10+ Fairytale Retellings Books to Check Out

Fabulous list of Fairytale retellings. Most are YA books

Retellings are such an interesting book genre. If you think of it just know the story is a retelling is kind of spoiler-y. It also runs the risk of being some one boring or been there and done that -ish. On the other hand when a retelling is done well, it can be amazing! While on one hand it taps into something familiar and beloved it adds new depth and excitement. It’s like the ultimate refashion or makeover.

Today I’m sharing 10+ Fairy Tale retellings to check out. They are all super interesting takes on old favorites. And some happen to be some of my all time favorite books. Click on the book titles or covers to read the official synopses of each book.

cinder by Marissa Meyer, cinderella meets sci-fi. Great book and series - Rae Gun RamblingsThe Lunar Chronicles – This series is SO good. I mentioned before that I thought the idea of the first book Cinder (cyborg Cinderella) was so dumb when I first heard about it. But I was WRONG. SO WRONG. The story while definitely hitting some key Cinderella points is so fresh and fun. And Marissa Meyer the author is like a character genius. Not only are you sure to fall in love with Cinder but the series some how gets better and better. Each book continues the story line but focuses on a different character (don’t worry the characters you fall in love with in the first book are still around). But by the time the series is finished we’ll get Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood (Scarlet), Rapunzle (Cress), Snow White (Winter), and the Evil Stepmother/Queen (Fairest not technically in the series but in the same world). And while the stories pull from fairy tales they really are this masterpiece of one giant brand new awesome story weaving together. If you read any books from this list it’s these. Hands down, they are so great!

entwined fairytale retellingEntwined – A retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses which honestly I am only familiar with through the ballet but this is a fun beautiful story. I got hooked in immediately and it has sprinkles of magic. It almost feels like you’re reading historical fiction but without the slow draggy feel it sometimes has.

tiger lily Peter pan retelling bookTiger Lily – Fans of Peter Pan will want to check out what life was like pre-Wendy Bird. You aren’t going to find perfect characters here and I think that was one of the things I really liked about this book. While each is flawed they all do have great quantities as well. This wasn’t a page turner for me but this time it was okay. It was a book I had to get through slowly which was good in it’s own way.

Crimsocrimson bound fabulous little red riding hood retelling young adult bookn Bound – Me oh my what great big teeth you have. Are you looking for a dark slightly creepy fairy tale retelling? Are you more of a Brother’s Grimm kind of fairy tale reader? Well this take on Little Red Riding Hood is delightfully dark. And you know I am a self proclaimed wimp to horror and scary stuff so it’s not too bad at all just enough to make it good. I’ve been listening to the audiobook and totally sucked in. The story the characters it’s a great one take on the story but with definitely much more to it the same old story. And if you enjoy this book by Rosemund Hodge you’ll want to check out Cruel Beauty which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. (They are not a series and can be read independent of each other.) The audio versions are a must!

goose girl fairytale retellingThe Books of Bayern – The retelling of The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and the books that follow in the series are lovely. The first book is The Goose Girl but there are 4 books in the series and I think the third one The River Secrets is my favorite! Book two is one Enna Burning and the last book is Forest Born.They are full of characters with grit and dept who grow and learn from their mistakes and weaknesses. These aren’t just for older teens and adults you can get your tweens both girls and boys in on these too. A great combo of royalty, magic, and friendships.

Wickwicked book reviewed – So wicked was not my favorite but I feel like it was such a huge book and such and interesting retelling that I had to include it in my list. It’s definitely adult and does have mature concepts and it’s not really a feel good book (part of my dislike) but getting the back story of the witches from The Wizard of Oz that is definitely interesting in it’s own way. It’s one of those rare books that I didn’t particularly enjoy but I’m still glad that I read if that makes sense.

