Book Hoarders Anonymous: Best of 2013

I haven’t done a Book Hoarders post in a while so I thought to close out the year I would do a little survey like I did last year and focus on some of my favorite personal literary moments of the year! Sorry in’s link and picture heavy 🙂

Book that reminded me that I love to read: The Sandman series did this for me. The graphic novels are so different from anything that I have ever read and I found myself enamored at the inclusions of different character from history popping up into stories. It really made me think and remember what knowledge I had of these historical figures, or superheroes, etc. and that made me love it even more.

Favorite BAMF: I think Daenerys takes the cake for this one. She is so incredibly young but so fierce. I love her so much. Especially when she says things like “Dracarys!”

Favorite companion: Ravens! Though not technically “fantastical” by nature but some of the ones I read of this year were pretty amazing. Matthew, from The Sandman series and Fiacha from my (ahem 4th? 5th? re-read) of Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite companions, EVER.

Favorite debut author: For sure Cat Winters, the author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds. The book was absolutely fantastic and heartwrenching. Ms. Winters was so gracious and lovely after I reached out to her upon finishing the novel, and she moved quickly to the top of my auto-buy authors.

BFF: Hands down Sybella from Dark Triumph. She was so dark and brave throughout the novel, I couldn’t help but love her. Truly, some of my closest friends describe her as my “spirit animal,” and I can’t wait to see what she and the other ladies get in to in Mortal Heart.

Most swoon-worthy lad: Okay, I am doing it, I’m cheating. I tried to look elsewhere but the title of most swoon-worthy lad goes to Captain Carswell Thorne, hands down. I can not tell you how many pictures I took of his lines and how many flailing texts were sent to my friends while reading Cress. He has made my top 5 of best swoons EVER, and that is saying A LOT.

Favorite pick found while perusing: Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde. I was handed this by a bookseller at The Book Barn because she noticed that I like Patricia C. Wrede and assured me that this title was a readalike. I was pleasantly surprised over the nostalgia, I obviously also loved the strength in the main lady and the swoons in the main dragon!

Fantastical creatures: Not sure if he counts but, Death personified! He was breathtaking in Keturah and Lord Death and I look forward to reading more novels with him in the center!

That bad boy you shouldn’t love, but…: UMM hello? THE DARKLING 4EVA. I love, love, LOVE him so very much…from his quartz like eyes to his brooding demeanor. I just picture him controlling darkness and I get all “humina humina” to MAH BONES. *swoons* Honorable mention goes to Morpheus from Splintered by A.G. Howard

Favorite male lead: KVOTHE. Ohhhh Kvothe…I spent so much time with him this year (umm..over 50 hours of audio – which reminds me, OH HAI, Nick Podehl <3) and my heart sang and broke for him at times. He is so interesting and witty and hello, he’s a ginger, how can I not love him so?!

Favorite female lead: Eleanor, from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. For the good and the bad, she reminded me of me when I was in high school.

Best summary in less than ten words: Scary vampires in an Amish setting. (Thanks, Ame!)

A return to an old favorite (title, genre, etc.): WOO! ROBIN HOOD, BABY!! I chose Robin Hood as my focus for our Classics Retold event and I am so glad that I was able to go back to the story that I love in Hood by Stephen Lawhead. I am excited to read book 2 and 3 in the series as soon as possible!

So glad I judged by it’s cover: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. The piercing gaze of the girl on the front and the ethereal being behind her, I had to have this book. I am so glad that I jumped to request this from Netgalley upon seeing it because it was one of my favorite reads of the year.

Broke my Heart: The Fables installments from this year really got to me. I have become WAY too invested in the characters and have fallen in love with the story, I love these graphic novels so much but boy did they crack my heart a little. Let’s not even get started on A Song of Ice and Fire…

Heightened by the narrator: For sure A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket narrated by Tim Curry is first in my mind when thinking of narrators who make the series for me. I started reading this series years and years ago and never finished because as I grew older I had a hard time making it through these novels in print. However, the audiobooks are absolutely stellar. The parts that I tended to read over because of annoyance or lack of interest, sprouted from my speakers and made me smile and laugh out loud.

Gave me the creeps (which I love): The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki, I sincerely hope that this author starts writing adult horror because he is FANTASTIC.

It’s in the words..: The Woodcutter by Kate Danley was so lyrical and beautiful that I found myself bookmarking every few pages. It was a simple, yet gorgeous read.

Biggest disappointment: Hmm probably Towering by Alex Flinn. I have heard a lot of good things about this author and it might have just been a wrong book, wrong time sort of thing but I did not enjoy this novel AT ALL.

