Image Slider

What Makes a Retelling Successful? | A Geekerella Inspired Discussion

Okay, I don't hate YA retellings of things.* I just don't have the best luck with them.**

*other disclaimers: I do not solely determine a book's success. This is a discussion on what I want to see in retellings versus what we actually see. 
**also, this is not a review of Geekerella, if you want that, go to my goodreads review.

So, like most people, I was really excited when I got approved for an eARC of Geekerella by Ashley Poston. I mean, it's a Cinderella retelling with a geeky main character, a killer cover, and a cosplay ball at what is essentially Comic Con. And it was cute. And it had all the Cinderella things. Neither of these are bad things, but with a story that's been told and told through every format imaginable, I expected more different things. 

Let me explain. 

Like a lot of little girls that grew up in the late 1990's and throughout the 2000's, I was obsessed with Cinderella. Forget watching Christmas movies at Christmas, I forced my family to watch the animated Cinderella twice. (True story, I actually remember this Christmas. I was a strange kid.) I also religiously watched the direct-to-DVD sequels and every remake featuring my favorite former Disney Channel stars.

For Geekerella specifically, that's where I feel like this retelling stopped. We didn't chop off the step-sisters' heels. But most of all, there was no added depth to our villainous characters. So what are my impossibly high standards for YA retellings?

Okay, so if you've written a book or are even thinking of writing a book, you're clearly imaginative. What I'm saying here is do something different. Go off the rails a little. Be based more on the original tale. Play off the tropes that come from this tale. Make one of the main characters LGBTQ+ or maybe twist the original tale and make it a same-sex relationship.

You don't have to follow the rules. You don't have to follow the exact story structure of the original. Be aware of what's out there in the terms of your tale and play around with it.

This is where I really struggled with Geekerella because I need my villains/evil-stepmothers/antagonists to have depth. They need a reason to be evil. Alternatively, how do they end up differently than the original characters? 

Basically, I thrive on complex characters. Give me all of them.

Now, this one isn't a requirement because some people most people don't want all their characters to suffer and endure torturous actions. But I do. I want to see my characters go through a time, whether they're the main character or the villain. Someone needs to suffer for me to be really happy with any book.

Most retellings are fairytales. Some aren't, but the most talked about and most popular are, more often than not. The originals don't often end happily but all the Disney versions do. Surprise me by killing someone off or twisting the original ending to give us a bittersweet ending.

Make it a fantasy. Make it sci-fi. Put it in the past. Put it in the future. Make it unique, whatever it is.

Make me fall in love with the setting and the characters and the fun twists that've been added in.

Do you have a similar issue with YA retellings or am I actually all alone? What're some of your favorite and most unique retellings that you've read? Tell me down in comments!


What Book Buying Ban? | Q1 Book Haul

If you don't know me, then you won't know a few key things about me.

  • I don't have an actual bookshelf. I have one piece of my grandmother's old entertainment center (basically a weirdly shaped, Tetris-ed bookshelf) and a bunch of books put into unused drawers of my dresser. Very professional, I know.
  • This year, I really wanted to focus on getting my physical TBR down and getting rid of books that I don't want. Not only do I have nowhere to put more books, I hate looking at all these books that I haven't read.
  • A goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to read 5 TBR books before buying one. 
The last thing is the one I'm really struggling with so far. I kind of gave myself the month of January to adjust to this goal. Spoiler: it didn't work. Not only have I bought more TBR books, I've also bought a bunch of books I haven't read. 

Let's get started.

The only two books I've gotten through my BOTM subscription thus far have been:

  •  PERFECT LITTLE WORLD: Not a dystopian, as per usual, but a utopian society. Very intrigued by this one.
  • THE ANIMATORS: Female! Animator! Friends! Literally, I'm so here for all of that. 

