difficult in retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses is making all twelve of those sisters standout. I’ve read some versions of this fairy tale, where the sisters are kind of just lumped into little groups. I didn’t feel like the younger sisters were just two-dimensional paper characters in Entwined. I felt like Dixon nicely fleshed out each sister well and I could see glimpses of their individual personalities shine .

Throughout the entire story, I was soooo flipping mad at The King! I mean I know I’m supposed to be, but I just wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him! I kept mentally yelling, “Dude, I know you’re grieving…but seriously, you can’t just emotionally and physically abandon your TWELVE daughters! They need you in this darkest time!” But I guess if he did what I wanted him to do, we wouldn’t have a story now would we?! See? The authors always know best!

And how about Mr. Creeper…I mean Mr. Keeper?! Creepy McCreeperton to the core! His character was absolutely exactly what it should be…charming, scary and ever so manipulative. Actually, there was so much in this story that reminded me of a feminist lit class I took in college where we looked at abusive relationships in fairy tales, and oh would Mr. Keeper be an interesting one to discuss! But anywhoo…let’s not forget about all the talk of the stitching and soul keeping (no spoilers but you’ll get it if you read it) was enough to give me nightmares had I actually dwelled on it!

 I’m a major sucker for fairy tale romances and there was some good romance in Entwined! So, yes…I thought this book was awesome and think that you should read it, especially if you’re in the mood for a good old fashion fairy tale retelling!

Author: Heather Dixon

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (March 29, 2011)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 50 mins

Narrator(s): Mandy Williams

Series: standalone

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Entwined

22

Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I Want More Of

Well hello there! Welcome back!

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and Bookish that I participate in on a weekly basis. This week the theme is Top Ten Settings I’d Like to Read More Of.  I’m not sure why, but this was a difficult list for me to create. But I did finally manage it! There are probably tons of books with these settings out there but I just need to find and read them!

So here we go:

1. London: Be it historical or contemporary I love books set in London. Really, I’ll take stories set anywhere in the UK! I’m a total Anglophile and proud of it!London

2. Boarding Schools: If your book is set in a boarding school chances are I’ll pick it up. I just love the idea of being away from home and kind of on your own in a new place.

3. Under the sea: I’ve only read a few mermaid novels, but I think I could really get used to this genre.

4. Amish Country: The Amish are completely fascinating and I am always up for a story set in this community.AmishCountry

5. Colonial America: As a history major in college American colonial history has always intrigued me.  Give me more of this!

6. Florida: Who doesn’t want more books set where they live? It’s fun to read about places you’re familiar with!

7. Wild West Space: Like my beloved Firefly. I like to believe that the future is actually more like the wild west with space travel and Chinese curse words.

Firefly8. Fairy Tale Lands: Fairy tale retellings are one of my favorite genres so I will gladly accept any novels set in fairy tale lands!

9. Steampunk worlds: I think I just need to read more YA steampunk novels because I know they’re out there. Although I love this genre I think I prefer a mild steampunk setting to a high one.

10. Futuristic dystopian societies: I know this sounds super trendy, and some people may be over dystopian fiction, but I sincerely love this setting and have since I read A Handmaid’s Tale in high school. More YA dystopia!

So there you have it! My nerdiness has been revealed now that you know I want more Amish, steampunk and mermaid themed settings in books! My husband will laugh at me if he reads this post…haha

Am I the only nerd out there or are some of these settings that you’d like to read more of?

2

Waiting on Wednesday: Strands of Bronze and Gold

Hi there!

Every week I like to participate in Breaking the Spine’s Waiting on Wednesday event.  This meme was created with the purpose of bringing some attention to an upcoming new release.

Today I am waiting Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson, which seems to be a retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her over-generous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

If you follow my blog at all, you probably know by now that I’m a lover of retold fairy tales.  Seriously I LOVE them!  I have to admit that although I’ve heard of the Bluebeard story, I haven’t read it and really don’t know what it’s about.  I do know that I love this cover and the summary intrigues me.  According to GoodReads, Strands of Bronze and Gold won’t be released until March 12, 2013 by Random House Children’s Books, so I have a little ways to go before I can read it.

 

2

A Classic Fairy Tale Whodunit: A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

Well hello there!

It’s been a while since I posted a review, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading! Work and life just got so busy that I had time to read, but not blog about what I was reading!  But I’m back!

Recently I listened to the audiobook of A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine, and I highly recommend it!

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carsen LevineMysteries abound, especially in Two Castles. A handsome cat trainer, black-and-white cats, thieves on four legs and two, suspicious townsfolk, a greedy king, a giddy princess, a shape-shifting ogre, a brilliant dragon. Which is the villainous whited sepulcher?

Elodie journeys to the town of Two Castles to become a mansioner—an actress—but luck is against her. She is saved from starvation by the dragon Meenore, who sends her on a dangerous mission inside the ogre’s castle. There, disguised as a kitchen maid at an ogre’s feast, she finds herself cast in the role of a lifetime and pitted against a foe intent on murder.

Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine weaves an entrancing tale of a fearsome ogre, a dragon detective, and a remarkable heroine, who finds friendship where she least expects it, learns that there are many ways to mansion, and discovers that goodness and evil come in all shapes and sizes.

Gail Cars0n Levine never lets me down! I adored this book! Fairy tales are one of my favorite genre and this one is so unique because it is a fairy tale murder mystery. Seriously there is so much fun medieval fairy tale stuff in this book, mixed in with intrigue and is a classic “whodunit”.

Teenage Elodie is our enchanting main character who travels to a new city in search of the chance to become an actress. I really fell for Elodie right away with all her naivety, intelligence, creativity and boldness. She is funny, sweet and strong main character. In fact, she is the only character who is exactly as she seems.

