Guest Post: Mae Bennett shares fairytale retellings to add to your TBR

Get excited for Barely Even Friends by reading a guest post from Mae Bennett.
Barely Even Friends by Mae Bennett. Image Credit to Alcove Press.
Barely Even Friends by Mae Bennett. Image Credit to Alcove Press. /

With a title like Barely Even Friends, I knew I was bound to enjoy anything Mae Bennett wrote. If you couldn't tell, her debut is a Beauty and the Beast retelling.

Whether you're someone who grew up on the Disney classic or have love for the old story, I think you'll enjoy it either way. However, we're not here to talk about that just yet as the book doesn't release until June 4th.

Instead, I was lucky enough to be able to have Mae Bennett write a guest post and in honor of her new book, she's going to be giving us some recommendations for fairytale retellings. It couldn't be more perfect as there are so many great ones out there.

Before getting into her post, I'd like to thank Mae for writing this up so I could share it with all of you and Katelynn for setting this up as I am so excited about this.

Mae Bennett shares fairytale retellings you need on your TBR.

Maeghan Buckley author photo
Maeghan Buckley Author Photo. Image Credit to Nicholas Resende. /

Fairytale Retellings to Add to your TBR by Mae Bennett

If you could see my face right now it’s that ‘I love this question’ meme. I adore retellings and there are so many incredible fairytale retellings out there. Fairytales have always been a comfort thing for me. A dash of magic, some hijinks, and probably some meddling secondary characters and bumbling parents. Before taking us to a movie theater for the first time, my mom took my sister and me to the local school to see plays (small school productions, I promise this is not as pretentious as it sounds) and they put on a lot of fairytales. I was hardwired from an early age to be obsessed with fairytales. That and I was Belle in my Kindergarten spring musical (I still remember having to yank up those long yellow gloves back up my arms as I belted out Be Our Guest completely off-key). 

Fairytales are in my blood. TV shows, movies, and most especially books, I love a good retelling or something that you can tell was fairytale-inspired.  When I was asked to provide a list of my favorites, mostly I was worried about not handing over a 20-page dissertation (though I’m still tempted). So here is a list of some incredible books that are fairytale retellings, and fairytale-inspired that I think you should check out. Not at all complete and in no particular order: 

Wicked Villains series by Katee Robert 

If you’ve followed me on social media you know that I am obsessed with Katee Robert and the Wicked Villains series was my gateway drug. I read it out of order (in my defense) by accident. But when I saw that one of the books in the series was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and a love triangle, well I canceled my non-existent plans and dove right in. Katee put their own unique twist on these fairytales, kink, and I couldn’t adore this series more. You can read this series in order or out of order but they’re all incredible and will have you rooting for the ‘villain’ every time. 

Lease on Love by Falon Ballard 

A girl gets fired, ends up needing a place to live, and her roommate refuses to allow her to go into the attic. Sound familiar? Add in a cast of secondary characters that are an incredible found family, and well, you know why I love me a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Falon took the threads of a familiar tale and threaded them in such a unique way that bloomed (pun intended). This book will have you swooning and hugging it to your chest. 

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare 

What is better than a modern Beauty and the Beast retelling, a historical Beauty and the Beast retelling where the staff lock the main characters up together? This book is hilarious, tender and just shines with everything that makes a Tessa Dare book sparkle. It’s a favorite of mine for a lot of reasons, as it hits so many of my favorite beats of the fairytale but also hits new territory as two very stubborn people figure out how to get out of their own way. This book is a classic for historical romance fans and fairytale fans. 

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine 

This may be my favorite book of all time (don’t tell my other books please). I still have my copy from childhood on my shelf that is falling apart from how many times I’ve reread it. If a book can imprint on your soul, this one did for me. This is such an original twist on Cinderella, and Ella is just a prime example of a relatable heroine trying to figure it out. Ella ends up saving herself in a spectacular fashion. Just like a fairytale, this book is a familiar hug.  

Cowboys of California Series by Rebekah Weatherspoon 

Cowboys are having their moment which is why Rebekah Weatherspoon’s cowboy fairytale retelling series is perfect. This is such a unique setting for familiar stories and Rebekah writes some of my favorite steam. Each story covers a different fairytale: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and of course my personal favorite the last is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. 

Meet Me at Midnight by Felicia Grossman 

Not only is this a Cinderella retelling, but it is also a gender-swapped retelling. With easter eggs and nods to the fairytale aplenty but with such beautiful and lush writing with a historical setting. The tension of just touching a wrist, a piece of skin. This was a breathless historical romance at its best and I enjoyed every moment of it. I’m so glad this is a series so make sure to check out the second book in the series Wake Me Most Wickedly (a Snow White retelling) out now. 

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall 

Do I own multiple versions of this book (the ARC, trade paperback, mass market paperback, and audiobook) you bet I do. A Lady for a Duke is another incredible Beauty and the Beast vibe, historical with trans representation and just the right amount of angst that hurts your heart in the best way as you cheer on these two so hard your throat might hurt. From childhood best friends to estranged to lovers, this one is a bit of a looser retelling but the vibes are there and so is Alexis Hall’s signature humor. 

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten 

This book is just a vibe. Beauty and the Beast, some Little Red Riding Hood, gothic, and a favorite. A bit of destiny and fate, and only one room because the place is crumbling so what else can you do? Hannah is the best kind of writer, because she’s clearly familiar with the elements, and what she loves and threads through the darker fairytale elements and weaves it into her own unique story of love and sisterhood. 

The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard 

A grumpy scarred recluse, a fiercely independent woman and so much incredible chemistry. This is very much about the struggle of trusting in love and two stubborn people. The plot hits so many of my favorite beats of a Beauty and the Beast retelling but also the romance genre in general with perfection.  Honestly, writing this list is reminding me it has been too long since I’ve read this book and it’s time for a reread. 

Unbound by Christy Healy 

Christy Healy’s masterpiece is a gender-reversed Beauty and the Beast retelling that’s historical and has so much lore dripping from it that you can’t put it down. I listened to this one on audiobook and can’t recommend it more. If you want to feel like you’re wrapped up in an original fairy tale happening in real time this is the book for you. 

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas 

Peter Pan is not a fairytale I have read a lot of retellings of, but as Taylor Swift in her song "Peter" shows us, we really deserve more. Aiden Thomas put his own YA modern spin on Peter Pan that will leave you re looking at the tale we all grew up learning about. This was another audio I truly enjoyed. 

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid 

Ava has such a unique style to their writing, that is haunting and just builds. This is a story with Little Red Riding Hood vibes, of Hungarian history and Jewish mythology melded with a deft hand and a story that stays with you and absorbs you. I especially adored the forbideness of the relationship that is only one part of this story but just really spoke to me and my love of fairytales.  

Barely Even Friends by Mae Bennett will be released on June 4th, 2024.

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