December Wrap Up

December was, as always, absolutely nuts. I got another lingering cold/infection, that took me out for six weeks. And then there were the obligatory four days of Christmas that seem to be necessary for my family to participate in.

And to top it all off I participated in Blogmas. I posted something every single day for 25 days. To be completely honest, I’m going through a bit of a writing slump after that. It’s going to be a miracle if I manage to get this post up on time.

To that end, I’m doing a very abbreviated wrap up on my phone with basically zero editing.

Also, congratulations to Hamad from Reader Prescription, who won Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes in my Blogmas giveaway!

What I Read

Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was an eclectic range of short stories, and I have to admit to being genuinely confused by a lot of them. It’s not that I didn’t understand them, I just didn’t see the point. But there were a couple that truly stood out. M. R. Carey’s There Were No Birds to Fly and Genevieve Cogman’s The White Queen’s Pawn were absolutely amazing (I rated both 5 stars.) They both held just the right amount of creepiness, cleverness, and mystery to keep me completely captivated.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

I was completely sucked in to the world Chupeco created, filled with magic and goddesses and climate disasters. There is so much I want to say, but I think this is the kind of book you need to experience for yourself.

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

⭐️⭐️

I DNFd this book earlier in the year, and had no real intention of going back to it. I only did it to finish my 2029 Retellings Reading Challenge bingo card. While I admit that the book picked up in the second half, I was still pretty underwhelmed. The pacing had problems. The characters were pretty one dimensional, and

Akarnae.jpg

The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi

💫

I basically DNFd this, then skimmed the last part to find out what happened. There were too many things that bothered me, the biggest of which was the use of third person limited narration. I felt completely disconnected from the characters, and the story jumped around a lot, both in terms of pacing, as well as Lena’s internal monologue. I just couldn’t understand how her thoughts or actions connected to anything that preceded them.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Here is another book that almost hit the DNF pile this month. The first half was very very slow. I was kind of curious, and yet bored at the same time. I pushed through because there was nothing particularly bad about it. The writing was lovely, and the threads in the first half eventually led to a satisfying conclusion (with the promise of more to come in books 2 and 3.)

Akarnae by Lynette Noni

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Akarnae is a book I read for book club, and I really enjoyed it. It’s got very strong Harry Potter vibes, so that might be considered a pro or a con for different people. This is a debut novel, so there were inevitably problems that I could pick apart for hours. My biggest problem was the disconnect because of the use of third person limited. However, I loved the sarcasm and banter between the characters. There was also a lot of scope for future books to explore the world of Medora – it’s people, it’s history, and the magic. There’s also plenty of room for the characters to grow.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was my last completed read of the year, and oh my god. It jumped straight to the top of favourites list. The world and the themes and the plot in this book just left me spinning. It was pretty fast paced (or maybe I was just reading like a speed demon?) and I could not put it down.

What I Watched

Downsizing

Glow Up

Sugar Rush Christmas

Zumbo’s Just Desserts (season 2)

The Good Witch (season 5)

My Favourite Blog Posts from Blogmas

Curating an Imaginary Fantasy Book Box

Best Books of 2019

The Never Tilting World|| Rin Chupeco

The Grace Year|| Kim Liggett

The Candle and the Flame|| Nafiza Azad

The Downstairs Girl|| Stacey Lee

Favourite Characters of 2019

Looking Up Endings to Books I DNFd

The Bear and the Nightingale|| Katherine Arden

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge Wrap Up

I cannot believe I actually finished this reading challenge. At the end of October I’d only finished 16 books, and I was sure I was going to fail!

In total, I’ve read 5 novellas, 12 books, 1 short story collection, and 13 manga. In addition, I DNFd 1 book.

I’ve included some dot points to tell you a bit about each one, and I’ve linked to my finished reviews.

1. Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇹🇭 Thai

  • Snow Queen retelling
  • Fantastic gender/LGBT+ representation
  • Creepy magic system
  • Novella

2. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇵🇭 Filipina

  • Necromancy and elemental magic
  • LGBT+ representation
  • Monsters
  • Explores gender roles and power
  • Revenge

3. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇵🇭🇮🇳 Filipina-Indian

  • Magical heist
  • Set in France, 1889
  • Racial diversity
  • LGBT+ representation

4. In The Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇻🇳 French- Vietnamese

  • Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
  • Vietnamese inspired world
  • Environmentally damaged world
  • LGBT+ representation
  • Dragon in a mind-bending castle
  • Novella

5. The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇵🇭 Filipina

  • LGBT+ representation
  • Revenge
  • Monsters
  • Necromancy and elemental magic
  • Action packed

6. The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇻🇳 French- Vietnamese

  • Retelling of Sherlock Holmes
  • Main characters are a sentient spaceship with PTSD, and a drug addicted literati with weird interests
  • Fast paced and very short (88 pages if I remember correctly)
  • Tantalising glimpse of Xuya universe
  • Mysterious deaths in space
  • Novella

7. Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇰🇷 South Korean

  • SFF short story collection
  • Inspired by mathematics, physics, philosophy
  • Themes of war, colonialism, language
  • Beautiful writing

8. Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇵🇰 Pakistani

  • Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
  • Set in Pakistan
  • Fun, familiar read
  • Explored culture, religion, and gender roles

9. Want by Cindy Pon ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇹🇼 Taiwanese

  • High tech heist
  • Set in future Taipei, Taiwan
  • Pollution, illness, environmental destruction
  • Gap between rich and poor
  • Star crossed lovers (sort of)

10. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao DNF 62% 🇻🇳 Vietnamese

  • Retelling of Snow White/backstory of The Evil Queen
  • Asian inspired setting
  • Court politics

11. The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇫🇯 Fijian

  • Set in fictional city on The Silk Road
  • Racial and religious diversity
  • Djinn + magic
  • Food references
  • Awesome female characters

12. The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇸🇬 Singaporean

  • LGBT+ representation
  • Children are genderless until they choose
  • Elemental magic based on five Chinese elements
  • Rise of industrialisation which threatens magical/political power of elites
  • Rebellion
  • Novella

13. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇨🇳 Chinese

  • Murder mystery
  • Law trial
  • Illegal magic
  • Court intrigue/politics
  • Complicated family relationships

14. Wicked Fox by Kat Cho ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇰🇷

  • Korean mythology
  • Gumiho – nine tailed fox
  • Part romance, part high school drama, part paranormal
  • Felt very much like a Korean drama

15. A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇮🇳

  • Retelling of the Mahabharata
  • Set in space
  • Twisty revenge plot
  • Complicated family dynamics

16. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim 🇨🇳 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Chinese inspired setting
  • European fairytale inspiration
  • Lots of adventure
  • Cool magic system

17 – 23. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne by Arina Tanemura 🇯🇵 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Gorgeous art
  • Magical girl genre
  • Tugs at heartstrings – characters and their relationships are fairly well developed

24. And Shall Machines Surrender by Benjanun Sriduangkaew 🇹🇭 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • AI/human cyborgs (called haruspices) are committing suicide
  • Doctor (and former spy) is hired to solve the mystery
  • Plot was surprising and fast paced
  • Novella

25. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee 🇨🇳 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • YA Historical Fiction
  • Set in 1890s Atlanta
  • Chinese (American) MC
  • Loved MC – intelligent, sarcastic, industrious, opinionated
  • She faces racism and sexism, and book explore the intersections between the two
  • Love her ‘found family’ – especially Noemi and Old Gin

26. The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco 🇵🇭 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

  • Inspired by Mesopotamian mythology
  • Amazing world building and interesting magic system
  • Four POVs – all interesting
  • Diverse – F/F Romance
  • Themes of climate change
  • Jam packed with adventure

27-32. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takuya ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Volumes 1-6
  • Re-read – it’s my favourite manga series
  • Story inspired by tale of the Chinese zodiac
  • The art improves as it goes along – becomes softer and rounder
  • The characters are really complex and have fantastic development throughout the series

Retellings Reading Challenge Wrap Up 2019

Welcome to my Retelling Reading Challenge Wrap Up for 2019. I am pleased to say I was very successful. In total I read 55 books and 6 manga for the challenge this year, and I also completed the entire bingo card! I was fortunate to read a lot of wonderful books for this challenge, but since there were so many I’ll link to my quarterly updates, rather than listing them all here:

First Quarter Update (Jan-Mar)

Second Quarter Update(Apr- Jun)

Third Quarter Update (Jul-Sep)

Final Quarter Update (Oct- Dec)

Beauty and the Beast: A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Set in a Foreign Country: The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes (Oedipus and Antigone myths, Greece) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Standalone Book: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (Snow White) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wonderland: Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Award Winning Book: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Orange Prize for Fiction, The Iliad) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One Word Title: Perception by Terri Fleming (Pride and Prejudice) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bronte or Austen: Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (Pride and Prejudice) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Native American Myth: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia (Mayan myth) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

2019 Release: A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes (The Iliad) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Egyptian Myth: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greek Myth: Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett (Theseus and the Minotaur) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Debut Author: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (Little Mermaid) ⭐️⭐️💫

Free Space: The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco (Sumerian/Mesopotamian/Assyrian myth) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Shakespeare: Ophelia Queen of Denmark by Jackie French (Hamlet) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Asian Myth: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho (Korean myth) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Indie Book: Here, the World Entire by Anwen Kya Hayward (Medusa) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Russian Folklore: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Weapon on the Cover: For the Immortal by Emily Hauser ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Norse Myth: The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi ⭐️

Peter Pan: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Over 500 Pages: Stain by A. G. Howard (The Princess and the Pea) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Set in Space: A Spark of White Fireby Sangu Mandanna (The Mahabharata) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Middle Eastern Myth: The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad (Djinn) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Brothers Grimm: Blanca & Roja by Anna Marie McLemore (Snow White and Rose Red) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Written 10+ Years Ago: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Did you participate in any reading challenges this year? How did you go?

Have you read any of the books above? What were your thoughts?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Retellings Reading Challenge Final Quarterly Update (Oct- Dec)

 So it’s the end of the year, and my last quarterly update for the 2019 Retellings Reading Challenge. I really enjoyed it, and still have so many Retellings to read that I am definitely joining the challenge again for 2020.

Bingo.jpg

 

48. The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    Retelling of Dracula

49. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

  • Brujería

50. The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

  • Patagonian Mythology

51. Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Alice in Wonderland inspired short stories
  • Bingo Card: Wonderland

52. The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Mesopotamian Mythology

53. The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi ⭐️

  • Bingo Card: Norse Mythology

54. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Bingo Card: Russian Folklore

5560. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Volumes 1-6
  • Retelling of story of the Chinese Zodiac

61. Winterspell by Claire Legrand ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Retelling of The Nutcracker

Merry Blogmas Giveaway! (And Wrap Up)

I cannot believe I actually made it to the end of Blogmas! Yet here we are! I actually managed to blog for 25 days in a row. I am seriously exhausted. And I have posts going up everyday from now until new year as well! (Luckily they’re only wrap ups and sign ups for Reading Challenges.) The whole experience has been pretty positive (apart from the exhaustion) and great writing practice.

Anyway… on to the important stuff!

It’s been a year since I seriously started blogging, and I’ve written over 200 posts and have almost 200 subscribers so I figured it was time I do a giveaway!

What do you win: A single book up to AUD$25 (about USD$20) from BookDepository.

How to enter: Leave a comment below with your first name and let me know what book you wish you got for Christmas (or your last birthday, or whatever gift giving celebration was most recent.) Then follow this link to Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. Be sure to use the same name as in the comments.

Who can enter: Anyone over 18 is eligible. Even if BookDepository does not ship to you, I am happy to work out how to make it happen.

How the is winner chosen: By random computer generation through Rafflecopter.

If you win: I will contact you via email on January 1st to organise prize delivery. If you don’t respond within 24 hours of the email I will choose another winner.

When the winner will be announced: I suppose it depends on where you live! The winner will be announced at 18:00 AEST on January 3rd 2020.