Worth the hype: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. First, I was lucky enough to meet Rainbow at BEA this year and she was so fantastic, she also has great hair. Second, I am not a contemporary reader, and the sickly sweet romances are not usually my thing…HOWEVER Eleanor and Park was recommended to me by so many people that I trust and I fell so deeply in love with it, I immediately added all of Rowell’s books to my TBR. Never has hand holding been so romantic.

Newest addiction: Audiobooks!! As some of you may know, I am incredibly picky when it comes to audiobook narrators. Jim Dale is an obvious love and I fell into loving Neil Gaiman as soon as I heard his free audiobook Click, Clack, the Rattlebag but I had a hard time finding someone else to enjoy. I seem to have a problem with the jarring tone of a female narrator and and I felt sort of lost for a while until Heidi and Amy convinced me to try Nick Podehl, the narrator of The Kingkiller Chronicles. Well WOO BOY am I happy that I gave him a listen! over 50 hours of audiobook later and I am IN LOVE! I was also lucky enough to find some audiobooks narrated by Tim Curry, The Series of Unfortunate Events and a lovely version of Dracula, while perusing!

Favorite villain: Krampus wins this one, I think, though I don’t know for sure that he is considered a villain despite his “evil” ways. This novel by Brom is absolutely enthralling, I read it almost a year ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Favorite laugh out loud moment: Like last year, I have to go with a Duncan moment from the second installment of The League of Princes: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle. “Oh, I disagree,” Duncan added. “It makes me think of cow-owls. And those are horrifying. MOO-WHO! MOO-WHO!” This series is honestly fantastic and I can’t wait for book three!! Honorable mention goes to the final installment of A Tale Dark and Grimm: The Grimm Conclusion by Adam Gidwitz, this one had me laughing out loud as well!

The kissy bits: WOO Shadow & Bone had some yummy moments, as did Dark Triumph by LaFevers, Splintered by Howard, and Eleanor and Park had some epic hand holding (also CRESS because seriously..*faints*) Seriously, you guys…*FANS SELF*

Biggest ugly cry moment: Ya know, I didn’t really have any ugly cry moments this year..I don’t usually read those kinds of books so I somehow missed out. I did, however, tear up a few times while reading Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. They were both lovely books, though I did not love them or get as attached as other readers.

Favorite new to me genre/book: Historical fiction! Between In the Shadow of Blackbirds, and The Caged Graves, I quickly jumped on the historical fiction bandwagon and asked Hannah and April for some suggestions. Needless to say, my TBR pile grew a lot and I am excited to move into some non Tudor England historical reads!

Mind. Blown.: Man, I feel sorry that I can’t explain myself better here but…that THING that happens in A Storm of Swords (and it’s not the thing you think)..yeah, I did NOT see that coming. I am so thrilled that I read this series, I can’t even begin to explain how worth it it is to take on the epicness that is A Song of Ice and Fire.

Thank you, Netgalley!: Splintered by A.G. Howard was a titled that I found on a whim while looking through Netgalley. The cover was gorgeous and the synopsis sounded awesome – a twisted fairytale, Alice in Wonderland meets Tim Burton in novel form? Sign me up! The world was vivid and the swoons were aplenty.

Non-bookish THINGS that I loved in 2013:

LOKI: Now, you all know that I love the villains SO MUCH and Loki isn’t really NEW on my radar since I have read and LOVED Norse mythology for as long as I can remember, but I started working hardcore on my WIP this year and…well..there are some Loki like bits in there. That got me delving more into his character, which only made me love him more. Also look how cute my new shirt is…

Game of Thrones: Again, not so new, but some of you may know that I participated in a Song of Ice and Fire Read Along this year and though it was very time consuming…it was AWESOME. Honestly, it is totally worth it, the series is so epic and you just fall so into the world, I definitely recommend giving it a go.

Neil Gaiman: Okay, I may have mentioned him a time or…five..but I was lucky enough to see Neil Gaiman THREE TIMES this year, and I MET HIM FACE TO FACE a few months ago and it was just a once in a lifetime experience. He is so amazing and gracious, and genius. Also his wife, she is pretty fantastic as well. No words.

Literary Lushes: I started a second website with my best friend Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide) which focuses on ARC tours and Twitter chats. It has been such a great experience working with someone that I love and it has really opened me up to new bloggers and experiences which makes me incredibly happy!

Going forward I would like to introduce some new fun features on the blog – (including a new review feature!) and obviously share some wonderful reviews with you all! What about you guys, what can you tell me about your favorite literary moments of the year? I look forward to seeing you all in 2014!! As always, thanks for reading!