  • FAKING NORMAL: Hi, hello, if you're new here, Courtney C. Stevens is one of my new favorite authors/humans/ethereal beings ever. She's such a ball of pure goodness, and this book is fantastic. Please pick it up. (trigger warning for rape and self-harm)
(not pictured, but nonetheless have been purchased):
  • THE EXILED QUEEN: I bought this because I had a gift card and I haven't even read the first book in this series. I'm ashamed.
  • MORE HAPPY THAN NOT: Adam's a great human, and I needed to buy this (with said gift card) so that I could get him to sign it. That's all. I haven't read it. The paperback has a killer cover. 

  • MAUS III: I read these a couple years ago when I very first started blogging, and when I traded in a bunch of books recently at my used bookstore, I saw these and had to pick them up. Fantastic and important story. 
  • HOGWARTS LIBRARY: I have absolutely no justification for this nonsense. I already have copies of these. I have no need of these. But they were so pretty!
  • RADIO SILENCE: Again, if you're new here, you probably don't know about my absolute adoration of this book. Either way, you should pick it up because it has an incredibly diverse cast. The MC is biracial and bisexual, one of the side characters is demisexual, another is Asian and gay, another is lesbian. So! Much! Diversity!
  • THE ARCHIVED: I was actually gifted this book and Radio Silence through a group of bookish ladies I absolutely adore through TGTRAT. I'm so happy to have gotten this, as I absolutely adore Schwab, and I got to get this one signed at her ACOL release! (spoiler, oops)
  • HIDDEN FIGURES: I was at Target. I was weak. This was on sale. I'd just seen the movie, and I need to know more about these women.
  • DRESS CODES FOR SMALL TOWNS: After meeting Courtney at SEYA, I sent her an email asking if I could possibly get an early copy of this to review and she said yes. (I mean, clearly.) But she described this as a gender-fluid Footloose. I'm pumped. 
  • THE HANDMAID'S TALE: I made a trip to Barnes & Noble? This actually was a "read 5 before you buy" pick, so I'm not angry at myself for getting this one. I've wanted to read it for ages, but just never had my own copy. Now I do, and I'm reading it right now!
  • MY STRUGGLE #1: Okay, stay with me, Jess was reading book 2 of this in the Gilmore Girls revival, so I needed to buy this and read it? I literally paid full price for this at Barnes. Who am I?
  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: I've meant to read this book for nearly half a decade now. It's embarrassing. 
  • THE BLINDING KNIFE: I haven't read book one, but this was at my local used bookstore. I don't know why I bought it, but I did. 

  • A TALE OF TWO CITIES & GREAT EXPECTATIONS: I read both of these in high school, and honestly, they're some of my favorite books. I've never had a copy of Great Expectations, and all copies of ATOTC are horribly ugly. Except for this one.
  • A CONJURING OF LIGHT: I LOVED THIS. Read this series ASAP if you somehow haven't done that already.
  • THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES: My friend Trina loves Mindy McGinnis. She's read everything out by her so far, and I really want to get into her books. This is about a girl who's sister got sexually assaulted (and maybe murdered? idk) and now is going to get her revenge. I've only heard great things.
  • HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME: Again, Adam is a great human, and this book is depressing as hell.
  • WOLF BY WOLF: Alternate history WWII where a girl wants to kill Hitler ft. shapeshifting? I'm there. 
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: Again, I didn't need this, but I wanted to reread this book (because I don't think I ever have) and have a second copy that I could write in and mark up. It was a great decision. 
  • A POEM FOR EVERY NIGHT OF THE YEAR: This has been a great addition to my collection. Having a constant source of poems by my bed is the best and most relaxing decisions I've ever made. 
Woweewow. If you got through that, *hands you a cookie*, congrats and thank you. Thoughts? Comments? Convince me to stop buying books? Assist me in comments.

Making Reading a Habit | Discussion + Challenge

April is one of those really cool months with 30 days. After my least favorite holiday in the world, the rest of the month is filled with jamming everything that I was supposed to be doing for school during the past three months into one month where more things than normal are already due.

Some might say that this is not the opportune moment to try and read every day during a single month. Since I'm writing this post, I think it's clear to you all that I disagree. I want to start making reading a part of my everyday life. I want to structure my life more in general, and I think that an acceptable, daily portion of hobbies is far better than a "cram it all into a few days a month" hobby.