 Strastrands of bronze and gold bluebeard fairytale retellingnds of Bronze and Gold – Do you know the story of Bluebeard and his wives. Yeah I didn’t so much but that didn’t stop me from really enjoying this retelling of the tale. It’s a tad bit creepy after all Bluebeard is known for murdering his wives but the story completely sucked me in and was a very entertaining read.

the graveyard book review The Graveyard Book – When I first started reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book I really had no idea what I thought. It’s such a different book. It’s whimsical and magical and heart warming and sad all at once. It didn’t take me too long to fall in love with this sweet retelling of The Jungle Book in which the animals are substituted for ghosts raising a  real boy. If you haven’t read it definitely check it out.

court of thorns and roses book reviewA Court of Thorn and Roses – I am just 25% of the way into A court of Thorn and Roses and I’m already in love. It’s Beauty and the Beast but with Fae and Fairies thrown in. Now let me just say that I am not usually a Fae fan. But that being said I feel like Sarah J. Maas is a magician with words. The stories she writes are fantastic. Such original ideas, amazing characters, and great adventure. Keep in mind that this book is categorized as New Adult so for more mature readers it does get a bit steamy. If you want something more YA or just something else awesome you’ll want to check out her Throne of Glass series which is also considered a retelling but I’m not going to say a retelling of what since I actually preferred not knowing that when I read the first few books since I don’t think the retelling aspects come out until a few books in so it might be a bit spoilery.

These books all look awesome. creative fairytale retellings mostly young adult

I know there are more out there but like always I like keeping my book lists to books that I have personally read. What are some of YOUR favorite fairytale retellings?

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Top 10 Books to Take to the Pool

Great list of books to take to the pool Perfect for Summer reading.

So last week I shared my ah-mazing Pool Bag tutorial (used the bag today and I seriously loooooove it). So today I thought I’d share something related to the most important thing that goes into that bag…your reading material. Okay sunscreen, water and snacks rank up there too but there’s just something about the pool and a good book am I right?

I will refrain from adding any duplicates from last Summer’s 7 Books to Read this Summer list, although it’s kinda killing me to keep some off but if you guys promise to go over and peruse that list too I’ll have to live with that ;) So here without any more delay are 10 great books to take to the pool with you.

To read more about each just click on the title or book cover and you can check out the synopses.

aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe book reviewAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Two boys who meet at the pool (that’s right the pool) which an amazing friendship. Cute and honest coming of age book with lots of Summer-y moments and good stuff to think about.

across a star swept-sea by diana peterfreud great ya bookAcross a Star-Swept Sea – Umm a Sea is pretty much like a very big pool. But there’s water action in this book. And technically it’s a series or a companion book or what have you but you can totally read it without or before For the Darkness Shows the Stars. But FTDSTS is so good I just say read ’em both. But really Across a Sea Swept Sky SO good, lots fun socialite party action as well as rebel political kick butt girls changing the world. LOOVED this one.

Defy by Sarah B. Larson book reviewDefy – No overt pool or water that I remember in this one but it’s good. It’s a fun action read. Full of palace life, a girl guard, magic, and fantasy it’s one of my new favorite series. So good and when you’re done and wishing it wasn’t over you’ll be so happy to read Ignite :)

the jewel by amy ewing book reviewThe Jewel – In the mood for a good solid dystopian tale? Don’t worry it’s got everything you like about dystopian but with it’s own spin that makes it new and fresh and fun. Here’s a themes to spark your interest, surrogates, cute boys, a fashionable mentor, a secret rebellion.

the jewel by amy ewing book reviewMeant to Be – To me the pool is an escape and what’s even better than a pool escape? A real escape, like to another country. This is a super cute school trip to England book complete with romance and travel juice.

this is what happy looks like book reviewThis is What Happy Looks Like – It takes place in a beach town which is totally pool-ish but better! Plus the boy is so cute and lovable. The story is fun and easy to read. This is to me the epitome of a perfect Summer book. Trust me you want to read this.

atlantia book reviewAtlantia – It’s a whole land under the sea. Lots of water = very poolish if I do say so. This is a fun easy read and it’s not a part of a series for those of you wimps who are afraid of being sucked into another series and can’t just wait for the next books to come out ;). But really I enjoyed this a lot. Self identity and development, all kinds of relationships, and cute boys. A good pool book should have cute boys.

heist society book reviewHeist Society – Want some pure reading candy? I present to you Heist Society. It’s adorable. A boarding school for spy girls in training. Some of which who’s parents just think it’s a high end prep school. They are fun, easy fluff but through out the series I found myself more and more attached to the characters. And yes I’m quite a fan of the boy in this one too ;)

burn for burn book reviewBurn For Burn – Another beach town book but there’s more going on here than simple relationships. You get the story of three girls who are all out for revenge. It reads like an easy contemporary novel (i.e. chick lit in a good way) but with something below the surface making it super good. I read this book on vacation in just a few days and it was a fun read.

transparent by natalie whipple book reviewTransparent – I think Fiona and her crew are great for any time but there’s something nice and light about this book and it’s sequel that I think is perfect for the pool. Also this friends group is so awesome you’ll be happy to escape to their world where everyone has powers and it’s just as normal as wearing flip flops.