Review: Robin Hood Shows and Movies

Robin Hood Banner

Classics Retold is wrapping up! I had a lot of fun with this project, though I am disappointed that I didn’t get to read and watch as many of the retellings as I had got in the way and all that! Today I am going to do some mini reviews of a few Robin Hood movies and the BBC adaptation of Robin Hood.

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves – As I mentioned in a previous post, this is my favorite Robin Hood movie, it actually may be my favorite movie in general. I know that there are so many people who make jests about this film for various reasons, the fact that Kevin Costner couldn’t master the English accent being one of them, but I personally love this romanticized version of my favorite tale. The producers of Prince of Thieves focused more on the relationship between Robin and Marian, the tagline for the film read “For the good of all men, and the love of one woman, he fought to uphold justice by breaking the law,” which really shows the emphasis put on his love for Marian. Kevin Costner is totes handsome, even in Waterworld, and MORGAN FREEMAN plays Azeem, you know Morgan Freeman rules. You guys, I love this movie so much that I can quote every line and play part of “Everything I do” by Bryan Adams on guitar. I love it so much that I bought the extended bluray DVD, and *spoiler alert* it is extra cool because it gives evidence that Mortiana (the witch) is actually the Sherriff of Nottingham’s MOTHER. She kidnapped the son of the last sheriff so she could put her son in the place of power, wed him to a royal, and therefore make it so her line sat on the throne. Super creepy, but you go girl.

Marian: You came for me… You’re alive…

Robin Hood: I would die for you.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights – Who doesn’t love a good Mel Brooks film? Despite the fact that this is almost a direct parody of Prince of Thieves – no really at one point Robin looks at the camera and says “Because, unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent,” this movie still makes me laugh out loud. I fell in love with Cary Elwes while watching him play Wesley (obvs), but I will love him forever as Robin. If this hasn’t sold you, it also features a young Dave Chappelle.

Prince John: Such an unusual name. Latrine. How did your family come by it?

Latrine: We changed it in the 9th Century.

Prince John: You changed it to Latrine?

Latrine: Yeah! It used to be Shithouse.

Prince John: It’s a good change…’s a good change.

Robin Hood (BBC) – Now, I’ve only seen about half of season one but I am HOOKED. First of all, Robin is a STUD, as are some of his “merry men,” in fact, the actor who plays Viserys in Game of Thrones plays (a brunette) Will Scarlet, and AHEM…RICHARD ARMITAGE IS GUY OF GISBORNE! HELLOOO Thorin Oakenshield!! Second of all, it’s quite funny in that BBC way, you know the kind that makes you chuckle but not quite laugh out loud. Another thing I absolutely adore about this version is that Marian is a BAMF. She knows how to use that bow just as well as Robin does, and she uses her wiles to gain insight as assist Robin and his men. I’ll be honest, this version also has some sad parts and it isn’t presented with the greatest of special effects. Still, it is incredibly entertaining – and it’s on Netflix, so go forth and watch!

Marian: He has to have the glory, doesn’t he?

Much: Glory? Nah. I think he just wants to be loved.

So that wraps up Classics Retold! Please go to the Classics Retold page under Events on the menu up top and look at the wonderful Classics Retold posts written by fellow bloggers!

Review: Hood by Stephen Lawhead

Robin Hood Banner

Title: Hood

Author: Stephen Lawhead

Publishing Information: September 1, 2006

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Adult, Retellings

Series information: Book 1 in the King Raven Series

Format: Hardcover, 490 pages

Source: Purchased for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of historical fiction and those looking for a new take on an old tale.

The Legend Begins Anew

For centuries, the legend of Robin Hood and his band of thieves has captivated the imagination. Now the familiar tale takes on new life, fresh meaning, and an unexpected setting.

Hood is a novel that I have been meaning to read for a very long time. In fact, I attempted to read it quite a few years ago and despite my love of Robin Hood, I just couldn’t become immersed in the story. Being that I have owned the novel for years, the Classics Retold project seemed like the perfect excuse for me to give it another try.

Rhi Bran’s (see what he did there, Rhi Bran = Robin) father is killed and he is left as the would-be heir to his father’s castle and lands. Unfortunately Bran is injured severely by Normans and he is found near death by a mysterious old woman. After many trials she succeeds in nursing him back to health and assisting him in realizing his truth worth as a leader to his people.

I did enjoy the characters for the most part, Bran was pigheaded and a rather different type of hero. It was interesting to watch his growth throughout the novel and I thoroughly enjoyed his characterization of King Raven. The two most descriptive secondary characters in Hood are Merian, and Friar Tuck, who goes by the name Aethelfrith. I did not like the portrayal of Merian, I found her to be somewhat silly in her dual nature. On one hand she was strong headed and stubborn, but then she seemed rather silly and naĂŻve in her actions. Tuck, however, was incredibly loveable. He assisted Bran in keeping a cool head in many situations and was incredibly keen and fun to read.

