Amanda’s Favorite Retellings

Hey, lovelies! I used to read so many retellings, fairytale, folklore, and mythological retellings were a huge favorite genre of mine for a really long time. But I think I’m growing out of that. I’ve noticed that I don’t gravitate toward picking them up anymore. I will say that I do still read mythological retellings, and pretty often, especially now that we’re branching away from the typical Greek and Roman mythologies. I’ve also been discovering retellings other than fairytale and folklore. You will find some of those on this list. So, today I want to share some retellings that I really enjoyed.

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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
This is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses which was one of my favorite fairytales as a kid. I’d never read a retelling of this one before, and I think this one was excellent. I don’t know if it’s actually considered horror, but it definitely has some horror elements. Annaleigh is one of twelve siblings. But four of her siblings have died, one at a time, and Annaleigh doesn’t think that they were accidents. I really loved this book. It stayed true to the heart of the 12 Dancing Princesses fairytale and added some really cool horror elements. The setting was creepy and atmospheric.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
This is a Sherlock Holmes retelling, sort of. This is a four book series that follows Charlotte Homes and Jamie Watson. They are the descendents of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Charlotte and Jamie find themselves at the same boarding school and when a student is found murdered, they obviously must solve the mystery. I loved this whole series. There are a lot of hard hitting topics like mental health and drug use. There’s even a little bit of romance. This is one of the books I was talking about when I said I was finding and enjoying retellings outside of fairytales. This is a retelling of an older book series and I thought it was so interesting and I loved all of the characters.

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The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin
We have here a Henry VIII retelling. I actually didn’t know that this was a Shakespeare retelling until after I finished it. I think I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t read it in the description as I’m not a fan of Shakespeare at all. Despite that, I really enjoyed this modern retelling. I thought the mystery was well done and I really liked the characters. We follow Annie, nicknamed “Cleves”, and Henry. They are best friends, but they also briefly dated. Out of all of Henry’s ex-girlfriends, Cleves is the only one that has remained friends with him. She doesn’t think there’s anything suspicious about that, but after talking to some of his ex’s she might be changing her mind. I liked the mystery in this one because I couldn’t decide whether of not Henry was actually guilty right until the end of the book.

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The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis
This one is more inspired by than a true retelling, but I really loved it so I had to add it to this list. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, this is a dark and gritty story of revenge. In a small town in Ohio lives Tress and Felicity, two girls that used to be best friends. When Tress’s parents went missing, Felicity was with them, but she claims not to remember anything about what happened. Tress doesn’t believe her and she’s determined to get the truth out of Felicity, even if that means sealing her up, brick by brick. This book was weird and dark as hell and I cannot wait for the sequel.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
This series is a pretty popular one, but this first book is my favorite of the series. It’s a historical retelling with a fantasy twist. This one is a bit less retelling than it is fantasy. We follow Lady Jane Grey as she’s about to become queen. But her cousin is determined to see her married. The only problem is that the love interest, G, turns into a horse everyday at dawn. This added some hilarity to the story. I loved this book because it was funny but it also had an interesting historical feel.

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Another popular one, but this is the origin story of the Queen of Hearts. We get to see her childhood and the events that led up to the Queen of Hearts that we know from Alice in Wonderland. There’s lots of baking and love and fun in this book. There’s love and romance, but also betrayal and heartbreak. I thought this was a really great retelling or rather a prequel story.

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
This one is more of an after sort of retelling. In this one, we get to see what happens to Cinderella’s stepsisters after Cinderella meets and marries her Prince Charming. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this one because the main character that we follow, Isabelle. She’s the stepsister that cut off her toes to try and fit in the glass slipper. Isabelle is a pretty unlikeable character, but the way that this story is told really helped that. Instead of just Isabelle’s perspective, we see a point of view from Fate, who is following the map of Isabelle’s life. They’re watching to see what path Isabelle might take and if she will veer away from the path expected for her. I thought this was a really unique retelling about a character that most people don’t think of in the Cinderella story.

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And I Darken by Kiersten White
We have a historical retelling, which surprisingly end up being some of my favorites. I don’t really love historical fiction, but there’s something about a really good historical retelling that keeps me engaged in the story. We follow Lada and Radu. This is a gender bent retelling of Vlad the Impaler. Lada is a vicious and angry girl. She’s determined to prove that she is worthy to her father, but when she and her brother, Radu, are sent as gifts to be raised in the Ottoman courts, she feels nothing but betrayal. This is a really slow moving story, but it’s so worth it. We see Lada grow from a vicious girl into a lethal young woman. I absolutely loved it.

