Tag Archive | retelling

Beastly fiction – to read with your ears!

Time to download this week’s exciting beastly free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

From Thursday morning (June 1) through Wednesday night (June 7), you can click on the link for each title, download the free professionally produced audiobook onto your electronic device, and listen to it whenever you wish – it’s yours to keep, as long as the downloaded file is kept on that device!

Thanks to the audiobook publishers for giving us these free reads all summer long: http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD cover of Beast by Donna Jo Napoli | Read by Robert Ramirez Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comBeast  (free download here June 1-7, 2017)
by Donna Jo Napoli
Read by Robert Ramirez
Published by Recorded Books

Transformed into a lion to be hunted by his father, Orasmyn flees Persia for Europe, where encountering a young woman named Belle may change him yet again.


Of Beast and Beauty  (free download here June 1-7, 2017) CD cover of Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay | Read by Julia Whelan Published by Tantor Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Stacey Jay
Read by Julia Whelan
Published by Tantor Media

As princess, she will be a sacrifice for her city. As beast, he must risk death to save his people. Imprisoned by destiny and a prisoner through daring – can they change the future of their world, together?

What other retellings of classic fairy tales and legends can you recommend?












Magnolia, by Kristi Cook (book review) – small-town matchmaking, big-time tornado

book cover of Magnolia by Kristi Cook published by Simon PulseShe hates him for an eighth grade prank,
He’s mad at her for taking aim at his senior class rank.
Their families have been planning their wedding since pre-kindergarten… sigh.

Neither Ryder nor Jemma want to give in to the expectations of their closer-than-family families.

But when a hurricane heads toward their tiny town (The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore lands in Gulfport, so the Mississippi coast is doomed), Ryder follows family orders to take care of Jemma, and things get crazy.

Read an excerpt from the first chapter here at the publisher’s website, then whirl away to get your own copy of Magnolia to see how stormy the relationship between Ryder and Jemma truly gets!

What crisis would you choose to live through with your not-so-best pal?

Book info: Magnolia / Kristi Cook. Simon Pulse, 2014 (hardcover & paperback).  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Matched by their families since birth, Jemma and Ryder can’t stand each other, until a tornado rips through their Mississippi town and the teens find out how thin the line between hate and love truly is.

Ever since Corporal Cafferty saved Captain Marsden during a Civil War battle, the two families have been inseparable. When Jemma C and Ryder M were born six weeks apart, their mothers started planning the wedding. Of course, no one counted on the pair having a huge fight in junior high.

Now it’s their senior year – Ryder’s being recruited for his football skills, Jemma wants to go away to film school, and they’re still feuding. When her older sister’s brain tumor surgery takes Jemma’s parents to Houston, she stays home her short film for NYU.

As a hurricane-spawned tornado heads for Magnolia Branch, Ryder and Jemma are on their own to survive and to discover the true depth of their feelings for one another.

Football rivalry, family plans in conflict, girls in pearls – echoes of Romeo and Juliet in this story set amid moss-draped Magnolia trees. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)Mississippi

Little Women at home and their papa away at war – read with your ears!

Back in time to the Civil War we go, to the New England home of Meg and Jo and Beth and Amy and Marmee, to the war front with their beloved chaplain father – all through the magic of audiobooks.

Click on either or both title links below to download these free complete audiobooks from Thursday through Wednesday (30 July 2015). You then have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device

Only a few weeks left of this great summertime audiobook program. Catch up with information on where to buy the ones you missed here: http://www.audiobooksync.com/ and check out your local library‘s audiobook collection, too!

CD cover of March  by Geraldine Brooks | Read by Richard Easton Published by Penguin AudioMarch
by Geraldine Brooks
Read by Richard Easton
Published by Penguin Audio

As a chaplain during the Civil War, March misses his family, considers God’s love in the midst of battle, and struggles to recover from terrible illness and philosophical doubts.