Hood is a very different retelling than the original tale of Robin Hood, and it reads more like a historical fiction novel than anything else. Lawhead in no way romanticizes Robin Hood’s tale, in fact it is a darker retelling than I have ever read and to be honest there is not much happiness through the novel, despite the fact that things do move forward little by little for our hero.

While reading, I wasn’t completely enthralled with the tale, and I had hoped for some more action. Much of the story is Bran finding his potential, and background on the different Barons who are fighting for control of the land. There was one particular scene that took place in the “haunted forest” that I thoroughly enjoyed, the atmosphere was absolutely chilling. It is obvious while reading that this is only one part to the Robin Hood tale and it is hard to judge the novel on its own as it really is a piece to a much bigger puzzle. That said, as a whole I found the novel to be an interesting new beginning to the Robin Hood legend, I will definitely be continuing on with the story.

Review: The Woodcutter by Kate Danley

Title: The Woodcutter

Author: Kate Danley

Publishing Information: November 6, 2012

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Mystery, Young Adult, Adult

Series information: Standalone

Format: Kindle, 346 pages

Source: Gifted for my Kindle from Amy (Tripping Over Books)

Recommended For: Fans of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, John Connelly, and intense yet simplistic dark fantasy novels.

Deep within the Wood, a young woman lies dead. Not a mark on her body. No trace of her murderer. Only her chipped glass slippers hint at her identity.

The Woodcutter, keeper of the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of the Faerie, must find the maiden’s killer before others share her fate. Guided by the wind and aided by three charmed axes won from the River God, the Woodcutter begins his hunt, searching for clues in the whispering dominions of the enchanted unknown.

But quickly he finds that one murdered maiden is not the only nefarious mystery afoot: one of Odin’s hellhounds has escaped, a sinister mansion appears where it shouldn’t, a pixie dust drug trade runs rampant, and more young girls go missing. Looming in the shadows is the malevolent, power-hungry queen, and she will stop at nothing to destroy the Twelve Kingdoms and annihilate the Royal Fae…unless the Woodcutter can outmaneuver her and save the gentle souls of the Wood. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

One of the first things I noticed about The Woodcutter was the simplicity yet enthralling nature in which Kate Danley draws in the reader. Those of you familiar with more traditional fairytales will love the language of this novel. In lieu of proper names, the author uses the more ambiguous “Wife,” and “The King,” which set them apart from the named characters in an interesting way. Even The Woodcutter wears his title as his armor, he IS The Woodcutter and that title overpowers all things. In addition to this ambiguity, the novel is also filled with many “moral of the story” moments. The most important of these being that “true love conquers all.” As an avid reader I may have become somewhat jaded in terms of true love and characters who are “meant to be,” but this novel delivers these moments in a different and more subtle way that is reminiscent of the tales of old. 

In terms of plot, The Woodcutter was intense yet at the same time very subtle. I was surprise at how dark the novel was, not horror story dark, but just lacking a bit of light throughout. There is much conflict through The Woodcutter and like any epic hero he is forced to work through many different obstacles in order to succeed. The wonderful thing here is that as I stated above The Woodcutter does all for The Wood, he is the protector of the land and that is his priority, on the inside though, he only wishes to return home to his wife to live out his days by her side. This was interesting as the reader was able to see the internal conflict of The Woodcutter and how he worked to meet his vastly different goals.

One of the best things about this novel is that it isn’t just a fairytale retelling, it bridges genre (and age) gaps as is holds so many different elements. Not only is it filled with fairytale elements, there are also significant nods to mythology and traditional folklore, not to mention the bits of fantasy, mystery and horror throughout. As you read you gain more knowledge of the world and characters within it, and therefore you are able to journey with The Woodcutter as he learns about the land he protects.

If I can tell you anything to sway you to pick this novel up as soon as possible, know that Kate Danley’s writing is beautiful. She is a master at words and I found myself reading and re-reading many lines throughout. I highly recommend The Woodcutter to those of you looking for an enthralling and lovely read. Fans of The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly and traditional fairy tales will find this especially lovely.

Yes, true love’s first kiss
“The spell has been broken,” said the Woodcutter…The hellhound that stalked you will have lost your scent, for you are no longer that which you were and will forever be more than you ever thought possible…”
He knew they no longer needed him, for wild magic does not meddle with the hearts of those who have tamed it with true love.
For true love conquers all.