Yay for allocating hobbies!

So, my plan is to read something every day in April in an attempt to get my very erratic reading life a little more in line with the hopes that the rest of my life will fall in line behind it. I'll probably do a little update halfway through the month here on my blog. And since I'm addicted to Twitter, I'll be updating that with the #30DaysofReading so you can follow my (fairly) daily updates there if you're really invested in my life.

Have you done this? Do you want to join me?! 
(Please feel free to. I'm going to need the support *laughs nervously*)

My Goals

1. Literally just read anything, even just a short story or a few poems every day.
2. By the end of the month, have a specific time that I read every day. 

Books I'm Thinking of Reading

1. Crooked Kingdom -- haha spoiler: I've already finished this, but it was a goal I'd set before going into this and I just happened to finish it on the first day. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
2. The Upside of Unrequited
3. The Handmaid's Tale
4. Men Explain Things to Me -- this is a short story collection that I started ages ago, so 1) I really want to finish it and 2) it'll be good for days when I don't want to pick up a full-length novel.
5. The Silver Chair & The Last Battle

That's it! If you have any tips for life organization and/or making things a daily habit, definitely leave them for me in the comments!


Spring TBR | The Season of Accomplishing Goals

I've started doing seasonal/3-month-at-a-time TBRs and it has absolutely changed my outlook on TBRs and reading lists. I actually enjoy making them, now? I'm as confused as you are. *knocks on all the woods and prays that this doesn't jinx my streak* 

And that pastel streak. I've made a theme? I'm seasonal? This is ridiculous. Someone should investigate whether a clone is writing this post.


  • CROOKED KINGDOM: I've been over halfway done with this book for ages, but have been terrified to finish it. I had my friend Emma, over at Awkwordly Emma, spoil me on one thing that happens because I was as close as I've ever been to just not finishing a book because I'm terrified of something that will happen. Now that I know, I'm excited to go on and finish it (finally)!
  • A CONJURING OF LIGHT: I'm so impressed with this finale so far. I was quite disappointed with A Gathering of Shadows because people kept talking about a twist that was "shocking" when I'd seen it coming since book one? It just felt very anticlimactic for me, but this one. It's all action and events and characters. I'm only 190 pages in and I'm already really in love with it.  
  • HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME: I've really liked this so far! The roller coaster of happy and sad emotions was really getting to me for a while, but I think I can handle it now. Hopefully.
(Two of these complete a picky pledge challenge, CK & ACOL are series enders, and CK is on my 17 to read in 2017 list.) - Am I actually accomplishing goals? Who am I?


  • A MADNESS SO DISCREETTHE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES: My friend Trina loves Mindy's books. I've wanted to read them for ages, and A Madness So Discreet is on my "17 Books to Read in 2017" list.
  • MY LADY JANE: I tried to read this when it first came out, but I kind of forgot about it. This feels like it's the perfect spring book, and what time better than this to read a hilarious book?
  • THE ART OF ASKINGI watched Amanda Palmer's TED talk a while back and was so intrigued by her personality. When I saw her book on BookOutlet, I immediately bought it. I really want to read this ASAP. (Also, if you don't know what TED talk I'm on about, watch it. It's so good.)
  • THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED: I am so so so excited for this book. I'm excited to read it, and I'm excited to buy it. It only comes out April 11th, but if it reads anything like Simon, I'll read it super quickly.
  • THE SILVER CHAIR & THE LAST BATTLE: I will finish this damn series if it kills me.
  • GEMINA: One of my goals is to catch-up on and complete more series. I'm a bit ashamed that I haven't read this yet.
March is definitely kick into full-gear mode for me. I don't know if my blogging updates will continue to be this regular, but I wouldn't count on it. Anyway, what do you think of this seasonal TBR? Are you a monthly TBR person? A no TBR person? Tell me down in comments along with what you're currently reading!


