Saturday, 4 February 2017

Fairytale Retellings

While I continue working on Skin Deep, I wanted to share some of my favourite fairytale retellings on the blog, as there are so many brilliant ones out there.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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.  {goodreads summary}

Why would I recommend it? Because this series is a sci-fi retelling of not one, but four different fairytales! Meyer weaves the original tales into her work in unique and surprising ways. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.  {goodreads summary}

Why would I recommend it? This is a very loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast but it has some brilliant moments. The sequel - A Court of Mist and Fury - is superb.

The Forbidden Wish

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.  {goodreads summary}

Why would I recommend it? This is a novel about friendship as much as romance and Khoury's storytelling is superb. 

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
How can a fairy's blessing be such a curse?
At her birth, Ella of Frell was the unfortunate recipient of a foolish fairy's gift -- the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day and a half, or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse -- once and for all. {goodreads summary}
Why would I recommend it? Because it's funny, lighthearted and enjoyable from start to finish. 
Beastly by Alex Flinn

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.
  {goodreads summary}

Why would I recommend it? Because it puts some interesting twists on the original. The modern setting works really well. 

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.
As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down? {goodreads summary}
Every Maas book I read is better than the last. If you haven't read any of her novels yet, I can't recommend them enough; she is a superbly talented author. The plot, the characters, the romance... I honestly can't decide which detail of this series I enjoy the most.

“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”

I loved the inclusion of all the characters from the novella series (which should definitely be read along with the full length novels, as they contain so many important character details). It emphasised just how rich and detailed Maas' world building is and prevented the jarring inclusion of too many new characters this late in the series. 

“You will find, Rolfe, that one does not deal with Celaena Sardothien. One survives her” 

And then, of course, there was the ending. Maas - Queen of the cliffhanger - delivered a Court of Mist and Fury worthy twist that will ensure I'll be thinking about this novel until the conclusion to the series comes out. 

“Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will always love you.” 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Skin Deep: Inspiration and Planning

A few months ago I posted a little bit about my next short story, Skin Deep, which is a gender-reversed retelling of Beauty and the Beast. My plan is now complete and I'm ready to start work on chapter one, so I thought I would share a little bit of information about my inspiration and initial planning. 

After I'd got my initial character ideas down in Scrivener, my next job was to find and read the original fairytales. The most famous version of Beauty and the Beast (besides the Disney film) is by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, but this is an abridged version of an original tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Both are worth reading, although they are rather different to Disney's interpretation. Skin Deep will use aspects from both tales, as well as a lot of new elements, just like Mirrored Snow and Princess Charming.

As well as my reading research, I also started to put together a Pinterest board. I make these for all my stories as I find them a really helpful way of compiling my ideas. The images are also be really helpful when I come to work on my cover art. You can take a look at my Pinterest board for Skin Deep below. It contains a few hints of what's to come. I'll be posting the first chapter on the blog before it goes on Wattpad, so keep an eye out for future updates!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

PopSugar 2017 Challenge

Despite failing miserably at last years, I'm still going to give the 2017 challenge a go. I will try to update the list below as I go along. You can find out more about the challenge here

A book recommended by a librarian
A book that's been on your TBR list forever {Snow Like Ashes}
A book of letters
An audiobook
A book by a person of colour
A book with one of the four seasons in the title
A book that is a story within a story
A book with multiple authors
An espionage thriller
A book with a cat on the cover
A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
A bestseller from a genre you don't usually read {American Gods}
A book by or about a person who has a disability
A book involving travel {A Gathering of Shadows}
A book with a subtitle
A book that's published in 2017 {Carve the Mark}
A book involving a mythical creature {Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them}
A book you've read before that never fails to make you smile {Harry Potter - I'm due a series re-read!}
A book about food {The Weekend Baker}
A book with career advice {Structuring Your Novel}
A book from a nonhuman perspective {interesting... not sure what to try for this one}
A steampunk novel
A book with a red spine
A book set in the wilderness
A book you loved as a child {HP counts twice if I'm reading multiple books in the series, right?}
A book by an author from a country you've never visited {Way Down Dark has been sat on my Kindle for a while now}
A book with a title that's a character's name {Anna and the French Kiss}
A novel set during wartime {Margot & Me}
A book with an unreliable narrator {I love these! This is a great excuse to find a really good one}
A book with pictures {one of the many, many picture books I will be reading this year...}
A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
A book about an interesting woman
A book set in two different time periods {The Next Together}
A book with a month or day of the week in the title
A book set in a hotel
A book written by someone you admire {The Cursed Child}
A book that's becoming a movie in 2017 {I will need to do some research for this one as I can't think of any off the top of my head}
A book set around a holiday other than Christmas {An Easter story? Or a spooky Halloween read?}
The first book in a series you haven't read before {This Raging Light}
A book you bought on a trip

It's a really interesting list! There are some extension ones this year too, but since I usually struggle with the basic list I won't look at them quite yet. I've tried to fill in some of the gaps with novels I'm already planning to read. I will update with reviews as I go. 

Are you taking part? Let me know in the comments if so and please post your ideas for some of the categories. 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

2017 Books I can't wait for

There are so many amazing books coming out in 2017, but these are the three I am looking forward to the most. 

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another. {Goodreads summary}

Publishing: January
Why I want to read it: Roth teased the opening online and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by S J Maas

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.  {Goodreads Summary}

Publishing: May
Why I want to read it: Why would anyone not want to read it? The ending ACOMAF still has me on tenterhooks. 

Strange the Dreamer by Lani Taylor
Strange the Dreamer is the story of: 

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep. {Goodreads Summary}

Publishing: March
Why I want to read it: Because I loved her previous series and that summary is amazing!

Which 2017 releases are you looking forward to the most? Let me know in the comments. 

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Books on my Christmas List

These are the books I am hoping to get for Christmas (or on Kindle shortly afterwards since I think I'll be doing most of my reading in ebook form in the new year)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (illustrated version)
So, technically I haven't read the first illustrated version yet, but it looks lovely on my shelf and I'm collecting them ready for when my daughter is old enough to be introduced to the wizarding world. 

The Cursed Child
I finally got to see the play in November (over a year after buying tickets) and I can't wait to revisit the story again. I'm so, so pleased that I didn't get it before I saw the play though, as it was fantastic not knowing what was going to happen next. 

Structuring Your Novel by KM Weiland
Something a bit different, but definitely an area of my writing that I need to be working on. I'm hoping this book will help. 

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
I don't know why I didn't buy this the day it came out. I need to find out what happens next in this amazing fantasy series!

The Crown by Kiera Cass
Another series I really should have finished by now. Who does Eadlyn choose? I need to know!

Are there any books you're looking forward to getting hold of over the festive season? Let me know in the comments which ones you can't wait to read. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Accident Season

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?{Goodreads Summary}

TAS is such a fun, unique story which was light and dark all at once; fantastical and magical, but with contemporary issues explored throughout. I really enjoyed reading it and never quite knew where it was going to go next. 

“Accidents happen. Our bones shatter, our skin splits, our hearts break. We burn, we drown, we stay alive.”

The prose was lyrical and beautiful; the characters enchanting and the story one of the most unique I have read this year. Fowley-Doyle is a superb writer and I will definitely be on the look out for more of her works in the future. 

“The day is still bright, but fading, like it's tired of holding on to the sun and the birdsong and the green smells of the fields just outside of town.”