Review: Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

15766776Title: Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

Author: Liesl Shurtliff

Publishing Information: April 9th 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Genre: Middle Grade, Fairy Tales, Retellings, Fantasy, Magic

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 272 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Fans of Christopher Healy and Adam Gidwitz, readers looking for a fun and lighthearted read

This novel was positively adorable. You may think you know the story of Rumpelstiltskin, but what of the child who became the man? As in the original tale, names hold power in this debut middle grade novel, a name is someone’s destiny, but who controls it?

This novel is run by its characters, and it’s a good thing too because they were all vibrant and interesting, and altogether enjoyable. Rump was a steller character, it was so easy to root for him throughout the novel and I personally wanted to just pluck him out of the novel, fatten him up, and keep him in my pocket, safe from harm. I have to say that as a reader, I was expecting Rump to turn into the villain that most of us know from childhood tales, as this novel is telling the story of how he became who he is. Instead, Rump is a character I completely sympathized with and it was really refreshing to see him as a sweet and innocent child.

His best friend Red was feisty and I sincerely hope that the author has some plans to tell us her story because that is surely something that I would love to read. The other secondary characters were just as entertaining, though the trolls were by far my favorite. The villains were villainous but not overly so, just enough to make you grind your teeth in frustration and wish you could poke them directly in the eye or something equally appalling.

“Because some things people like to keep to themselves. This has always been my tree, and I don’t want anyone else to know about it. If you tell, I’ll punch your teeth out.”

“It made me feel really special that she would share it with me.”

I just feel as if I need to get this out of the way, what is up with these middle grade novels being so incredibly long?! That isn’t particularly a complaint because I adore them and there is of course no “right” way to write a novel but I can’t tell you how many times I was secretly wishing that the fabulous 400+ page MG I was reading was really only 300 or less.  The point of this mini rant is that Rump was not one of those overly long novels that make you wonder why so many ineffectual details have been included in an already fabulous tale. There are so many middle grade novels out there that feel too long, or on the other end, too juvenile, to entertain an array of readers. Thankfully this is not the case for Rump. Instead, readers are transformed to an entertaining, yet simple setting to watch a detailed yet straightforward plot unfold. This is not a novel that contains twists and turns, but there are enough obstacles that you will find yourself holding out hope that Rump is able to write his own destiny and escape the magic that holds him hostage.

Rump felt just right in the manner that it wasn’t lacking detail or plot in any way, yet it was also enough to undeniably entertain a reader of all ages. Fans of Christopher Healy and Adam Gidwitz will absolutely adore this book. If you are looking for a fun and lighthearted read, pick this one up immediately.

A condensed version of this review can be found at bookalicious.

Review: Towering by Alex Flinn

15806868Title: Towering

Author: Alex Flinn

Publishing Information: May 14, 2013 by HarperTeen

Genre: Young Adult, Retellings, Fairy Tales, Fantasy

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Fans of quick reads filled with a little bit of mystery, and a lot of insta-love
Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her. 

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

It’s hard to tell you how I feel about this novel because while I was reading it I really enjoyed it. However, now that I am looking back to write my review I am thinking of all of the things that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Does that ever happen to you? You read a book and you’re entertained at the moment but then looking back you find that it wasn’t a particularly good book? It’s hard to rate a book like that, but I’ll do my best.

The POV in the novel goes back and forth between Wyatt and Rachel, though much time is spent in Wyatt’s head as Rachel really doesn’t have much going on up in that tower. I liked Wyatt a lot, I found him endearing and gentle and a little bit sad. Rachel was a decent enough character as her naivete is believable due to her circumstances and her reliance on her “Mama” is necessary for her continued survival. I like Wyatt’s curiosity and strength, and I enjoyed the way Rachel took control of her own life when she felt the need, even though it did seem rather forced. However, I did not like the instalove between these two, and despite the fantastical elements that went into their meeting, it didn’t click for me and I was annoyed at how quickly and deeply they fell in love. The secondary characters in the novel were scarce and the villains fell very flat. In fact, the only time we really see the villains in depth is during the climax of the novel, and that was a disappointment as I really felt that so much more could have been done with their characterization.

My absolute favorite part of the novel was the mystery and setting. It read like one of those old school mysteries, teenage daughter goes missing, ghost starts haunting the new boy in town, mysterious singing, deep snow and wind reminiscent of the moors of Wuthering Heights. Sounds awesome, right? It really could have been, had it contained more detail and depth. On a whole, there was one interesting part that I honestly did not see coming, and there were times that I couldn’t stop thinking about the plot and even while I wasn’t reading, I was wondering what was going to happen next. I think that was the biggest disappointment for me. Once the novel climaxed, and the mystery was solved, I couldn’t help but feel let down. It wasn’t just that things were solved too quickly, though that was an issue for me, it was my disappointment in the flatness of the tale.  The BIG REVEAL happened and tied up ALL THE THINGS and Rachel saved the day (and her man) with her MAGIC and all was well!

