Book List: Beauty and the Beast Retellings

Beauty and the Beast Retellings in Young Adult Fiction

It is a tale as old as time, and much loved. Beauty and the Beast is my favourite fairytale. I love the original tale, the first animated Disney movie, and I love YA retellings of this great story. To celebrate the release of Hunted by Meagan Spooner, which nicely coincides with Disney’s release of their live-action film, I have created this list of my favourite YA Beauty and the Beast retellings. I have also included a few ‘East of the Sun’ retellings. The only thing I need to make my list complete? A Beauty and the Beast retelling by E.K. Johnston…. here’s hoping.

 Click on the covers for full reviews.


HuntedHunted – Meagan Spooner – HarperTeen – Published 21 March 2017

It’s been years since Yeva hunted in the woods with her father. Her muscles have grown soft and her training lax after her father moved her family to town and determined that Yeva would be best served playing lady to the baronessa, sewing and wearing fine clothes. But a turn in fortune sees Yeva, her two sisters, and her father removed from their home and returning to the little cabin in the woods. Yeva secretly rejoices at her chance to once again roam the woods with her bow and arrows and traps. But a strange madness overtakes her father, who is sure a beast rules the forest, and, after her father disappears, Yeva goes after him and discovers a world that has previously only belonged in the legends she was told as a child.


A Court of Thorns and RosesA Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas – Bloomsbury – Published 5 May 2015

Feyre hunts to feed her family. Fulfilling an oath she made to her dying mother, she protects and cares for her crippled father and two sisters. Her family do not value the sacrifice Feyre makes on their behalf. That is, until the night the beast appears at their cottage. He is here to claim retribution for his friend, whom Feyre killed while hunting. A life for a life, Feyre is taken across the wall that separates the human lands from the Fae’s. Now surround by those she most hates and fears, she is trapped in a world of great opulence, beauty and cruelty. As she spends more time at the beast’s home, she learns of his struggle with the blight that is creating destruction across the faerie lands and learns to see the man behind the beast.


Cruel Beauty Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge – Balzer+Bray – Published 28 January 2014

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people. Continue reading

Book List: Transport in Fiction

Transport in Fiction

I was approached by the car sharing company Turo (you can view their available rentals on their website) to write a post about my favourite cars in books. I decided to expand that to my favourite transport vehicles. Transport can be so much more than getting from a to b in books. Just take the Orient Express, for example, and who wouldn’t want to ride the Hogwarts Express. And yet, one could argue that every book has some sort of vehicular transport in it, but it takes a memorable experience to make it stand out. Here is my list of stand-out modes of transport in books. But let’s be honest, its just a chance to highlight some of my favourite books.

This list also ties in nicely with the upcoming release of Margaret’s Stohl’s YA novel Royce Rolls, which sounds amazing.

Royce Rolls Royce Rolls – Margaret Stohl – Freeform – Published 4 April 2017

Sixteen-year-old Bentley Royce seems to have it all: an actual Bentley, tuition to a fancy private school, lavish vacations, and everything else that comes along with being an LA starlet. But after five seasons on her family’s reality show, Rolling with the Royces, and a lifetime of dealing with her narcissistic sister, Porsche, media-obsessed mother, Mercedes, and somewhat clueless brother, Maybach, Bentley wants out. Luckily for her, without a hook for season six, cancellation is looming and freedom is nigh. With their lifestyle on the brink, however, Bentley’s family starts to crumble, and one thing becomes startlingly clear–without the show, there is no family. And since Bentley loves her family, she has to do the unthinkable–save the show.

Cars

whitegt-1 White 2005 Mustang GT

For total coolness I would have to choose Rachel’s Mustang GT from Crash Into You. I’m not sure she would let me drive it, though.

Crash Into YouCrash into You – Katie McGarry – Harlequin Teen – Published 26 November 2013

The girl with straight A’s and the perfect life—that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy family…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker—a guy she has no business even talking to. But after the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.


ford

Ford Anglia

With flying mode, of course. Hard to choose whether to put this one under cars or flying vehicles. Harry Potter has so many, very amazing modes of transport to choose from – apparition, Thestral-drawn carriage, even dragon. But the flying car is still cool.

harry-2
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling – Bloomsbury – Published 1998

Harry, Ron and Hermione are back in their second year at Hogwarts. This time Ron and Harry make a rather impressive entrance in the Weasley’s flying car.



jeep-liberty-red-5

Red Jeep Liberty

You can’t have a list of cars in fiction without a road-trip novel.