And in case you missed any of my posts during Blogmas, here are the links:

1st December TBR

2nd Blogmas Announcement

3rd November Bullet Journal Flip Through

4th November Wrap Up

5th i carry your heart by e.e. cummings

6th The Raven Boys|| Maggie Stiefvater

7th Bookish Christmas Gift Guide

8th 5 Star Predictions

9th Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag

10th Favourite Characters of 2019

11th The Candle and the Flame|| Nafiza Azad

12th Curating a Fantasy Book Box

13th The Downstairs Girl|| Stacey Lee

14th #StartOnYourShelfathon Sign Up + TBR

15th Favourite 2019 Book Covers

16th End of Year Book Tag

17th DNF Review: The Grace Year|| Kim Liggett

18th The Bear and the Nightingale|| Katherine Arden

19th Looking Up Endings to Books I DNFd

20th An Unkindness of Magicians|| Kat Howard

21st The Never Tilting World|| Rin Chupeco

22nd Most Disappointing Reads of 2019

23rd The Girl of Ink & Stars/ The Deathless Girls|| Kiran Millwood Hargrave

24th Best Books of 2019

November Wrap Up|| Blogmas Day 4

General

I had my first book club meeting at the beginning of the month. We discussed Elenor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. I don’t know how it’s supposed to go, but I enjoyed myself. We’ve all got different reading tastes, so it will be interesting to see what sort of books we’ll discuss in the future. We’ve decided to rotate choices. Every month one person chooses four books, then the other two choose one book each from the four possibilities. It’s complicated, but it gives everyone a bit of a choice every month.

In other news, I quit on the Literary Grand Tour of the World Reading Challenge in order to try and finish YARC, but I’m not hopeful I’ll succeed at this point.

Last, but not least, I completed my Goodreads Challenge of 100 Books! Yay!

Books Read

Key: 💕 2019 Release 📚 Retelling 🏮 Asian

Ooku.jpgAnne of the Island.jpg

Ooku by Cecilia Segawa Seigle ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • This was a fascinating look at the Tokugawa Shogun’s inner chambers, where only women could reside. It was run entirely by women and mirrored the hierarchical structure of the shogunate itself. The only let down for me was how little information there was about it from the inside. The author has to construct this book largely by looking at the gaps, so to speak.
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman ⭐️⭐️

    My thoughts about this book are hard to process. I read this for my book club, so I felt compelled to finish it. I’ll admit, the writing was very easy to read, so I got through this in two days. Eleanor Oliphant is a strange character to say the least. I could relate to her one minute, then I was rolling my eyes at her stupidity the next. I saw the twists coming a mile off, so there wasn’t much in the way of surprises. I also didn’t find the treatment of sensitive subjects (such as alcoholism and trauma) handled that well.

    Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    My journey into classics is continuing, and I was very happy reading the third book in the Anne of Green Gables series. Anne has gone to Redmond college with some of her friends, and is studying for her B.A. I love the characters and the friendships and the little scrapes Anne gets herself into. There is one scene with a cat that I found quite distressing, so watch out for that.

    The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting it to be, but it was a perfectly decent book. It’s basically about a girl who has been on the run with her mother her entire life. One day her mother is kidnapped, and she has to journey to her reclusive grandmother’s estate to rescue her. I enjoyed the sort of strange, dark, whimsical atmosphere. I also enjoyed reading the dark fairytales her grandmother had written about in Tales of the Hinterland. Sadly, other than that, I found it fairly forgettable.

    #Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil ⭐️⭐️💫

    The basic premise is that our main character is convicted of killing her stepsister, and is sent to Alcatraz 2.0, where state sanctioned killers hunt down the prisoners and execute them in a theatrical way. All of this is filmed and distributed on social media. There’s even merchandise!

    This was supposed to be a YA thriller, but there was zero suspense. It was basically an exercise in gratuitous violence. Despite the star rating I actually enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and very predictable but sometimes that’s what I need. I thought the themes were actually quite interesting – the commodification of violence, corruption, and social media’s role in vigilante/punitive justice.

    And Shall Machines Surrender by Benjanun Sriduangkaew 💕🏮 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I read this novella in one sitting. It was completely addictive, and there were so many twists. It’s about a former spy/doctor being invited to an AI run Dyson sphere in order to solve the mystery as to why AI-human cyborgs are committing suicide. I feel like anything else I say will give too much away. I appreciated the range of gender identities that are represented. The only thing I fee I should mention are the two sex scenes, which featured BDSM. They only last 1-2 pages, so if you’re uncomfortable they’re easy to skip.

