Monday Musing: Fairytales and Retellings

Happy February 29!

I always think Leap years are neat for some reason. I get the point of them, but understanding the way the sun and earth rotations work almost feels…magical. So what better thing to talk about than fairytales!

There have been fairytale retellings for YEARS, but lately there seems to be an influx in the number of them. I can only assume that the popularity decided more were needed in the world. Either way, I love this trend

I especially love series like The Lunar Chronicles and A Court of Thorns and Roses that take their story in a completely  different direction, yet still give you a hint about the original story.

Even better- lately there have been different stories getting the retelling treatment. Books such as The Wrath and the Dawn and The Forbidden Wish have provided readers with takes on Thousand and One Nights and Aladdin. Those stories are known, but they’re not remade quite as often as say Cinderella or Snow White (i.e. ALL THE TIME).

Regardless on your feelings on fairytales, it seems as though there is a take on them available for any type of reader!

What recent fairytale retelling is your favorite?


Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes



The New York Times bestseller, soon to be a major motion picture; US release on June 3, 2016.

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

My Thoughts:

I’ve wanted to read this book forever! I had friends recommend it well before the  movie news. They each talked about how amazing the story was and how much they cried over the things that take place in the novel.

Maybe I missed something there?

It was a sweet story and I did enjoy it, but I still had some serious issues with it.

My biggest issue is that it is able a disabled person showing an able bodied person how to live life. I’m not sure if it would’ve worked the other way around, but it bothered me that Louisa was content to NOT stand up for herself and have actual goals.

Sure, she eventually started to think of how she could better her life, but she still wasn’t 100% sold on the idea. She would have otherwise been stuck in her simple life with Patrick had it not been for finally branching out some.

Further still, I had a problem with the ending. Not to spoil the entire thing,  but it just didn’t give the message that the disabled can still live their best life and strive to do more. Not in the slightest.

Those feelings aside, I liked the book, but it was still weird just for those two problems. I will still watch the movie when it releases because I’m a masochist for sad romances, but I still just don’t agree with the way that the novel approaches the disabled.

Sure, there are probably people who feel the way Will does about their own lives, but the book just didn’t send the right message in my mind.

Either way, it is still worth a read and is still a beautiful story that is a good, quick read.


Movie Review: Deadpool



A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.

My Thoughts:

First of all, welcome to my first movie review that doesn’t have to do with a book. Okay, there’s the comics, but still. Should I have even put that little summary? Everyone should know about Deadpool because the movie had a HUGE release.

I’m a fan of the character, so I was among the many people people who have been waiting for the movie for ages. I can’t really explain my excitement even, but it was unreal.

Now to the important things: Ryan Reynolds doesn’t just play Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds IS Deadpool. He was absolutely PERFECT. I knew going into it that it was either going to be perfect or awful. There wasn’t going to be a middle ground, but it worked.

Sure, the language was terrible and it had some rough content, but guess what- that’s exactly how the character is. All of the “inappropriate” stuff is exactly how he is.

With that in mind, everything worked like it should have.

My only complaint is WHY on earth are there still parents that are taking their YOUNG children to see it? It is entirely inappropriate for most children. Sure some teens under 17 would probably be okay – I get how teens are these days- but it shouldn’t be for kids or younger teens.

Parents- use discretion and DON’T take your children if they’re under at LEAST 15. This isn’t a typical Marvel film as the media has pointed out countless times.

But, to those who see it, ENJOY! You’re in for a hilarious, though gorey movie!


Waiting on Wednesday: The Way I Used to Be



In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

Why am I excited though?

This book instantly grabbed me by being compared to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. That is one of my all-time favorite books and I’ve been waiting for another book of that level for years. In fact, I’ve taught Speak before, and, while difficult in content matter, it never loses its importance.

That said, I’m so excited for this one! I’ve heard only good things, so I’m hoping that it will live up to the excitement that I have for it. I have an ARC and am hoping to read it soon, but I already am anticipating getting it for school next year and sharing it with students who will love its message of speaking out.




Monday Musings: Novellas and Short Stories

Unpopular opinion time…

I’m not big on releasing novellas and short stories for books.

First of all, I shouldn’t have to read something extra to get the “whole” story. It should all be in the actual book.


I don’t mind if they’re side stories (See: The recently released Stars Above companion to the Lunar Chronicles).

That way means that it can be read entirely separate from the other books and that’s okay.

I also don’t like when these side stories are digital release only. There is a huge market of readers who don’t read digitally for whatever reason. I think this is especially a problem for teen readers who do not have access to the money to order online even if they DO have an ereader.

What IS okay? I love when those stories are combined into one book (see: the Dorothy Must Die books). Those stories might be necessary to the work as a whole, but they still get released in hard format even if it takes multiple volumes.

Personally, I have the capacity to buy short stories however I want, so I shouldn’t have a problem with it since it doesn’t outright effect me, BUT I have students ask about the associated short stories to different books all the time and it is difficult to explain to them that they are digital only. My students have a tough time hearing “sorry, you have to buy it if you want to read that one.” That doesn’t work well for teens.

So…overall, what do YOU think of short stories or novellas?

Let me know!


Friday Fix: The Crown and the Arrow excerpt


The wait for The Rose and the Dagger releasing in May is entirely too long!

However, there is a novella releasing on March 1 that will help with the wait.

