Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge discussion

2020 Weekly Checkins > Week 22: 5/22 – 5/28

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message 1: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Hello all! It’s nearly the end of May. Can you believe it? This year has already gone by so quickly. Still working at home though I’m expecting to be back in the office on June 15th. If it weren’t for an upcoming vacation I’d probably be back there next week. I have so enjoyed these months working at home that I really dread going back into the office. We’ve had crazy levels of rain here in the last week. Flooding everywhere, and my poor dog just wants to go for a walk. On the plus side, the rain has kept the temperatures down. And since my A/C isn’t working currently I’ve been very thankful. It’s climbing into the 80s today though so all the fans are out.

***Admin notes:
-June’s group read is The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar with discussion led by Lynn
-We still have an opening for a discussion leader for August’s group read of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
-We will open up nominations for the final quarter of the year around the end of June so be thinking about books you’d like to read and discuss. The selected prompts for October, November and December can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

On to the reading check-in!

Fairest by Marissa Meyer – I read and loved the Lunar Chronicles several years ago, but I had never gotten around to reading this backstory of Levana. Technically there’s no cyborg in the story, but I’m cheating a little and using this for a book with a robot, cyborg or A.I. I'm not opposed to reading a book that fits this better, but right now I just don't have any that interest me. I read The Stars We Steal earlier this year that I thought would contain A.I. since her first book did. That book did not ☹ Soooooo…I’m stretching this prompt a little. Cinder is a cyborg, this book is part of the storyline for her, AND (view spoiler).

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I’m divided on this book. It was great to be back in Panem (well, you know, I don’t actually want to BE in that world), and I think she did a nice job of fleshing out Snow’s backstory. However, I think it was too long. She could have easily purged 100-150 pages of this book. Villain stories are hard for me. I enjoy seeing a different side of the character and understanding their motivations. It fleshes them out into a more well-rounded character. But knowing where the story goes, knowing what they go on to become makes it a tough read sometimes.

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn (reread) – Book 1 from the Julia Grey series. Many years ago I stumbled into this series and fell in love with Julia, Brisbane, Aquinas and the entire March clan. I have read the whole series but felt the need to go back and indulge in a reread.

Currently Reading:

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

Completed 37 out of 50

Question of the week:

Do you read retellings of classics, fairy tales, myths or other well-known stories? If so, what do you look for in a retelling

I love a good retelling! I look for an author that can come at the story with a new perspective, consider the original story from a different angle, or (especially in the case of modernizations) show that the storyline is universal across time and different cultures. Villain stories, in particular, interest me because I think so often we see fairy tales in black and white. The hero is good, the villain is bad. But in reality most people are shades of gray. What events drove the villain to the acts that we lay at their feet? How did the story end up there? I have several retellings or villain backstories on my TBR.

Some authors putting out great retellings (disclaimer – I have read some, but not all, of the books I’m listing here, but the ones I haven't read are on my TBR):

Christina HenryLost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook, The Girl in Red
Alexa DonneBrightly Burning, The Stars We Steal
Shannon HaleThe Goose Girl
Kate ForsythBitter Greens, The Beast's Garden
Robin McKinley - Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

message 2: by Nadine in NY (last edited May 28, 2020 05:43AM) (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 6522 comments Mod
Wow Thursday snuck up on me! I’ve been off work on furlough and I guess it’s easy to lose track of time. The weather in upstate NY has been incredibly hot, in the 90s, and yes very humid too, and the temps don’t drop much at night. I am deeply grateful for air conditioning. Mowing the lawn was rough this week.

Our offices open up next week after furlough ends. I’m slated to be part of the team who goes back in, but it’s voluntary, and I haven’t decided if I will.

Let’s see, this week I finished five books! Two books were for this Challenge, and I am now 34/50

This Is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila - this collection of short stories was part of my AAPI (Asian American & Pacific Islander) month readings. It was good, and it felt different, but like most collections, it was a bit uneven. But look at this gorgeous cover! No lie, I probably would not have read this if not for the cover, because I don't read many short story collections: This Is Paradise Stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila I am interested to read what she writes next!

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica- this was my “same title as a movie” book, and I had really been looking forward to it because people always list Kubica along with writers like Flynn and Abbott, et al, who wrote gritty women-centered suspense. But this book was incredibly disappointing with a boring, flaccid heroine, and chock-full of passive racism.

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai - another book I picked up for AAPI reading, this was middle-grade, about a young American girl who escorts her grandmother back to Vietnam for the summer, a great introduction to Vietnam and Vietnamese culture.

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi - another AAPI read that I picked solely for the gorgeous cover! Look at that: Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi I expected it to be a romance, but it was not. I guess it was a Bildungsroman. It was just okay. I don’t really recommend it, unless you want to read a young man whine about all his debt he stupidly acquired.

True Grit - I read this for the “Western” category, and I was surprised by how much I liked it! This was very engaging and very moving and Donna Tartt did a phenomenal job reading the audiobook. Now I need to watch the Coen Brothers movie!


Yes! I love all retellings!! What I look for is reviews that the book is good haha! When I read it, I want a fresh angle, characters who feel real, engaging dialogue and a good plot pace. (That’s pretty much what I look for in any book, now that I think about it.) I like it when the retelling can develop an aspect or character who was overlooked, and make the villains as fascinating as the protagonists. I'm always interesting in a good villainous story!

I also want it to be loyal to the original story. If it’s a Wuthering Heights retelling, Heathcliff needs to be an angry asshole. If it’s a Macbeth retelling, I want everyone to die. If it’s a Sleeping Beauty retelling, I want her to be cursed to sleep. I’m fine with a twist that gives the villain a sympathetic backstory, or a twist that is clearly playing with the original plot.

Most great fairy tale retellings that I've read have been either short stories (those free Tor shorts are a great source) or picture books. Two of my favorites: The Princess and the Pea by Lauren Child and Sleepless Beauty (which I could not find at first because GR does not have the cover art so my eye kept skipping over it), and I always loved the art by Trina Schart Hyman, it's a shame they went out of print.

For fairytale retellings, I’m not as rigid that it must follow the original plot, because often there is no one original plot. Fairy tales are there because they are excellent frameworks for stories, they are there to be bent and remade to suit. The evil stepmother does not always need to die by dancing in iron shoes.

Circe, The Red Tent, and Lavinia all did excellent jobs of creating complex and engaging characters and developing their stories that were mostly overlooked in the original story.

Cinder created a completely new, exciting, and complex world that just gives a barest hat tip to the original fairytales.

Macbeth followed the plot loyally, and he created an interesting modern world for the characters, but it was never engaging.

Daughter of the Forest & Princess of the Midnight Ball were loyal, rich and engaging retellings that added so much detail expanded the world.

message 3: by Katy (new)

Katy M | 755 comments I finished Life of Pi as my bildungsroman. I loved it.

I am now reading A Column of Fire as my book with a map in it. It's 900 pages so it may take me a few minutes to read. But, it's really good. I love historical fiction.