    An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard (Re-read) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    This was one of my choices for our book club last month. I love pretty much everything about it. I like the characters – their nuance and their relationships. The magic system is darkly fascinating, and the plot is twisty and completely satisfying. The themes of corruption and power are tackled head on, but it’s not moralising or tedious. I think it’s also subtly feminist, which I love. The editing is a bit poor in places, but I like the writing style overall. The first scene is my favourite in terms of imagery.

    The Grace Year by Kim Liggett 💕 DNF 41%

    This was my other choice for book club, and I was so disappointed. The pacing was slow, and the plot sort of gets lost in the worldbuilding. It’s set in a dystopian society ruled by the patriarchy. Every year, 16 year old girls get sent away to an island to “expel their magic,” which is really code for going crazy and bullying each other (although abuse would be a better term.) I wasn’t enjoying the writing style, alI didn’t really care about the characters, and there wasn’t much plot to speak of by this point.

    The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee 💕🏮 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I wish I’d read this at a different time, because I struggled through the first half (I was reading 5 other books simultaneously.) I loved the main character – Jo was complex, and smart, and sarcastic. My kind of girl. The themes explored were one of the biggest strengths in this novel – racism and sexism, and the intersectionality between them.

    The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (re-read)

    I decided to re-read the whole Raven Cycle quartet before diving into Call Down the Hawk, a new trilogy set after the original. I love these characters and their quest to find an ancient (possibly magical) Welsh king who will grant them a favour. The atmosphere is whimsical and unsettling at the same time. And the writing is so easy to get lost in.

    Kamikaze Jeanne 1.jpgKamikaze Jeanne 2.jpgKamikaze jeanne 3.jpg

    Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    The premise sounds weird, but it is part of the ‘magical girl’ genre. By day, Kusakabe Maron is an ordinary high school girl, but by night, she is Phantom Thief Jeanne. As the reincarnation of Joan of Arc, her mission is to steal demon-possessed paintings and neutralize their evil. Jeanne’s only ally is the angel-in-training Finn, but things become more complicated when another thief appears on the scene. I love this series because it has humour, and romance, and magic, and adventure. It tackles a lot of deeper stuff too, like child neglect. Overall, a fun series about believing in yourself.

    Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 3⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Kamikaze Jeanne 4.jpgKamikaze Jeanne 5.jpgKamikaze Jeanne 6.jpg

    Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    This is my favourite volume of the series. It makes me cry every time. This one focuses on a boy in hospital called Zen, who just wants to see his family. The relationship between Maron and Zen is beautiful.

    Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 6⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Kamikaze Jeanne 7.jpgFruits Basket 1.jpgFruits Basket 2.jpg

    Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 7⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Fruits Basket Volume 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.

    Fruits Basket Volume 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Currently Reading

    Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan & Paul Kane 💕📚

    An anthology of short stories inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

    The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

    Inspired by Mesopotamian mythology, this novel is about two goddesses and the quest to restore a world that has been broken and ravaged by extreme weather.

    Reading Challenge Updates

    Retellings Reading Challenge – 50/25 complete

    Year of the Asian Reading Challenge- 27/31 so close

    My Blog Posts

    Recent Reads: Micro Reviews

    The Tenth Girl/ Labyrinth Lost DNF reviews

    Stepsister/ Robbergirl mini reviews

    August Bullet Journal Flip Through|| Disney Princess Theme

    October Bullet Journal Flip Through || Cute Spooky Halloween Theme

    Blog Posts I Liked

    October Wrap Up

    General

    I didn’t read nearly as much as I planned to last month, but in my defence I had very good reasons. My family celebrated my Gran’s 80th Birthday (2 days in a row.) So there was a lot of cooking and shopping and cleaning and organising to do. I’m happy to say it went well. Three days later Gran had a stroke. Luckily it was only a small sensiromotor stroke. It means that, while she has weakness and changed sensation on the right side of her body, all of her memories and mental abilities are intact. As long as she doesn’t have another stroke, her general prognosis is good. I’ve been spending as much time with her as I can, so I haven’t been reading or blogging as much.