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson -Simon and Schuster – Published 2010

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

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Book List: Mental Health in Young Adult Fiction

Mental Health in Young Adult Fiction

One in four young Australians currently has a mental health condition (BeyondBlue). Mental health is an important issue, and it is equally important that is it discussed. All teens need to be able to relate to characters in YA fiction and what better way to destigmatise mental health than being open and honest about it. To celebrate the release of two new books this month (April 2016) and a number of up coming releases that share this theme, here is a short list of young adult novels that feature characters, either main or supporting, with mental health conditions.

How It Feels To FlyHow It Feels To Fly – Kathryn Holmes – HarperTeen – Published 14 June 2016

A struggle with body dysmorphia forces one girl to decide if letting go of her insecurity also means turning her back on her dreams.

Sam has always known she’d be a professional dancer—but that was before her body betrayed her, developing unmanageable curves in all the wrong places. Lately, the girl staring back at Sam in the mirror is unrecognizable. Following a series of crippling anxiety attacks, Sam is sent to a treatment camp for teens struggling with mental and emotional obstacles.


Cure for the Common UniverseCure for the Common Universe – Christian McKay Heidicker – Simon & Schuster – Published 14 June 2016

Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is being committed to video game rehab . . . ten minutes after he met a girl. 

In rehab, he can’t blast his way through galaxies to reach her. Instead, he has just four days to earn one million points by learning real-life skills. And he’ll do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even learn how to cross-stitch—in order to make it to his date. If all else fails, Jaxon will have to bare his soul to the other teens in treatment, confront his mother’s absence, and maybe admit that it’s more than video games that stand in the way of a real connection.


100 Days of Cake100 Days of Cake – Shari Goldhagen – Atheneum – Published 17 May 2016

There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs. 


Girl Against the Universe

Girl Against the Universe – Paula Stokes – HarperTeen – Published 17 May 2016

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Book List: Sexual Assault in Young Adult Fiction

Sexual Assault in Young Adult Fiction

Sexual assault is a heart-wrenching topic, but it is an important topic to raise with teens, bringing awareness and understanding. Here is an updated list (Jan 2017) of recent and important young adult novels that feature characters who are survivors of sexual assault.

Vigilante Vigilante – Kady Cross – Harlequin Teen – Published 28 March 2017

Hadley’s best friend Magda was raped by four classmates. A few months later, Magda is dead, having taken her own life. Hadley is left with a drowning sense of grief and guilt. She has to see the four boys in her classroom everyday as the four of them were never charged. When a sudden opportunity arises, Hadley decides to create some of her own justice and plans to go after each of the boys who hurt her friend.


Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species – Mindy McGinnis – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 20 September 2016

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.


The Way I Used To Be The Way I Used To Be – Amber Smith – M.K. McElderry Books – Published 22 March 2016

Eden was always good at being good. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.


Exit, Pursued by a BearExit, Pursued by a Bear – E.K. Johnston – Dutton Books – Published 15 March 2016

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team.  But during a cheerleading camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

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Book List: Mystery Young Adult Fiction

Mystery-Thriller Young Adult Fiction

I love a good mystery. Unlike the fantasy or contemporary genres, I haven’t come across an endless range of good YA mystery novels. But there are some really fantastic young adult mystery-thrillers, be they murder mysteries, crime novels, thrillers with amazing twists or mysteries with a touch of the paranormal.  Here is a list of some of my favourite YA mystery-thrillers, including some exciting new releases.

 Click on the covers for full reviews.

The NaturalsThe Naturals Series – Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Disney-Hyperion – Published 2013 -2016

Very top of my list is The Naturals series. Have you seen the TV show The Mentalist? Well, this series is like that in book form. But better. The Naturals is the first book, followed by Killer Instinct, All In and finally Bad Blood, which was released 1 November 2016.bad-blood Serial killers and a team of teenagers who are naturally gifted in profiling, mathematics, emotion reading and recognising lies. A wonderful cast of characters and an intricate plot that just gets more amazing as the series progresses. Seriously, I cannot praise this series enough. Read it!!!!


Shade MeNikki Kill series – Jennifer Brown – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 2016 – ongoing

This series starts when Nikki Kill is dragged into the investigation of who grievously harmed one of her class mates. Nikki’s synesthesia, seeing colours for numbers, words or letters, makes her a good investigator. dare-youNikki is a tough, brash, and independent character. Her investigation continues in the second book in the series, Dare You. And if Dare You is anything to go by, this series is just going to get better and better.