All in all this is a middle grades murder mystery set in a fabulous fairy tale setting, where Elodie must figure out who is truly deserving of her trust. Fans of Levine’s previous titles (especially Ella Enchanted) will really enjoy A Tale of Two Castles. Also, if you’re looking for a well narrated audiobook, definitely pick up this one! The narrator, Sarah Coomes, had some great voices, especially the one for the dragon Meenore!

Author: Gail Carson Levine

Publisher: HarperTeen (May 10, 2011)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins

Narrator(s): Sarah Coomes

Series: standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: A Tale of Two Castles

1

So Legally Blonde: My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Hello there!

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison is the seventh of the fifteen Florida Sunshine Book I’ve read this summer.

My Fair Godmother by Janette RallisonFinding your one true love can be a Grimm experience! After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight.

When I first saw the 2012-2013 Sunshine State list, I could tell automatically by the cover that its my type of book!  The title and cover just scream “FAIRY TALE!” which you know I love (!) I know you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I do and I don’t care!  Isn’t it (the cover) adorable!?

So yea, I completely, 100% love fairy tales re-tellings and mash-ups.  There is just something so fun about hearing a story you’ve heard since childhood be told in a different way.  My Fair Godmother has smatterings of Cinderella, Snow White and other fairy tales mixed all up into one giant fun story!

At first I actually liked Jane best, but soon I came to love her sister Savannah even more.  This surprised me at first because Jane is so bookish and focused on school, which was totally me in high school, so I had a hard time when Savannah actually turns out to be the main character. But in the end, like I said, I came to love Savannah and she makes a likable, if not flawed, main character.

Savannah’s fairy, I mean fair, godmother is hilariously bad at what she does. I love the idea of a fairy godmother who is more concerned with shopping and socializing than her actual magical  work.  Chrysanthemum Everstar adds a very Legally Blonde-like atmosphere to the story which is just adorable.

So, all in all My Fair Godmother is an incredibly enjoyable trip down fairy tale lane that I know my students will enjoy and you will too if you’re a fairy tale fan.  Also, I’m going to have to get my grubby little fairy-tale-loving fingers on the sequel, My Unfair Godmother!

Author: Janette Rallison

Publisher: Walker Childrens (December 22, 2009)

Format: paperback

Length: 320 pages

Series: First in a series

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: My Fair Godmother

Standard
4

I Really Wanted to Like It: Beastly by Alex Flinn

Well hi there!

Let’s talk Beastly by Alex Flinn.

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with Beastly by Alex Flinnfangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell. Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

So, Beastly is a modern-day retelling of the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, set in New York City. Beauty and the Beast had always been one of my favorite fairy tales ever. I felt a that Beauty (at least the Disney version of her) was a kindred spirit since she always had her nose in a book. She’s bookish and I’ve always loved that about her. I’ve always loved this story so you’d think I would have loved a modern retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales. Well, you’d think so, but you’d be wrong. I was pretty disappointed in Beastly. Flinn’s version of the story just didn’t connect with me.

I’m not usually a fan of male main characters, so maybe that has something to do with my disappointment. I just couldn’t like Kyle Kingsbury. Yeah I know he transforms from his snooty, wealthy, narcissistic self into someone kinder and more gentle, but I still just didn’t like him. I also felt that Linda (our story’s Beauty), although bookish and nerdy (yay!), was pretty boring and one-sided. Now, this could have also been the fact that I listened to this on audiobook and wasn’t impressed with the narrator’s female voices. Oh well.

This is pretty much a point for point retelling of the classic tale without much new to add to it other than the setting. I will say, that I did enjoy the chat room scenes. Kyle joins an online support group for those who have been magically transformed and meets some other famous fairy tale characters, like the Bear in Snow White and Rose Red (another of my faves!), the Frog from the Frog Prince and the Little Mermaid. These scenes are super cute, fun and too far and few between. Other than those bright scenes the rest of this story was slow going and I had to force myself to finish it.

So, overall I was disappointed in this story. I had high hopes because I love fairy tales retold and I’ve so many people recommend Alex Flinn’s books to me. I really, really wanted to enjoy it, it just fell flat with me. Maybe I started with the wrong Alex Flinn book? Suggestions anyone? Now, just because I wasn’t a huge fan, it doesn’t mean others won’t enjoy Beastly, in fact I know many who do. If you’re into fairy tale retellings go ahead and give this one a try, it might end up being something you like!

Author: Alex Flinn

Publisher: Brilliance Audio (June 22, 2010)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins

Narrator(s): Chris Patton

Series: First in The Kendra Chronicles

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Beastly

8

Waiting on Wednesday: The Treachery of Beautiful Things

Happy Wednesday!  One more day of the school year left! Holla!

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and the purpose is to spotlight upcoming new releases.

This week I wanted to share The Treachery of Beautiful Things Ruth Frances Long‘s debut Young Adult novel.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances LongFirst, take a look at that cover!  Isn’t it gorgeous?!  I’m a total sucker for covers with girls in decadent gowns and this one rivals the best of them! Can I please just wear it for a few hours one afternoon?  I think that would satisfy my gown lust!

Now, on to the summary.  I’m a massive fairy tale fan so I’m intrigued in this book for sure.

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she’s lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack’s help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she’s faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice–and not just her own

 But wait.  Fairy tale?  Yes.  Kinda creepy? Yes!  “The trees swallowed her brother whole…” What in the?!  That sentence alone both excites and scares me all at the same time!
I honestly can’t wait to dig into The Treachery of Beautiful Things and it doesn’t look like I have too long to wait since Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin) has announced this book will be released this coming August 16th!
What do you think?  Are you waiting on The Treachery of Beautiful Things too? Or is another title forcing you to be patient this week?