    In other bookish related news, I’ve started using an app called Serial Reader to read classics. I’ve always lacked the motivation to read them unless I had to for school (back in the day.) I’ve found Serial Reader really useful because it sends me a new ~10 minutes ‘issue’ of the book I’m subscribed to every day. It makes the whole process a lot more manageable for me. There’s a free version, but it does have some restrictions related to saving books to read later.

    I’ve also started a book club with my mom and cousin. Our first meeting is tomorrow, and we’ll be discussing Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey. I will report back next month and let you know how it goes.

    As for blog related news, I’ve started expanding my reading repertoire, so I’ve decided to start a series of (hopefully) monthly posts titled Genre Exploration. I mostly read fantasy, so I’m looking forward to trying books that aren’t normally in my wheelhouse.

    Books Read

    Key: 💕 2019 Release 📚 Retelling

    The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave 📚💕 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    There was definitely a whole lot of atmosphere and tension. The plot and characters were great. And the writing is lovely. My only problem was the pacing. The ending was rushed and I felt a bit… deflated? If not for that this would have been a solid four stars.

    Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery ⭐️⭐️

    While there were moments in this book I genuinely enjoyed, I found it overwhelmingly boring most of the time. I wasn’t much of a fan of the twins, and I wished there were more interactions with previously established characters. *Cough* Gilbert.

    The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring💕📚 DNF 14%

    This was a pretty divisive book in terms of ratings. I struggled with the writing, and I also didn’t enjoy the second POV (who I didn’t even realise was male). I did read the last 15% to find out what happened (something I rarely do.) I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but I’m glad I didn’t force myself to continue reading.

    Labyrinth lost by Zoraida Cordova 📚 DNF 36%

    The writing was very easy to read, and the magic system seemed like it probably was going to be pretty good, but I just didn’t really care about the MC enough to continue.

    The Suitcase Baby by Tanya Brethington ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    An infant is found dead in a suitcase on a Sydney beach in the 1920s. I was interested. This was a part true crime, history, and sociology.

    The Doctor’s Wife is Dead by Andrew Tierney ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    This was a decent book. It managed to keep the tension up for basically the entire book, but there were time’s I couldn’t wait for it to end.

    Bird Box by Josh Malerman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I read this in one night. I was completely addicted. It had the right amount of creep factor to keep me hooked, and I revelled in it.

    What I Watched

    Aquaman ⭐️

    The Hunger Games ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    Agatha Christie’s Marple (Season 1) ⭐️⭐️

    X-Men: Dark Phoenix ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    My Blog Posts

    2020 Releases I’m Already Excited For

    Top 10 Tuesday: Extraordinary Book Titles

    Blog Posts I Liked

    All the *WARNINGS* @ The Orangutan Librarian

    Why I Don’t Accept ARCs Anymore by Morgana @ Morgana’s Book Box

    Morally Grey Characters in Books// Why do they make such interesting characters + book recommendations with such characters by Krisha @ Bookathon

    September Wrap Up

    General

    After the stellar effort I put in to RetellingAThon in August, I was pretty much burned out in September. I didn’t read nearly as much as I hoped, but I did catch up on a lot of reviews, so that’s something.

    Books I read

    Key:

    📚 Retelling Reading Challenge

    🏮Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

    💕 2019 Release

    Books I Read

    Heartless by Marissa Meyer📚 DNF 32%

    Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth 💕📚🏮 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    The Au Pair by Jessica Rous💕 DNF 36%

    The Girl Of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Snow Glass Apples by Neil Gaiman💕 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    Currently Reading

    Making the Monster by Kathryn Harkup

    Anne of Avonlea.jpg

    Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

    What I Watched

    Wonder_Woman_(2017_film).jpg

    Wonder Woman (rewatch) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Goblin (rewatch) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    My Blog Posts

    Literature Retelling DNF Mini Reviews|| Jane Steele/ The Collectors’ Society

    Sea Witch|| Sarah Henning (DNF Mini Review)

    The Girl in Red|| Christina Henry

    Tiger Lily|| Jodi Lynn Anderson

    Marilla of Green Gables|| Sarah McCoy

    Mythology Retelling Mini Reviews|| Gods of Jade & Shadow/The Chaos of Stars/A Spark of White Fire

    Retellings Reading Challenge Quarterly Update

    Blog Posts I Liked

    There were many fantastic posts in September, and it’s hard to narrow it down.