QOTW: That's a tough question. I do like retellings. I don't know that I read a whole lot of them. I like a lot (but not all) of the Gregory Maguire books. I don't know. I guess I want them to be different and yet the same, if that makes any sense.

message 4: by Sara (new)

Sara | 122 comments I'm back in the office this week, after a few weeks working at home. I hated working at home, so it's nice to be going somewhere every day again. Also, I have my first video hearing today, so that's going to be interesting. Now that our jurisdictions are starting to reopen, I think we'll be having more and more video hearings, and in-person hearings are starting up soon, too. I'm looking forward to all of it.

I only finished one book this week. I didn't have as much reading time because we were away over the weekend visiting my dad. And I went outside and did lots of outside things instead of reading. I finished Dead in the Family, which was fine. I'm nearing the end of the Sookie Stackhouse series and, while I've enjoyed my re-read, the later books just aren't as good as some of the earlier ones.

I'm currently reading:
The Path of Daggers: book with a madeup language
The Revenant: western
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: book with 20 characters in the title
Call for the Dead: just because

QOTW: I really enjoy fairy tale retellings. I'll try pretty much any of them, but my favorites are Mercedes Lackey's 500 Kingdoms and Elemental Masters series.

message 5: by Laura (last edited May 28, 2020 05:51AM) (new)

Laura | 170 comments Things are opening up in Santa Fe! The library started curbside pick-up last week. Restaurants have been doing curbside pick-up/delivery for a while, but starting June 1st they can also do appropriately-distanced outdoor seating. It's nice to see that nearly everyone is wearing a mask when they're out and about.

Todd and I celebrated our 31st anniversary yesterday. Quarantine and his working from home have been quite a big change for us. Until we moved here last December (only 6 months ago - it seems like a different world!), we were separated most of the time. For the past 15 years, his job consisted of contract positions that usually lasted 4 to 8 months, so I kept our home based in St. Louis and he traveled. Now he's got a permanent position at the lab in Los Alamos... It's nice to know that the relationship can survive - and thrive - in our new circumstances!

Challenge Progress: 44/50

Cleopatra: A Life: Well, that was dull. I think I've become spoiled by good narrative nonfiction. Although Cleopatra: A Life is well-researched and apparently highly regarded, what should have been a fascinating subject was treated in a stultifyingly dry manner. I don't think I'll be reading any more of Schiff's work. (A fiction or nonfiction book about a world leader) ★★

Blame It on the Duke: After being introduced to the heroine Alice in How the Duke Was Won, I was expecting more, but she lost something here. She wasn't as interesting or scholarly or prickly as she should have been. Still, this was fun escapist romance, and overall it was sexy and enjoyable. ★★★

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party: Fascinating but emotionally exhausting read. Poor decisions, bad luck, snowblindness, hypothermia, starvation... Daniel James Brown made the members of the ill-fated Donner Party understandable as real people with hopes, dreams, and fears. ★★★★

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World: A bit shallow. It certaingly doesn't explain everything, but it was still somewhat interesting to look at conflicts in various regions around the world through the lens of geography. (A book with a map) ★★

Currently Reading:
What If It's Us
The Sparrow (A book with a made-up language)
I'm Your Huckleberry: A Memoir
Rodham (A fiction or nonfiction book about a world leader)
Beautiful on the Outside
If I Never Met You
Girls Made of Snow and Glass

QOTW: That's so funny! I'm starting a reimagined tale today (Girls Made of Snow and Glass)! I love a retold fairy tale! Is that a genre? We think we know these stories so well, but then an author turns it on its head and you have to rethink your expectations.

Kate Forsyth's Bitter Greens and Robin McKinley's Beauty are some old favorites. Here are some others:

Gregory Maquire - Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Neil Gaiman - Snow, Glass, Apples, The Sleeper and the Spindle
Robin McKinley - Spindle's End, Deerskin
Jane Yolen - Briar Rose
Pamela Dean - Tam Lin

And so many more!

message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine McCann | 490 comments Hi all - missed last week because time isn't real anymore! How are we practically halfway through the year (though, you know - good riddance).

We've been getting rain, which is great because we put down a new lawn and it's so much easier to let water fall from the sky on it, than it is to move our single sprinkler around all day!


A book with a made-up language - Alan Moore's The Courtyard - interesting, though grosser than it needed to be, and feels unfinished. It's incredibly short, and while it does have a narrative arc, I fully expected that to be the prologue to a longer story, but it just ends! I did really like the concept of the Aklo language as a drug.

A book on a subject you know nothing about - Quantum Physics for Babies - I feel strange giving a bad review to a board book for infants, but I didn't like this at all. I was expecting either something whimsical and visual or something that truly does give an adult the rough outlines of the mind-bending aspects of the topic. It really did neither. It uses simple, repetitive shapes to illustrate an electron making a quantum leap. I don't think babies would be engaged with the visuals. This is clearly a novelty book, only meant as a gift for pregnant physicists or whatever. I actually might go back and read one of my Cahokia selections to fulfill this prompt because I wound up knowing about this content from high school chemistry!

Currently Reading:

A book recommended by your favorite blog, vlog, podcast, or online book club - Gideon the Ninth - loving it so far. I have no idea what's going on, in a good way. Talk about fresh and engaging world-building! I'm very glad for the cheat sheet to the houses and characters at the front - once things get going we meet a big cast, and I need the refresher on a few people. However, no one could ever lose track of Gideon & Harrow - they're such strongly drawn characters, and not necessarily likable. But Gideon has you rooting for her from the start, even if she is a jerk sometimes. She's earned the right.

A book with only words on the cover, no images or graphics - Lament for Archidamos - I'm reading a friend's novel as she writes it! I feel so privileged to be trusted like this, and I'm really enjoying the book so far!


YESSS! Some of my favorites:

A Study in Emerald
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
Snow, Glass, Apples

All of these capture the feel of their originals, while taking modern or unexpected turns with them, and creating characters we really connect with.

I've found I like adaptations of Jane Austen stories for the screen, but I haven't found a book based on her stuff that I like. Her narrative voice is such a big part of my love for her books, and no one I've seen can recreate that element.

message 7: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 779 comments Hi Everyone,

This year seems to both be flying by but lasting forever. I think it's because nothing is going on personally, but i also have nothing to look forward to. Just kind of trying to exist until there's a vaccine and I feel ok about life resuming. I've always worked from home so I have no worries about having to go back, and luckily my husband's CEO has stated that people can work from home the rest of the year if they want to, especially those in buildings that are shared with other companies (like my husband's building).

This week I finished:

Discount Armageddon - This was my book by an author who has written more than 20 books. I love Seanan McGuire and I hadn't gotten a chance to get into this series yet. I liked it, looking forward to more. I like the idea of monster hunter families being like "Ok, we'll take down nasty ones that are seriously causing a problem, but let's try to relocate or reason first"

Westside - this is my book with a map, as well as Read Harder's murder mystery where the victim isn't a woman. I liked it, sort of dark fantasy noir. I like the idea of a detective solving tiny mysteries, even if this one got way bigger than planned.

Currently Reading:

The Count of Monte Cristo - still plugging away, reading a chapter or two in between each book.