Little WomenCD cover of Little Women  by Louisa May Alcott | Read by Kate Reading Published by Listening Library
by Louisa May Alcott
Read by Kate Reading
Published by Listening Library

While their father is away during the Civil War, the young women of the March family must try to get by and get along in this classic tale.

What other books that extend the stories of well-known characters would you recommend?

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter (book review) – adultery, shaming & revenge!

book cover of Manga Classics  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, adapted by Crystal S. Chan, script by Stacy King, art by SunNeko Lee. Published by Udon/ MorpheusA husband missing at sea,
a forbidden relationship,
one parent punished, the other unknown…

As an error in judgment leads to years of being outcast, Hester must wear the scarlet A for adultery, yet refuses to unmask the father of her child.

Ask at your local library or independent bookstore for this clear retelling of the Hawthorne classic, whether you’re returning to a favorite tale or reading it for the first time.  And if The Scarlet Letter is a school assignment, read the complete original text here for free – getting the story and characters firmly in mind with this manga will make things much easier!

Yes, this book is in true manga format, like Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice,  so start at the back (helpful refresher on format-reading there) and dive into this Puritan-era conflict between passion and society’s expectations.

How long can revenge brew without burning the soul?

Book info: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter /  Nathaniel Hawthorne; adapted by Crystal S. Chan, English script by Stacy King; art by SunNeko Lee. Udon Entertainment/Morpheus, 2015.  [publisher site]  [series Facebook page] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The red A for adultery blazes upon Hester Prynne’s dark clothes, but another has a burning coal in his chest as the unwed mother bears her shame in the Puritan village alone… for now.

Hester wasn’t in love with the older scholar she married at her parents’ insistence, but after his disappearance at sea, she found happiness with another man. Pregnant and judged as a sinner, she is scorned and shunned, especially when she won’t say who Pearl’s father is.

A learned man arrives in the New England village and begins keeping company with their inspiring young pastor. As Rev. Dimmesdale becomes ill, mysterious Dr. Chillingsworth seeks secrets.

Praised for her needlework through the years, Hester is still shunned.
Growing into a lovely and rambunctious child, Pearl is thought to be evil.
Is there any escape for the repentant?

With SunNeko’s art to enhance the carefully adapted text, this true manga (read from back to front) brings new life to Hawthorne’s classic tale of love, passion, and revenge.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Let freedom ring with free SYNC audiobooks!

If it’s Thursday, that means two new free audiobooks from SYNC for your summertime listening enjoyment!

Be sure to download these free complete audiobooks by Wednesday, July 9th.

CD cover of Torn From Troy By Patrick Bowman Read by Gerard Doyle Published by Post Hypnotic Press Torn From Troy (download here)
By Patrick Bowman
Read by Gerard Doyle
Published by Post Hypnotic Press

Homer’s Odyssey  as seen through the eyes of 15 year old Trojan orphan Alexi, enslaved by Odysseus himself.


CD cover of Peter and the Starcatchers By Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson Read by Jim Dale Published by Brilliance Audio
Peter and the Starcatchers (download here)
[not available in UK or British Commonwealth]
By Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
Read by Jim Dale
Published by Brilliance Audio

This prequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan  sees the orphan boy and friend Molly facing pirates who want to steal the magic dust hidden aboard Peter’s ship.

Enjoy these different takes on familiar tales and characters as you read with your ears this weekend (remember that you can listen to SYNC downloads for as long as you keep them on your device or computer).

Read on and travel the world – with your ears!

The Jedi Doth Return! by Ian Doescher (book review) – Shakespeare parses the Force, dark and light

book cover of William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher published by Quirk BooksRescuer disguised, a comrade to free,
Jabba of the Hutt wouldst kill them all!
Luke will not from his Force-dark’nd father flee,
but seeks to free him from th’Emperor’s thrall.

O, rebel band, stay strong and share the Force
with Ewoks small, yet mighty in the fray!
A second Death Star bids to blast their world
and hidden base where freedom fighters stay.

