Review: The Stepsister’s tale

Author: Tracy Barrett

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Fairytale Re-tell

Published June, 2014 by Harlequin Teen

{Click here} to read summary from Goodreads.

So we all know the story of Cinderella, right?  Well this book seems to be born of the age-old question of “What if…?”  What if people weren’t who you thought they were? What if the home you loved loses it’s last hope of salvation.  What if the people you’ve feared are the ones who help you find love?  What if you decided to take “happily ever after” into your own hands?

Recently re-tells have been very popular and some of them have been less than stellar. (however, if you can be tempted by something spectacular >>> The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer) Unlike many of it’s genre counterparts, The Stepsister’s Tale is not modern at all, it has no sci-fi element, no mysticism, and the main plotline follows very closely to the one we are familiar with.  Of course it has its own well-executed twists and surprises, and delightful incarnations of the characters, both beloved and despised.  I don’t want to give too much away, you know the overall story, and I certainly can’t tell you how it ends!  Granted, you might see it coming, but regardless of the level of predictability (honestly, I was surprised), it is a lovely read with deftly constructed characters, in the full range from sweet to sour.  At times they were a little confusing, I couldn’t quite make out the emotions or intent in a scene or conversation.  That’s always a difficult gap to cross, putting into words the nuances, inflections, and body language that one would pick up on subconsciously in real life.

Of course it has a happy ending, and all’s well that ends well!

Aaaaand *cue happy dance*this book made stellar score on our CA checklist so it earns a happy * next to it in our archives as a sign it’s a clean read!! woohoo! What does that mean?

Content Advisory:
Language: 0
Sexual: 0
Other: 0 

Interested? maybe you’ll like… Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton, a young girls life in World War II is forever altered when she becomes the keeper of Cinderella’s Dress

Other books by this author:

The Sherlock Files, three-book Series featuring twin descendants of Sherlock Holmes as they tackle mythical mysteries and and unsolved cases.

Dark of the Moon, set in ancient Krete, Greece, this is a story of challenging your destiny and the consequences, both good and bad, of crossing fate.


Top 10 Tuesday: Likes/Dislikes in Book Romances

toptentuesdayHappy Top Ten Tuesday everyone!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is Things I Like or Dislike About Romances in Books.

[The original week for this theme, apparently something happened and my post didn’t actually post.  So rather than just scrap it, I figured I’d share it anyway!]

I’m kind of expanding this a little bit to cover relationships, not just the romance part. We’ve all read books where we want to reach in and shake that girl and ask “What are you thinking?? Can’t you see he’s an IDIOT?!?!  This is NEVER going to work!!”  And then there are those stories that make us cheer for the pair, or just cry fat, sappy tears because it’s so sweet.


Things I Dislike

1. Clingy, needy, “My life is pointless without you!! (even though we’re 14)” relationships.

um, hello… you can’t even DRIVE yet!

2. When they go too fast.

I just met you. And this is crazy. But I think I love you, so let’s get married! #Anna’sbrainisfrozen

3. When (he) she can’t decide what they want.

(the one where she loves her brother’s best friend and killer)

4. When it’s just about the sex

Little Brother (the relationship, not the story)

5. When it’s just so cliche it’s predictable and spoils the whole storyline, not to mention the ending.

Not to say that I don’t love a good classic, but if you are writing something where I can guess the rest after the first 5 chapters, at least write super interesting characters and great action scenes.

Things I Like (they make me happy)

6. When they make my insides go all melty…


7.  When he fights for her (and wins)

The Selection, The Elite, The One

8. When they have a relationship that is happy and healthy, and they support and trust each other, and he acknowledges that she is her own strong person and he love that about her.

Nancy Drew, umm.. surely there are others… if you think of any, do let me know!

9.  When best friends realize…

Better Off Friends by Elizebeth Eulberg

10. When they live happily every after!!

Do you share any of these sentiments?  What do you like/dislike?  Is there anything that you dislike so much it would make you put down a book?

Featuring: Recaptains

I have a terrible memory. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I reread books so much—because I don’t always remember what happens! Which is totally a problem when the next book in the series comes out. As much as I love rereading, sometimes I don’t want to reread the first three books in a series before reading the fourth for the first time, but I need a reminder as to what happened.

Recaptains to the rescue!


