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Leah's affair with reading began even before she realized boys in books are so much better than boys in real life — ever since, she's never found without a book. She takes pleasure in everything from Shakespeare to Steampunk, Austen to Aussie fiction. But when she's not reading, she can be found making chainmaille, gardening, writing for her blog, or traveling to fabulous places all around the world. Don't worry, along her travels she'll be sure to document when she's found the door to Middle Earth.
Stepsister is so much more than a retelling of Cinderella. It takes the bones of a classic story and something both modern and timeless emerges; it completely redefines “beauty” which couldn’t be more timely. It also isn't for the fainthearted. It's moxie fueled and reaches back into its Grimm roots. The pure power of this storytelling gave me goosebumps by the end and it was hard to say goodbye. Isabelle is such an amazing, messed up human, and she is given a daunting task dealt by both Fate and Chance. But will she be able to heal before her story ends in bloodshed?
Both Khai and Esme are unexpectedly heartwarming characters to meet in this quick summer read. Khai just wants his mother to stop flying in women from Vietnam to marry him; he may be autistic but he is still an adult. On the other hand, Esme is willing to seduce this quiet young man for a marriage visa if that's what it takes to provide for her family back home...and it is helpful he looks like a movie star. I'll be perfectly honest, I stayed up to an ungodly hour reading most of this book because I just couldn't go to sleep with their story unfinished. If you're a fan of The Kiss Quotient, welcome back to the family. If you're new to Helen Hoang's writing, prepare for a knee-buckling, blush-inducing read.
I absolutely loved every second of this book! It's also more than your average 'romance' novel. Yes, there is twue wuve which is amazeballs and adorable and had me giggling, but of course, because this lush, romantic affair is between the First Son and the Prince of England... there's going to be some politics involved. Their relationship, the international logistics, everything was all so maturely handled and emotionally raw that I had all the feels. I have more lines and passages stickied in this book than any other because there are so many hilarious and witty conversations. If you find yourself losing hope in romance and true love, pick this up and your dreams will be restored.
Ted Chiang has a way of writing stories like no other. While the voice, tone, or genre may change with each new story, below them all lies a distinct narrative style. There are no 'okay' stories in this collection. In "Truth of Fact, Truth of Feeling," he made me completely rethink the concepts of both the written word and an accurate memory. "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" explores time traveling without the ability to change past events, and takes place in the Middle East, lending an ancient, fable feel to an otherwise sci-fi plot. After the brilliance of his first short story collection I didn't think it was possible for someone to write a book as equally impressive and diverse as the first, but Chiang again breathes life into his stories in Exhalation.
No 'ship name in the literary world is more known than "Malec." And finally, finally, together, Cassie and Wesley Chu write a book about our favorite couple, the quiet and strong Shadowhunter, Alec and the immortal warlock with the best sense of style in history, Magnus. This is set right after City of Glass while they are on their first romantic vacation across Europe. Unfortunately, their vacation quickly becomes derailed by demons (of course), necessary camping (Magnus style), and underlining everything are the difficulties of traveling with a new partner (even if WE know it's true love). I've read all of Cassie's books and this is my favorite one. I basically happy-cried through the whole story.
If you're in the mood for something odd, maybe with dark humor, some late night bar-visiting, and magic spells gone wrong, this book literally has it all. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up, but it continued to surprise me. Despite the murder-mystery plot, the dark humor side of it wins; imagine Jessica Jones falls grudgingly into the world of The Magicians, and you have the tone of Magic for Liars. It is creative and genre-breaking. A good read for the cynic as well as the daydreamer.
Lori Gottlieb's touching memoir will make you laugh out loud, cry out loud, and experience a whole range of emotions in between. I couldn't stop reading the stories about her therapy clients, as well as her own journey seeing a therapist for the first time. It is absolutely relatable in the most unexpected of ways. If you need something to lighten your spirits, as well as have you thinking a little about life in general, this is your next read.
