Top 5 Tuesday #61: Retellings, Series, Standalones

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

I haven’t done this meme in a while since last week was BOOK TAG WEEK!!! and… I don’t know what the excuse is for the other weeks. But I’m doing it now! 😊 I think I’ll just catch up on the ones I haven’t done in this post since I like the topics. I’ll start with this week’s topic.

This week’s topic:

Top 5 standalone books

(Perhaps standalone books are more your thing. Tell us your top 5 standalone books.)

I tried to select books I haven’t mentioned or haven’t chatted about often.

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

It’s historical fiction with a touch of magical realism. I think the audience is either YA or the older end of MG. Set in Kraków, Poland, in 1939, it’s about a precocious little girl who’s orphaned when the Germans take away her father, a linguist professor. But then she meets the mysterious Swallow Man who protects and teaches her much on their travels together.

This was Savit’s debut novel, and I loved it. I loved how it is written and thought the Swallow Man was a magnetic character. You couldn’t help being drawn by his mystery. It’s one I’d highly recommend and would like to revisit.

The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey

It’s a Southern horror novel set in Virginia in a small town where everyone believes an old widow who lives in the mountain is a witch and has placed a curse on the town because weird things are happening. I was so hooked on this, I couldn’t stop reading even when it got creepy and a tinge scary at times. (It’s not scary really, but I scare easy.)

In Search of Lost Dragons by Élian Black’Mor (illus.) and Carine-M (illus.)

Oh man! I love this book. It’s a graphic novel in the form of a reporter’s journal as he documents his travels through Europe to prove the existence of dragons. There isn’t a plot, really. Instead, you read the reporter’s journal and look at his sketches and photographs.

The book is filled with stunning illustrations that I think every reader who loves dragons should own a copy.

Rasputin’s Daughter by Robert Alexander

Rasputin is one of the most fascinating historical figures I’ve ever read about, so it’s hard to pass up books (fiction or nonfiction) about him. This one is a historical fiction novel about Rasputin but from the perspective of his daughter. I read it years ago and have forgotten much, but I remember being hooked on the story. I wonder if that will be the case if I should reread it.

The Rime of the Modern Mariner by Nick Hayes (illus.)

Here’s another that I read long ago. Inspired by Samuel Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Hayes’ The Rime of the Modern Mariner features a seaman telling an office worker, who’s out on lunch, how polluted the environment is.

In addition to being an epic poem, it is also in a graphic novel format and features great illustrations in simple blues, whites, and blacks. I read it long ago and have forgotten much, but I remember really liking the story and the art and feeling an urgency from it to take better care for the environment.

Last week’s topic:

Top 5 series of all time

(Do you read series?? What are your favourite series of all time??)

I start many series but hardly complete any, so please excuse me as I indulge in my love of Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings fantasy series, which comprises several trilogies and a quartet.

The series begins with the Farseer trilogy, which is about the bastard son of prince who becomes as assassin’s apprentice and his struggle to keep hidden his aptitude for a type of magic (the Wit that allows him to commune with animals) that is considered taboo in the kingdom.

I love the series and HIGHLY recommend it. If you decide to try it, I recommend the following reading order for the subseries: Farseer trilogy, Liveship Traders trilogy, Tawney Man trilogy, Rain Wild Chronicles (a quartet), Fitz and the Fool trilogy.

Now, I shall list them all in order of my most favorite to least. I love them all so the least is still a favorite.

Tawney Man
Liveship Traders
Fitz and the Fool
Rain Wild Chronicles

Oh, look! A perfect 5. I didn’t realize there were 5 subseries, even when I listed the reading order, lol. Tawney Man and Farseer are probably more so tied for the top position on my favorites list. I enjoyed reading about Buckkeep back in Fitz’s young days and seeing how his relationship with several characters but especially the Fool, Burrich, Chade, and Nighteyes develops. But I also love what happens in Tawney Man and seeing how Fitz reconnects with others there. The dude is SO stubborn. I think most of his suffering is from his stubbornness… and because Hobb has like zero chill when it comes to Fitz suffering.

The week before last week’s topic:

Top 5 retellings

(What are your favourite retellings??)

Doing this made me realize that I don’t read many retellings.

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais (illus.), transl. from the French by Jeremy Melloul

This is one of my favorite children’s picture books. It’s a retelling of the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood with a twist. I love the story for the unexpected turn it takes later on and for the gorgeous illustrations.

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

It’s a steampunk paranormal romance retelling of the Beauty and the Beast and the first book in the Steampunk Proper Romance series, which is composed of books that are all either retellings or are inspired by fairytales. Of all in the series, I enjoyed this one the most.

It’s about Lucy Pickett, a young woman who works as a botanist, who travels to Blackwell Manor to care for his ailing cousin but also finds there a restless spirit and realizes there’s a dark mystery about the owner of the manor, Lord Miles.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinderella is my favorite fairytale, so I guess it’s a given that I’d enjoy Meyer’s reimagining of the tale with the Cinderella character as an android. I thought it was a very entertaining read.

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

McKinley is one of my favorite authors. She has written several YA fantasy novels that are fairytale retellings. I believe I read them all when I was younger but have forgotten much of them. However, I reread Spindle’s End fairly recently, so the memory of it is fresh. Obviously, it is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but it’s set in a fantastical land so suffused with fairy magic that sometimes even the kettles talk. I highly recommend this one as well.

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

Of course, I had to include Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, which is strongly inspired by Greek mythology and sometimes even retell them in certain sections. These are MG fantasy novels and are highly entertaining. I’ve yet to be tired of rereading them. The audiobooks, however, are horrible. The last time I reread this was on audiobook and it soured my enjoyment of the story.

Well, lookie there! I’m all caught up now.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these.

16 thoughts on “Top 5 Tuesday #61: Retellings, Series, Standalones

  1. The Rime of the Modern Mariner sounds like a great read. I love it when we rediscover the power in archetypal stories. Reminds us to keep an eye on our past so we don’t repeat (as many) errors and missteps! Heheh Can also relate to suddenly finding that more time has passed when you’ve intended to participate in something…and, now you’re all caught up. For the moment….


  2. Oh my gosh!! I love that you just listed all the Robin Hobb series for your top 5 series post!! I’ve only read the Farseer trilogy, but it was a very long time ago (and I spoiled myself for the ending)… Hope you had fun this week 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you have a better time with it than me. I’ve only read 3 of the books and only liked the first one, but I’m an odd one on this because many others enjoyed all the books.


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