I don’t know how I discovered this incredible blog, but Recaptains is a lifesaver! They recap books in detail so you don’t have to reread all the books in a series before reading the newest one. How awesome is that?

Just a few of their series recaps:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

The Selection by Kiera Cass

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Check this one out before the second book releases in May!)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

You can check out their recap list for a full list of books and series they’ve recapped over the last two years.

Is there a series missing? You can either contribute a recap of your own or make a request!

As a reader, I find Recaptains extremely helpful, and I hope you do too!

JB from, plaid skirt, pink rainboots

Review: She Is Not invisible


Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Age: Middle Grade

Genre: ?? (really not sure how to categorize this one…)

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

After reading the back and the flap blurb I went into this books thinking it was something else.  I was prepared for a little more suspense and action.  While I didn’t really get that, it was a nice book that features a rare blind main character (MC).  There is a smallish, but endearing set of characters, including a nonhuman, as well as some shady ones give life to the mystery of the MC’s father’s radio silence.

The MC, 16 year old Laureth, lives with her parents, little brother, and a stuffed hippo. When her father, a writer, who is off on a research trip, stops responding to her emails, she knows that something is amiss.  In spite of mom’s insistence that everything’s fine, Laureth is determined to find him.  When she receives an email from an unknown person in New York City who says he is in possession of her father’s precious notebooks, that Laureth knows he would never voluntarily allow out of his possession, she knows she has to find him.  She grabs her kid brother, mom’s credit card, and heads to the airport.  What follows is a bit of an adventure, which for some the thrill can come from the suspense about her dad and his predicament, but there is the ever present concern of “How is she going to handle that?!?” as she faces everything from handshakes and standing in line, to taxi drivers and street thugs.

Also, the highlight about her “ability “, I felt, was a little misleading.  It’s really more of a propensity to take note of a recurring set of numbers (inherited from her father, who thought is was a sign of some sort of conspiracy). What makes this interesting thought is that it’s harder for her to “notice” things because she’s blind.  For me, this aspect took a backseat to the aforementioned adventure of a blind girl navigating a big city armed with the eyes of a little bro and his hippo.

While the whole story isn’t very “meaty”, there are some endearing qualities.
For a young reader who doesn’t read a lot of, or hasn’t gotten into, more intense action and suspense, it plays out pretty great. Just enough to put you on the edge of your seat but not so much to make you fall off.

I haven’t quite figured out what the story is “about”, but it does brings together a number of slices to make a pretty neat little pizza (for lack of a better analogy), innocence, honesty, kindness, bravery, faith, humor, heartbreak.  There isn’t any romance though, which is a nice change, and allows more focus on the actual story.

Content Advisory:
Language: 0

Sexual: 0

Violence: .5  Minor “Ruffing up” by the bad guys


SINI is not like Sedgwicks other books, which are a bit dark and more intense, such as Revolver, a psycho-thriller set in the Arctic, and Blood Red, Snow White, a story told in three novellas set in 1917 Russia. (Part 1: Russian Fairy Tale, Part 2: Spy Story, Part 3: Love Story) {TBR!!}

{Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through this post we receive a small portion of the profit!  Which then goes into giveaway goodies for you guys!}

The Library of Congress! (AKA the most gorgeous place ever)

A late happy birthday to Thomas Jefferson! And thank you to Julianne for informing me of it!

I’m currently in Washington, D.C. and yesterday I went to the Library of Congress. Specifically the Thomas Jefferson Building! I’d read that the reading room was gorgeous and I also wanted to see the Gutenberg Bible.

Oh. Em. Gee. There aren’t words beautiful enough to describe this gorgeous building. So I took a few (hundred) photos. I’ve decided I’m moving to D.C. and I’m going to move into the library. It is THAT gorgeous. Another highlight for me was seeing the books from Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection—the books that he donated to restart the Library of Congress after it was burned down.

I hope you enjoy the photos! If you ever get the chance to check out the Library of Congress, you absolutely must!

Thomas Jefferson Building Library of CongressThomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building Library of CongressReading Room at the Thomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress Reading Room at the Thomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress JB from at the Thomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress

TBR!! Miss Mayhem by R Hawkins

If you are reading this you probably love books and your TBR list is longer than the Santa’s Nice/Naughty list… but I would like to to spotlight one in particular. Released just this Tuesday, one day shy of a year after it’s prequel.  It’s book #2 of what I personally hope will be at least a trilogy. I defiantly want to see more of these delightful characters!

miss mayhem cover Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins, is the sequel to Rebel Belle, released exactly a year ago today!!

