Friday, July 31, 2015

Just Added (10): YA Retellings

It's no secret that I love classics and young adult, so young adult retellings of classics are right up my alley. Here are some that I have added to my Goodreads TBR recently. Let me know some of your favorite retellings.

Just Added (7): Adult Fiction
Just Added (8)
Just Added (9): Biographies

Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein 
Summary from Goodreads:

He is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; she is simply Ophelia. If you think you know their story, think again.
In this reimagining of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen's most trusted lady-in-waiting. Ambitious for knowledge and witty as well as beautiful, Ophelia learns the ways of power in a court where nothing is as it seems. When she catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and Ophelia's happiness is shattered. Ultimately, she must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life. In desperation, Ophelia devises a treacherous plan to escape from Elsinore forever . . . with one very dangerous secret.
Lisa Klein's Ophelia tells the story of a young woman falling in love, searching for her place in the world, and finding the strength to survive. Sharp and literary, dark and romantic, this dramatic story holds readers in its grip until the final, heartrending scene.

Why I added it: I really love Hamlet and the characters in the play. Ophelia is one of my favorite female Shakespeare charaters, and I would love her to take center stage.

Every Breath by Ellie Marney 

Summary from Goodreads:

Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den - literally.

A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again...

Why I added it: I LOVE Sherlock Holmes!! So a Australian Watson and Mycroft sounds so interesting. Just try and ignore that awful cover. 

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel 

Summary from Goodreads:

Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein and inseparable until Konrad falls gravely ill. In the forbidden Dark Library, Victor finds an ancient formula, and seeks an alchemist to recreate the Elixir of Life. With friends Elizabeth and Henry, he scales highest trees in the Strumwald, dives deepest lake caves, and each sacrifices a body part.

Why I added it: I have heard mixed things about this one, so let me know if you have read it. There is quite a few Frankenstein retellings out there, and this is one I have seen around quite a bit. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Jane Austen Book Tag!

Jess @ Curiouser and Curiouser  tagged me to do the Jane Austen Book Tag. I love Jane Austen, and her feisty female characters, so this tag should be fun!

Sense and Sensibility
A book with a dynamic sibling relationship

Jude and Noah's relationship in I'll Give You the Sun is my favorite sibling relationship I have ever read. The connection between these two twins is so beautiful, and watching them disconnect and then come back together again during the course of this novel was a really great experience.

Pride and Prejudice
A book that didn't seem interesting at first


The Sin Eater's Daughter started out a little bit slow. The plot was just kinda wandering along at a slow pace, and then all of the sudden in the last fifty pages of the novel a bunch of plot development happened, and then the book ended. It was an enjoyable read, although the pacing was a little odd, but I think I'm interested in picking up the next book when it comes out. 

A book with two close friends who fall in love


Emma Review                                                Shadow and Bone Review 

I don't talk too much about Shadow and Bone on the blog, but I did enjoy the series overall. The books are fun and quick reads, and I had such a soft-spot for the male bff turned love interest in this series. And Emma is great by the way. It's so funny, and Mr. Knightly is my favorite Austen love interest that I have read so far. 

Mansfield Park 
A rags to riches story-line

Pygmalion is the play that My Fair Lady is based off of, and while I love the movie, the play is so much better. Eliza Doolittle is the ultimate transformation story, but her transformation in the play is so much more pronounced. The ending of the play is very different from the ending of the movie- and much more feminist. I highly recommend checking out the play if you love the movie.

A book involving second chances


Persuasion Review                                        Just One Day Review

I really loved Just One Day! Allyson really gets a second chance (or maybe it's more of a new chance because she is so young and just starting to learn about herself) at living her own life the way she wants to, and at finding love.

Northanger Abbey
A book with an imaginative character


                                                                            Huck Finn Review

Both Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer have wild imaginations and fascinations with adventure stories, which always seems to get them in trouble.
I tag...
and You!

I would love it if you left me a link to your post below, and let me know which Austen novel is your favorite. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On My TBR... (2)

I recently moved all of the books I want to read ASAP to one shelf, and I love that system! So I thought I would show you some of the books on my TBR divided by category.

On my TBR I have a book that is...

Historical Fiction:
Atonement, Ian McEwan

By a Woman Author: 
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen

Around Four-hundred Pages:
White Oleander, Janet Fitch

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Illustrated by Gris Grimly 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Recently Read: The Ghosts of Heaven

Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Genre: Young Adult- (We've already established Sedgwick is impossible to label)
Status: Stand-Alone
Publication Date: 2015
Page Count: 359
Rating: 5/5

Also by Marcus Sedgwick:
White Crow

This novel is made up of four stories that can be read in any order. Each story revolves around new characters, but the spiral is a repeating motif in each of the stories. I read the stories in the order they were placed in the book, but for future rereads I would love to mix up the order of the stories to make a new reading experience.  