The gist here is that before I started, and as I was reading, what I thought I was getting was an incredibly layered, detailed, and intriguing mystery. What I got was a rather typical young adult novel filled with enough magic to tie up all loose ends, and an insta-love between a troubled boy who would have a lot going for him if he hadn’t fallen so in love that he now has a live in girlfriend who doesn’t know the difference between a car and a carriage.

For those of you who are looking for a quick read to cleanse the palate in between those layered and detailed novels, give this one a go. It was enjoyable enough, but I won’t be running to read the author’s other novels any time soon.

Classics Retold: Robin Hood


Welcome friends! Today I will be reminding you all of my love for Robin Hood! This is just going to be a quick intro post showcasing what I will be reading (and watching) for our Classics Retold project! This isn’t really a complete list since I want to read ALL THE BOOKS, but these are my definites!

I’ve actually owned this book for years, and I tried reading it a while back and couldn’t get into it. It has great reviews, though, so I am hoping to give it another try!


Hood by Stephen Lawhead

For centuries, the legend of Robin Hood and his band of thieves has captivated the imagination. Now the familiar tale takes on new life, fresh meaning, and an unexpected setting.

Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Stephen R. Lawhead’s latest work conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare yourself for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.


Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Robersonlady of the forest

As the gates of Ravenskeep swing open and a young woman flees into the primeval depths of Sherwood Forest and into the arms of the man she loves, a saga of exceptional power and remarkable passion begins…

He is Sir Robery Locksley–the heroic nobleman who has turned his back on all he knows to embark on a dangerous quest for justice in an England torn apart by treachery, betrayal and war.

She is Lady Marian of Ravenskeep–the proud, defiant knight’s daughter who leaves her sheltered life behind to join a shadowy band of outlaws who follow no law but their own.



Maid Marian by Elsa Watson

Marian is left alone again—a widow who has never been a bride. But now, like all unmarried young ladies of fortune, she is made the ward of King Richard the Lionheart. Since Richard is away on Crusade, Marian’s fate lies in the hands of his mother, the formidable Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. The bridegroom Eleanor selects will get Marian’s lands and, in return, pledge his loyalty—and silver—to the king. Marian herself is irrelevant and she knows it. Determined not to be sold into another sham marriage, she seeks out the one man who can help uncover the queen’s intentions: Robin Hood, the notorious Saxon outlaw of Sherwood Forest.






The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin Mckinley
Author McKinley applies her unparalleled vision of traditional legends to the story of Robin Hood and his community of Sherwood Forest outlaws.







Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

This one is obvious. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on it, I love me some Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman. I don’t care that he didn’t have an English accent, WE LOVES IT.







Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

A Mel Brooks film, and a spoof on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in particular. I LOVE this movie, but I will never forget how my mother had me watch The Princess Bride and then Men in Tights directly after. I still have a hard time looking at Cary Elwes as anyone but Wesley ❤





Robin Hood (2010)

Vastly different than the other films, and much more dramatic. At first I didn’t particularly enjoy this adaptation, but I have grown to love the intensity of it. Plus? Russell Crowe.





BBC Robin Hood TV series (2006)

I can’t tell you how many times I have checked this out from the library and haven’t made the time to watch it. I am going to watch at least the first season, but I am hoping that it is so awesome that I can’t stop. Better start soon! Also, I feel as if I am really talking a lot about the hotties who have played Robin Hood so it is only fitting that we mention RICHARD EFFING ARMITAGE AS GUY OF GISBORNE. WHY DON’T I ALREADY OWN THIS SERIES?!



What do you guys think? Any that I am certainly missing and NEED to read? Let me know! Don’t forget that you can still sign up for Classics Retold, and you don’t have to post reviews for any retellings until September! You have so much time!!

Miniseries Review: Tin Man


We are nearing the end of Project Fairy Tale and this is my last post on a non-print adaptation of The Wizard of Oz! If you want to learn more about this fun event head over to my intro post!

The plot was so twisty on this one that I don’t want to rehash it for you all because I would rather not ruin anything so let’s talk about the new portrayal of old characters and then go forth to Netflix and watch, I say!

I LOVED what SyFy did with these characters.

D.G. was just the right amount of naivety and intellect to make me enjoy her as a character. Though a lot of her parts were cheesefest and wide eyed shock and concern, I still enjoyed her strength and determination.