So a very happy book birthday to Rachel!

I just finished Rebel Belle last week and loved it!  JB has also read it and it’s so awesome it’s included in not one, but two, of our “favorites” lists, Top Ten Books Ever & Our Favorite Romance Books.

This series centers around a very southern spirited town with a few secrets, ancient secrets actually.  Being from the south I loved the way that the dynamics are represented and constantly had me laughing and thinking in my head “Yes! That is SO true!  I know this person!”  I don’t want to divulge too much, and I’ll probably do a dual review once I read this one, but it is really fantastic!  The old magic mixed with high school drama, matters of the heart, and some sticky-sweet tea served with a smile (that may or may not belong to someone who wants to kill you)…

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  We will receive a small portion or purchases made through this post. Yay!

Review: Fair Weather


Author: Richard Peck

Age: Middle School

Genre: Realistic Historical Fiction

Synopsis can be read here.

Confession: I picked this up because the cover was pretty. Good news…I loved the story too! The characters are completely charming. I adored the grandpa, the aunt drew my sympathies, and the children and the dog was endearing.  It even had a plot twist at the end! It was interesting to see the contrast between the country life and the city life while watching the characters adaptations to the new way of life. It was a darling book that I highly recommend.

Side Note: I’m really sad to know that I can’t ride on the Ferris Wheel anymore.

Oh yeah, I found this link for teachers to form Literacy Circles using the book:

Content Advisory:

Language: I think there are few…maybe?
Sexual: There are references about Grandpa wants to go see “those women” at the fair. Aunt is dismayed about a woman being married three times and refers to her as a “fallen woman”.
Violence: A scene from a Buffalo Bill Wild West show is described. Really, there is nothing in this category.

Science Ch. 4 Week 2 copy

Cover Collections: Classics

Raise your hands if you love pretty books. *all three Girls in Plaid Skirts raise their hands* WE DO! So we’ve been scrounging the internet for some of the most beautiful classic books you’ve ever laid your eyes on. These are totally drool-worthy!

[This post does contain affiliate links, meaning we could receive a very small commission should you buy something from one of those links.]
A Collage of Classics
Oliver Twist | Jane Eyre | The Odyssey | Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland | Great Expectations | Little Women

pretty endpapers classicsArabian Nights | The Complete Sherlock Holmes | Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

classic linesGreat Expectations | Pride and Prejudice | Jane Eyre

penguin threads classics

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | The Wind in the Willows | Black Beauty | The Secret Garden | Emma | Little Women


My favorites:

Oliver Twist (love the pocket watches)

Sherlock Holmes (the plaid endpapers! I die!)

All of the “Classic Lines” editions (the ones that look like watercolors)

Penguin Threads’ Emma

Which cover is your favorite?

Happy April!!

     Hello April!!

Not only is it the month celebrated by the pulling of pranks on friends, family, and unrelated passers-by, but we also celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and throw in candy, eggs ( a symbol of new beginnings), fake grass and colorful baskets, and an oversized bunny that, like Santa, knows where you live.  In addition to that, and the topic of today’s post (I know it’s late but it’s still today!), is that…..

April is National Letter Writing Month!!   

I love love love stationary and writing letters, but I hardly ever get around to sitting my tush in a chair and actually taking time to put pen to paper.  Writing more snail mail is on my list of New Years Resolutions and here’s my chance to check that box!  So, this month is dedicated to doing just that!  It’s time to scribble that ink and lick ‘n stick that scallop-eged square in the top right corner and into the blue box it goes! (thankfully saliva isn’t necessary for postage adhesion these days. ick..)

So here’s the super fun part!!   If you want a letter from The Girls in Plaid, send your mailing address to


If you want to send a letter to us, that would make us so happy… we might even send you something nifty in return…  just shoot us an email and we’ll let you know where we can be snail mailed!

(Just for clarification and all that jazz, we won’t sell, trade, or give away your address or anything like that. We just want to send you a letter!)

Well, cheers all! Hope to hear form yall soon!

❤ Jules