Turn Coat - listening to audio while i do stuff. re-read of the series, might finish before peace talks comes out haha

Green Rider - got this as part of a bookflood book exchange (the facebook group doing it decided that way too much goes on around Christmas/winter holiday time, so we do ours in spring). I'm using it as my book published in the 20th century (it was very late 20th century, but still counts). I like it so far. Also got the first Mistborn book, but that doesn't easily fit a prompt so might wait a bit.


I LOVE retellings! They are up there with my favorite things. I tend to prefer ones that I know the original pretty well, just so I "get" the retelling part, but honestly i'd read any if they look interesting enough. What I look for, generally, is enough of the original bones of the story that I see where they are coming from, but a twist on it that feels fresh or interesting. Some of my favorites offhand are :

Uprooted - nominally beauty and the beast, loved that the focus was on WHY the girls get taken, and figuring out what is going on. this one is very loose, mostly just a "beastly" character taking a young maiden to live in a castle.

Spinning Silver - Rumplestiltskin , I really liked how it focused on three different women and combined with additional slavic mythology.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein - loved how the focus on this one was Elizabeth and Justine, gave the women of the story much more agency. It also gave Victor more solid motivation than just general "I wanted to see if I could and then got scared of myself". I read the original again right after and all the story beats matched up really well, mostly just tweaking perspective/motives, and then giving a new twist to the ending.

I also love the elemental masters series by Mercedes Lackey that often take on the bones of fairy tales, like The Serpent's Shadow which is a twist on Snow White but set in Victorian London. She also has some general fairy tale retellings like The Black Swan which is swan lake from Odile's perspective, which I love, and the 500 Kingdom series where a magical force likes stories and tries to force people's lives into repeating them again and again.

One that din't work for me was Gingerbread, the whole thing flowed weirdly and I didn't really get WHY it kept referencing Hansel and Gretel. It didn't follow any form of the story I'm really familiar with, so it felt more like the author was trying to hook the fairytale retelling crowd, but didn't actually want to retell the story of Hansel and Gretel. Maybe there's another version I'm unfamiliar with, but it just fell flat for me.

message 8: by Kali (new)

Kali | 65 comments Work has been so busy I have missed checking in for a few weeks! Doing it first thing today so I don't miss it again. We've been having a run of great weather so I have been spending a lot of time in my garden and also reading about gardening. I just read a book about permaculture practices and one about growing in greenhouses.

I'm at 21/50 for the challenge and almost halfway to my goal of 100 books for the year.

Since it's been a few weeks, I will just list off what I recently finished for this challenge:

Sourdough - This seems like a timely read now that everyone is making sourdough bread. I thought it was a fun read. I had it on my list for "Book With a Map" but at least the digital version I read did not have a map, so might need to recategorize this one.

Educated - For a book with the same name as an unrelated TV show. A difficult read but I liked it.

A Woman Is No Man - A book featuring one of the seven deadly sins. I struggled with this because it was an interesting topic, but I didn't love it because I felt like the characters didn't really grew or change.

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - I am glad I finally got around to reading this. The writing and the characters are great. I struggled to connect with the narrator but I think that's maybe intentional. I had this for "A book with a book on the cover." I guess one of the editions has a book on it?

Miracle Creek - For a medical thriller. This was a pretty good read. I don't know that I would quite call it a thriller but it's written in a mystery/thriller style.

Behold the Dreamers - I feel like I've had a run of books that I liked but also left me feeling frustrated with the characters' decisions. Overall I liked it. Again I am not sure whether I have this slated for the right category. I have it for "Set in a country that begins with 'C'." The characters are from Cameroon but the book is primarily set in New York so I'm not sure I want to count that.

Currently reading:

Guards! Guards! - Book from a series with more than 20 books.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women - A book by or about a woman in STEM


I like the idea of retellings but I find I am a bit picky about them. Sometimes they feel gimmicky. I still want robust characters, a good story, and a balance between making something new and staying true to the original story.

I haven't read any retellings so far this year but last year I read and enjoyed Circe and Hag-Seed.

message 9: by Brandy (last edited May 28, 2020 06:42AM) (new)

Brandy B (bybrandy) | 260 comments So my family has been doing 2 things to stay connected over this time. We do a daily mystery game (20 questions more like?) via text, my mom, me my two sisters, my brother, and the three teenage grandchildren. It has been fun seeing how everybody's mind works.

We've also been doing a monthly dinner party via zoom. And because of this I've been reading more cookbooks than usual. I never want to count them as read because I seldom read a cookbook cover to cover but I do kind of want to keep track of what recipes I liked and think a review would work that way.... but I don't want cookbooks to clog up my goodreads list... maybe a second goodreads account? Is there a way to shelve a book you don't want to show up in your read books column?

Anyway, lots of cooking this week. Less reading. But I didn't check in last week so bigger update:


Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Loved this. Don't know anything about Mayan mythology and now wish I knew more. But seriously this swept me away to another world both 1920s mexico and a fantasy world. (set in the 1920s or Reading Women book inspired by folklore)

Stargazing Stargazing by Jen Wang this book has been on my overdrive wait list at my library for nearly 6 months which is rare for a graphic novel at my library. So I don't have it pegged for any challenge prompt. But it had so much going on. Different ways of growing up Asian American, the perilous world of female friendship in the preteen years... this book felt so real to that in ways that weren't always comfortable, And one of the main character has a very unique vision issue that might work for the vision prompt. I was totally charmed by this book!

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (It has several book clubs, a non traditional family (ATY), a book on the cover, main character wears glasses no idea where I'm putting this but it fits loads of places. I was charmed by this book, too. I enjoyed the chaaracters and the world and wanted to spend more time in that world when the book was over, that said I'm not sure I'll remember a lot about this book 6 months from now. But when I read it? I was charmed by it.

Sissy A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia They tell a story that is in some ways familiar if you've read a lot of LGBTQ memoirs but in some ways is very different and it is so good to have a different story from the, "I knew when I was three" narrative because that isn't true for everybody. It is just always affirming hear different narratives and I hope this helps. The book is smart and funny and surprisingly a bit churchy which I am so not churchy but I kind of loved here because again it is so not usually part of the LGBTQ narratives. Loved this book. Would recommend. (Pink Cover, trans non-binary author).


Love re-imaginings of fairy tales. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

One of my favorite genres. I like when the story goes deeper. Or gets a more modern twist. Given a badass female protagonist. I'd like Rapunzel from Rapunzel's perspective. Can you imagine how long it takes her hair to dry? How much leaves and debris it picks up? The debilitating neck pain? I mean she gets a guy who climbs her hair but a real prince would train a bird to bring her scissors so she could cut that hair and fashion a rope ladder first. Just saying.

And I want (and think might exist) a story of Beauty and the Beast where beast's transformation back to prince isn't welcome. I always, always, always feel cheated when Beast turn back into a prince because of the whole "Love can change people" which is dangerous and destructive but also because she spent a this whole time learning to love this creature and that was a beautiful story and then boom he' handsome so it is even better? I'd feel like I'd gotten the bait and switch!

I hate that ending! Hate it!

message 10: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherbowman) | 722 comments I’ve been on the struggle bus this week. I’ve been doing my best to stay on a schedule and be productive, but I’d really love to give in and sleep all day. I did manage to finish a couple books. I was motivated by library due dates and long wait lists.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (a book with a pink cover). Absolutely delightful! This is definitely one of my favorite Jane Austens. I also watched the movie over the weekend and loved it too.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (a book about a world leader). I expected to love and adore this book, but it was only okay for me.