What do you think good ones? I would love to hear what some of your favorite poolside reads are too share them in the comments!

Top 10 Books to Take to the Pool. Great Summer reading list.

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Top Ten Authors of All Time, that’s right ALL TIME!!!

9 Authors you need to read ASAP

I get anxiety when someone asks who my favorite author is. I mean goodness I need context, are you looking for a book suggestion, is it just small talk (no that can’t book books are never SMALL talk), how could I possibly pick? There are just so many good books and I know so many great books I haven’t read yet or haven’t even heard about!

But even still, I thought it would be fun torture to try and force myself to play along with the Broke and the Bookish gals and share my Top Ten Authors of All Time. These are authors that I adore what I’ve read from them, wish they would write more and more and more, and have recommended their stories over and over. And most of all they are authors that have written stories and characters that I just clicked with!

In no particular order my Top Ten Authors of All Time:

J.K. Rowling

She makes the list purely based on the Harry Potter books. I haven’t read the other ones but come on Harry Potter is ENOUGH! I will get to her non-potter books. In fact let me go add them to my library holds right now. Okay I’m back. But really the world building, the magic, the friendships, the adventure, it doesn’t get much better!

Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game was probably my first ever favorite book. And I’ve read the Shadow books that continue the series over and over. I am not a re-reader but these books are the wonderful exception. I’ve read a few other of card’s series and he’s a magician with the people and emotions and relationships. I’m more into the light Sci-fi, political strategic side of his works. But really it’s the characters for me but don’t get me wrong I adore his stories too!

Kirstin Cashore

Goodness the Graceling books have so many things I love about books without being predictable and formulaic. Romance, kids with powers, fighting, amazing strong female characters and more. The relationships are so great and the stories are so so so unique and full of adventure. Goodness I just want more and more and more.

Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorn books blew me away. Carson did many things in these books that usually would make me SO mad but amazingly enough they fit the story so well and she TOLD the story so well I didn’t mind. I let them impact me as they were meant to but didn’t ache to rewrite the story. Uniquely strong and real female characters that are so admirable, realistic romance, and just enough fantasy and adventure were some of the highlights but what I really loved was her honest depiction of a person of faith. Amazing how accurately she captured the struggle and commitment for the religious life even while not embracing it herself. These books are SO good and I can’t wait until her next book Walk on Earth a Stranger which is due out in September.

Richelle Mead

Richelle Mead writes like candy crack and that’s the truth. But the thing is it’s not shallow foofy stuff. Granted her work is lighter and not quite as deep as some of the other authors on this list but there’s still substance to them while being freakishly fun. She has sass and humor down, she knows how to suck you in and her boys are dreamy and her girls can kick butt most of the time literally! I’ve read both her YA and Adult books and while I think that the first books of her series are always a bit slow (something about the way she introduces the characters and sets up the worlds) once you get that preliminary stuff out of the way you can’t turn back. Even if you are a Vampire hater like I was ignore the title and pick up Vampire Academy the series and spin off are SO good. If you’re like me you’ll be driving from library to library to get the next one before they close on Sunday (true story).

Must read authors. Great for young adults and young at heart.

Robin La Fevers

For the love of steaming HEALTHY, noteworthy romances that are things to admire plus crazy adventure and gorgeous writing. The His Fair Assassins books are full of depth and meaning and all kinds of admirable stuff without being preachy in any way shape or form. They are the epitome of good entertainment where I’m concerned. Historical fiction, assassin teen nuns, royalty and castle life, tough situations, these books are so unique but at the same time so good. I hope she keeps writing YA because these are good. I’ve been meaning to check out her middle grade books but I have a hold for the first book of the Theodosia series.

Erin Mortenson

Yes I know she only has one book, The Night Circus but it was so ah-mazing. It put a spell on me and I want more. This book is so unique and the story is told jumping back and forth between different years. The imagery is incredible I want to make so many things from this story. I only wish I could get lost in more stories from her!

Cassandra Clare

Her books are SO fun. These are more on the lighter side but I adore the adventure and the awesome Shadowhunter world that she has built. Plus she is a master of humor and happy endings. I believe that the phrase So Many Feels was created just to be able to describe her books. The non-romantic friendships are so great, the romance is awesome, but the banter and adventure make me come back for more and more and more. Thankfully she seems happy to crank out books.

