Beauty and the Beast Series

Beauty

Our third book in the challenge is Beauty by Robin Mckinley. This is a classic Beauty and the Beast retelling. McKinley built off the original fairytale – Beauty has sisters, and uses a ring to return home. She adds so many lush details, the reader feels as if she is right there with Beauty in the Beast’s castle.

This book holds a special place in my heart, because it was the book that first introduced me to the fairytale retelling genre. Robin Mckinley has written many retellings (including another Beauty and the Beast retelling, Rose Daughter) as well as several other fantasy novels. She is a legend in YA fantasy, so this book is well worth the read!

It’s hard for me to choose a favorite part of this book, because I love it all. I think the thing I most like about it, is the way it makes the Beauty and the Beast story come alive. Every time I read it, I finish it in just a couple of days.

Note: Just to let everyone know, I adjusted the dates on the challenge, moving everything forward a couple of weeks. This way the challenge will end at the end of the month, giving everyone extra time to finish reading all the books. Also, feel free to go back to any of the previous book posts to leave your comments about the books whenever you finish reading them. And if you missed the first challenge post, you find all the details here.

Discussion questions:

  1. Have you read the original Beauty and the Beast story? If so, how did you think it compared with Beauty?
  2. What was your favorite part of the book?
  3. What do you think the significance of the rose is?
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Beauty and the Beast Series, Reading Challenge

As Old As Time

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The next book in the challenge is As Old As Time. This is also a Disney book. However, this one is based more on the animated classic, than the new live action movie. This is part of a series of books called Twisted Tales. (There is also an Aladdin and a Sleeping Beauty story in the series.)

The twist in this story is that Belle’s mother was the enchantress who cursed the Beast. While there were a lot of scenes taken straight from the animated movie, there were also some flashback scenes telling how Maurice and his wife met, and the events that led up to the Beast’s curse. At part two (1/3 of the way through the book), the book takes a different turn from the movie and really develops into it’s own story.

I liked the way this book used inspiration from the movie, and enjoyed the twists along the way.  It was entertaining, though a bit darker than the animated movie. One of the things I really liked was the way the author highlighted Belle’s and the Beast’s parents choices versus their own. In other words, the child does not have to make the same choice as the parent.  In fact, one of Belle’s quotes near the end is a great reminder of this. “Everyone is different. Each person has his or her own soul and is master of his or her own destiny.”

The only thing I didn’t like was the open-ended ending. I’m not going to give anything away, other than to say, everything wasn’t totally knitted up into a perfect happy ending. It was for the most part happy, and gave the impression that all would end that way, but I personally, like the nicely tied up endings better.

Overall, it was a good read that I enjoyed. I read it within three days and it’s nearly 500 pages long! I would recommend it to any Disney fan, any Beauty and the Beast fan, or any fairytale fan. Just be prepared for the twist and turns it takes from the original Disney classic! 🙂

If you missed all the information about the reading challenge, you can find it here. Feel free to jump in for any or all of the books. Reviews are nonspoiler, so you have plenty of time to read each book. Whenever you finish, you can answer the questions or comment on the book via the comments section.

And the questions:

  1. Do you think that a parent automatically determines the choices/path a child has to take? Why or why not?
  2. How did you like the backstory of Maurice and Belle’s mother?
  3. What did you think of the twists the book took away from the movie?
  4. What was your favorite part of the book?
Beauty and the Beast Series, Reading Challenge

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in A Book

I just have to say – I loved this book! The perfect companion to the new movie, it takes places after Belle has come to the castle and been rescued from the wolves, but  before Belle and the Beast have their dance.

The Beast has just given Belle the library, and she finds a magical book there. It’s a book she can actually step into and become a part of the book’s world. The book, called Nevermore, is written by  Comtesse des Terres De Morts, a countess who befriends Belle once she enters Nevermore. The countess shows Belle exciting things – marvelous parties, the highlights of Paris, and a life of luxury. But Belle has to wonder, is it real? And is it really better than her life with the Beast and his servants?

This book expounded on some of the things I loved about the new movie. There was a little more about Belle’s past and a little more about the Beast’s past. I also loved the way it handled love – it’s sometimes hard and unglamorous, but when it’s real it’s worth it. It was an enchanting read, and also a deeper read than it first appeared to be.

If you love the Beauty and the Beast story, you’ll enjoy this book. And if you really loved the new Beauty and the Beast movie, this book is a must read! It fits with the movie so perfectly, adding a bit more to Belle and the Beast’s story.

Up next in the Beauty and the Beast reading challenge is, As Old As Time by Liz Braswell. If you haven’t finished Lost in A Book yet, no problem. You can always come back to share in the discussion here once you have. If you haven’t finished the book, you might not want to look at the discussions, there could be spoilers there. 🙂

And as promised, a few discussions questions. Share your answers in the comments!

What did you think of the Love/Death dichotomy?