Persepolis Rising by James SA Corey (a book you meant to read in 2019)

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (read a banned book during Banned Books Weeks). It’s not Banned Books Week, but I have time to read this now, so I’m reading it now.

It's a mixed bag for me. I really enjoyed Uprooted, Spinning Silver, Bitter Greens, and The Song of Achilles. I feel like there are a lot more retellings that I didn't like. The Graveyard Book, Ella Enchanted, and Cinder didn't work for me. I absolutely hated Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. There are a lot more I've DNFed. I think, in most cases, I prefer the original.

message 11: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 779 comments Brandy, Mercedes Lackey's The Fire Rose might work for you? I don't want to straight up give away the ending but it isn't the typical one. I personally love it :)

message 12: by Kenya (last edited May 28, 2020 07:16AM) (new)

Kenya Starflight | 682 comments Happy Thursday, y’all.

Our state is on track for re-opening... which means I have to go back to work here. Dangit, I just got used to this staying home all day thing... XD

Books read this week:

Network Effect -- for “favorite prompt from the 2016 challenge (a science fiction novel).” Feels a bit more padded out than the other Murderbot books (though given that this is a full-fledged novel and not a novella, that’s to be expected), but still a great read. And it’s great seeing Murderbot further develop as a character.

The Last Necromancer -- not for the challenge. Ugh, can we stop with the “I hate you but you’re hot so I trust you” trope? And with the “let’s have the main female character almost get raped to chase her back into the hero’s arms” trope too? Also, (view spoiler)

The Time Travel Trailer -- not for the challenge. Not much substance but still a cute and fluffy time-travel story (even if I wanted to slap the teenage-girl character).

Swing it, Sunny -- graphic novel, not for the challenge. Sequel to Sunny Side Up, and is chock-full of references to the media and culture of the ‘70s.

Regular challenge -- 40/44 (split the last prompt into five)
Advanced challenge -- 7/10
Not for challenge -- 43


Sharks in the Time of Saviors -- thought about using this for “book with more than 20 letters in the title,” but couldn’t get past the writing style. I love beautiful prose in a book, but sometimes it’s obvious a writer’s trying too hard to make their book “magical.”

Currently Reading:

The Song of Achilles -- for “a bildungsroman”
Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer -- not for the challenge
Taking Flight -- not for the challenge


I LOVE retellings! Done right, they add a whole new perspective to the story. I do tend to prefer retellings that aren't just "same story just darker and let's ruin the happy ending while we're at it."

Some of my favorite retellings:

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
The Black Swan
The Raven and the Reindeer
And the Ocean Was Our Sky
Geekerella and its sequel The Princess and the Fangirl

message 13: by Katy (new)

Katy M | 755 comments Laura wrote: "Things are opening up in Santa Fe! The library started curbside pick-up last week. Restaurants have been doing curbside pick-up/delivery for a while, but starting June 1st they can also do appropri..."

I was in Santa Fe once. I thought all the buildings were so cool and that it was just a really great place. I want to go back someday if travel ever sounds like a good idea again.

message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sezziy) | 881 comments Hi everyone. The sun is still shining in Yorkshire but there are so many people on the park behind my house that it's crazy. Don't they care that they should still be social distancing?

I still haven't finished anything. I am finding it really hard to concentrate at the moment but I am back on with The Kon-Tiki Expedition. Hopefully I'll be able to say I've finished it at next week's check in

QOTW: I loooooooove a good re-telling. Some of my favourites are Spindle's End, The Wrath and the Dawn, The Song of Achilles, Spinning Thorns, Once Upon a Dream and Moriarty.

I'll be keeping my eyes peeled at all your recommendations!

message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sezziy) | 881 comments Random side note, in spite of the title, I totally thought the image on this cover was an octopus until this week

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0) by Suzanne Collins

message 16: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 159 comments I spent most of last night wide awake in bed and just finished a giant mug of tea at work, I'm hoping I can make it through the day!


Little Women for a book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to it (there was a reality show that was called Little Women, that was not related to the book at all). I finally finished my re-read of this one. I haven't read this since the fifth grade. I had forgotten so much since then. Also, as a kid I loved Jo March, I wanted to be Jo March. As an adult, I think I appreciate Amy March so much more. I really fell in love with her character during my re-read.

Currently Reading:

Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump for a book by or about a journalist. I'm listening to the audio of this and am loving it. It's interesting to be go through this book right now during this time of political turmoil. I'm just over half way done with this and it's doing an amazing job of talking about each of the ex-Presidents and spending time going through their post Presidential lives. I will say, Jimmy Carter got some....I love how is just will say what he wants and has no issues calling out other Presidents/ex-Presidents.

Three Women for a book with only words on the cover, no images or graphics. I'm not sure how I feel about this one yet. It feels too early to judge it. But I do have a feeling that I'm going to be really frustrated in certain parts of these women's stories.

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics for a book about or by a woman in STEM. When in Romance has been raving about this one for a while now and I finally bought it. I haven't gotten very far in it yet, so can't really say if it will live up to the hype yet or not.


I love a great re-telling and I hate a crap re-telling. I've read a number of Pride and Prejudice re-telling and some do a great job with the story ( Ayesha at Last ) and other, for me at least, are as successful ( Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors ).

I will say, my favorite re-telling I've read is The Song of Achilles. It's just so well done. I knew how it was going to end but was still on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen next.

message 17: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Harris | 480 comments I have completed 3 books for the week.
What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About by Michele Filgate (Editor). A book with only words on the cover,no images or graphics. An anthology.
Practical Magic (Practical Magic #1) by Alice Hoffman. Not for this challenge. I really liked this book. I gave it 5 stars & read it too fast.
In a Field of Blue by Gemma Liviero. I wanted to like it more than I did. At times I was thinking 4 stars & was really into the book. Then they would have a section on a character I cared nothing about & the book dragged. I felt is was too long. It wasn’t for this challenge. I gave it 3 stars.
Currently reading They Called Us Enemy by George Takei (co-writer).
QOTW. No I don’t read retellings. I read them for challenges only. In June I’m reading Pride,Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev for another challenge.
I choose it for 2 reasons. I love Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is free on Hoopla.

message 18: by Chandie (new)

Chandie (chandies) | 267 comments Two Week Check-In

I don't think any of the books actually tick off any prompts and I read a lot of romances so I think I'll just order them from favorite to least favorite.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. This one actually fulfills bird on the cover. Adorable YA romance. Enemies to lovers trope. The main characters run the social media accounts for their family restaurants. Would watch a netflix movie based on this.

How to Speak Boy Tiana Smith. Cute YA romance. Enemies to lovers (my favorite trope). I also appreciated that was some when a girl says no to dating you, the appropriate response is okay not, well, I'll keep trying then.

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. The main character designs stationery and the like. She made the program for a wedding and wove a secret message in it. The groom shows up a year later, unmarried and wants to know how she knew it was doomed to fail. Adorable. Really enjoyable read.