If you have visited the blog before you will know that it is no secret that I love Sedgwick. Midwinterblood was the first novel of his that I read and I was blown away by it. I loved this novel just as much, if not a little more than Midwinterblood. This novel has all the elements in a Sedgwick novel that I love: suspense, a mastery over time, imagination, and slightly magical elements that you can't quite call magic but can't call reality.

I love how Sedgwick controls and masters time in his novels, and time progresses linearly throughout the stories without a time period ever being stated in any of the stories. The spiral plays a new role in each story, and takes on a new symbolic meaning, but the meanings are all connected. Each story builds on the last, and you see how fate and the universe has connected these four stories. As each story builds on one-another you begin to see an interesting progression of magic and science throughout history, which was a really interesting addition to the novel. 

Here's a quote from the novel I really love.
"It is enough to know that not to know is enough."
The last two stories in this novel really blew me away! I had to sit back and just say "Wow" after finishing the third story. The final story in the novel had me on the edge of my seat and threw quite a few surprises my way! The tone and style of this book reminded quite a bit of the Twilight Zone, so if you enjoy that show, I highly recommend checking out this novel, and Sedgwick's other works. This book left me with quite a few things to think about, and I keep thinking about how the form and connections between stories mirrors the way the universe connects random things and people in life. 

Here's the thoughts I managed to form on my Goodreads review after finishing it:

"This book is amazing! More thoughts to come, but if you ever want something to inspire thoughts that will keep you up days at a time because they are both terrifying and true, pick up a Sedgwick novel! We have no control over the Universe people! And Marcus Sedgwick does not want us to forget that."

If you haven't tried Sedgwick out yet, I highly recommend him! He has become one of my all-time favorite authors over the past two years, and I'm really eager to get to the rest of his works. Let me know what your favorite Sedgwick novel is, or what you thought about this book if you have read it!  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up: It's Almost August Already?

What's New:
Not too much new again! I have just been enjoying having nothing I have to get done before school starts up again in a month or so. There's not much to report this week, so let's just get into the reading updates!

What I Read:
This week I read Wonder Woman vol 3 Iron and The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick. I enjoyed both of them and will be posting a lengthy and gushing review of Sedgwick's novel next week. I love him and fear him in equal amounts.


What I Got From the Library:
I didn't buy anything this week, but I decided to pick up a few things from my library this week. I'm loving being home at my parents for the summer and being close to my hometown local library!
Wonder Woman Vol. 3: Iron 

Ms. Marvel vol. 3: Crushed

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

What I Posted:
Monday- I posted some thoughts on my reread of Bridget Jones' Diary (which makes me laugh every time I read it)
Tuesday- was all about LGBTQ in YA
Wednesday- I showcased some of the books on my TBR
Friday- I helped you find the right Pride and Prejudice Adaptation for you

Last Week's Wrap-Up

Stacking the Shelves Hosted By: Tyngas Reviews
The Sunday Post Hosted By: Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Friday, July 24, 2015

Which Adaptation is Right for You?- Pride and Prejudice

It's always exciting to finish a book you've been meaning to read forever just so you can watch the adaptations! But sometimes the adaptation options can be overwhelming. So, with this series I'm hoping I will be able to assist in finding the right adaptation for you, whether you have read the book or not.

I thought I would start this series off with one of literature's most adaptable novels, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (you can read my review of the novel here.) This story and its characters translate to the screen so well, and many great adaptations have been made. I'm going spotlight three different versions, one movie and two mini-series, that I have watched and enjoyed.

Because P&P is so often adapted, the different adaptations are usually referred to by their release date.

BBC Pride and Prejudice (1980)
mini- series, 265 total minutes, five episodes
Elizabeth Bennet- Elizabeth Garvie
Mr. Darcy- David Rintoul

This is the oldest adaptation I have seen of P&P and my least favorite (though it is still enjoyable). This adaptation is pretty much word-for-word from the book, so it is a very faithful adaptation. The costumes are quite enjoyable, and the casting is perfectly fine, but because I did not previously know any of the actors and I am not attached to them in any way, I don't find myself too attached to this adaptation. I still recommend checking it out if you love the story, but if you have not read the book, or are looking to watch your first adaptation, I wouldn't start with this one.

Lizzie Bennet 

The brooding Mr. Darcy

Lizzie and Darcy 

BBC Pride and Prejudice (1995)
mini- series, 327 total minutes, six episodes 
Elizabeth Bennet- Jenifer Ehle
Mr. Darcy- Colin Firth (!!!!!) 

