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?

-Melanie

Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

fairest

Summary:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall.
Who is the Fairest of them all?

Pure evil has a name, hides behind a mask of deceit, and uses her “glamour” to gain power. But who is Queen Levana? Long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in The Lunar Chronicles, Levana lived a very different story–a story that has never been told . . . until now.
New York Times -bestselling author Marissa Meyer reveals the story behind her fascinating villain in Fairest, an unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes a special full-color image of Levana’s castle and an excerpt from Winter, the exciting conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles

My Thoughts:

     I had no idea that I never reviewed Fairest!

So why am I now reviewing a book that came out back in February?

I just re-read Fairest in anticipation for Winter to release in two weeks!

The Lunar Chronicle books always released in the Spring and then Fairest came along and Winter got pushed back to, well, Winter. (okay, yes, I know that November is still Fall.)

Even still- the wait was worth it to have this gem of a novella!

Like most Lunar Chronicles readers, I have HATED Levana. She’s evil and crazy and just…awful. Fairest made me see her in a bit of a different light.

The book shows why she is the way that she is. Granted, this isn’t necessarily like some stories where you find out that she was just misunderstood all this time.

Oh, no. Make no mistake- Levana knows exactly what she’s doing and it is all intentional. However, the reader almost develops some sympathy for Levana thanks to different events—almost….ALMOST!! ….and then you remember all of the crazy things she’s done in response to the things that caused you to have sympathy for her.

So while I wouldn’t say that I really for sorry for Levana, I do feel like the novella made me “get” her to a certain extent. It was definitely a needed addition to the series in order to make sense of her character and actions.

Furthermore, it makes me all that much more excited for Winter! We know more about Winter and Princess Selene’s histories and I’m assuming that will be a large part of Winter now that we know what’s going on. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend reading Winter if you haven’t read Fairest- the information honestly seems to be THAT important!

Now—back to my Winter excitement!

Black Widow: Forever Red

 516fdRHpAZL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Info:

Enter the world of the Avengers’ iconic master spy

Natasha Romanoff is one of the world’s most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow’s infamous academy for operatives.

Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn’t really the big sister type.

Until now.

When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned-and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava’s dreams. . . .

Black Widow:Forever Red features all the heart-pounding adventure readers expect from Marvel, written by #1 New York Times best-selling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe that will thrill loyal fans and newcomers alike, as Stohl reveals the untold story of Black Widow for the very first time.

Publisher: Marvel Press/ Disney

Released: October 13, 2015

My Thoughts:

First of all…Black Widow is my hero. I’m an *aspiring* redhead aka…I pay good money to be a LEGIT LOOKING redhead even though God really blessed me with brown hair. It’s not my fault He forgot, right?

But that part is beside the point. The point is that I LOVED this book. As a Marvel fan, I’ve been wanting more of a spotlight on Black Widow for ages. Marvel thinks a solo Black Widow movie wouldn’t work even though tons of people want that to happen.

Y’all…this book reads like a movie! Non-stop action and dramatic back stories that are just what you’d expect from Black Widow.

It took a tiny bit for me to get hooked in the beginning, but…when I did get hooked I couldn’t put it down.

Plus, now a sequel has been announced!

Come on, Marvel, use this as your basis to finally make a Black Widow movie!

I can’t wait to own a hardcopy of this book instead of just a digital version because the cover art is beautiful!

-M

ALSO! As a sidenote, I currently am running a giveaway on Twitter to win a copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer in excitement for Winter’s upcoming release next month! Go to my Twitter and retweet the pinned tweet to enter by 10/31!

Monday Mindset: Fairest

This is completely new.

As in…the news just dropped maybe an hour ago.

MARISSA MEYER WROTE A PREQUEL BOOK TO THE LUNAR CHRONICLES!!!

If you follow my reads, then you know that I love this series. The Lunar Chronicles mixes two of my favorite things: SciFi and Fairy Tales.

This new book will come out just before Winter, the last book in the Lunar series, and will focus on Queen Levana.  Winter deals with Princess Winter, Levana’s stepdaughter, so it will tie into the book and have needed information.