A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh. This is a complete departure from her usual work. Contemporary, no supernatural aspects. Romantic suspense. A woman returns home to her small New Zealand town and murders occur. I didn't love it but I would read other stories about some of the other characters.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi. YA, modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern day NYC with black leads. I wanted to love this because it hits all my sweet spots but it was a bit immature which is not always the case with YA.

A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Witherspoon. I gave this a 2.5, rounded up to 3 (Goodreads really needs half stars). The main character is a chef who gets a head injury and doesn't remember anything and returns home to her childhood home to recuperate. She doesn't remember anything, like even how to cook eggs which is implausible and that was really annoying. Plus, the ending was super rushed and neither character seemed really into each other. I didn't absolutely hate it, so I'll probably give the writer another chance.

Notorious by Virginia Henley. Historical Romance. A lot of time was spent on political maneuvering regarding the kind of England and that part was boring as heck. Very romance.

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. A retelling of Greek mythology. YA. The main character has to complete tests to become a goddess and when you find out what the tests are. Ugh. Also, there is a reveal at the end that really made me angry. And Hades is an angsty 22-year-old looking virgin and they may or may not have played chess on their wedding night. I was admittedly hate-skimming by that time and missed it.


The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas. Young woman returns home after the death of her father. She testified in a serial killer trial. Other women are murdered. It was just an okay book. I really wasn't invested in any of the storylines.

Prodigy by Marie Lu. Second in a YA dystopian future trilogy. I don't like it as much as I like Warcross but they are enjoyable reads.

QOTW: I love retellings. I read two this last week.

message 19: by Laura (new)

Laura | 170 comments Katy wrote ":I was in Santa Fe once. I thought all the buildings were so cool and that it was just a really great place. I want to go back someday if travel ever sounds like a good idea again."

It's beautiful right now - highs in low 80s, lows in the mid-50s. The trees have all leafed out and we still have some spring flowers. My lilacs smell wonderful! Some of the galleries and shops in the plaza are starting to open up, but no museums yet. It's very relaxed without as many people milling about. We've enjoyed picking up burritos from The Burrito Co. and eating them in the square.

message 20: by Drakeryn (new)

Drakeryn | 708 comments Huh. I've now read more books in quarantine this year than I read before quarantine began.

Finished reading (18/50):

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (more than 20 letters in the title, 2020 release, bird on the cover) - Bleh. President Snow was my favorite character in the original Hunger Games trilogy, but this was a snoozefest. Not recommended.

Currently reading:

The Walled City (great first line) - Historical YA set in a fictionalized version of Kowloon Walled City. I was planning to use it for "only words on the cover," but after getting it, I discovered there are lines on the cover resembling a city map that don't show up on the Goodreads thumbnail. Not sure if that's enough to disqualify it.

On the plus side, I love the opening line:
"There are three rules of survival in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife."

QotW: Retellings are fun! I like it when they give depth/personality to characters that were originally underdeveloped (such as villains or side characters) or otherwise do creative things with the source material.

My favorite retelling is Leigh Bardugo's The Witch of Duva. I also really like Among the Thorns and The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe (both modern subversions of problematic works) and East (just a very fun adventure story).

message 21: by Laura (new)

Laura | 170 comments Ashley wrote: "I love a great re-telling and I hate a crap re-telling. I've read a number of Pride and Prejudice re-telling and some do a great job with the story ( Ayesha at Last ) and other, for me at least, are as successful ( Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors )."

I completely agree! Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors was too on-the-nose. There was no twist other than the setting, but Ayesha at Last was great. Ayesha and Khalid were both complicated but sympathetic characters. I also thought Eligible : A Modern Retelling of Pride & Prejudice was disappointing.

message 22: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Laura wrote: "I completely agree! Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors was too on-the-nose. There was no twist other than the setting, but Ayesha at Last was great. Ayesha and Khalid were both complicated but sympathetic characters. I also thought Eligible : A Modern Retelling of Pride & Prejudice was disappointing."

Agreed! Overall I've been disappointed with the P&P retellings I've read. Ayesha at Last is on my list and I have heard a lot of great things about it. Eligible was one of the only books I've ever given one star to (usually I would have DNF'd and then not rated it. No idea why I finished that one. It was awful.)

message 23: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 3586 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Random side note, in spite of the title, I totally thought the image on this cover was an octopus until this week

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0) by Suzanne Collins"

I can understand that! It does look much like an octopus until you get close enough! You still made me laugh though! ;)

message 24: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 3586 comments Mod
Ashley wrote: "Little Women: I had forgotten so much since then. Also, as a kid I loved Jo March, I wanted to be Jo March. As an adult, I think I appreciate Amy March so much more. I really fell in love with her character during my re-read."

Having reread this after 50 years, I agree with you. Amy's character was much more pertinent to me than it had been in the past.

message 25: by Nadine in NY (last edited May 28, 2020 08:55AM) (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 6522 comments Mod
Brandy wrote: "And because of this I've been reading more cookbooks than usual. I never want to count them as read because I seldom read a cookbook cover to cover but I do kind of want to keep track of what recipes I liked and think a review would work that way.... but I don't want cookbooks to clog up my goodreads list... maybe a second goodreads account? Is there a way to shelve a book you don't want to show up in your read books column? ..."

yes! you can make additional "exclusive" shelves. Add a new bookshelf, then on a computer (I do not know of a way to do this on the app, you need to be on the browser version - just one more way that Goodreads needs to fix their app), go to My Books, and on the left margin where it says "Bookshelves (Edit)" click "Edit" and then you have the options: feature, sortable, sticky, exclusive, recs. Choose "exclusive" for your new shelf. When you're done, go to the bottom of the page and click "I'm Done"

the other choices:
"feature" means it will be the books featured on your homepage.
"sticky" means that those shelves will always show up first, except that it does not ALWAYS work depending on the platform you are using, so that's annoying.
"sortable" means you can sort the books, which I've never found to be terribly useful but ymmv.
"recs" of course means that GR will use the books on that shelf to give you other recs upon request - GR's algorithm for finding recs absolutely sucks so this is almost worthless, but whatever.

I review cookbooks that I try - in my review, I give an overall impression of the book, if I liked the layout or whatever, and then list the recipes I tried and my experience with each. It's super useful for me to go back and see what I tried and what I liked.

message 26: by Nadine in NY (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 6522 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Random side note, in spite of the title, I totally thought the image on this cover was an octopus until this week

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0) by Suzanne Collins"

LOL!!! yes I can see that

message 27: by Gemma (new)

Gemma | 122 comments Managed to finished a couple of books again this week :)


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes for A book that's published in 2020. This was okay as a page-turner in the end, but I'm not sure it was strictly necessary. Also, the ending seemed quite abrupt, and did a disservice to one major character.

The Book of Lost Things for A bildungsroman. I was hoping this book on my TBR list would work out for this prompt, and it definitely did! I struggled to get into it at first, but eventually ended up quite liking it.


Game of Scones for A book with a pun in the title. Really struggled to find something I wanted to read for this prompt. This is turning out to be kind of cute and kind of breezy, but there really isn't much substance at all...