Death said that Love was even more ferocious that Death herself was. Do you think that’s true, and why?

Why do you think the Beast had such a hard time having talking with Belle the way she wanted him to? Do you think this made him a bad friend?

What do you think is the best way to tell if a friend is true or not?

And, of course, what was your favorite part of the book?

Beauty and the Beast Series, Reading Challenge

It’s time for another fairytale series! If you missed my first series (The Cinderella Series), you can check it out here.  With the new Beauty and the Beast movie about to be released (which I’m super psyched about), I thought it fitting to do a Beauty and the Beast series.

This time I wanted to make it a challenge that anyone can participate in. I’ve chosen five retellings. I’ve already read two of them, and I love them! The rest are books I have on my TBR list. If you love Beauty and the Beast, I think you’ll enjoy them all.

I’ve added the Goodreads links for each book, and listed the date on which I’ll post a review, here on my blog, with discussion questions.

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly (on Goodreads) March 23, 2017

As Old as Time by Liz Braswell (on Goodreads) April 3, 2017

Beauty by Robin McKinley (on Goodreads) May 3, 2017

Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea (on Goodreads) May 15, 2017

Hunted by Meagan Spooner (on Goodreads) May 29, 2017

You can choose to read all of them or just the ones you want. I’ve given about two weeks reading time for each book, but if you don’t finish a book by its review post that’s okay. They’ll be nonspoiler reviews. And you can always go back to the said book’s post and comment after you finish reading it.

You can participate in discussion on Twitter and Instagram too. Just use #bbreadingchallenge. I’ll also have a giveaway or two (Beauty and the Beast themed stuff) to go along with this challenge, so be on the lookout. 🙂

If you’ve already read some of this books, that’s okay too. You can still hop in on the discussions and let us know what you think about the book.

 

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Save Money on Professional Edits—6 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Own Manuscript

Some great tips for editing your work!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Over my career I have literally edited thousands of works, most of them written by emerging writers. My greatest frustration always was (and still is) when I couldn’t even GET to critiquing the deeper story elements because I was too distracted by these all too common oopses.

Good editors are NOT cheap. There are also many editors who charge by the hour. If they’re spending their time fixing oopses you could’ve easily repaired yourself? You’re burning cash and time. Yet, correct these problems, and editors can more easily get to the MEAT of your novel. This means you will spend less money and get far higher value.

#1 The Brutal Truth about Adverbs, Metaphors and Similes

I have never met an adverb, simile, or metaphor I didn’t LOVE. I totally dig description, but it can present problems.

First of all, adverbs are not ALL evil. Redundant adverbs are evil. If…

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Blogger awards

Liebster Award

I was nominated for one other award this summer – the Liebster Award.  It’s taken me awhile, but I’ve nominated a few of my favorite blogs for this award. This works similar to the other awards.

You answer the questions from the person who nominated you. Thanks to Marge Tesch for nominating me! After answering the questions, you nominate up to 11 other people, then ask them 11 questions.

Questions from Marge:

1.How long have you been blogging, and what motivated you to start your blog? I’ve been actively blogging about a year and a half. I started my blog as a way to communicate with my readers and share all the info about my upcoming books.
2. In a single sentence, what is your blog about? On my blog, I share good books as well as bits of my life with my readers.
3. How did you decide on the name for your blog? It’s my author blog, so by default it got my name 🙂
4. Where do you get the ideas for your blog posts and how often do you post? I get inspiration from lots of things: books, movies, things that happen to me. I try to post once a week.  (I’m better at this some times, and not so good at it at other times.)
5. Do you ever get “writer’s block,” and, if so, how do you deal with it? Not a lot, but when I do have trouble thinking of something to write about, I take a step back from the computer. I go and do something else for awhile. When I come back, I am usually able to come up with something.
6. What’s your favorite post that you’ve written? Could you provide a link to that post? This is a hard question, but after skimming through my blog post, I decided on Interview with Jessica Day George. This was the first author interview I did.  It was pretty exciting and a lot of fun to do!
7. What is the best advice you can give your fellow bloggers about how to get new subscribers? Interact with other bloggers. Comment and share.
8. Do you belong to any writers’ or bloggers’ associations and, if so, which ones? I am in several facebook writer groups – Platform Challenged, Word Nerds Unite, The Motivated Writer, and Institute of Children’s Literature
9. Where will we find you on social media? FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest
10. Other than blogging, what is your favorite activity? Spending time with family. I also like reading a lot 🙂
11. What one thing would you like to be remembered for? Writing books that people love and remember forever. I want my books to inspire people.

These blogs all have great content. You’ll want to check them all out if you haven’t seen them before.  A lot of them have some cool Instagram accounts too!