I’m pumped and this makes the wait for Winter both easier and harder.

How long is it until January 27?

-Melanie

Here’s a link to the original article on USA Today that broke the news: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2014/06/16/marissa-meyer-fairest-book-exclusive/10573961/

Book Review: CRESS by Marissa Meyer

Image

 

Summary:

Publication Date: February 4, 2014
In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

 

My Thoughts:

I love this series. If you’ve been keeping up with my books, then you know that I’m a big fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. Ever since I read Scarlet, book 2, a couple months ago I’ve been dying for Cress. I tried everything I could find to snag an ARC of the book.

I finally succeeded. It resulted in me stalking my mailbox for almost two weeks.

I didn’t know what to expect with Cress being the 3rd book in a quartet. Would there be tons of no-action-filler-content? Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about middle book syndrome from Cress. There is hardly a break in the action!

My favorite thing about the series is how we’re introduced to a new female character each book. Cress is a take on Rapunzel and she may be my new favorite. Whereas Cinder and Scarlet were tough-kick-butt girls, Cress is AWK-WARD. Granted, she has been locked away since childhood, so it is understandable. However, her awkward, normal personality easily made her the most likable to me so far.

As for the guys, Thorne became my favorite in Scarlett and his actions in Cress just make me love him even more. Good job, Captain!

I don’t want to say too much about the storyline because I don’t want to spoil it, but the plot moves quickly. This is the largest book in the series at almost 600 pages, but I never felt overwhelmed at the length because I was completely absorbed in the action. I needed to know what was going to happen next. Were they going to overthrow Levana? Was Kai going to go through with the wedding? I NEEDED to know. Of course, we still have Winter coming out next year, so I don’t want to spoil that.

You may notice that I didn’t mention anything about Scarlet’s character. In the words of River Song, “Spoilers…”

Pick up Cress immediately if you’re a fan of this series! Otherwise, do yourself a favor and read Cinder ASAP so that you can get to know this original story!

No time to read :(

So I’m a librarian with no time to read. I’ve been slowly working trough Marissa Meyer’s Scarlet, but only at a pace of maybe 2 chapters a day. It isn’t easy to get up at 4:45 each morning and then stay awake to read when I get home from work. I’m trying though.

I’ve been revisiting some old favorite lately through my 5th and 6th grade classes. Each week I highlight a different book and read a chapter or two so that the kids get a feel for the book. So far, I’ve read parts of Holes by Louis Sachar and Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. Those were two of my favorites in middle school, so I love introducing them to my students. I’m also reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School to my 2nd graders. They come in BEGGING for me to read it and I’ve heard, “wow, chapter books are cool!” That’s exactly why I’m reading it to them. I want them to know that “big kid” books can be just as funny and cool as their picture books.

Next, send me some new release suggestions if you have any! I’m getting ready to set up some orders for my library and would love to hear what has struck a chord with everyone lately.

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Summary: 

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

 

My Review: 4.5/5

I’m not sure what took me so long to read Cinder. If there are two things that I love in the world of fiction then it is SciFi and Fairy Tales. Cinder combines my two loves and makes a unique story that loosely borrows from the story of Cinderalla.

Characters: CINDERLLA. AS. A. CYBORG MECHANIC. I loved Cinder- she was such a hardcore, tough girl lead. I enjoyed her relationship with Peony and Iko. A nice stepsister was a good twist.

Can Iko be my robot BFF?

Prince Kai—holla. I’m right here, sir! I was so rooting for him. He was so kind and torn as to how best serve his country as emperor. I can’t wait to see what is next for him and Cinder.

Concept: The lunar idea was very unique. I’m still figuring it all out and hope that more will be revealed about the world in Scarlet. I liked the brief cameo from Cress–has anyone else pictured Oswin Oswald a-la Asylum of the Daleks? No- just me?

Anyways- I highly, highly recommend Cinder. I tried going to bed around midnight last night after reading a couple of chapters, but my brain decided not to shut down until I picked up my kindle and finished.

Image