Video games and hacking are Zenobia's passions, abilities that come in handy when someone defaces her new middle school’s website with racial slurs. Zen and her new friend Arli are determined to find out the culprit, but while she is getting closer to her new friend, she's getting more nervous about sharing a her past with them - a past in a different state, before she lived with her two Aunties, and before she was allowed to wear dresses. This book celebrates our beautiful differences while also highlighting the difficulties that often come with that personal expression. Ultimately, it is a dazzling reminder for us to be ourselves no matter how our society tries to label us.
This is not a love story. But it is a story full of love. Kalyn's father is in prison for murdering Gus’s father decades ago in the rural town of "Shitsboro." This small town harbors deep-rooted prejudices, and old disputes run strong. Equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and dead serious, this story heralds no apology in its execution. The vibrant Kalyn and warmhearted Gus become friends despite the surrounding politics of their families, and they aren’t afraid of searching for what really happened all those years ago. Leah Thomas’ writing is flawless and the story is unpredictable. Already I wish I could read it again for the first time.
Wow! What an unusual kind of storytelling. My initial hesitation with a male author writing Joan’s story was completely flipped by the creativity and passion shown in its telling. Her life and last moments are told through half a dozen kinds of medieval poetry, pulling points of view from historical records of her trials, to her sword and armor themselves. Highly recommend for fans of Hamilton or lovers of history and poetry.
The Guardians at Innovations Academy repeatedly call Philomena's relationship with her classmates, her sisters, 'codependent' but she describes it as necessary. And it is necessary to stick together, to draw strength from one another when you can't trust the world you've grown up in, especially when it turns on you, when the men turn on you who were supposed to be your caretakers. This book highlights these bonds and the power of friendship, and it is not a laughable matter. A prime example of a page-turner, Girls With Sharp Sticks is as sharp as its title implies; these pretty girls now have sharp sticks, and the world is at their mercy.
This book is told in alternating points of view and a thousand years apart; Rielle and Eliana are women unknowingly connected by a looming prophecy spanning the centuries in which they live. Conspiracies, secret identities, toe-curling romance, and (of course) awesome fight scenes, Furyborn has it all. And the best part: of these two prophesied queens, one is doomed to end the world, one to save it...but which one which? If you're a fan of Sarah J. Maas books, Kristin Cashore, Leigh Bardugo...basically what I'm getting at is this, look no farther because here is an instant YA fantasy classic that'll keep you up into the early hours of the morning.
Five years have passed since the shocking events of The City of Brass left us craving more. Ali has inherited mysterious powers, Dara is struggling to keep his independence, and Nahiri is intent on constructing a time of peace between the shafit and Daevas. These three only want what’s best for their people, a seemingly simple aspiration, but at the same time, I love how complex they all are, for those visions of peace look different for each of them. Ali’s unwavering moral code and devotion to his faith is laudable, and so is his continued growth toward understanding that some rules need to be broken to reconcile the ancient amity between the city’s tribes. Nahiri stands up for those who can’t, and doesn’t back down in the patriarchal age in which she lives. And Dara’s torn loyalties become more tenuous every day. Kingdom of Copper is simply effervescent. It is vicious. It is intense. It is magical.
After her record-breaking works of sci-fi, Ann Leckie dives into the high fantasy genre. The story features an unnamed narrator, an ancient god, telling the story of 'you,' Eolo, aide to the Lease's Heir, Mawat. In the present day there is murder and deceit, many gods with competing loyalties, and countries on the verge of war. At the same time, you're given narrated glimpses of the god's ancient history and seemingly eternal existence. With a timeless feel, she brings into this novel her signature world-building and an avant-garde magic system; for when your words have the power to change the world, you must learn to craft them with great precision. The Raven Tower is unusual, but Leckie has a way of pulling off the unusual and here she succeeds yet again.