The Fixer The Fixer series – Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Bloomsbury – Published 2015 – ongoing

Yep, back to Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Because she is awesome. The Fixer series is about Tess Kendrick, who learns that her much older sister is entangled in the world of powerful politics. When the President has a problem, he calls Ivy Kendrick and she makes it go away. the-long-gameBut this time some very powerful people are involved in a conspiracy that involve the families of Tess’s new classmates.

The Long Game continues the series and it is even more exciting, dangerous and edge-of-your-seat crazy. Both are excellent books and the series promises to continue with more twists and fabulous suspense.


The Hidden Memory of ObjectsThe Hidden Memory of Objects – Danielle Mages Amato – Balzer+Bray – Published 21 March 2017

Megan’s brother is dead. The police say he died of a drug overdose and Megan can’t reconcile the images she has of her fun-loving, positive brother with those from the story the police are weaving of a boy who saw no other option than to deliberately overdose in an abandoned building. Heartbroken and confused, Megan decides to do some investigating of her own, starting with the things Tyler left behind. But as Megan collects and then starts creating artwork from her brother’s things, she begins to have strange headaches and blackouts, triggering memories of her brother that she couldn’t possibly have.


Holding SmokeHolding Smoke – Elle Cosimano – Hyperion-Disney – Published 3 May 2016

Smoke is serving time for two murders, one of which he didn’t commit. After a near-death experience, he can now move outside his body.

This is a mystery with a good dash of paranormal. I’ve not enough words to covey the supreme brilliance of this book. This book is dark and edgy and so very readable. It’s harsh and eye opening, heartbreaking and just a touch hopeful. I couldn’t put it down, intrigued by the thrilling and fast-moving plot, and addicted to the complex characters.


9780062094223Take the Fall – Emily Hainsworth – Balzer + Bray – Published 16 February 2016

This is an edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, check-over-your-shoulder, add-your-own-cliche-here kind of book. This is ultimately an epic murder mystery, with a huge list of suspects, a twist that came out of nowhere and a surprise ending. It’s dark and kind of disturbing but so easy to read.

The night Sonia was attacked in the forest, her best friend Gretchen was also attacked. Sonia survived, but Gretchen is found dead at the base of the falls. It sparks an investigation and town-wide terror as the police search for those responsible.


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Book List: If You Liked Poison Study

If You Liked Poison Study – Young Adult Fiction Book List

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Have you read Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder? Did you love it? If you did, you are no doubt looking for books that are similar. I know that when I discovered Poison Study I was desperate to find something I could read next. I have created this list of titles to read after Poison Study.

The Study Series.

Okay, maybe it seems pretty obvious to read the rest of the series, but there are plenty of books in the Study series and the companion Glass series, which together form the Chronicles of Ixia series.

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Here’s the suggested reading order.

  • Poison Study – Study #1
  • Magic Study – Study #2
  • Fire Study – Study #3
  • Storm Glass – Glass #1
  • Sea Glass – Glass #2
  • Spy Glass – Glass #3
  • Shadow Study – Soulfinders #1
  • Night Study – Soulfinders #2
  • Dawn Study – Soulfinders #3 (Due for release in 2017)

There are also a few additional novellas available – Assassin Study, Power Study and Ice Study.


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Book List: Geek/Nerd Young Adult Fiction

Geek/ Nerd Young Adult Fiction

Comics, superheroes, live-action role-playing, comic con, aliens, sci-fi movies, gadgets and the epic universe of fandom. As a self-proclaimed nerd, there is something so enticing about everything geeky.

The books in this list are young adult contemporaries with characters who have a severe love for at least one of these geeky/nerdy obsessions. They may be funny, serious or somewhere in between. This list also highlights a few books to be released in 2016 – which looks like it’s going to be a great year for geek/nerd fiction.

Click on the covers for full reviews.

9781453663318 Geek Girl – Cindy C. Bennett – Createspace – Published 26 July 2010 

17-year-old Jen turns her life upside down when, out of boredom, she makes a bet that she can turn school geek Trevor into someone like her. Instead, the goth girl finds herself sucked into his world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even -ugh!- bowling. To truly belong with him -and with her new foster family- she must first come to terms with her violent past.


9781742973951Life in Outer Space – Melissa Keil – Hardie Grant Egmont – Published 1 February 2013

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls. Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it. Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies … but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones. 

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