Marissa Meyer

And to think I thought Cinder sounded so dumb when I first heard about it. I’ve had to eat my words on that one SO many times because Marissa Meyer is a story telling genius. Really I swear her books just keep getting better and better. She dives in to focusing on a new character and you think you’ll be sad not to still be focused on the first batch but she ties it all in and the new characters are so awesome it’s like a happy land of awesomeness. Okay that probably didn’t make much sense but you should just read it as gush gush gush because it’s hard to write how great I think her books are. She’s landed squarely in the buy without question list for me. Sci-fi (but not annoying creatures, more technology and powers), fairy-tales, swoon worthy boys, strong and capable girls, lots of action, and crazy interwoven story lines!

To Be Determined

I’ve had this post written up for almost two weeks now trying to figure out who would grab the last place and while there were a few I tossed around like Marie Lu and Jandy Nelson both amazing story tellers, in the end I couldn’t pick. And I think it’s because I know there’s someone who I haven’t meet yet. There’s an author who’s stories I have yet to fall in love with, maybe who has yet to publish their book. Whatever the case. The rest of the writers on this list all grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I believe that the owner of spot #10 will do the same when it’s his or her time.

What about you? Who would you say are some of your all time favorite authors?

Great list of awesome looking authors to check out.  Must read.

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Top 10 Books of 2014 and Everything I Read in 2014

Best books of 2014 - Rae Gun Ramblings

This year I read 80 books (that’s with my eyes and with my ears). Reading is something I make time for because I enjoy it and I think it’s good for me. I love visiting the other worlds and learning about new people but most of all I love talking to my friends about the people and places I meet in my stories. Here are the 10 books out of all the books I read this year that really stood out to me. Curious about all the books I read this year? Scroll down to see all the titles!

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’ve been waiting for this book since I finished her debut The Sky is Everywhere. This book was crazy. You’re thrown in to the mind of a hyper creative 13 year old boy. He’s super awkward and his mind just explodes on the page. At first it takes a second to get used to the writing style but I ended up really loving that aspect. The story centers on twins Jude (the girl) and Noah (the boy) it jumps back and forth between Noah’s perspective at 13 and Jude’s at 16 and it’s really great. You get to see how they change from 13 to 16 and it’s really kind of great. It’s one of the most uniquely told stories I’ve read and I adore the characters. There are SO many beautiful and funny lines I wish that I had taken the time to write them down but I was too caught up in the story to stop.

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Robin LaFevers is a literary god. She is like magic the way she can write totally realistic characters and relationships that while not perfect are admirable. The Mortal Heart which is the third and final book in His Fair Assassins series is just as amazing as the first two. And really when I read the first and then the second I didn’t know how that would be possible. So much action, political intrigue, great romance, strong characters, lots to think about, and SUPER fun to read. These are some of the most enjoyable books I’ve read and this was the perfect end to the series (although I think it does leave room for a spin off series which I hope and pray will be written). If I could force teens to read books these would make the list because they are fun but they really have so many positive messages about one’s values, other’s expectations, romance and more.

Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman

Are you shocked that a non-fiction book made my list? This book is so interesting it’s fun to jump into another culture to see how they do things. The way it’s written though it’s totally accessible and a quick fascinating read. The foodie in me has spent a long time horrified at the way we Americans just assume kids should be picky and that it’s okay just to feed them chicken nuggets and hot dogs for every meal. So while the other subjects were fun to read about I was totally engrossed with all the details of how meals are run and the attitude towards food especially when it comes to the littlest eaters.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

This is a book that really stood out to me that I haven’t heard many people talking about. Think popular kid gets his world shaken up and a great coming of age tale. I was really drawn to the characters and story about learning who you really are and what’s really important to you full of sass and humor.

For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreundy

Think steam punk meets historical fiction meets sci-fi meets romance meets Austen and you might be able to picture this book. Can’t do it, yeah well that’s probably because if you’re like me you haven’t read anything like this which is a good thing. This was so unique but I loved it. The characters, the story, the crazy world, it’s one of the few books that even though I finished it a while ago I still think about. Go find a copy…now.