So, for obvious reasons, I really like this adaption (that obvious reason is Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy). I saw this adaptation for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. After I finished the novel, I was doing my research on adaptations, and I saw the 1995 version being praised over and over again, so I finally picked it up and can now see why this is often times referred to as the best P&P adaptation. 
The costumes and setting are great, the casting is great, and it's exploding with British-ness! This adaptation is quite lengthy (about six hours!) so it won't be one to watch in one sitting (but who am I kidding, I watched it all in one sitting the first time I saw it) but it captures the characters and the story perfectly. Lizzie and Darcy's chemistry is really great, and Firth makes such a great broody and moody Darcy. If you have been hanging around the internet and classics novels for a while, you might be aware of the infamous wet, white shirt scene, which is in this adaptation; trust me, it is worth the hype. 
The Bennet sisters

The love birds 

and what we have all been waiting for... 


Pride and Prejudice (2005)
movie, 129 total minutes, 
Elizabeth Bennet- Keira Knightly 
Mr. Darcy-  Matthew Macfayden 
Mr. Bennet- Donald Sutherland
Kitty Bennet- Carey Mulligan 
Jane Bennet- Rosamund Pike
Lydia Bennet- Jena Malone 
This is the only movie adaptation of P&P that I have seen, and it was also the first adaptation I watched after finishing the book (and I have probably watched it at least six times since then.) Everything about this movie is perfect, and this is one of my all-time favorite movies. The setting, music, costumes, and cinematography are all beautiful. I love the casting, and how well Mr. Bennet and Lizzie's relationship comes across in this film, as that is one of my favorite parts about the novel. Kiera Knightly is gorgeous in this film, Lydia and Kitty and Mrs. Bennet ridiculous, and Mr. Darcy grumpy and then helplessly romantic. The script is so well done, and the characters are true to the novel. I highly recommend starting with this movie as your first P&P adaptation. I love that this movie allows me to get the entire story in one sitting unlike the mini-series, and I often listen to the score while I am doing homework! Oh! and P.S. Mr. Bingley is a red-head! 

 The Bennet Sisters

Lizzie and Darcy

Darcy and Bingley 


First Time Watchers: Pride and Prejudice 2005
Veteran Watchers: Pride and Prejudice 1980
Everyone in the Universe: Pride and Prejudice 1995 

Bonus: check out my thoughts on Death Comes to Pemberly 

Let me know what your favorite P&P adaptation is, or your favorite adaptation of any classic book! Now I'm off to rewatch all of these! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On my TBR.... (1)

I recently moved all of the books I want to read ASAP to one shelf, and I love that system! So I thought I would show you some of the books on my TBR divided by category.

On my TBR I have a book that is...

First in a Series:
The Kiss of Deception, Mary E. Pearson

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
Translated from French

A Young Adult Classic: 
Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
An Unread Sequel: 
The Blood of Olympus, Rick Riordan

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: LGBTQ: What I've Read and What I Want to Read

Of course I love diverse books, and books that cover difficult topics just as many readers do. Books that explore themes of gender and sexual identity have become more prevalent in the YA book world- which is a great thing. So today I've got five of my favorite LGBTQ books, and five that I really want to read. Leave me your recommendations down below!
Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish 

Books I have loved:

1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
This book is so weird, so good, and not talked about enough! I love Smith's writing as it sounds so natural and real and I love how he tackles multiple important themes in each of his novels. This one tackles defining your sexuality and how humans record and think about history.

2. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Levithan is the King of gay YA fiction! His books are so funny and his characters are so real. I love how many of his books are about gay kids who have already come out and are happy with themselves and their lives. Most of the time LGBTQ books have an sad element to them, but his books are about people who love themselves finding love, and it's so refreshing.

3. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becki Albertalli 
This is the most swoon-worthy book I have ever read! I had a huge goofy smile on my face the entire time I read this book. I loved the characters, I loved the romance, and I loved the humor.


4. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
This is still my favorite book I have read all year, and there is no way I will ever stop talking about it! Nelson's writing is beyond beautiful and the characters in this novel (Noah in particular) are just as beautiful and have found a permanent place in my heart.

5. Great by Sara Benincasa
The concept of this book is really cool. It's a YA retelling of The Great Gatsby, but where our Gatsby and Daisy characters are both girls. This one was a really fun read as I love Gatsby and the spin on this retelling.

Books I want to read (and then love): 


6. Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
I need to read more A.S. King, and I have had this one on my Nook forever! I trust King with the important topics, and I have heard this novel is really good.

7. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
I also have this one on my Nook and would love to get to it soon! As I said above, I love Levithan's novels. And I also love the fact that he was writing fiction with gay characters in a time where that was a rarity!

8. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson 
This is a 2015 release about being transgender, and it looks like it is well done! I really want to get my hands on this one!


9. Luna by Julie Anne Peters
This is somewhat of a YA classic, and one of the first popular YA books about being transgender. I would love to give this ground-breaking book a read.

10. Fans of the impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
This is also a 2015 release, that sounds like it will be both poignant and funny. It's about a girl who is in love with her gay best friend.