Quick Review: Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes

crystal-storm There are so many times you can do the whole “I thought you were dead” thing before you know it loses it’s dramatic punch. The first couple of times it worked because this is a series that has not been afraid to kill of characters.  True so far all those killed have been mostly secondary characters but still this series has really high body count but you wouldn’t expect anything less from the “Game of Thrones” of YA now would you?  Crystal Storm is book for in the Falling Kingdoms series and like George R.R. Martin, Morgan Rhodes’ pen is deadly.  (Thankfully she writes faster then George does) It’s full on fantasy with a huge cast of characters in a warring set of nations.  The main characters of Cleo, Magnus, Lucia and Jonas have been through a lot.  They have lost and won, made alliances and broken them, cheated death (for some more then once) and of course fallen in love and out of love and back in love.  You know how it goes.  Kyan the fire god had a temporary set back when Lucia destroyed his corporeal form but he’s not going to go down easy.  Neither is the King of Blood who should have died and yet isn’t.  He married Amara, who is now Empress because she killed the rest of her family, so they are surrounded by enemies and facing a enemy with extraordinary powers.  Like the previous books there are as many twists and turns as there are pages, keeping the reader on their toes.  I’m not sure I agree with all the drama but it is a YA novel so there has to be some teen age angst.  I just hope that in future books characters either die or live.  No more of this, “I thought you were dead” thing.

Pop Culture Extra Credit: Insidious Humdrums

So, I have finished Fangirl, the third book in my pop culture homework assignment. I enjoyed this book in both execution and in concept. I loved the overlap between real life and fan fiction. I love the acknowledgement of how invested fans get into books. So, in the Fangirl, Cath is obsessed with a book series about a wizarding world and is an avid writer of fan fiction. She’s actually not just a writer of fan fiction, she’s kind of a big deal in the fan fiction world. The evil villain in the book series is called the insidious humdrum. I thought this villain sounded…desserty. And, then Rainbow Rowell gave me this beautiful line. 

“‘Insidious Humdrum,’ Baz groused. ‘If I ever become a supervillain, help me come up with a name that doesn’t sound like an ice cream sundae.'”–Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

 

After reading this, I spent a lot of time thinking about what would go on an insidious humdrum. Beth had some ideas, too. We decided that there should be two versions: the Simon and the Baz (the two main characters in the wizard books). First, we gathered our ingredients. (Me: Is Simon salty? Beth: Sure. Me: Levi is salty.) 

  

Both sundaes have a base of vanilla ice cream and marshmallow cream drizzle. 
The Baz has dark chocolate syrup and chocolate whipped cream. 

  
It is topped by graham cracker crumbles. 

  
The Simon has salted caramel sauce and cinnamon imperials.  

  
It is topped with whipped cream. 

 
They were delicious but crazy sweet. And, that, Ladles and Jelly Spoons, is how you make an Insidious Humdrum! 

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This is the story of Cath, a first year college student who is super awkward, in love with characters in a teen series, and a writer of fan fiction. She moves into her dorm room with her new roommate (after her twin sister tells her she doesn’t want to room with her) and then proceeds to try and make it as far as she can without interacting with anyone. Her roommate, Reagan, and her roommate’s friend (boyfriend? friend? boyfriend?) Levi force her to interact with them. Levi forces the issue by snooping through Cath’s stuff and eating most of her supply of protein bars (forcing her to ask where the cafeteria is) and Reagan forces the issue by making Cath eat with her in the cafeteria. They slowly become friends. Cath and Levi realize that they have feelings for each other and the story spirals from there. Additionally, there are story arcs that involve both of Cath’s parents. Cath’s father has raised her and her sister from when they were very young and now her mother would like to have some involvement. Cath’s father also has bipolar disorder. Cath’s interactions with her parents were beautiful and at times heartbreaking.

I love Cath. I love her so much.

This book has beginning of school drama. It has tension between sisters (ugh, her sister drove me crazy!). There is romance. There is friendship. There is at least one douche canoe of a bro tryna take advantage of a young woman. There’s some really satisfying comeuppance for said douche canoe of a bro. There’s an awesome professor who gets it…but also doesn’t get it. And, there’s the fan fiction. Oh, the fan fiction. I finished this book in two days and I read it on my phone because I couldn’t get enough of it. I read it in every spare minute that I had. This was by far my favorite of the books that Beth assigned me this summer. I cannot wait for Carry On!, Cath’s fan fiction, to be published this Fall!