January + February Wrap Up | 2017

This is so, so late, but now it's here so let's get started.


  • HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE: 5 stars - I mean, this is a reread, but I had never read through the illustrated version, so I finally did that. It's exactly as beautiful as you imagine it would be.
  • THE MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW: 4 stars - This is another reread for me and it's one of my favorites of the Narnia series. I am finally going to finish this series this year (spoiler: I'm already on book six). This is the first in the Narnia series, and it builds the world amazingly. It's definitely top 3.  
  • AFTER THE FALL: 1.5 stars - This book was such a disappointment. There's no way I can summarize all of my thoughts into a few sentences (see the link in the title for my GR review) but overall, I think this book tried to be too many things and in the process, it swept consent and rape culture under the rug. 

  • THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE: 5 stars - It's hard to accurately rate or order this book in the series because I've read this book and seen this movie so many times and it's one of the first stories--even before Harry Potter--that I fell in love with. This was my last "official reread" of the series before continuing onward.
  • MARCH, BOOK ONE: 5 stars - Everyone needs to read this series of graphic novels. March is a trilogy of Maus-style graphic novels following John Lewis, as told by John Lewis, and his time involved in the civil rights movement in the southern US. This first volume is Lewis in college and in Tennessee, where he and a group of activists did sit-ins in diners.
  • PAPER PRINCESS: 2 stars - This was horrible, but I enjoyed it? I kind of hate myself for it. This is not YA; I do not care how it's marketed--it's not. It's trope-y and cliche and just doesn't make logical sense for most of the book. Also, I'm fairly sure no one edited this book because the grammar was shockingly horrible.


  • GOLDIE VANCE, VOL. 1: 4 stars - I got an eCopy of this from Netgalley because I knew that I was about to request it from my library anyway, so why not try from Netgalley? And I got approved. *background cheering* This is basically a new middle-grade comic series from Boom!Box (my favorite press, see also: Lumberjanes, Giant Days) that's a new-age Nancy Drew with diverse characters in a hotel. It's Nancy Drew meets Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Highly recommend.
  • THIS SAVAGE SONG: 4.5 stars - This isn't my favorite work of Schwab's (that will always be Vicious) but it may be my favorite idea of Schwab's. Clearly, I enjoyed it, but it was just a little slow in the beginning. This world is divided because violence breeds monsters and two families have different ideas of how to handle those monsters. It's great. It's book one of a duology, and I'm so excited to read the second when it releases.
  • BROKEN PRINCE: DNF - I tried and gave up four pages in. It was unbearable. 0/10: would not recommend. 

  • LUMBERJANES, VOL. 4: 4 stars - I love Lumberjanes. I think it would take a major fuck-up from the writers and the press for me to not love Lumberjanes. Read this series if you haven't already.
  • PRINCE CASPIAN: 3.5 stars - Technically, I read Caspian and Horse and His Boy out of order, but I actually don't care. I really love this movie (partially because I love Ben Barnes, but I digress) and this is essentially the same thing but Caspian is, like, 12 and I felt very uncomfortable the entire time because I had to keep reminding myself that he is an actual child. It was enjoyable, but it wasn't as special or moving as the others in the series.
  • THE HORSE AND HIS BOY: 3 stars - Literally, if people had told me/I had ever bothered to look up that this was set in the time when the four Pevensies were present kings and queens of Narnia, I would have read it sooner. I enjoyed it more than I thought, but it wasn't as gripping as Caspian.
  • RADIO SILENCE: 5 stars - Again, there's no way I can summarize my feelings, so please read my full review (linked in the title) but this is a fantastic story with incredible diversity that takes place in England. It's important and beautiful and has a great mother-daughter relationship. Please read it.


52 Books In the Year: 12/52
Picky Pledge: 2/12
17 "Need to Read" in 2017: 3/17

Whew. Long post is long (*piece of cake to you if you made it through the entire thing*), but now it's over and you can tell me how your reading has been going? Have you read any of these books? Do you want to? Tell me down in the comments!


