Favorite Fairytale Retellings

Hello readers! I love a good fairytale retelling. There’s something fun about knowing exactly what the plot should be and seeing how the author changes it. I love how different authors come of with so many ways of re-interpreting classic stories and characters. Whether the fairytale is brought into modern times, or transported to a completely different world, I’m always keen to explore a familiar story with unfamiliar twists. Here are five of my favorite fairytale retellings.

1. East by Edith Pattou

East of the Sun and West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairytales of all time, so it’s not surprising that a version of it is one of my favorite fairytale retellings. East is magical and wonderful. It incorporates other traditional Norse stories and mythology into the original tale. It was hard to put down, and I still think about it years later.


2. Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Not many people know the Brothers Grimm fairytale “The Goose Girl.” Like many old fairytales that haven’t been altered by Disney, it’s somewhat morbid, involving talking blood spots, and a horse’s head. Shannon Hale manages to take the creepy tale and weave a beautiful story about a Princess sent to marry a stranger in order to preserve peace in the kingdom, the obstacles she has to overcome, and the friends she makes along the way. Not only is it a great retelling, but it is also the first book in a really good series – The Books of Bayern.


3. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Well, I already told you that I love East of the Sun and West of the Moon, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that I have yet another version of it on this list. I love Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. It has the same general story as East – girl leaves her family to live with a magical polar bear, falls in love, rescues him from trolls. Yet, somehow it is completely different, and just as wonderful. I would go through and talk about my favorite parts, and dissect the differences between the two books, but I wouldn’t want to spoil anything, so you should probably just go read it.

4. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Okay, Jessica Day George knows how to retell a fairy tale, so she made the list twice. If it wasn’t obvious, Princess of Glass is a retelling of Cinderella. There are lots of versions of Cinderella out there, everything from the children’s classic Ella Enchanted to the science fiction Cinder. What I love so much about this version though, is that the Cinderella character is not the protagonist. In fact, at some points in the story she even seems like she might be the villain (but I’ll leave it to you to find out how that works out). George is so creative with this story and the characters, and manages to tie this retelling in perfectly with the first book in the series Princess of the Midnight Ball.

5. Entwined by Heather Dixon

The last one on my list for today is Entwined, which is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I honestly never really understood this particular fairy tale. It is never revealed why the princesses are dancing every night, and it doesn’t seem like the soldier and princess are a good match. Entwined addresses all of these issues though. The princesses are lured into dancing every night and then have no way of escaping. The story explores how easy it can be to trust someone who means you harm, and the relationships among the characters are well developed throughout the story. It was kind of creepy, but also magical. I couldn’t put it down and read it in a matter of hours.
Well, those are five of my favorite fairytale retellings, but I have many more, so maybe I will do this again sometime. Let me know if there are other favorites you would like to see.

The Unfinished Series Project and My 2017 TBR

Hello readers! I want to tell you about one of my reading projects. A little while back I found myself somewhat annoyed that I had not ever finished certain series that I started reading as a kid. I would reflect on these series and wonder what happened to the characters, how the stories ended, and why I lost interest in them. For some, like the Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin van Draanen, I felt like I had grown out of it before the final books were released. For others, like The Giver series by Lois Lowry, I never managed to obtain a copy of the last couple of books. And some I just forgot about after reading one or two books. So I decided that I would go back and finish the series that I never got around to finishing before.
I started with Sammy Keyes, which I adored as a kid. Sammy was everything I wasn’t. I was a goody-two-shoes, rule following, piano playing, introvert. Sammy was a sleuthing, rule bending, skateboarding, cool kid with a habit of finding herself in sticky situations. I thought she was so amazing, and van Draanen influenced my own writing style early on. So one summer evening, after a long day of data collection for my research project at the time, I purchased the ebook version of the next book in the series from where I had left off. Sammy Keyes was just as enchanting as ever, and I barely came up for air until I was done with the last novel.
Exhilarated from my first success, I dug out my copy of The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket and kept going. A few days later I had finally discovered the outcome of the Baudelaire orphans’ trials, which was immensely satisfying. Since that summer, I have finished The Chronicles of Narnia, The Giver, The Books of Bayern, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Of course, given the occurrence of crossover in Rick Riordan’s novels, it was hardly enough to stop there. I zoomed through The Heroes of Olympus, and now I’m two thirds of the way through the Kane chronicles, soon to read Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, and eagerly anticipating the second book of The Trials of Apollo. I am also two thirds through the Princess Academy trilogy by Shannon Hale.
And that brings me to the next thing I wanted to talk about. In addition to the goal of reading 60 books this year, I also want to continue my Unfinished Series project, so here’s a little peak at my 2017 to-be-read list, or TBR. I plan on finishing the Kane Chronicles, catching up on Magnus Chase, hopefully before the new book is published, and finishing the third book of the Princess Academy series. I also recently found out that there are two books in the Emily Windsnap series that I never even knew about. I don’t remember most of what happened in the books I have read, but I know I was obsessed with them when I was younger, so I want to re-read those and then read the two new ones.
I also LOVE Ally Carter, so I am incredibly excited to read the new book in the Embassy Row series.
In addition to series that I read when I was a kid, there are plenty of series that I have started more recently and plan on finishing. This year so far, I have already read the first two books of the Starbound series and I plan on reading the third as soon as I recover from the emotional turmoil that has occurred as a result of the second book. I also want to read the second book in The Conspiracy of Us, the sequel to Juliet Immortal, and the rest of the books by Gail Carson Levine that take place in the same world as Ella Enchanted (well, and if we’re being honest, possible everything else she’s ever written).
You may be thinking, “but Emma, you said you wanted to read 60 books this year and you’ve only listed about 20 or so!” Well, don’t you worry, because I have plenty of other books on my TBR. I’ve currently got a long list of books I’m on the waitlist for at my local library (maybe I’ll make a post about that sometime), as well as an even longer list of books that are either stand alone novels or part of a series I haven’t even started yet. I don’t think I’ll have any problem finding enough to read this year, but definitely let me know if you have any recommendations. I love me a good fairytale retelling or sleuthing protagonist. I’d also be interested to know if there are any series that you loved as a kid and think I should read.

Hello Readers!

    Welcome to the first ever post on my brand new blog! I’m excited about this project, so let me tell you a bit about what I’m going to be doing here.
    Last year I decided to take on the 50 book challenge, and I actually completed it! It’s one of the only long-term goals I’ve ever seen through to the end and I feel so proud of myself. This year I am upping the challenge to 60 books. I wanted some way to hold myself accountable and keep track of the books that I’m reading. I love watching booktubers on YouTube, and I briefly toyed with the idea of starting a booktube channel. Then I remembered that I stopped making videos a long time ago because I didn’t really like it anymore, so I scratched that idea. I’ve decided on a blog instead.
     So here I am. I’m planning on posting about the books that I’m reading, but also doing some of the challenges that booktubers and other book bloggers do, like readathons. I also might start posting some of my writing, because another one of my goals is to write more. We’ll see.
    So let me tell you a bit about me. I do science because science is great and I love it. However, my science career path doesn’t always give me the creative and imaginative outlet that I often crave, so when I’m not sciencing, I love to read, write, cook, bake, hike, take pictures, and craft. If any of you reading this (if there even is anyone) want to know more about those things, let me know, and maybe I’ll make some posts about it. For now, I’m keeping this blog very open ended. It will start out mostly about books, but we’ll see where it goes. The last time I had a proper blog was about a decade ago, so bear with me through the awkward beginning stages while I figure this thing out.