    A (Small) List of Trigger Warnings You Can Use by Annemieke @ A Dance With Books is a really helpful post for bloggers wanting to be sensitive, but perhaps don’t know where to start. I’m notoriously bad at providing trigger warnings for a lot of things beyond violence and sexual abuse/assault.

    A Look at the Questions I Asked my Beta Readers by Rebecca Alasdair was a fascinating look at the process of beta reading from an author’s point of view. It also includes a handy printable worksheet for other writers to use if they want.

    A Thought on Illness Representation in Books by Emer @ A Little Haze Book Blog captured a lot of my own thoughts on illness representation (or lack thereof) in literature. I really struggle to find adequate words for the things that mean the most to me, so I was really thankful Emer wrote this post.

    Why I Think it’s Fine to Rate Books you DNF’d (Did Not Finish) by Briana @ Pages Unbound really made me rethink my decision to not rate DNFs. I have still reviewed them, but always given them 0 stars. I haven’t decided whether or not to change my ways, but I enjoyed the consideration process.

    Retellings Reading Challenge Quarterly Update

    I cannot believe we’re three quarters of the way through the year, yet here we are. I have reached my Reading Challenge Goal of 21-25+ books, and I only have four bingo squares to complete!

    I’ve included some bullet points about each book, and where possible I’ve linked to my reviews. I also indicate any books I’ve used for the bingo card.

    💕 2019 Releases

    25. Wicked Fox by Kat Cho ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 💕

    • Bingo card: Asian myth
    • Korean mythology

    26. The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 💕

    • Bingo card: Middle Eastern Myth

    27. Perception by Terri Fleming ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    • Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
    • Bingo Card: One Word

     

    28. The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Bingo card: Egyptian Mythology
    • Modern retelling of Egyptian myths starring the mortal daughter of Isis and Osiris

    29. Gods of Jade and Shadows by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 💕

    • Bingo card: Native American Mythology
    • Mayan mythology
    • Set in Mexico in 1920s Jazz Age

    30. A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    •  Retelling of the Mahabharata

    31. Ophelia Queen of Denmark by Jackie French ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Bingo card: Shakespeare
    • Retelling of Hamlet

    32. Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Retelling of Macbeth

    33. I, Iago by Nicole Garland DNF 16%

    • Retelling of Othello

    34. Illyria by Elizabeth Hand ⭐️⭐️

    • Retelling of Twelfth Night

    35. Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    • Retelling of Romeo and Juliet

    36. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 💕

    • Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood

    37. Sea Witch by Sarah Henning DNF 55%

    • Origin story of the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid

    38. Robbergirl by S. T. Gibson ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 💕

    • Retelling of The Snow Queen from the Robber Girl’s POV
    • F/F romance

    39. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 💕

    • Imagining of what happened to Cinderella’s step-family post the events of the fairy tale

    40. Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye DNF 10%

    • Sort of a homage to Jane Eyre,

    41. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Retelling of Peter Pan from Tinkerbell’s POV
    • Includes the backstories of the inhabitants of Never Land
    • Bingo Card: Peter Pan

    42. The Collectors’ Society by Heather Lyons DNF 52%

    • An imagining of what happened to Alice post Wonderland

    43. Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Retelling/Prequel to Anne Of Green Gables from Marilla’s perspective

    44. Heartless by Marissa Meyer DNF 32%

    • Retelling/prequel to Alice in Wonderland

    45. Snow Glass Apples by Neil Gaiman ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    • Dark retelling of Snow White
    • Graphic novel
    • Stunning illustrations

    46. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim 💕⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Retelling of Mulan/ various fairytales

    47. The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Inspired by mythology of the Canary Islands

    August Wrap Up

    General Comments

    I tend to be a planner. I make lists of all the books I want to read, and I categorise them, then re-categorise them, then prioritise them, and by the end of all that, I haven’t read as much as I want.

    In August I participated in #RetellingAThon, which was fantastic, because I read heaps. I felt really motivated, especially because it would contribute toward my goals for Retelling Reading Challenge. I’m goal oriented, and without a deadline I tend to procrastinate.