Returning to the world of His Dark Assassins and the convent of St. Mortain's daughters, where nuns train as assassins, more evil is afoot in fifteenth century Brittany. There are new faces and old, but don't hesitate to pick this up if you haven't read the companion trilogy yet. Courting Darkness is full of action, poison, and romance. And those are usually happening all on the same page. LaFevers knows how to write complex characters of every variety and her villains will get under your skin. Basically this book screams: down with the patriarchy!
I love books that make me challenge what I think I know, and this was one of those books. It made me realize I have no idea what it is like to be bullied for who I am or by what I wear compared to Shirin. It is a year after 9/11 and Shirin is the new girl at her high school. She loves to breakdance and wears a hijab. You will want to protect this fierce young girl from the array of bigots and racist comments flung at her at every moment, and you can't. What you can do is sit down and listen. Listen and read her story. You've read The Hate U Give and Long Way Down, now prepare to humble yourself once again as you pick up this beautiful book and are changed for the better.
This is a companion to Monty's adventures in Gentleman's Guide but can be wholly enjoyed by itself. As its title suggests, there's piracy and other ladylike activities: Women with ambition and badassery, valiant acts of friendship, and sharp wit that had me laughing out loud for hours.
Poor, poor Pluto. It's now not a planet, but not a moon either. Where does it belong? This book answers that question and many more. Therefore, this is more than just a book, it's a tour all around our beautiful Solar System. Along with the cool facts, it is a story of belonging and I did tear up in the end for the adorable Pluto.
I LOVE MARS. When I saw this classy-looking book about the first Mars rover, Curiosity, I sat down and read the whole thing through! This is an awesome book that introduces kids to NASA, what is involved in creating rovers, and facts about our closest neighboring planet. And these marvelous illustrations top it all off. I can't recommend Curiosity enough.
Banning books! What nonsense is that? All it takes is one unhappy parent for a book to be banned in a whole school, and in Amy Anne’s school dozens of books are getting banned, including her favorite, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. That’s when she decides to put together the B.B.L.L. (Banned Books Locker Library) for other students to access the books, for what’s more exciting to read than a book you’re told not to? Amy Anne and her friends learn the importance of speaking up for what you believe in, and the power of the first amendment, free speech. All of the books mentioned in here are real, and have been challenged and banned in real life for a variety of reasons mentioned in the book. I recommend this empowering story to readers of any age!
Emmaline's father invents a machine that can bring back her mother's ghost, and the machine has changed their lives more than they know, for the mechanics of bringing someone back is trickier than you might think. I was warned this book would make me cry. I was not warned it would reduce me to a blubbering mess by the last page. Lauren DeStefano's middle-grade books are instant classics in the running with Kate DiCamillo, and she seamlessly incorporates difficult topics within the beautiful stories. I recommend all of them.
This is the best collection of short stories I've ever read. (Really. I promise.) I initially picked it up to read "Stories of Your Life", the basis for the movie Arrival. I ended up reading and loving all of them. There isn't even an "eh" story; each one is a tiny masterpiece. While all contain roots of science fiction, the tone and prose varies. A few stories are super-techy futuristic and others lean toward the contemporary. All are philosophical to some degree; no crazy action or explosions within these pages. Right now this is Ted Chiang's only piece of work and I dearly hope he continues to write more! I can only read this collection so many times. (That's a lie, I can read this over endlessly.)
What to say? This is a charming read. If you need a book to make you smile, this is it. There are a lot of tough women who take no shit, and this story is told in a variety of their viewpoints: Jane, who once was someone else, very young; Jane's very Jewish mother (who's not overbearing at all), and a kid who's too wise for her age. Young Jane Young is an unforgettable modern-thinking story that echos The Scarlet Letter and pushes all those double standards into the past where they belong.