I wouldn't have really thought of myself as reading retellings until I ended up reading at least three for last year's challenge - a couple of which I enjoyed a lot. And one of the books I've just finished above was also set in a fairytale world where there were several alternative versions of well-known fairy tales, all with quite sinister, adult twists.

I think I probably look for a twist that's interesting, and not just stupid or easy - for example, I've never bothered to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (although I have seen the film) because just shoving zombies into the story feels a bit lazy, particularly when you're using chunks of Austen's text because you can't be bothered to create your own.

message 28: by Megan (new)

Megan | 328 comments I finished two books this week. I'd originally planned to use one for the prompt "a book featuring one of the seven deadly sins." However, after scrolling through the thread on that prompt, I realized a book I read a few weeks ago was a much better fit (Daisy Jones & The Six), so I went with that instead. Thanks to the reader who posted that! :)

I'm at 20/40 and 8/10 for this challenge, and am at 62/100 for my overall Goodreads Reading Challenges.

* The Lying Room by Nicci French, which was a Book Club Girl Free Friday pick (courtesy of William Morrow); and,
* The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O'Nan, which I considered using for the country starting with C prompt (it takes place mainly in the Canadian side of Niagara Falls), but I want something different for that prompt.

Currently Reading:
* The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, which I'm enjoying...it's just taking me awhile to read. I want to get it wrapped up this weekend though, so I can type up the NetGalley review (especially since I have at least one approval waiting for me to download!); and,
* The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which is one of my book club's picks for June. I'm planning to use it for the medical thriller prompt.

Do you read retellings of classics, fairy tales, myths or other well-known stories? If so, what do you look for in a retelling? I do enjoy retellings of classics, fairy tales, myths, etc. I'd say that I'm more drawn to a fairy tale or myth retelling over a retelling of a classic. I like them best when I'm familiar with the original and seeing how the author reshapes it to make it their own. I love the way Neil Gaiman is able to do that especially. One modern retelling of a classic that I really enjoyed was Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal. I felt like I could tell how much she loved the original work (Pride and Prejudice) and how her modern interpretation was true to the original and still fresh. It was an unexpected delight to read and if she publishes more in the same vein, I'll definitely check them out.

message 29: by Josie (last edited May 28, 2020 09:42AM) (new)

Josie Walz I barely finished a book this week. ND has finally been opening up, and I've already been to 2 grad parties, and I've now been exercising way more often (Thanks, Chloe Ting!) But I have read a little.

Finished: The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo (book on a subject you know nothing about) It was too repetetie for me, and there was a lot of biased commentary, but I did learn a lot about Chanel.

Goodreads 11/15
Popsugar 11/50

Currently Reading: The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke (a Western). So far it's really slow, and IDK how I feel about it.

Starting: The Night Country (book published in 2020). THW was ok, but maye there's a chance of redemption in this book?

QOTW: I don't know if I've ever read a retelling that I can think of but they are super popular right now on BookTube and BookTok, so I'd be open to it.

message 30: by Ali (new)

Ali | 75 comments Hi all, very jealous of those able to head back into their offices. My work are waiting another month and I think it's going to be a very small proportion of people going in after that.

I've been reading loads this week again - after a distracted start, lockdown has been great for my reading life.

Pretending by Holly Bourne - only words on cover - picked up for a real-life book club and really enjoyed the way the book explored complex issues around rape and assault within the context of a funny, generally light hearted read

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami - set in Japan - so pleased to get this prompt out of the way! I set myself the challenge of reserving a book for this last week so pleased to say I went one further and read it. Ended up being a bit disappointed as without the place names, I could easily believe this was set in the UK or US. Did not enjoy this book particularly but nothing else was calling to me either so glad to get it out the way!!

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey - not for challenge, have had this on my radar for a while and so glad I read it. Found it so impactful right until the final chapters which I couldn't really understand why they appeared in the book as Kantor and Twohey seemed to have little to do with the case of Christine Blasey Ford.

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin - recommended by podcast (Anne Bogel on What Should I Read Next) - was not at all what I expected, but did enjoy this one

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
Watching You by Lisa Jewell
Both borrowed from the library as audiobooks on a whim as they were available - not for challenge.

Currently Reading
Long Bright River by Liz Moore - started the audiobook but not getting on with it so waiting for ebook from my library to continue
The Beach by Alex Garland
Hold Your Tongue by Deborah Masson

Oooh so I've loved a lot of these Ancient Greek retellings that have been so popular recently like Silence of the Girls, Circe etc. I read the Penelopiad this year and absolutely loved it.

One of my favourite ever books Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling.

The most important thing for me with a retelling is that it should stand on its own regardless of how familiar you are with the source material. Ideally it would have something to add for someone new to the work but also for those who are very familiar would be able to get some extra layers of meaning out of it.

message 31: by Milena (new)

Milena (milenas) | 904 comments I had no idea it was so hot in upstate NY. Downstate NY has only been in the 70s, although humid.
Our office is unlikely to open until August at least. I am in no rush to commute by train in the summer, so even September would be fine with me.

The Book of Strange New Things for book with a made up language

Currently reading:
The Happy Ever After Playlist
The Count of Monte Cristo Still slowly making my way through this. It's just gotten interesting again.
Beach Read on audio

I have become obsessed with retellings ever since I started doing reading challenges. I don't think I realized that it was a whole genre before 2018. Some of my favorites are:
The Song of Achilles
Spinning Silver
The Snow Child

For those that liked The Song of Achilles, try The Silence of the Girls for same myth told from a different POV.

I also agree that Unmarriageable was a good Pride and Prejudice retelling.

message 32: by Doni (new)

Doni | 265 comments I'm at 34/40 of the reading challenge.

Finished: The New Kid Didn't like this one much at all. Read it for book receiving prize in 2019.

Autoboyography This one has been sitting on my shelf for years and I regret not reading it until now. I loved it! It was about a bi guy attending high school in Provo, Utah and such a necessary, well-executed story! Used for title with pun in it. (Btw, this does not fit the Olympic prompt since it is set in Provo and the Olympics were in SLC.)

On Fire: The Case for the Green New Deal for prompt written by a journalist. Naomi Klein's work is very important, but I haven't been able to finish her last couple of books. Thanks in part to this being a challenge book, I was able to finish it, and it even got more hopeful as the book went on.

Started: Freedom I started this book for the prompt first book you touch with your eyes closed. But then it got to a rape scene. I cannot stand it when male authors cavalierly throw in a rape scene. So now I have a quandary because it feels like it would be cheating to pick another book on this prompt, but I'm really not excited about finishing this book. Why waste your time getting acquainted with unlikeable characters when they are not even real???

QotW: I do not really enjoy retellings unless you're Mo Willems.

message 33: by Débora (new)

Débora | 43 comments Hello you all!

In São Paulo we are still in isolation, but next week somethings will start to open, like malls and shops. I am currently doing a masters, but it is not safe yet to go to lab and finished my experiments, so I am still waiting at home and studying my theme.

This week I finished Two Truths and a Lie. I have my theories about the plot, but still nothing conclusive.
I am currently reading Havana Blue in its original language. Knowing spanish does not mean you can read any book in spanish without having to consult the Dicionario de la Real Academia Española at any time. It is hard :D but it is a great way to learn new words.