These are some of my favorite retellings. I’ve had so much fun finding new kinds of retellings from alternate historical retellings to retellings of other fiction works, to some more unique fairytale and folklore stories. Do you have any favorite retellings? Leave a comment and share them with me!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twelve: Books & Baking – Heartless

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Hi, lovelies! I’m back for round two of the newest blog feature here at Classy x Book Reviews: Books & Baking. This edition we will be focusing on the book Heartless by Marissa Meyer.

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Book: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Read my full review here!

I listened to this one on audio. It was actually a reread for me as well. I still really enjoyed it. The narrator, as I mention in my review, is my all-time favorite. Rebecca Soler is just an incredible audiobook narrator. The story itself is a fun time with whimsy and nonsense until it finds it’s way to a darker ending. I think getting a prequel for the Queen of Hearts really was a great way to instill some humanity and sympathy to the character.

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

“When pleased, I beat like a drum. When sad, I break like glass. Once stolen, I can never be taken back. What am I?”

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

Baking: Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater Chocolate Bars

I found this fabulous graphic when I was searching for things that Cath made in this book. I was beyond excited that Marissa Meyer (or her marketing team) made this one so easy for me.

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This recipe was fairly easy to make as long as you make sure to have all the ingredients. It also tastes delicious if I do say so myself. I think the final product turned out about as well as I expected. I have some pictures below!

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These are the perfect recipe for the fall. My husband even said, “They’re alright.” Which is a huge compliment because he basically detests anything pumpkin flavored. The chocolate chips make them a little sweet and the chopped pecans give it a bit of a crunch. I think these are the perfect November treat.

Are these a desert you might make? Let me know if you try it and what you thought!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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GoodReads Summary:
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
HeartlessReview:
Heartless is a prequel story to the well-known and well-loved Alice in Wonderland story. It’s the origin story for the Queen of Hearts. This fantastical and sometimes bizarre story is one that I read a few years ago, and when I learned that Rebecca Soler is the narrator for the audiobook, I knew it was time for a reread via the audiobook.
I’m glad I did. This story was just as wild as I remember it. I really loved Cath. I loved her passion for baking and her love for her friends. She’s passionate and tries to stay true to what she believes but also battles with pleasing her parents. I think she was such an interesting character. Seeing the battle between what she wants and what her parents want for her was the best part of the story.
The world is fascinating and whimsical and messy. I really enjoyed it. The complexities of the difference between Chess and Cath’s world was compelling and Jest ad Hatta made me want to know more. I would have loved to actually gotten to see Chess.
I really don’t know what else to say about this book. So much happens, there are so many characters, and the parts I want to talk about the most are at the end and I don’t want to spoil. I really wish things ended differently, but alas; the ending is the part that was inevitable. I loved Cath. She had such a big heart of gold. She really cared about others and their happiness. I loved her passion and it made me want to get up and bake something!
Anyone that is a lover of Alice will probably love this story. Marissa Meyer really excels in the area of retellings. If that’s your cup of tea, give this one a try. Listen to the audiobook because Rebecca Soler is my all-time favorite narrator. She’s completely incredible.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

ABC Book Challenge |H|

Hello, Bookworms! This week we will be talking about books with the letter H.

For those of you that are new here – here’s the deal, each week we post about books beginning with a specific letter of the alphabet starting with A and ending once we’ve gone all the way to Z. We’re going to mention one or sometimes a few books that were super memorable with the letter of the week and also books that are still living on our TBR lists. So without further ado.

Read last week’s post here.

This week’s letter is – H

Most Memorable Books 

Amanda

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – As one of my favorite authors and one of my favorite series this book is an obvious choice for this weeks letter.

(The) Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco – This one was memorable for me because the first book in the series was not one of my favorites and I was really hoping this book would redeem the series a bit and it certainly did. Check out my review here.

Antonia

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts – The fourth book in The Bride Quartet. It was such a nice ending to this series about these four women and their amazing friendship

(The) House of Hades by Rick Riordan – This one was probably my favorite of the series. All the Percabeth feels.

 

 

Books Still on our TBR List

Amanda

Heartless by Marissa Meyer – I read this book shortly after it was published, but I don’t remember a single thing about it. I’ve been hearing about how good it was recently, so I’ve had the urge to reread it.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling – This book is on my August TBR list. I’m planning to read these books to my daughter after she’s born. Start on making her a bookworm and potterhead as early as I can.

Antonia

Here, There be Dragons by James A. Owen – I’ve had my eye on this series for a long time but recently saw a few reviews that convinced me to finally get it. It seems like the ultimate bookworm book and I’m so excited to read it.

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This is the first in her The Covenant series and I’ve actually read it before but for some reason just never got farther into the books. I’d like to finally read them all the way through.