Today marks the natal day of this final tale in Shakespeare’s Star Wars saga – seek for it at thine local library or a-favored independent bookstore.

Certes, thou hast already perused William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope (in discussion here) and well as The Empire Striketh Back (more here) – such classic stories from a galaxy far, far away…


Book info: William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return (Star Wars Part the Sixth) / Ian Doescher; inspired by the work of George Lucas and William Shakespeare. Quirk Books, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Amid daring rescues, new allies, and the dark Emperor himself targeting attacks on the Rebellion, the Jedi Doth Return  to win Star Wars in the Bard’s own style or perish forever!

Evil Jabba of the Hutt will soon regret his refusal to release carbonite-encased Han Solo to Luke Skywalker as this iambic pentametered tale begins on  desert Tatooine.

Luke, Han, and Leia’s stealth mission on Endor’s forest moon may gain the Ewoks as new allies, but may also imperil the Rebellion’s fight against the dark Empire, as Darth Vader uses the Force to sense his son’s whereabouts.

Will Luke be swayed to the dark side of the Force by Vader’s soliloquies?
Shall Lando of Calrissian join the Rebels or stand aside?
And what of the past shared by Luke and Leia?

Do read aloud the Ewoks’ speeches and you’ll hear the almost-English of the middle 2 lines of their AABA-rhymed communications.

The concluding volume of Doescher’s epically Shakespearean take on George Lucas’ classic space opera can stand alone (especially for hardcore Star Wars devotees), but is even more enjoyable after reading William Shakespeare’s Verily, a New Hope  (Star Wars Part the Fourth) and The Empire Striketh Back  (Part the Fifth). May the verse be with you!  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Second Star, by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (book review) – Wendy, Peter & surfboards

book cover of Second Star by Alyssa B Sheinmel published by Farrar Straus GirouxLost boys, runaways, surfers,
Grieving parents sleepwalking through life,
Sister looking everywhere.

Wendy’s desperate journey up the PCH twines around the framework of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan as the big sister pushes past her own fears to find John and Michael who’ve been gone so long.

Dive into an excerpt here free, then ask for Second Star at your favorite local library or independent bookstore today to see how Wendy deals with Pete and Jas, who are trying so hard not to grow up.


Book info: Second Star / Alyssa B. Sheinmel. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2014.   [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Searching for her missing twin brothers, Wendy’s encounter with a group of runaways who live only to surf changes the teen forever.

Wendy believes that John and Michael are still chasing the best waves, several months after police closed their missing persons case, so she heads up the coast to find the beach in their favorite photo.

At Kensington, where cliffside houses are sliding into the Pacific, she discovers a colony of runaways who’ve seen her brothers. Pete teaches her to surf, tries to steer her away from nearby drug-dealer Jas who might have more information. Belle is Pete’s girlfriend, except that she isn’t?

If her wish on the Second Star  comes true, Wendy will make her family whole again in this California retelling of Peter Pan.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Star Wars & Shakespeare = The Empire Striketh Back, by Ian Doescher (book review)

book cover of William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher published by Quirk BooksFrom icy Hoth to Bespin’s airy clime,
Imper’al forces chase our valiant crew!
Through ast’roid field and perils dire, they flee –
Han Solo, Wookiie, rebel Princess, too.

Sage Yoda teacheth Luke the Jedi way,
As taught he this boy’s father in the past.
Yet time grows short and Skywalker departs –
His friends meet treachery this very day.

Lord Vader’s maskéd face his secret hides,
Now Luke must face a past he wouldst deny.
The Empire Striketh Back at freedom’s cause!
For hero, rebels, friends, so dark a time.

(Seek thee beginning of this Star Wars tale?
Yea, Verily A New Hope find’st thou here.
Fear not! We shall rejoin our friends eftsoon,
as in July, The Jedi Doth Return!)

Gentle reader, May the Force be with thee!