In the ever-drizzling city of Galway, Ireland, two murders take place twenty years apart. The police are acting strangely and the survivors are demanding action. Are they even working on the same side? I was told this book is for fans of Tana French, a description I first raised my eyebrow at in disbelief, but it became clear from the first chapter there was never a more accurate statement. McTiernan is able to convey intense emotion in a concise manner, letting you put the pieces together without ever spelling it out directly. This creates an escalating pace and an intimate relationship between the reader and characters. The story is oppressive, gloomy, yet endearing. It is the cozy cup of tea by the fire, as well as the storm raging outside. I cannot wait for more Detective Cormac Reilly books.
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With the fortuitous combination of good timing and a photogenic personality, April May becomes a household name overnight when she films the appearance of a remarkable giant statue in New York City. Unbeknownst to her, this is one of dozens around the globe that appeared that day. April recounts her bizarre discovery in a series of crazy events which begin with her breaking up with her girlfriend, and end with an attempt on her life. Balancing snark and humor with relatable politics, Hank Green delves into the effects of instant internet fame, both psychological and material. April's account also features an unusual quest: think Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, but with giant alien statues and on a global scale. Calling all humans, here's a story that's both noteworthy and fresh--you could say, a remarkable book.
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When Leigh's mother dies by suicide, she is certain she turned into a bird. Suddenly, Leigh finds herself in on a plane to Taiwan meeting her grandparents for the first time, and with hope to find her mother in her home country. This beautiful novel astounded me. I love how the author approaches the sensitive subjects of depression and suicide, it's grounded and believable. At the same time, a prism of magical realism casts a luminous glow over Leigh's journey. She learns about her grandmother and mother's pasts in memory flashbacks, coming to understand her more than she ever did during her life. Leigh's struggle to come to terms with her mother's death is heartache-inducing, her passion for art and drawing, tangible. This is a novel of love and identity that will open your eyes to the beauty in the world.
Long before Harry Potter, a different kind of wizard fought for good in the universe. Thirteen-year-old Nita and her friend Kit stumble upon the hidden world of magic while hiding from bullies at school. On their journey, these two friends discover how to stand up for themselves and join forces with other species of wizards across the galaxy. They make friends with a white hole named Fred, navigate a New York City swarming with carnivorous taxi cabs, and ultimately prepare themselves to battle entropy itself, which we come to know as The Lone Power. First published in 1983, I've reread this series for over a decade and it has yet to lose its charm; it's funny and smart, sciencey and ahead of its time. Nita and Kit remain two of my best fictional friends from childhood.
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Imagine: The crew of Firefly. On the TARDIS. Jumping through history and saving (stealing) lost artifacts to sell on the black market. Now that I have your attention: During one of these heists a mysterious traveler, Eliot, shows up in their time machine, the Invictus, and things get even more timey wimey. All the while Farway, boy born outside of time, is searching for his mother who was lost who knows when, traveling on the Ab Aeterno. Come, join this rag-tag crew determined to explore everywhen, from the dining rooms on the Titanic's final evening to the halls of Library of Alexandria in its last moments. This offbeat story will appeal to someone looking for a fun, standalone novel.
Meet the discontented, snarky Security Unit that internally refers to itself as "Murderbot." Programmed to kill and defend the humans it's contracted under, the hulking, deadly robot enjoys watching serial dramas on the entertainment feeds between missions. Murderbot also has some social anxiety when humans try to make friends, aka: treat it like something more than a machine. Mainly Murderbot resorts to hiding behind its helmet with the opaque setting on, or standing in the corner hoping no one continues to talk directly to it. Perhaps someday it will be free to have its own galactic adventures like its favorite characters on the shows instead of cleaning up after the stupid messes humans keep getting themselves into.
Reading a book by Ursula K. Le Guin is like tasting a delectable dessert for the first time. Don't let exotic names like "tiramisu" (or "Lathe of Heaven") intimidate you. It may initially appear ordinary sitting there on your plate (your bookshelf). But when you reach out and take that first bite (open that first chapter) your mind is instantly besieged with sensations to process. Every time I read one my perspective on something in life shifts: the idea and place of gender in our society, that narrow path between dreams and reality, or the ability to dream reality into existence. Her books are treasures; reading them, an insatiable experience for the soul.