    This increase in reading meant that I neglected my blog to a shocking degree. I think I only posted three things last month. I suppose I’ll spend September catching up.

    Books Read

    Key:

    📚Retelling Reading Challenge 📚

    *Retelling Reading Challenge Bingo card *

    🏮Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 🏮

    💕2019 Release 💕

    *📚The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Egyptian mythology
    • Easy read
    • Plot twist was a bit obvious

    *📚💕Gods of Jade and Shadows by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Mayan mythology
    • Worldbuilding was immersive, but sometimes felt a bit clinical
    • Pacing dragged in places

    📚🏮A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Retelling of the Mahabharata
    • Everything was fantastic – the writing, characters, plot, worldbuilding

    *📚Ophelia by Jackie French ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia’s POV
    • Got sick of the cheese references
    • “Romance” was annoying
    • Loved the twist on the original

    *📚Illyria by Elizabeth Hand ⭐️⭐️

    • Not a retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
    • Not much of a plot
    • Beautiful writing

    📚I, Iago by Nicole Galland DNF 16%

    • Retelling of Othello from villains POV
    • Hated Iago and his narration
    • Got sick of the military descriptions

    📚Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    • Retelling of Romeo and Juliet from Benvolio’s POV
    • Fast paced, interesting read
    • Good writing
    • Traumatic scene in which a gay man is murdered

    📚💕The Girl in Red by Christina Henry ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood
    • Post apocalyptic dystopia
    • Love Red as a character
    • Gripping story

    📚💕Robbergirl by S. T. Gibson ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    • Retelling of The Snow Queen from the Robber Girl’s POV

    📚Sea Witch by Sarah Henning DNF 55%

    • Prequel to The Little Mermaid
    • The Sea Witch’s backstory

    📚Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye DNF 10%

    • A sort of retelling of Jane Eyre
    • Didn’t like the MC, or the narration

    *📚Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Retelling/prequel to Peter Pan
    • Tinkerbell as narrator

    *📚The Collector’s Society by Heather Lyons DNF 52%

    • Sequel to Alice in Wonderland
    • Interesting premise
    • Soft magic system trying to be a hard magic system and failing
    • Constant pining for male lead was tedious

    📚Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    • Prequel to Anne Of Green Gables
    • Character driven book
    • Wonderful writing

    Mary Shelley by Catherine Reef ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    • YA biography about author of Frankenstein

    The Bronte Sisters by Catherine Reef ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • YA biography about authors of Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey, and Wuthering Heights

    Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • The story of my favourite red-headed orphan

    The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • A complicated murder mystery
    • Listened to the BBC dramatisation as well

    Currently Reading

    📚The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

    Murder At the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

    📚💕Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

    What I watched

    Little Women (2017) (rewatch)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

    I love this story, and I think this is a fantastic adaptation.

    Otherhood ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    This was funny and I love the actresses.

    Derry Girls (season 1) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I laughed so hard I actually cried. In almost every episode.

    Derry Girls (Season 2) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    See above.

    Instinct (season 1) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I neither love nor hate this.

    Australian Ninja Warrior (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    There’s something really addictive about watching people climb things and fall in water.

    Veronica Mars (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    That ending killed me.

    Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Descendants 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Detective Pikachu ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    This was cute, but not something I’ll go out of my way to watch again.

    Maleficent (rewatch)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I love the twist on the original tale of sleeping beauty. This is probably the best role I’ve seen Angelina Jolie play.

    And Then There Were None ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    This was completely addictive. Only parts 1 and 2 had aired on television, but mom and I couldn’t wait so we purchased the last part on iTunes.

    The Librarians (Season 1) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Currently Watching

    Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo (rewatch)

    The Librarians (Season 2)

    Carnival Row

    Currently Playing

    Yoshi’s Wooly World on Wii U

    Blog Posts I Liked

    Why Plagiarising Reviews is Bad (Because Apparently it Needs to be Said) by Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    Ode to the Quiet Woman by Shri @ Sun and Chai

    Ice Cream Combinations Inspired by Books by Alexis @ Cinnamon Summers

    5 Reasons to Read Classics// ft. Recommendations by Olivia @ Purely Olivia

    Loved This Ghibli Film? Read This Book! by CW @ The Quiet Pond