I have completed a book from my pop culture homework assignment! Firebug is the tale of Ava, a teenager who can start fires with her mind. She is the main assassin for the Coterie, which is like a mafia for magical people. This is not something she wants to do with her life. For one, the head of the Coterie, Venus, killed her mother. For another, she’s a member for life and can’t ever get out of her contract. It’s not awesome. She’s met some good people in her time in the Coterie, though. Ezra, a shape shifter who turns into a fox and Lock, whose mother is a dryad, so he is part dryad, are her team and help her when she goes out on assassin missions. They’re both amazing and I really enjoyed the dynamic between the three of them. The main thrust of the story is that Ava is asked to assassinate someone and she doesn’t want to. This kicks off all kinds of shenanigans. I was riveted. Couldn’t stop listening to this audio book.
This book was excellent. I devoured it. I can’t wait to dig into book two (after I finish my challenge, of course). Beth did a really great job picking this for me. I liked it so much.
I already absolutely hate one character and love another one (which, according to my book math means he’s the one that’s going to die) and am already in my head preparing the, “I know he’s pretty but here’s why he sucks and you should DTMFA” speech I would give the main character if she ever came over to my house for tea. (Am I the only one that does this? Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this…)
I am also not reading these in a certain order and I hope Beth doesn’t mind. She’s been trying to get me to read this since it came out. Want to know how I know? I have Beth’s hard copy of this book; she loaned it to me ages ago and it’s just been in a stack of TBRs near my bed since then. So, I thought maybe I’d start with this one and then I could give it back to her when I see her next.
Welcome to Beth’s Pop Culture Homework Assignment: WITCHES!
Witches seem to be having a cultural moment right now (which is great), so this felt timely. It also felt timely because Beth and I are going to a good friend’s wedding this summer in England, and then while we’re in Ol’ Blighty we’re going to visit Pendle Hill, the site of a 1612 witch trial. (Well, really, THE 1612 Witch trial.) We gotta go pay our respects. This year there are five picks…because when I floated the idea of one short non-fiction piece and one set of selections of a historical text, Beth didn’t say no! (She also didn’t say yes, so I am expecting to receive some flack for this.) So, here we go!
The Malleus Maleficarum is maybe the best known treatise on witches. It was written in the 15th century and provides legal and theological reasons to execute witches. It laid the ground work for a lot of terrible things that happened to a lot of people. I thought it would be nice to provide some context before diving into the next selection.
This is a brand new novel (out in February!) that’s also a debut novel AND is written by a Lancashire local! It is set during the Pendle Hill trials! It’s like the universe wanted us to have this homework assignment!
It’s about witches! It’s about sisters! It’s about women’s relationships! It’s a classic! I honestly can’t believe this book is as old as it is, but I also often can’t believe I’m as old as I am, so here we are, surprised by inexorable march of time.
So, this also came out this year, this past Tuesday, in fact. It was on my to-read list and as I was looking for a third novel, I got an email saying that this was coming out. You have to love that timing. It is about Hannah, a real witch who lives in Salem, Mass and who has to keep her real-deal magic a secret, because if she gets caught using it, she could lose it. I believe it also has an LGBTQIA relationship in it. I think it looks great and I really hope Beth loves it.
Since it is Memorial Day, it is officially summer! So, Beth and I will be assigning each other Pop Culture Homework Assignments this week! If you are new here, A Pop Culture Homework Assignment is summer reading that Beth and I assign each other. It is usually four books, themed, and designed for us to share something fun with each other (and you!). Also, I like to think it gets us out of our comfort zones, but that might just be justifying assigning Beth a bunch of non-fiction over the years.
So, Join us this summer on two themed 4-book challenges!
I read this short piece on Book Riot, and immediately felt like I needed to read Kitchen, so I went to see if I could find a copy at the local half price books, and there it was. So, now I’m reading it!
I did this last year and it was so fun that I wanted to do it again…and then life got in the way and I just realized that even though I’ve started reading I haven’t made any posts about it.
So, here’s this year’s Bingo Board. And this challenge is brought to you by Lit Celebrasian. If you haven’t visited their blog, you should. The team there hosts read alongs and twitter chats. They post regular features highlighting new releases by Asian authors.
Like last year, I can almost guarantee that I’ll be finishing my challenge well into the summer. Anyway, if you read this blog, you already know what I’m like.
Ben and Arthur have a chance meeting at a post office and they hit it off before Ben disappears in the middle of a commotion caused by someone proposing to their girlfriend. They then go on this epic journey of trying to meet again, in a city of around 8 million people. Can they meet? Will it be as magical as they think it will be? Can they get it right? Should they even bother if Arthur is just a summer intern and is on his way back to Georgia in a couple of months?
Folks, this book was so earnest and touching that it actually physically hurt my cold, cold, cynical soul. Making it to the end of this book was a journey for me; I may be a different person now. A slightly less cynical person. Ladles and Jelly spoons, Friends and Enemies, the power of literature!
Seriously, though, this was a really fun, really touching story written from two different points of view. It is about being open and trying your best in relationships and about saying what you want and admitting when you’re wrong. It was well worth the read. I’ll even forgive it for getting enormously catchy pop tunes stuck in my head.
Once again, shout out to my local library for hooking me up with this audiobook!