The Statistical Probability of Love of First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

I have a new favorite author and it’s Jennifer E. Smith. I mean how the heck had I not read this before. It’s the perfect weekend or vacation book. So fast so cute so easy to love. I adored this sweet contemporary story so much that I immediately checked out This is What Happiness Looks Like, loved it just as much and I have The Geography of You and Me waiting for me. If you want and easy sweet romance you need to check this out.

Champion by Marie Lu

I was already a fan of the Legend books but this ending was just perfect. What I love is that it isn’t your typical series ender but it isn’t a “how can we shock the reader” ender either. You really get to see the characters you’ve come to love mature and that makes my heart swoon. There’s the great adventure and dystopian power play you’ve come to expect from the series too. I really loved it

Cress by Marissa Meyer

If you haven’t started the Lunar Chronicles yet I have to tell you they are awesome. I was SO apprehensive when all the hype about Cinder (book 1) started. It just sounded dumb to me. But after a good friend couldn’t stop raving about it my curiosity got the best of me. Thankfully so because these books are AH-mazing and I swear they just get better. Yes this is in part a fairy tale retelling but it’s so much more think sci-fi meets fairy tale plus some awesome characters, sassy dialogue and swoon worthy book boys.

 Noggin by John Corey Whaley

A teen is dying of cancer and he decides to freeze his head in hopes that “some day” they can bring him back. Only some day comes WAY sooner than expected. So what feels like just a few hours for him end up being a few years and he’s thrown back into life with someone else’s body. The story that comes out is so interesting. It’s funny and thoughtful. Don’t worry about being bogged down in science it’s not that kind of book it’s really about figure out who you are but with a really interesting unusual context.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

This is the third book of the series and while I’ll admit that it took me a long while (like 1/3 of the book) to warm up to it some how Sarah Maas once again won me over, completely. It’s not that the first part of the book wasn’t interesting and good it’s just that she spent a lot of time introducing new characters and I was anxious to know what was happening where we left of in book two. She’s just a stunning writer. Great fantasy, jammed packed action, but mostly an amazing ability to write characters. If you haven’t started this series (Throne of Glass) do it now it’s filled with adventure, romance, great banter, fantastic complicated characters, and more than one great book boy.

80 great books - Rae Gun Ramblings

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Top 10 Books Worth Rereading

10 books worth rereading or adding to your list if you haven't read them yet! Rae Gun Ramblings

I’m not much of a rereader. I know some people that have a worn copy of a book that is like a treasured best friend it’s been with them on vacations and seen then through heartbreak and joy. For me there’s really only been one book, or rather book series, that I’ve reread and that would be Ender’s Game and the Shadow books that make up the spin off series. But if I had time there are others that I definitely would reread (or at least relisten to the the audioversion). If you have not read these books I beg you, go add them to your library hold list, pop them onto your kindle, or write them down for next time you’re at a store because I adore these and think most other people would too!

1. Ender’s Game and the Shadow series
The shadow books follow Bean and the other battle school kids. It’s a lot more similar to Ender’s Game than the “Ender books” of the original series. The Ender books are too sci-fi for me but the shadow books are some of my all time favorites. Amazing characters, great relationships (friendly, romantic, business, etc.), and more. I adore these books. I have read each of them in their paper form and listened to them. If you like audioboks I highly recommend listening to these.

2. Divergent
Okay so I lied. I have re-read or at least re-listened to Divergent a few times after reading the first book. And while I’m not wild about the later books in the series I do still love love love Divergent.

3. Harry Potter
Can you believe that I have only read the Harry Potter books once? It’s true. It’s something I need to fix though. I have high hopes to run through the audiobooks of these puppies! I hear they are a great listen.

4. Graceling
Oh how I love these books. The strong women, the complex and admirable relationships, and the super fun story. These books are just about perfection. My secret plan is to try and force my hubby to listen to these on our next road trip. Shhhh don’t tell him.

5. Ready Player One
I loved the concept of this book so much. It’s like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for adults who grew up in the 80’s and have an appreciation for video games. And it’s boy friendly this is another that I want to secretly force the Hubby to listen to.

6. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares
This book is just so freaking sweet and fun and cute. It also is kind of a wintery read and I’ve thought it would be fun to read again wrapped around a snuggly blanket with some delicious hot chocolate in hand.

7. Girl of Fire and Thorns
I really love these books. If you want a book about growth that is full of action, romance, and fantasy these are great.

8. The Night Circus
I love this book. I love the planning, the imagery, the idea of midnight dinners full of interesting company, the creative way that the story is told. I just adore it.