IRL Book Friends | Recently in Reading #2

"Recently in Reading" is a feature on my blog that I created myself, although I did adapt it from the Goodreads Tag and made it into a feature that I could do semi-regularly on my blog!
Much of the reason I created this was so that I could have something to do on my blog when I've kind of fallen off the internet and haven't been blogging as much as I would like. So, it's been a while. I've had three posts in draft for almost the entirety of February . . . and it's now March 12th. However, we're not going to think about that, and I'm going to do a quick update on what's been happening in my reading life.
I never got around to reviewing this on my blog, but you can find my review of this absolutely fantastic book over on Goodreads.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was the last book that I read (which was in February, but shhh I need you to keep my secret) and I think it's a bit early to say but I think this could be a favorite of the entire year. It's definitely going to be hard to beat.

This is the story of Frances, who is a student in the UK. She's a study machine, she's Head Girl, she's an artist, and she's loves this podcast called Universe City. This book is incredible, and it's incredibly diverse. Frances is biracial as well as bisexual. There's actually a demisexual character, and when I read that part of the story, vulcan Monica was in tears.

If you're in the US, you can preorder it through Amazon (it comes out March 28th!) or if you're not (or you are) the UK version is already available through Book Depository.

Are you ready for my ridiculous "I Can't Choose Which Book to Read So I'm Reading Too Many" list? Well, here they are (from left to right, most recently started to I've been reading this book forever):

  • FAKING NORMAL: I actually just picked this up yesterday (S/O to me for breaking my book-buying ban!) because I got to meet Courtney Stevens at SEYA book fest yesterday and needed to read something of her's immediately. Update: I really, really like it. (Also, it takes place in Tennessee, my state! How cool is that!?)
  • VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER: I'm so proud of myself. I continue onward with my goal of finally finishing this series. I'm a good way into the audiobook of this, and it's might be beating out Magician's--or, *gasp* Wardrobe--for my favorite in the Narnia series thus far.
  • HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME: This book is one that I'm honestly really enjoying, but the constant roller coaster, back and forth between happy chapters and sad chapters really was starting to take a toll on me and I had to put it to the side for a bit. I'm reading this about two or four chapters at a time. So, see you in June with my review of this book.

I'm putting this upcoming book on here for this, but I could also put Sheba's other book, Skunk Girl, on here as well. I had never heard of Sheba Karim's books before I saw her on a panel at SEYA this weekend. She seemed very sweet, and the way she talked about her books really made me want to read them.

Goodreads link so that you can also discover this wonderful woman

So before I went to SEYA and got obsessed with reading everything Courtney Stevens has ever written, I was planning on spending this week finishing two amazing series by two of my favorite authors. These two hunking finales:

I'm setting myself up for a week of tears and feels. I'll see you on the other side.

Hi, hello. I haven't shut up about SEYA throughout the duration of the post. (Fear not, it doesn't stop here!) But after hearing Courtney speak and getting to see her absolutely genuine and beautiful personality, I knew that I needed to read at least something that she's written. Naturally, I picked up her debut book because I wanted to start at the beginning.

I haven't planned this out yet, but I won't buy another physical book until Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer releases.

At least, I hope so.

photo cred: Jenna (the beauty in the yellow flannel) | twitter | youtube | photography website 

Can you guess? Can you guess?

You're right. It was the Southeastern YA Book Festival that was yesterday, March 11th. I got to hang out with some amazing book friends as well as meet some new ones. I also got to meet some of the absolute sweetest authors.

Adam Silvera was so nice, and I luckily got in the beginning of his signing line.

Becky Albertalli took so much time to just listen to me rant and rave about my love for Simon and my excitement for Upside. She drew an Oreo in my book. Life is complete. She was the absolute sweetest.

(paragraph-long ramble about Courtney C. Stevens redacted for your own sanity)

Mindy McGinnis is basically the queen of genres. She was so sweet and probably has the neatest author signature of all time. I'm excited to read her many, many books.

And that's it! Tell me what you are currently reading/loving and the most recent bookish favorite of yours down in the comments!