QOTW: I don`t know if I read a retelling of a classic or famous story. If I read, I will look for something new that agregate to the original story, like a different point of view, or fact that it wasn`t on the original. I think that would made the book more interesting to me.

message 34: by Jai (last edited May 28, 2020 10:34AM) (new)

Jai | 119 comments Hi all, I haven't been posting lately but I'm back.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversI used this book for the prompt on a subject I knew nothing about. I can honestly say I learned ALOT about how human cadavers are used currently and historically. It was interesting.

The Martian A book with a great first line. It definitely had one of the best first lines I've ever read. I had high hopes for this novel but it definitely needed some editing. The writer in me kept saying this could be removed and how will the audience even understand this word or topic? Towards the end of the story I was just hoping it would end because it felt like the author threw everything at the character and wanted him to die.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes I used this book for the book published in 2020. Most people hated this book but I honestly enjoyed it. Getting to see Panem and their totalitarian government come together intrigued me. Dystopian fiction always made me ponder our present society and human behavior. Coriolanus Snow was a manipulated POS.

Question of the week:

Do you read retellings of classics, fairy tales, myths or other well-known stories? If so, what do you look for in a retelling

I've just started to read re-tellings. Some of them that I've enjoyed so far are: Circe Snow, Glass, ApplesThe Dark Descent of Elizabeth FrankensteinPride and Prejudice and Zombies The Graveyard BookThe Red Tent
I couldn't get into Cinder I tried several times.

I enjoyed the graphic novel re-tellings Grimm Fairy Tales Vol. 1 These stories are extremely dark but interesting.

message 35: by Drakeryn (new)

Drakeryn | 708 comments Nadine wrote: ""sortable" means you can sort the books, which I've never found to be terribly useful but ymmv."

I like to use this for my yearly shelves, e.g. my 2020 shelf is all the books I've read this year, ranked in order of how much I liked them. I also make it my featured shelf so my profile has a gallery of my favorite books of the year :D

message 36: by Harmke (new)

Harmke | 247 comments Lynn wrote: "Ashley wrote: "Little Women: I had forgotten so much since then. Also, as a kid I loved Jo March, I wanted to be Jo March. As an adult, I think I appreciate Amy March so much more. I really fell in..."

I finished Little Women last week and I felt just the same!!

message 37: by Harmke (new)

Harmke | 247 comments Happy Thursday! Not much to share actually. Life goes on, still working at home, and so on. Didn’t finish a book, because I’m reading a biggie (1.200 pages). I’ve read 600 pages already, so hope to finish it this Pentecost weekend.

Currently reading
The Eighth Life

I’ve read spin-offs of Pride&Prejudice, does that count? A mystery and a story of a servant at Pemberly.
I just want to read a good story, re-telling or not.

message 38: by Christy (new)

Christy | 351 comments Hello! I took a five-day weekend for Memorial Day after a bunch of work deadlines, so I am quite rejuvenated! We even got to go on a hike on Tuesday, which was just glorious. I have been struggling with missing nature very much during stay at home, so being in the woods was very healing. We even got about 2.5 miles from the trailhead despite the fact that crews have had no opportunity to do trail maintenance yet, so I was pleased. We stopped in Placerville on the way back for some food, and the good people of Placer County all seemed to be out and about! Honestly, it was overwhelming to see so many people around after so much time at home, but we ended up in a quiet cafe with correctly distanced tables, and that was quite pleasant. I think it'll be a few more weeks before I brave eating out again, though.

Finished this week: All Systems Red: I'm sure it will surprise nobody when I say this was so charming! I really like Murderbot, and I'm excited to see where they go from here.

Currently reading: A Tale of Love and Darkness: this is still lovely but slow, and it went back to the library so it's on pause. I am looking forward to finishing it, though.
The Starless Sea: I was excited about this even though I couldn't finish The Night Circus, but I might have to admit Morgenstern's writing isn't my jam. I like the plot, but the writing (the sentence fragments!) is distracting. Also, there are some real failures of research. Y'all, graduate students don't have majors. They study a particular subject, and that is their entire course of study, not their major. These things matter to graduate students, so if you're writing from the perspective of one, get it right!
The Hallowed Hunt: I love Bujold so I'm enjoying this, even though the narrator of the audiobook isn't amazing (kind of has white lady poet voice).

QOTW: I tend to like retellings, though I don't think I would pick a book up just because of that. I enjoyed Spinning Silver a whole bunch, and same thing with Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. I think I like that they take the bones of a story and intentionally make it more complicated, with more gray morality, and complications and knotty moral dilemmas are two things I like very much in my books!

message 39: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 129 comments Nadine wrote: "Wow Thursday snuck up on me! I’ve been off work on furlough and I guess it’s easy to lose track of time. The weather in upstate NY has been incredibly hot, in the 90s, and yes very humid too, and t..."

Boy did I hate The Good Girl as well! I like a good thriller, but this was not it! Immediately deleted it off my kindle.

message 40: by Brittany (new)

Brittany | 183 comments Happy Thursday, folks!

Missed checking in last week as my parents were visiting but I hadn't read anything so didn't have anything to report anyways. This week though I managed to get back into reading a little bit and finished up 2 books (well 1 book and 1 novella). I'm pleased to be enjoying reading again. My local library has opened up to visitors with some limitations like the amount of people in the building and there is a 1 hour limit for everyone and you must wear a mask. But I think I'll stick with ebooks and maybe some curbside checkout for a bit as I think that my area has opened up too quickly and I'd rather wait a bit until the data shows its a bit safer to venture out.

First up, my hold for Artificial Condition came available and so I dove into it. I really love the whole Murderbot series so far and I'm really pleased that I just need to reschedule my holds on the other books so I can finish the rest and get to the new book the author just put out.

Second, I finished Loki: Where Mischief Lies which I think I'm going to use as my 7 deadly sins book (Envy). This one was alright. Felt a bit like fanfiction, which in a way I suppose it is. Still, it was entertaining and I've always had a soft spot for Loki-centric tales.

QOTW: I'm undecided on if I like retellings. Certainly there are some which I have enjoyed but I guess I like it when the story diverges from the original enough that it stands on it's own. I think some of the retellings I haven't enjoyed are too true to the originals and it feels boring when you already know what is going to happen next. I think I prefer when it just takes an essence of the original and runs with that. I actually have a similar issues with time-travel stories. I hate to know something is going to happen before it does.

message 41: by Nadine in NY (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 6522 comments Mod
Milena wrote: "I had no idea it was so hot in upstate NY. Downstate NY has only been in the 70s, although humid.
Our office is unlikely to open until August at least. I am in no rush to commute by train in the s..."

I had no idea it was NOT hot everywhere until my mother (in NJ) texted me to tell me!! LOL I just assume when it's hot here then it's hotter there.

Weather is weird.

message 42: by Cornerofmadness (new)

Cornerofmadness | 441 comments Only one book this time out. It got hot outside and I hate it so nothing is getting done.

For the prompt - A book you picked because the title caught your attention I read Beloved Poison by E.S. Thomson I enjoyed it for the most part.