9. The Sky is Everywhere
This is one of those books that will make you cry but there is so much good in this one. And if you have a sister it’s a must read. Soooo good. I can’t wait to get my hands on her new book!

10. Airman

If you are feeling down and life has been rough and you’re not feeling like being preached to or looking for self-help or inspiration check out this book. It’s a YA story and the main character has been so so seriously wronged but instead of giving up and wallowing in despair (as would be totally reasonable) he makes something amazing of his life. It makes you feel like no matter how hard things are, not matter how unfair life is, there’s still a reason to keep trying but it’s not preachy or anything like that.

Gosh listing these out makes me want to go run and crack each of these open right away. I’ll be linking this up to The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday next week :) What are some books that you would like to re-read?

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Top Ten Book Character Names I Love

 Baby Names inspired by book character names - Rae Gun Ramblings

In case you missed my big announcement I am pregnant so this week’s prompt “Top Ten Book Character Names I Love” on The Broke and the Bookish really strikes close to home. Unfortunately my husband and I have TOTALLY different opinions when it comes to deciding what counts as a “good name”. But just for fun here are some of MY favorite bookish names and some of my husbands opinions on those names.

  1. Ender – And I’d name the kid Andrew just like in the book and call him Ender. Also from the Ender books I like Valentine (for a girl), Petra, and Julian. He hates ALL of these!
  2. Artemis – I love Artemis for either a boy or girl. As in Artemis from the Percy Jackson books, Art3mis from Ready Player One, and Artemis Fowl.
  3. Ginerva – And I’d call her Ginny after one Ginny Weasley of Harry Potter awesomeness. Yeah anything obviously Harry Potter he TOTALLY shuts down.
  4. Gemma – I’ve liked this name for a long time. Most book worthy is Gemma Doyle from A Great and Terrible Beauty not my favorite book but enjoyable and a great name.
  5. Link – As in Linkubus from the Beautiful Creatures series. The husband thinks this is obviously a video game name (legend of Zelda) which he doesn’t like.
  6. Kai – I prefer this spelling to the Ky in Matched and I didn’t love the character but I’ve always liked the name. And I kind of like Xander too.
  7. Katsa – Oh I would so pick this name after the very very awesome Graceling character.
  8. Ari – I love the name Ari from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. But having a few degrees in philosophy I just could not do the long version of Aristotle.
  9. Lena – From the Delirium series. I just think it’s a pretty name.
  10. Will or Jem – I know I know it’s probably just because I love those boys so from the Infernal Devices so so much but I do like both the names William and James. But when talking about naming a kid I tend to want something a little more unique.

So what are some names that you like? Oh I’m really asking it’s not just an evil ploy to get comments although I love comments. We have a real live baby coming our way (March-ish) and we have no good names in the running. And since I like our little baby announcement I’ll share it again in case any of you guys missed it the first time around.

Fun and silly pregnancy and baby announcements - Rae Gun Ramblings


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Top Ten Best Sequels

Top Ten YA book sequels - Rae Gun Ramblings

I am a series girl. Not that I can’t appreciate good standalone books but if I really love a book it’s hard for me not to want more. The problem is that not all sequels are created equally. I’m said to say there have just been too many times where I read the second book in a series only to think, well I’m glad I got more of those characters and that world but it just felt like a filler. Like a bit of space before the end of the story. Do you know what I mean? So when I read a sequel that stands out to be as good or even better than the 1st awesome book I remember it. Here are my Top Ten Best Sequels. Each of of these were fantastic on their own. While they build on the story that was established in the first book they give more of what I loved in book one plus added making them stand on their own in awesomeness.