Glitch (The “Scarecrow”) was hard not to love, for reasons beyond the fact that he was played by Alan Cummings. He was fun and incredibly loyal even though he “glitched” often due to half of his brain being removed by Azkadellia.

Raw (The “Cowardly Lion”) was first of all, in a magnificent costume and makeup. Second, the way SyFy portrayed him and his kind as sort of telepathic viewers was a really interesting addition. He was the sweetest and most tame of the characters which was a fun comparison to The Cowardly Lion from the original tale. In the end, he came into his own and realized that it was important to stand up for his friends and family.

The Tin Man aka Wyatt Cain – Okay first, those blue eyes *swoons* second, Wyatt and Cain are only two of my favorite names, EVER. Third, HIS INDIANA JONES HAT! I can’t even…okay but his character is THE hero, THE good guy. The one who is all conflicted and wants to “go his own way” but realizes that he has a HEART (see what I did there) and therefore must fight for the GOOD of all. Oh he was my favorite.

Azkadellia – She was beautiful and wicked to the point where sometimes I was a little bit scared of her, but I liked it. She also had a killer wardrobe so what’s not to love?

Things that made me LOL, roll my eyes, and basically remember it was a film made by SyFy:

Toto: I didn’t love their rendition of Toto for this particular adaptation. Spoiler alert: There was some shape shifting involved and I really didn’t like the character who portrayed “Tutor” as a human.

Azkadellia and her boob minions: Yeah, you read that right. Az has some pretty awesome minions, some of which are flying monkeys much like the original story. The major difference here that made me go “did that just happen…” is that Az has some nifty symbols tattooed on her upper chest. Therefore, whenever she is ready to make those babies fly she just unbuttons her little jacket, puffs out, gives a shake and BAM flying monkeys GALORE! I mean really SyFy, I know Kathleen Robertson is a hottie but could you not?

The plot was intricate, interesting and in some parts, very sad. In my opinion didn’t drag at all and I wanted to know what was going to happen next throughout it’s entirety. It is definitely a show that I would watch again and it made me want to watch some of SyFy’s other miniseries! I suggest taking some time and watching this adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, it is on Netflix and is only a few hours long!

Review: A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire

lionTitle: A Lion Among Men

Author: Gregory Maguire

Publishing Information: October 16th 2008 by William Morrow

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Fairy tales

Series information: Book 3 in The Wicked Years

Format: Hardcover, 309 pages

Source: Owned

Recommended For: Fans who have read Wicked and Son of a Witch and want to see more characters in the Wicked universe.

A Lion Among Men chronicles a battle of wits hastened by the Emerald City’s approaching armies. What does the Lion know of the whereabouts of the Witch’s boy, Liir? What can Yackle reveal about the auguries of the Clock of the Time Dragon? And what of the Grimmerie, the magic book that vanished as quickly as Elphaba? Is destiny ever arbitrary? Can those tarnished by infamy escape their sobriquets–cowardly, wicked, brainless, criminally earnest–to claim their own histories, to live honorably within their own skins before they’re skinned alive?

Here we are again representing all things Wizard of Oz to celebrate Project Fairy Tale! If you want to learn more about this fun event head over to my intro post!

I can’t lie, it was hard to pick this one up twelve years after reading Wicked, I couldn’t bring myself to re-read and there was a little bit of confusion as I tried to remember where we were in the story. As I said before, these novels read more like companions while also working toward the major story arc so thankfully once I started reading it wasn’t a major issue that I couldn’t recall specific details from book one and two. A Lion Among Men provides another piece to the puzzle that is Elphaba and Oz. The reader follows Brr as he grows and learns how to be both Lion and “man.” Though I enjoyed the story enough, I did feel a little lost and confused as to why most details were important to the main story. That is, for the most part I was conflicted that we weren’t learning what happened after the huge bomb that was dropped at the end of Son of a Witch or what any of this had to do with Elphaba and her sacrifices. The last quarter of the book, however, tied everything up in a way that had my mouth on the ground. Maguire is a genius storyteller. He invokes so many feelings in a reader and does it so subtly that as I was reading I wasn’t realizing how much the story was affecting me but as the bomb was dropped I was left feeling hurt and raw, as if I was the one betrayed. The reader learns more about Yackle and she provides much comic relief to an otherwise dramatic and serious story, I did enjoy her parts very much though much of the back story on Brr wasn’t as entertaining as I had hoped.

It seems as if Maguire is giving us miniscule pieces to a very large puzzle. Though I was entertained enough to want to read the last book in the series, I have to be honest and say that my main reasoning is because I felt as if I couldn’t abandon the series after coming so far. Overall, I felt as if Maguire took a very long time to tell a not so long story. That being said, I do look forward to sharing my feelings about Out of Oz next week. I found that like myself, many readers were upset at how little this story has to do with Liir or Nor, but I am happy to say that the conclusion of The Wicked Years ties together every open story thread and brings the characters together so that the reader is able to better understand their stories throughout the first three novels.