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When the king is spelled to sleep and nearing death, Lord Bluebell gathers her sisters from every corner of the land to bring their father to safety until she can exact vengeance on the unknown assailant. Daughters of the Storm introduces elements of Norse mythology to set the stage, political power plays are in full swing from all sides, and prophecy and sisterhood brings everything together to a heart pounding climax. These women are so true to their individual natures and full of faults that I couldn't help but admire and believe in all of them. Five sisters, radically different, all discover their roles in the fate of Almissia. Their every move is a defiance to break the patriarchal chains of their world.
The wait is over, fellow Howlers! Pierce Brown continues Darrow's story but he now widens the narrative scope to include more characters in the Solar System, expanding our points of view with new characters and old. It's been ten years since the Rising and everyone is tired of fighting. Darrow sets out on a rogue mission to take down the powerful Ash Lord whom he believes to be the last major threat to the tenuous accords between Colors. Alliances that were once new and strong now strain against the passing of a decade. There is civil unrest in the Sovereign's new Republic, fueled by the Reaper’s unfulfilled promises. Iron Gold shows the gritty after-effects of a rebellion won and a war started, that life only get harder from there. Beware, you will need emotional support within reach for many chapters. There's plenty of swearing as well as heart wrenching displays of injustice. I love these books because of the exploration of humanity’s relationship with power and ethics, and of course pure, adrenaline-filled unpredictability.
I'm not a huge fan of Batman. And teenage Batman, Bruce Wayne? I can taste the angst from a mile away. But wait, the villain Madeline Wallace...now here is a villain not to miss. She is a cold blooded murderer, disturbed teenager, sentenced to Arkham Asylum for a few lifetimes. Madeline is also extremely intelligent, plays the violin, builds computers, and her favorite pastime (due to being stuck bored in a jail cell) is playing mind games with Bruce while he is at Arkham working off community service hours. They even become acquaintances of a sort. Oh, is this a Batman book then? I suppose so. Marie Lu wrote it so it's an automatic yes for me. I looked at the title only after.
From the first page Okorafor's writing had me enthralled. Traditional sci-fi usually leans to the hard, gritty setting of space troubles and war, but this series turns that normalcy into a compassionate and organic work of art. Giant beastly breathing spaceships roam the galaxy, beings of all sizes, shapes, and wavelengths attend Oomza University on a planet of knowledge and discovery, and at the center of it all, brave Binti. She is the first of her tribe, the Himba, to venture off-world, she has an amazing natural talent for harmonizing currents and mathematics, and ultimately still adheres to the ancient traditions of her people. Binti is a stunning trilogy I now hold close to my heart.
A new series by Marissa Meyer! I immediately liked Nova; she's determined, inventive, and has motives of her own. Her loyalties are stretched between the Anarchists who brought her up, and the Renegades who just want to keep her city safe. Also Adrian--prodigy, artist, and adopted son of the city's two most famous Renegades--starts to question the real intentions behind their ruling. In Gatlon City the lines between superheroes and villains are blurred, as neither faction has peace on their agenda. There is an abundance of clever superpowers and a wide range of diversity in Renegades, and from the first chapter it's clear Meyer won't be pulling any punches. This may look like a tome of a book but I read it in one day because I literally couldn't stop reading.
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Are you worried about a world jellyfish takeover? I went into this thinking I'd learn some cool jellyfish facts and came out of it confident these amazing ocean dwellers will soon be ruling the planet. This story follows the author's journey to study jellyfish; she consults jellyfish scientists on evolutionary history, learns how to properly eat jellyfish (ew), and explores the endless possibilities these creatures bring to the future of biological research and discovery. She also talks about other monstrous sea creatures, affirming my decision to never step into the ocean again. This book is perfect for fans of The Soul of an Octopus or any science enthusiast.