  • The Crown of EmbersGirl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson – When I read the second book I thought now this is what a series should be! The final book is out and they are ALL fantastic. Great fantasy, strong unique characters, romance.
  • Siege and StormThe Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo – I’ve never read books like these before. Crazy adventure, a whole new world, one of the best villains ever, and a story that goes in all kinds of great and unpredictable directions. Fantasy and adventure at it’s best.
  • Scarlet – Luna Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – When I learned that Scarlet would focus on Scarlet and not Cinder who I had grown to love I was nervous. But each book focuses on a different character and fairy tale retelling but you still get enough of what you loved in book one plus more new greatness. I love the spins on these classic tales. Great Sci-fi meets fairy tale.
  • Ender’s ShadowShadow Series by Orson Scott Card – So after Ender’s Game came the rest of the Ender’s books which aren’t my favorite but then the spin-off that also builds on Ender’s Game starts a series that I absolutely love. Ender’s Shadow follows the same timeframe as Ender’s Game but it is told through Beans perspective and it is AWWWWWESSSSSSOOOOMMMEE.
  • FireGraceling series by Kristin Cashore – These books all happen in the same world but at different time frames and they focus on different characters. They are some of my favorite books and book 2 Fire is my favorite out of all of them although all 3 are great.
  • Where She WentIf I Stay by Gale Foreman – These contemporary books deal with tough things but they are beautiful all the same.  The second book is SO different than the first book but it was just as great if not better.
  • Dark TriumphHis Fair Assassins by Robin LaFevers – This was another that made me nervous when I learned that book two was not focused on the same main character and love interest but I was pleasantly surprised. The richness of mature (read healthy not sex) romance, adventure, and awesomeness in both books blew me away. I hope this series never ends.
  • Clockwork PrinceInfernal Devices by Cassandra Clare – While I wasn’t over the moon about book one book two completely stole my heart and then book 3 (Clockwork Princess) had me speechless and overwhelmed with happiness. The character development was just fantastic. Yes I love the shadowhunter world, the fighting the paranormal fun, and romance, but the friendships and characters are really what get me about this sequel and finale.
  • It’s Not Summer Without YouSummer books by Jenny Han – Book two is my absolute favorite in this contemporary series. I loved watching the development of Belly over the years through all three books but I just adored book 2. While it’s a great beachy read there are so many levels of relationships (family, friends and romance that really pulled me in).
  • FrostbiteVampire Academy by Richelle Mead – I mentioned before how book one of the series is kinda weak but Frostbite jumps right into things and it’s why so many of us absolutely rave about about the Vampire Academy series.
Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.

10 YA Books to Read this Fall

Fall Young Adult Reading List - Rae Gun Ramblings

There are SO many books coming out (or just barely out) this Fall. So without too much fanfare here’s my top ten books to read this Fall. Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish. Unfortunately for those who aren’t familiar but really great for me a lot of these are sequels and later books in series but I am hanging on the edge of my seat waiting for them.


  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth – I am Divergent obsessed and I can’t wait to see how this book ends (Oct. 22, 2013)
  • The Crown of Midnight by Sarah Maas – I adored The Throne of Glass, adored I tell you! I can’t wait to get more of these awesome characters and unique story. It’s already out but I’m in the throws of Halloween orders so I’m waiting my turn with the library holds even though I will most likely buy it.
  • Fire with Fire – The first book Burn for Burn was so interesting very Pretty Little Liars (TV I haven’t read the books) feeling but on a beach and with hints that there’s some supernatural powers. I cannot wait to see what comes next in this story.
  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stievater – I fell in love with the Raven Boys as you can see in my Raven Boy post where I even made danishes in honor of Blue. I just loved the humor and the characters and the magical ghostly fun. So excited for more. Plus Maggie is coming through SLC the end of the month wahoo. (Sept. 17, 2013)
  • Sentinel by Jennifer Armentrout – Book 5 in the Covenant series. I felt like not much happened in book 4 so I am super eager for this one. I’m really hoping we get more story in this puppy. (Nov. 2, 2013)

First Books and Standalones

Black Out by Robinson Wells great Young Adult book with fun powers and a dystopian setting - Rae Gun RamblingsGot to see Robison Wells at Salt Lake Comic Con! How fun to see the author of the book you’re reading without out knowing he’d be in the same place before you started the book. I think it’s fun at least ;)

  • Blackout by Robison Wells – I’m reading the ARC right now it’s so good, I wish I didn’t have so much blasted work to do! (Oct. 1, 2013)
  • Twinmaker by Sean Williams – This one sounds good all kinds of identity and technology issues in this one. (Nov. 5, 2013)
  • How to Love by Katie Cortugno – Girl pines after boy, girl goes unnoticed until she doesn’t, but then he’s gone and she’s pregnant and then he’s back. I’ll need this contemporary to even out all my magic and dystopian (Oct. 1, 2013)
  • Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Stephanie Hemphill – The story of Mary Shelly sounds like a perfect book to get into the Halloween mood. ( Oct. 1, 2013)

Honorable Mentions

  • The Bitter Kingdom – I’ve already read it but it just came out and it’s great great great! Perfect ending to the trilogy.

  Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.


My Dream Bookish Movies and TV Shows

Great books that would be fantastic movies, tv shows and mini series - Rae Gun Ramblings

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish is top ten books that you’d like to see made into movies or TV shows in a perfect world where everything is done perfectly.

  • Ready Player One – I’d love movie for this. I picture it like a fun Willy Wonka meets video game and 80’s pop culture for grown ups. I just think it would make a really fun movie.
  • The Night Circus – I think this would be a great mini-series or TV show. The story is so slow building and what I adored was the journey not just key points which I feel is what movies do well so I’d love to see a longer treatment of this.
  • Parallel – This would make an amazing TV show. I love the intertwining timelines and each episode could be a day. If you haven’t read the book it’s like a reverse Groundhogs day where each day the main character wakes up and finds her yesterdays have changed. She has to check her phone for pictures to see if she’s still dating who she things she is, quiz her roommate and best friend about her schedule for the day but more than that there’s this awesome overarching story.
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series – I just want to see this world come to life and I think the type of magic and fighting would make a good movie. I would love to see great films made out of these
  • His Fair Assassins books – I’m thinking these would would need to be a mini series, maybe a longish one
  • The Insignia books – Movies for sure. I can see these as being like Harry Potter in the sense of all the kids living and learning together and quirky friends but in a super scientific setting instead of a magical world
  • The Summer books – I think these could make a fun TV show like maybe with a Dawson’s creek feel or something similar.
  • The Scorpio Races – Movie, it’s kinda a slow starter for a book and I know that the story telling is a bit slow for a lot of people’s tastes but I adored the book and I think even more people would fall in love with a movie
  • The Grisha Trilogy – These books are so good I would adore movies but the characters are so complex I’m not sure if they could be done justice. Possibly a mini-series?
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – This book is so stinking cute it just screams to be a holiday movie to me.
Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.

Great Reads With a Video Game Settings to Get You Ready For PAX

great books with video game settings or these perfect for #PAX #books #reading - Rae Gun Ramblings

I cannot believe that PAX, the video game convention I go to every year, is only a few short weeks away. So for today’s Top Ten Tuesday – settings, I’m sharing some of my favorite books with video game settings or general feelings. All of these are full of action and even if you don’t care a second about video games are great fun. They are some of my all time favorite books! Click more to read a synopsis of each book I’m just going to highlight the video game aspect in my descriptions.

  • Insignia and Vortex by S.J.Kincaid – These are great sci-fi books that remind me of Harry Potter meets Ender’s Games. They get to play around with lots of technology that is very video game-ish but the one of my favorite parts are these simulations that they train in. To keep up their physical fitness they are run through various war scenarios which are both hilarious and action filled.
  • Rush by Eve Silver – All of a sudden Miki finds herself pulled from her regular life and thrown into a “game” where she has to fight off monsters. She’s armed with weapons and even has a monitor that gauges her life and health. After the fight is over she gets toss back to her normal life as if nothing has changed. It’s a game but not really.
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth – You know I’m a huge fan of both Divergent and Insurgent but in divergent the initiates are run through what is called a “fear landscape” in which they live out and have to conquer their greatest feels. It has a fantastic video game feel that always stands out to me.
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Such an awesome book of 80’s pop culture fun and video games. The main character is on this Willy Wonka-esque challenge which include various virtual reality tasks. It’s full of fun action and plenty of great gaming.
  • Dualed by Elsie Chapman – While Dualed does not have anything straightforwardly video game related the whole book reads like a video game in a good way. Like all kids in her city West has a twin she’s never met raised by another family. When her time comes come she’s got 30 days to either kill her Alternate, be killed by her Alternate, or self-destruct from the built-in fail safe. It’s fun, action packed and even has a touch of romance.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I’m sure most of you have read the Hunger Games but I’ve always thought the challenge of the area was very video game-ish. You know action, fighting, killing and once you take care of it you’re presented with even harder circumstances ;)
  • Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card – Possibly my favorite books ever both take place during the same time frame, but they are told from different perspectives and highlight the journey of two different astonishing boys. My favorite video game bits are these war games they play in the battle room it’s all strategy and awesomeness.
  • The Ward by Jordana Frankel – This book has so many layers but one bit is that it is set around a bunch of road and water racers. This has always reminded me of some of the fun levels on Mario Kart. This book was one of my favorites from the year so far