“A male usually had made up his mind before you began to talk to him -so why bother?- but a female, because her mind was more supple, was always prepared to become more disappointed in you than she had yet suspected possible.”

Movie Review: Return to Oz

return to oz


Dorothy, saved from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl, is somehow called back to Oz when a vain witch and the Nome King destroy everything that makes the magical land beautiful.

Back again representing all things Wizard of Oz to celebrate Project Fairy Tale! If you want to learn more about this fun event head over to my intro post!

Remember how I told you that we weren’t going to mention “The Wiz?” Well, add Return to Oz to the pile of retellings that we won’t be associating with the perfection that is The Wizard of Oz. I remember watching this movie when I was younger and I always felt as if I should enjoy it because it was somehow related to WoO and I was supposed to love all things associated with my beloved story! Now, years later, I can tell you with not an ounce of guilt that if I never see Return to Oz again, things will be a-okay.

Let’s start from the beginning..

Dorothy won’t stop talking about Oz and it’s inhabitants so Aunt Em decides that the best thing for her is a good dose of shock therapy. She drops her off at a ridiculously creepy hospital (read: asylum) to get some shock therapy. Don’t worry, she promises that she will return in the morning with Toto to bring Dorothy home…instead, a storm erupts in Kansas and the hospital is struck by lightning, making the power go out right as The Nome King Doctor Worley is about to flip the switch for Dorothy’s “therapy.” A random patient helps Dorothy escape her bonds and they run away, jumping into a river to escape Mombi Nurse Wilson. Dorothy wakes up in Oz with her chicken Billina – still not sure how the chicken ended up there but let’s go with it – and they start exploring the land. Dorothy steals finds some lunch pails hanging on a tree and brings about the wrath of The Wheelers, (these are creepy men with wheels for hands and feet.) Thankfully she happens upon a robot man named Tik-Tok who uses his special moves to beat upon those Wheelers and get Dorothy to the castle of Mombi. Turns out Mombi is well, a witch. She isn’t just any witch though, she is a witch who steals the heads off of beautiful girls, keeps them on shelves and changes them much as one would change her dress for dinner. Mombi, of course, locks Dorothy away, but not before telling her that she is going to let her age into a unique beauty and then SURPRISE steal her head. Lucky for Dorothy (again) she rooms up with a…being…named Jack Pumpkinhead. He tells her that Mombi has some special powder that will bring things to life so little Dorothy decides to make a flying contraption out of a couch and a Gump Head. She then escapes the room, steals the key and potion and Jack, Tik-Tok, Dorothy and Billina escape. Unfortunately they land in the land of The Nome King and he takes them underground and tells them that he will let them go free if they can pass a test. The test is that each will walk into the next room filled with knickknacks and find an item that is actually one of their friends, enchanted. It’s no surprise that Dorothy succeeds which INFURIATES The Nome King. He then becomes a very big and very dark and scary rock man but he is defeated because Billina lays an egg (which just happen to be POISON to gnomes) in his mouth, and the crew escapes. There is a little parade and Ozma reappears, she was the random hospital patient from Kansas, and Dorothy goes home. Toto finds her laying near the river and Aunt Em tells her that when the lightning struck the hospital it went up in flames and everyone escaped except for Dr. Worley. Dorothy and Aunt Em go back home and Ozma appears to Dorothy in her mirror, letting her know that she can visit Oz whenever she wishes. Lucky gal!

This film was described as an unofficial sequel to The Wizard of Oz and it is loosely based on the second and third Wizard of Oz books, The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz, which was my favorite Wizard of Oz novel. I suppose it is because Ozma of Oz is my favorite that I really loathed this movie. I am not one of those judgy people, but the fact that this movie was made my Disney and rated PG FLOORED me. There is no way that a child would enjoy this movie without being scared and confused and quite frankly, bored. In the book it is not Mombi but Princess Langwidere from the Land of Ev who has her array of heads and I can admit that theme is a tad old for the intended audience but I think it is the dark setting and play on special effects and LOUD NOISES that made me think the film is inappropriate for young children.

I was worried that I was just biased because nothing can compare to the original Wizard of Oz but I really loved Tin Man (which I will be reviewing for you next week) so I feel a little better disliking this one..I do have to say that it definitely has a cult following so it clearly isn’t hated by all and therefore you may not dislike it as much as I did so maybe give it a try! On my end, I will stick to what I know and love and steer clear of this adaptation in the future!