EVEN BETTER—Bustle just released the first CHAPTER to the upcoming novella!

Go check it out HERE and get even more excited for both releases!

Monday Musings: OTSPsecretsister thoughts


OTSP Secret Sister Project!

For those who DON’T know what this is- it’s a secret pal  project started by 3 awesome bloggers to help encourage a new friend. There are different levels to the project as far as how much you should spend each more and you also send cards and notes of cheer throughout the month. Each round lasts 6 months and this is the 4th time they have ran the program!

Anyways…this is my second time to participate. I did it last month and had a blast! I had the BEST secret sister sending to me…shoutout to Marissa from Growing Up Booknerd. She’s the sweetest and I had so much fun getting to know her and was SO excited to finally learn that she’s who was sending to me. You’re my pretend little sister whether you like it or not, girl!

I got to send to my new other new friend Henna, who doesn’t blog, but it an avid reader and active on twitter in the book community. I had so much fun shopping for her each month and seeing her reactions to the things that I sent!

Aside from those two ladies, I made even MORE friends! There were so many people I met through the program that I wouldn’t have otherwise met- a few even in my area! Plus, the entire community is just so encouraging and supportive. I highly suggest getting to know people in this program if you don’t already.

So why am I posting about it now?

A new round started last Monday!

I’m so excited to have a new secret sister to send things to and to encourage. This is going to be fun and I may or may not have immediately started searching for things as soon as I got the email telling me who I had.

It’s going to be a fun 6 months, y’all!

Let me know if you participate and I don’t already follow you here or on twitter!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Rose and the Dagger



(Taken from Goodreads)

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Why I’m excited:

The Wrath and the Dawn was easily one of my favorite books from 2015. Honestly, there wasn’t any question about it being a favorite!

However…this is how I felt at the end of Wrath:



It was an amazing book, but that ENDING. I’ve been dying for Rose  ever since I finished the first book. It was a wild ride and then had an abrupt ending that left me chomping at the bits for more.

Let’s be real though- that’s exactly what a book SHOULD do!

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the first book at RT Convention last year and I’ve done nothing, but sing it’s praises since then.

I’m excited that this is a duology because I don’t think I could take another wait like the last cliffhanger! Plus, that just means we can see what else the author has up her sleeves with something entirely different!

Have you read Wrath and the Dawn and if so are you just as ready for this next installment as I am?


Release day blitz: Starflight by Melissa Landers


Hey there, booklovers!


I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of STARFLIGHT, the first in a brand new sci-fi series from Disney-Hyperion. I originally pitched this story to my editor as “Overboard” (one of my favorite romantic comedies) meets “Firefly” (an amazing show that was tragically cancelled after one season). STARFLIGHT follows the misadventures of Solara Brooks, a penniless felon who indentures herself to her high school nemesis, Doran Spaulding, in exchange for passage to a new world. But when Doran’s memory is temporarily erased, Solara convinces him their roles are reversed—that she’s the master and he’s the servant—and leads him onto a renegade spaceship, where intergalactic shenanigans ensue. STARFLIGHT is very different in tone from the Alienated trilogy, but the story is still filled with all the things I love: humor, heart, and adventure.


What do reviewers have to say?


“Get ready for blast-off! Action-packed and utterly addictive, nobody writes like Melissa Landers. A smart, satisfying romance set in a vividly detailed world, Starflight was just plain fun!” –New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman


“Teens will be bracing themselves during the swashbuckling action scenes. A great choice for fans of raw sci-fi action, reminiscent of the lawlessness presented in the television series Firefly.” –School Library Journal


“A lively tale of romance, space pirates, conspiracy, and made (as opposed to genetic) families.” –Booklist


If you like your sci-fi adventure served with a side of romance, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of STARFLIGHT today. It’s now available in stores and online.



Barnes & Noble:

Book Depository (free international shipping):

Indie Bound:


To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a STARFLIGHT swag pack, complete with custom nail wraps, bookmarks, and a mini poster! The giveaway is open internationally. Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.


Best of luck, and happy reading!

Monday Musings: Stand-Alones vs Series


Happy Monday and welcome to February!

The choice between stand alone novels or series is one that has come up quite a bit lately in conversations between friends and at work.

Quite overwhelmingly, my kids at work seem to prefer series against a stand along book and I can’t quite understand it based on the reasons I hear from people who prefer stand-alone novels.

For example, I have a friend who will purposely NOT read a series until the series is completed. It drove her nuts that she binged the Selection series only for the Heir books to happen—doesn’t matter that those can be read separately since the first series is completed and doesn’t have a cliffhanger to the next series.

Me, on the other hand, I’ll read a series as it releases and maybe I re-read before the next installment or maybe I don’t—but there is NO way that I could just wait for the entire thing to be done.

However, my kids at work are similar to my friend. I recently did a huge order at the library and several students just couldn’t handle having to wait for the next book in several series. The worst was when the next book released after I’d ordered and they couldn’t understand how school library ordering works and that I couldn’t just up and order the next one from Amazon.

In closing…

Truthfully, I read both- that’s kind of obvious around here, but I can absolutely see both sides of the argument. Sometimes you want more and sometimes the wait is just too agonizing with a cliffhanger.

I think this .gif pretty much sums up this endless debate…

giphy-4  the painful failure obviously being a cruel, cruel cliffhanger 🙂

SO which do YOU prefer?