Rambles · Telling Tales

Telling Tales | Independent Study Reading List 

As a third year university student, I have the misfortune to partake in my degree dissertation, or what my course refers to as an ‘Independent Study’. However, as I’m studying Creative Writing, I get to write a somewhat long creative piece of my own, on a topic of my choice. Basically, I’m using this as an excuse to explore a few of my favourite genres and make my to-be-read pile a little larger. This list mostly consists on retelling of classic literature and YA Fantasy, as my project is somewhat those spliced together. I’ve found a few I’m really excited to read, yet I’ll still include those I’ve already read as I’m planning on studying them a little more. Anyways, onto the list!

University Recommended and Necessities for my project

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft | Stephen King
On Writing A Memoir of the craft
Read in September ’17
Published: 2012, by Hodder & Stoughton.
Pages: 366
Format: Paperback
Genre: Nonfiction, Language, Writing, Autobiography, Memoir, Reference
Summary: Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. 

Negotiating With The Dead | Margaret Atwood
negotiating with the dead
Published: 2002, by Cambridge University Press.
Pages: 48 (Extract)
Format: PDF, via the University.
Genre: Nonfiction, Language, Writing, Essay, Autobiography, Memoir
Summary: What do we mean when we say that someone is a writer? Is he or she an entertainer? A high priest of the god of Art? An improver of readers’ minds and morals? And who, for that matter, are these mysterious readers? In this and irresistibly quotable book, one of the most intelligent writers now working in English addresses the riddle of her art: why people pursue it, how they view their calling, and what bargains they make with their audience, both real and imagined.

The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby
Last read in August ’14
Published: 2013, by Alma Books.
Pages: 210
Format: Paperback
Genre: Classics, Literature, Fiction
Summary: Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby’s impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events spiral into tragedy.

Retellings of Classic Literature/Fairy-tales

Great | Sara Benincasa
Published: 2014, by HarperTeen.
Pages: 263
Format: Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retellings, LGBT, Fiction
Summary: Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbour, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason for drawing close to Naomi – to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. But Jacinta’s carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Second Star | Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Second Star
Published: 2014, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Pages: 248
Format: Hardback
Genre: Young Adult. Contemporary, Retellings, Romance, Fantasy
Summary: A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfer, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete’s nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she’s falling hard for Pete.

Bridget Jones’s Diary | Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones Diary
Published: 2010, by Penguin Books.
Pages: 274
Format: Paperback
Genre: Women’s Lit, Chick Lit, Fiction, Romance, Humour, Contemporary
Summary: Meet Bridget Jones – a 30-something Singleton who is certain she wuld have all the answers if she could: a. lose 7 pounds. b. stop smoking. c. develop Inner Poise.


Tiger Lily | Jodi Lynn Anderson
Tiger Lily
Published: 2012, by HarperCollins.
Pages: 292
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Romance, Fairy-tales
Summary: Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair… Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meeting the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell. Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known.  Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthrals her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything – her family, her future – to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter. With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies | Seth Grahame-Smith
pride and prejudice and zombies
Published: 2009, by Quirk Classics.
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Fantasy, Humour, Romance, Classics, Historical Fiction
Summary: As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton – and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilised sparring between the two young lovers – and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry?

Dorothy Must Die | Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die
Last read in August ’15
Published: 2015, by HarperCollins.
Pages: 480
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Retellings, Fiction, Fantasy, Magic
Summary: I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know? Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a road of yellow brick – but even that’s crumbling. What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe. My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kanzas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I’ve been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart. Steal the Scarecrow’s brain. Take the Lion’s courage. And – Dorothy must die.

Cinder | Marissa Meyer
Published: 2013, by Square Fish.
Pages: 387
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance
Summary: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the centre of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty, and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

A Court of Thorns and Roses | Sarah J. Maas
a court of thorns and roses
Published: 2015, by Bloomsbury Children’s.
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, New Adult
Summary: Feyre is a huntress. She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price… Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy’s kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden to escape. Her captor’s body hears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked – but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre’s feeling for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she’s been told about his kind, an ancient wicked shadow grows.

Heartless | Marissa Meyer
Published: 2017, by Macmillian Children’s Books.
Pages: 455
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings, Romance
Summary: Long before Alice fell down the rabbit hole… And before the roses were painted red… The Queen of Hearts was just a girl, in love for the first time.



Jake, Reinvented | Gordon Korman
Jake Reinvented
Published: 2005, by Disney-Hyperion.
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Retellings, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Summary: There is a mysterious new student at Fitzgerald High, Jake Garrett. He seems to have it all figured out. He looks like he just stepped off the cover of the J. Crew catalogue, he is the best kicker the football team has ever had, and best of all, he hosts the party to go to every Friday night. All the guys want to be like him and all the girls want to date him, but Jake only has eyes for Didi, the girlfriend of the alpha male and quarterback, Todd Buckley. As Jake’s friend Rick gets to know him, he at first admires him, then starts to like him, but soon grows to fear for him as he learns Jake’s dangerous secret.

Young Adult Fantasy

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone | J.K. Rowling
harry potter one
Last read in August ’17
Published: 2015, by Pottermore by J.K. Rowling.
Pages: 324
Format: Kindle Edition
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Classics, Children’s
Summary: Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

Throne of Glass | Sarah J. Maas
throne of glass
Published: 2012, by Bloomsbury.
Pages: 404
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Magic
Summary: Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness. In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught. Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

City of Bones | Cassandra Clare
city of bones
Published: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 485
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fiction
Summary: When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder. Much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons — and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It’s also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. Bu why would demons be interested in an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

The Hunger Games | Suzanne Collins
the hunger games
Last read in ’09. 
Published: 2009, by Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 436
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy
Summary: Sometime in the future after the destruction of North America in a nation known as Panem, the 74th Hunger Games begins. As punishment for a previous rebellion again the Capitol, every year, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by lottery and forced to participate in the Hunger Games, a televised event in which the participants, or “tributes”, must fight to the death in a dangerous, outdoor arena, controlled by the Capitol, until only one remains. The difference this year is District 12 has had it’s first volunteer probably in the whole history of the District… Katniss Everdeen, who volunteered to take the place of her younger sister, Prim; and she’s already making an impression.

The Raven Boys | Maggie Stiefvater
raven boys
Last read in September ’17.
Published: 2012, by Scholastic.
Pages: 419
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Summary: Even if Blue hadn’t been told her true love would die if she kissed him, she would stay away from boys. Especially the ones from the local private school. Known as Raven Boys, they only mean trouble. But this is the year that everything will change for Blue. This is the year that she will be drawn into the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys. And the year that Blue will discover that magic does exist. This is the year that she will fall in love.

Red Queen | Victoria Aveyard 
Red queen
Last read in October ’17.
Published: 2015, by Orion.
Pages: 383
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fiction
Summary: This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

Carry On | Rainbow Rowell
carry on
Last Read in September ’17.
Published: 2016, by Macmillan.
Pages: 518
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Fiction, LGBT, Magic
Summary: Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen. That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right. Half the time Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if her were here – it’s their last year at Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Six of Crows | Leigh Bardugo
six of crows
Published: 2015, by Indigo.
Pages: 491
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Summary: Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist; Break into the notorious Ice Court (a military stronghold that has never been breached), retrieve a hostage (who could unleash magical havoc on the world), survive long enough to collect his reward (and spend it). Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Half Bad | Sally Green
Half Bad
Last read in May ’17.
Published: 2014, by Penguin.
Pages: 380
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Magic, Witches, Supernatural, Romance, LGBT, Urban Fantasy
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the word’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the free gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers – before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?


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