And My Nominees:

Brianna Mae Morgan

Heir of Glitter

DM Simpson

Connie Cockrell

Juanita Millhouse

Trena’s Adventures

The Hunt For Paperbacks

Timea Stan

Gabrielle

The Reality Bug

Long for Writing

Questions for nominees:

  1. What inspired you to start a blog?
  2. How long have you been blogging?
  3. What is your favorite book and why?
  4. What are some of your hobbies (besides writing)?
  5. What is the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
  6. What is the first thing (that you haven’t yet done) on your bucket list?
  7. If you could choose to spend a day anywhere in the world, where would you spend it?
  8. Are you a cat person, a dog person, or both?
  9. What do you do to get rid of writer’s block?
  10. Which of your blog posts is the best one/favorite one you’ve ever written? (Feel free to share a link to the post.)
  11. What do you most want readers to take away from reading your blog?

And to the nominees, no pressure. I understand as writers and readers we have busy lives. I look forward to reading the answers to the questions when you have a chance to post them!

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My Best Reads of 2016

I read a lot of good books this year(I read a total of 60). It was hard to narrow them down to a short list, but these are the ones that finally made it:

 

cinder

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This retelling of Cinderella was set in a futuristic space age world, and I loved it! I’m not that into Star Wars and stuff like that, so I wasn’t sure if I would like this book, but it delivered.  The characters are relatable, the world-building is amazing, and I couldn’t put the book down.  I’ve already bought the rest of the books in this series, but haven’t read them yet. This was one of my top five reads for the year, and tied with another book for my top read.

 

theshallowgraves

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. This was a mystery set in the Victorian era. A young woman tries to discover what really happened to her father – she knows he didn’t kill himself like everyone is saying. An attractive reporter aids her in her search. I loved the heroine. She has the courage to face the truth even when it isn’t easy, and she doesn’t let the strict standards of the time prevent her from finding answers. This was one of my top five reads for the year.

 

glitteringcourt

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead.  The Glittering Court offers servant girls the opportunity to change their lot in life. They are taken to a special place where they are trained to be ladies before they are sent to a newly discovered country where they will marry the noblemen who already live there. Though already a lady, Adelaide pretends to be a servant and sneaks into this group to escape marriage to an odious man. There was lots of glamour and adventure in this book.

 

thesiren

The Siren by Kiera Cass. This was a beautiful retelling of “The Little Mermaid”. Both main characters were willing to sacrifice everything for the one they loved. I even cried a little while reading this book.

 

thegreathunt

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins. A giant beast attacks the kingdom, and the king calls all the hunters to help catch the beast.  The prize for killing the beast, the hand of his daughter in marriage.  The princess balks at marrying a stranger, but wants to save the kingdom, so she agrees.  Once the hunters arrive at the palace, she is surprised to find she connects with one in particular. The only thing I didn’t like was the cliffhanger this book ended on.  I can hardly wait to read the second book.

 

queenofhearts

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes. This is a story about the future queen of hearts. Dinah is set to become queen, but not everyone is willing for that to happen. It seems she can’t really trust anyone. Her enemies aren’t just seeking the crown, they are also seeking to take her life. Another cliffhanger, but the next book comes out this month! This was one of my top five reads, and the other book tied for my favorite read of the year.

 

ruined

Ruined by Amy Tintera. Emelina’s family has all been killed.  She seeks revenge by posing as the prince’s intended.  She marries him, planning to infiltrate the kingdom and exact her revenge, but she starts to fall for the prince. I loved the way you see Emelina change through the book, she was relatable and I felt like I was right there with here.

 

theshadowqueen

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine.  I loved this retelling of Snow White. A bit darker than the original, it was full of adventure and romance.  The heroine is brave and determined.  This was one of my top three reads for the year!

 

daughterofdeepsilence

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan. Frances was one of three survivors on a cruise ship that sank. She knows the truth of what really happened, but the other two survivors have fabricated a story that everyone believes. Frances searches for a way to prove the truth. This fast-paced thriller kept me turning pages into the night.

 

worldsofinkandshadow

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley.  Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Bronte have created worlds that come to life. They love venturing inside those worlds to escape the mundaneness of their lives. But Branwell starts to loose his sanity and the girls begin to loose their grip on the real world. When they try to let go, the characters they have created turn against them, refusing to let them leave. A bit different from what I usually read, I really enjoyed this book.  It gave some insight to the Bronte siblings lives and the relationships they had with one another.  After reading this book, I was motivated to find out more about the Brontes.

 

theforbiddenwish

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury. This is an unique take on Aladdin.  Zahra is the jinni in the lamp Aladdin finds. As she stays with Aladdin, waiting to grant him his three wishes, she starts to fall in love with him.  When she’s offered the chance to be free of the lamp forever, she must decide if her freedom is worth losing Aladdin. This was one of my top five reads for the year!

If you want to check out the rest of my reads for the year, you can see them on goodreads here.  What was your favorite read in 2016?  Let me know in the comments!