Book info:  William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back (Star Wars: Part the Fifth) / Ian Doescher. Quirk Books, 2014.[author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Return to that “galaxy far, far away” as the fifth Star Wars episode sees our valiant rebel heroes face bitter cold, epic challenges, and stinging betrayal as The Empire Striketh Back, in the style of the Bard himself.

Ian Doescher follows up his successful William Shakespeare’s Star Wars with the heretofore hidden voices of malign creatures (AT-ATs philosophizing in iambic pentameter), songs of the Ughnaughts in the corridors of Bespin, and the wisdom of Yoda shining forth in haiku:

Nay, nay! Try thou not,
But do though or do thou not,
For there is no “try.” (pg.98)

Old secrets, shocking treachery, newly acknowledged love – will the heroes prevail in this stellar fight for the right or will the Empire vile destroy all hope?  Mayhap, gentle readers shall discover all in July 2014’s The Jedi Doth Return!  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Last Best Kiss, by Claire LaZebnik (book review) – can love overcome memories?

bool cover of The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik published by Harper TeenBeing true to yourself or
Staying stylish and popular.
How far should you go to keep up an image?

Anna figures out that kissing short and nerdy Finn privately, yet telling people publicly that they’re “just friends” was the wrong thing to do – too late.

When Finn’s parents’ travels bring him back to California in a taller, cooler version, she realizes what she lost in 9th grade. But is it too late to try again?

Find this new paperback retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion today at your favorite local library or independent bookstore for a great sunny days read.


Book info: Last Best Kiss / Claire LaZebnik. Harper Teen, 2014. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Anna’s secret relationship with a nerdy freshman ended badly. When he moves back as a hunky senior, can she stand being ‘just friends’ with Finn, realizing what she’s lost?

As a popular 9th grader, it was just easier for Anna to keep quiet about her dates with Finn, then he moved before she could apologize.  Senior year sees him back at their California high school, a tech-apps genius whose slimmed-down, hipster good looks attract lots of girls, including Anna’s best friend Lily.

Considering her ever-absent mom, self-absorbed dad in a weird new relationship, two sisters in college (one happy, one crushed after her girlfriend’s family reviles her), it’s no wonder that Anna really wants someone to care about her and wants that someone to be Finn.

The art teacher pressures her to include something outside her signature style in her college application portfolio, Wade from another school is on the scene now, and a road trip to the new music festival promoted by Lily and Hilary’s dad goes completely crazy.

(One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

W is Will in Scarlet, by Matthew Cody (book review) – Robin Hood, from the beginning

book cover of Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody published by Knopf Books for Young ReadersSwashbuckling revenge!
Concealed identities!
A legend in the making – Robin Hood!

While King Richard is Crusading, alliances in England twist and flip, forcing young Will from his home, into the arms of thieves in Sherwood Forest, then back to Shackley Castle with revenge burning in him.

This 2013 tale of a young lord forced to live like his vassals will have a new cover in its August 2014 paperback edition, but I prefer the hardback cover art.

What’s your favorite Robin Hood variation?

Book info:  Will in Scarlet / Matthew Cody. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Seized by evil King John’s men, Will flees into Sherwood Forest where he must gain the Merry Men’s trust before trying to recapture his own home castle.

With King Richard and his Crusaders captured for ransom abroad, Prince John’s grab for England’s throne punishes many loyal subjects. Will’s family is forced from Shackley Castle, but the young lord evades John’s men and meets up with a boy named Much, Little John, Rob the Drunk, and the other Merry Men.

Sneaking into the castle and filching the treasure of the man who took Will’s home at John’s bidding puts them on Sir Guy’s most wanted list and earns the Merry Men the wrath of Tom Crooked’s rival bandit gang.

Rob’s a great tactician when sober, Much is more than he seems, and now Will helps the vassals on Shackley land with silver stolen from Sir Guy.

Soon Sherwood Forest’s many hiding places may not be enough as the Sheriff of Nottingham joins in the hunt for Wolfslayer Will and his companions in this adventure tale of Robin Hood’s early days. (One of 7,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)