QOTW Honestly I'm not a huge fan of fairytale retellings but if I am reading one all I ask is what I ask of most books, compelling characters and an exciting plot

message 43: by E.R. (new)

E.R. Griffin (egregiouserrors) | 134 comments Hi everyone! Hope everybody's had a good week. My state is working toward reopening, but I'm still just going to work and the grocery store for the time being. I'm content to stay inside and read anyway!


The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz for a book with a pink cover. I ended up liking this, but it was touch-and-go for the first half. Newitz started out as a nonfiction author, so I think they have some room for improvement on fiction writing. But the idea of the story was so cool, and it really picked up in the second half. I'm going to read their other book Autonomous for my book by a trans or nonbinary author.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. I loved this. I've only read a few of King's books--Carrie, Green Mile, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. But I've always enjoyed his style, and his book on writing was excellent. I'm going to read more of his books this year for other challenge prompts, and this book made me excited for them!


The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. I'm using this for my book from a series with more than 20 books. I'm...not so sure about this one yet. It's my first Discworld novel, though, and everybody I know who's read these raves about them, so I think I might just need to take time to get into it.

QOTW I like retellings well enough. I don't specifically seek them out, but if I happen on one that sounds interesting I'll read it. I've liked quite a few that I've read. I'm going to read Spinning Silver this year for the "gold, silver, bronze" prompt, and I've heard good things.

The Bookstore Vixen  (thebookstorevixen) | 11 comments We headed up to the family cabin in the mountains over the long weekend and just got back yesterday. It was nice weather, and we very nearly didn't even see anyone with a mask for five days. It was so nice to feel like the world was normal for a few days. I didn't get in as much reading as a would have liked, because we were there with my sister and her family, so it was a bit distracting, but I got in a couple of books.
A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton for book without any pictures or graphics on the cover.
The Julius House by Charlaine Harris, no prompt.
The Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long, no prompt.

I definitely LOVE the idea of retellings, and I actually tend to gravitate towards them, though they don't always do it for me. I don't like when they're too close to the original, or when it gets too off the wall. My favorite is when they make a new twist (bad is good, good is bad), or when they are a lot darker. I also tend to enjoy erotic versions if they're well done. I enjoy Colette Gale for classic erotic retellings. I have read and enjoyed Cinder, and Splintered, but teen retellings aren't my favorite. I read Escaping Wonderland by Tiffany Roberts and enjoyed it a lot. I also like Eloisa James Fairy Tale series.

message 45: by poshpenny (new)

poshpenny  (poshpenny) | 1851 comments Ugh it is too hot now. When it's in the 80's you'll find me hiding in the coolest place I can find. Lockdown makes that the basement.

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return - I read the first one two years ago so I've feel I've accomplished something here.

Art Deco Mailboxes: An Illustrated Design History - Does what it says on the tin. I bought it from the USPS website when we all ran to buy stamps. I also bought some NASA patches, and, of course, stamps.

Vagabonds - It wasn't what I was expecting exactly, much more political and philosophical.

A Madness of Sunshine - Mystery in a mostly Maori town in New Zealand. Audiobook bonus for hearing names and the occasional Maori phrases pronounced (hopefully) correctly.

Currently Reading:
The Tea Master and the Detective - I really need to open my Kindle app more often and actually try to read once in a while

Money for Nothing - Bedtime Wodehouse that has not been getting much attention lately

??? - What book lurks in the hearts of my audio apps? Only The Shadow knows!

Not really a fan. I've read some. I don't seek them out and I'd usually rather read something original I think.

message 46: by Nadine in NY (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 6522 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "Boy did I hate The Good Girl as well! I like a good thriller, but this was not it! Immediately deleted it off my kindle...."

I'm always glad to find out it's not just me!! :-)

message 47: by Anna (new)

Anna (annaik) | 31 comments This week I have actually been finishing two books eventhough I am doing a university course at the same time as working. Finding time here and there.

I am 10/50 for the challenge.

Finished reading
The Outsider I used this for book with an upside-down image on the cover. As usual for a King book (for me at least) it was a bit slow in the start, the character building. But then in the end I can hardly put it down. 4 stars

De afghanska sönerna A Swedish book I used for Book published in 2020. The title can be translated to The Afghan Sons. I liked it and it will be interesting to discuss in the online book club I am in. It is about young afghan refugees coming to Sweden and the refugee home they stay at.'

Currently reading
All the Light We Cannot See

The Ice Monster for my son

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for my daughter

message 48: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefullercoxnet) | 202 comments I haven't checked in for a couple of weeks. I keep losing track of the day- then after I've read everyone's comments it is time to go do something else.

This week was my slowest reading week in May and all my books were for my youth reading committee. I read:
The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins- I liked this for young readers. It covered some tough topics, but was still accessible for third graders.
When Stars Are Scattered- a graphic novel about one man's experience in a refugee camp. Very well done.
Mulan: Before the Sword- rich in the folktales of China. I liked it a lot for young people.
Running Wild- a survivalist story that stretched credibility a little too far.
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe- kiddos will probably love this book. I didn't like it much- but if you are into changing things in the multiverse by going to visit other realities (and bringing other realities back to you) this is a good book.

I love a good retelling!

Happy Reading and Stay Safe!

message 49: by Alex (last edited May 28, 2020 01:30PM) (new)

Alex of Yoe (alexandraofyoe) | 163 comments Blessed Feast of the Ascension for anyone celebrating today!
We finally opened up a little and saw my family for the first time in almost 3 months on Memorial Day! Stay-at-home order has been lifted but restaurants, libraries, and salons still closed. My husband is still working from home, which I enjoy a lot, but I really miss seeing friends and being in church, and I REALLY need a haircut. Hopefully soon!

Finished 18/50

No progress. I'm stuck in limbo with my church book club not finished with their book, waiting for my virtual book club podcast to actually go over this month's book so I can start reading the next one, and waiting for my copy of a book to be delivered so I can read and review it (I get free books from a publishing company if I review them within a month of receiving them and this book is HUGE so I don't want to start something and then need to drop it to read this book). Sigh... #booknerdproblems

Currently Reading

The Holy Angels for "book published in 20th century". Church book club is reading this. About 2/3 of the way through.

On Living Simply: The Golden Voice of John Chrysostom for "book featuring one of the seven deadly sins". This book just continues to mic drop. I'm loving it so much.

The Wilderness Journal: 365 Days with the Philokalia for "book whose title caught your attention". Day by day, we continue through....

I need the libraries to open. Neeeeeeeeeeeeed........


You know, I don't read retellings and not because of any real reason. I've just never had them placed in my hands. I'm not opposed to them. I like many tv/movie retellings, so I don't know why books would be any different. I've only ever read one (Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West), and it was TERRIBLE, but based on what I hear from others, that's to be expected from this author so I'm willing to give retellings another shot (Cinder is on my list for this challenge so if the library ever opens, hopefully I'll get my chance then!).

message 50: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 159 comments Laura wrote: "Ashley wrote: "I love a great re-telling and I hate a crap re-telling. I've read a number of Pride and Prejudice re-telling and some do a great job with the story ( Ayesha at Last ) and other, for ..."

Looks like I'll be skipping Edible. I do have Pride sitting on my shelf unread but after reading Other Flavors...I'm going to hold off on reading it.

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