Book Review: Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood #BookReview #Retelling #2021RetellingReadingChallenge #Fiction

Noddingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood

By Anna Burke

Blurb:

Robyn Hood didn’t set out to rob the rich, but in Nottingham, nothing ever goes according to plan….

After a fateful hunting accident sends her on the run from the law, Robyn finds herself deep in the heart of Sherwood Forest. All she really wants to do is provide for her family and stay out of trouble, but when the Sheriff of Nottingham levies the largest tax in the history of England, she’s forced to take matters into her own hands. Relying on the help of her band of merry women and the Sheriff’s intriguing—and off limits—daughter, Marian, Robyn must find a way to pull off the biggest heist Sherwood has ever seen.

With both heart and freedom at stake, just how much will she risk to ensure the safety of the ones she loves?

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2021 Retellings Reading Challenge: #2021ReadingChallenge #FairyTales #RetellingsReadingChallenge #Retellings #Books

In 2019 I participated in the Retellings Reading Challenge over @cornerfolds.com. Unfortunately, Tracy isn’t hosting the retelling challenge this year, so I decided to create my own personal retelling challenge for 2021!

I love retellings, and there are so many on my shelf waiting to be read. For the original challenge, here was my list:

  • Shadowsong by S Jae-Jones
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Ragnarök (Erik Storm) by Kai Mjaanes
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  • The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley
  • Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  • Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse by Jane Yolen
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
  • Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
  • The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renée Ahdieh
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
  • Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters #1) by Juliet Marillier
  • Mother Knows Best by Serena Valentino
  • Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
  • Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
  • Depravity by M.J. Haag
  • Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

Originally, seven above were crossed out as they were read for the 2019 challenge. I’ll continue to cross more out as I read. I’m challenging myself to read these 10 titles below. Not all are from my old list, and there may be more added on throughout the year.


Shadowsong by S Jae-Jones

I absolutely loved Wintersong, the first installment in this series. It reminded me so much of Labyrinth, one of my all-time favorites from childhood. When this second installment came out, I was in such a hurry to grab a copy, and here we are in 2021 still not having this one under my belt! I’m excited to see how the author continues this story.

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Book Review: Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran #BookReview #Retelling #2019ReadingChallenge #Fairytale

Snow, Glass, Apples

By Neil Gaiman

and Colleen Doran (Illustrator)

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My thoughts:

-Mild spoilers-

This Snow White retelling is totally reimagined and nothing like the original. In Neil Gaiman’s adaptation, Snow White isn’t the little innocent sweetheart we all know, but rather some type of blood-sucking monster. In addition, this retelling is told from the not-so-evil queen’s point of view…

“If it were today, I would have her heart cut out, true. But then I would have her head and arms and legs cut off. I would have them disembowel her. And then I would watch, in the town square, as the hangman heated the fire to white-heat with bellows, watch unblinking as he consigned each part of her to the fire. I would have archers around the square, who would shoot any bird or animal who came close to the flames, any raven or dog or hawk or rat. And I would not close my eyes until the princess was ash, and a gentle wind could scatter her like snow.

I did not do this thing, and we pay for our mistakes.”

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Book Review: Depravity (Beastly Tales #1) by M.J. Haag #Retelling #2019ReadingChallenge #BeautyandtheBeast

Depravity (Beastly Tales, #1)

By M.J. Haag

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My thoughts:

While searching for retellings on Amazon, this book popped up: Depravity by M.J. Haag. I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and this being categorized as an adult romance pulled me right in. I was able to get the ebook on Amazon for free and ended up purchasing the Audible version as well.

The story begins with Benella, a teenage girl living with her father (Bernard) and two sisters (Bryn and Blye). Her mother has passed away and the family struggles to make ends meet. Her father works as a teacher, and one sister as a seamstress, but they still have little money or food to eat. The sisters try to save as much coin as possible, even if it results in the family starving. The girls are coming of age and old enough to marry, but depsite their father’s hope’s, struggle to find suitable husbands that they approve of.

Benella forages for food along an enchanted estate, finding crops to either share with her family or trade for other goods.  She eventually encounters the beast who lives at the estate. The beast is angry and has been known to capture people, but he allows Benella to go free, yet consistently asks her to stay with him at his estate. The beast perplexes Benella as she strives to care for her family, and tries to stay safe from two village boys who are relentlessly trying to beat her up.

It’s been mentioned that this is an erotic and seductive tale; however, I surely didn’t think it was very erotic at all. When the story first began there was a sexual scene, but it was vaguely described. As the book went on, it wasn’t until the last third where some other sexual scenes came about (one very uncomfortable one including a sexual encounter with a wood nymph), but most others were on the light side in my opinion. I expected romance here between Benella and the beast to eventually develop, but instead the ending was left wide open, resulting in me feeling compelled to read book two and three.

As far as the worldbuilding and character development, I found it just okay. There really wasn’t much imagery at all. Naturally, I wanted to know more about the beast, but hardly any information was given besides him being extremely angry, and of course having a tail.  He’s not well understood, but maybe the characters will flesh out in book two and three. With that said, I did find it unique how the author wrote scenes in her own way, making this retelling stand out from other Beauty and the Beast retellings. I was also on the edge of my seat during a few parts.

I did enjoy the author’s writing, but wish the story was more of a romance as labeled, and that it had more detail. As a retelling as a whole, it was enjoyable, and the Audible narrator was great.

I’d rate this one 3.5 and round up to 4****. My plan is to move right along to book two to discover what’s to come of Benella and the beast.

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