Take a bow Justina Ireland. This series is just so good. Zombies, Queer heroine, old western story. It really has it all. At the end of Dread Nation, Jane and Katherine had to escape Summerland after it was overrun by Shamblers Of course, nothing is simple for them and they suffer one tragedy after another. I got a tell you, it was interesting reading this right before Coronavirus became a global pandemic because while I don’t think people are coming back as Zombies but it’s interesting to see how the world even fictional adapted to epidemic. Let’s just say, I am not sure we are doing all that great but I digress. Jane and Katherine through the journey have to deal with some major PTSD other issues. They have seen and done some many terrible things to survive and that will do damage to the strongest person. What I love about this story is how they handle it and the importance of having a strong friendship to get your through it. Katherine saves Jane by just being supportive of her. Being there for her when she needs and taking a step back when she doesn’t. Proof that we can’t always do it alone. A lesson that Gideon could have learned. He was so sure of his own greatness that he was willing to let the world burn to get what he thought he deserved. Yeah, privilege rich white man destroys the world. I know I am not doing it justice with this review but this series is amazing and for all of you quarantined at home, I highly recommend it.
I’m so excited for this one! The first book was SO GOOD!!
A new decade brings new books. From a YA fan the 2010’s left the dystopian sagas behind and really went in on Fantasy novels. There was so many great ones. So what does the next decade bring. Well, here are a few books I can’t wait to read in 2020.
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – A return to Panem but this time for the 25th Hunger Games or the games that Mags won. How does her story fit in with Katniss’? and How much am I going to cry knowing how it all ends for our girl Mags?
- Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland – The sequel to the fantastic Dread Nation. How will Jane and Katherine navigate the west after how everything ended and there are still zombies.
- The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan – The final book in the Trials of Apollo and if the previous four to go by, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster.
- The King of Crows by Libba Bray – Talk about a decade in the making, we finally get the last book the Diviner’s Series and I couldn’t be more excited.
- Untitled Book Four of The Bone Season Series by Samantha Shannon – It hasn’t been confirmed for 2020 but I’m putting it on the list and into the universe that it will come out.
What books are you waiting to read in 2020? Comment below with books we should check out next year.
The last couple of days I’ve been home sick with a bad cold and while that sucks it has given me time to think about what books I’ve read would make good movies or TV shows. Why I was thinking this I don’t know. I guess I was looking through all the options you can watch TV and movies now. Netflix, Hulu AppleTV, DisneyPlus, traditional cable, etc. It seems like there is an endless number of places that need contact to fill so why not give a few suggestions.
- Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart Who doesn’t love a good suspense mystery. I would be interested in seeing how a filmmaker would take the unusual structure of the narrative as it’s told in part real time and partly in reverse. I think it would be true challenge to balance all the nuances right and not let too much away to soon. This would work both as a movie or as a serialized series.
- Seafire by Natalie C. Parker I could see this as a movie but I think it would work best as a HBO prestige series. There is so many aspects of the story that a movie wouldn’t be able to get to it all. Not to mention, I think TV would be more willing to have an an all diverse female cast then movies would and it would have to be HBO because to do it justice it’s going to have to have a big budget. It would be great because who wouldn’t want to all a Girl Pirate Crew take on the patriarchy of the seas? Mad Max Fury Road but on a boat. It has a lot of potential.
- Dread Nation by Justina Ireland An historical drama with zombies Really what else do you need?. It may take place after the Civil War but it is relevant today as it ever was. Racism, Sexism and Classicism all play a part in the series. So far it only has one book out. The sequel comes out early next year. If HBO is still looking for a “What if the Civil War had ended differently” drama now that it’s ill advised Confederate show is dead because D&D of Game of Thrones left for Netflix. This is it. The Civil war didn’t end because one side won over the other but because the dead came back to life. Slaves were freed, sort of. They are now used to stop the Zombie attacks It can examine how the US is different and how slavery plays a part without the messiness of the other show’s premise. Not to mention Jane is an excellent protagonist
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I can’t be the only one who has been disappointed in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies. The first one was okay. Entertaining but the second one was a big ol’ mess. I’m not even going to mention the Johnny Depp situation. So why not make a movie of Rainbow’s Simon and Baz series? All the magical elements are there. Wizards and witches and mythological creatures. Magic schools. A mysterious and powerful villain. Rivals turned lovers. A real LGBTQ love story that is front and center and not just in context or added later. The second book expands on the world but going on a road trip through the US and series hi-jinks ensue. I feel like it’s the remedy for the bad Harry Potter content we’ve been getting lately.
- A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro Yes, I’m aware we have had a lot of Sherlock Holmes adaptations recently but we haven’t had one like this one. Not only is our Holmes a teenage girl and our Watson a teenage boy but it takes place in a world where the novels exist and Holmes and Watson were real people. It’s a fun and breezy mysteries that would make excellent movies or TV shows.
- The Diviner’s by Libba Bray This one would have to be a series. The amount of detail and length of each novel could not be properly shown in a movie. How lush it would look. All the glitz and glamour of 1920’s New York. Again, it may be a period piece but it is so relevant to today. It tackles racism, sexism, class and immigration with the supernatural element in the background. Not to mention all of our main characters have their own X-men like powers! The possibilities are endless.
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake Game of Thrones type of series but from an all female perspective. You get all the court intrigue and magical elements without all the messiness that Game of Thrones had. Women can be just a ruthless. They have to be when to become Queen you must kill your sisters to do it. I would love to this on big or small screen.
- The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow Okay, I want to this as a movie only if Tilda Swinton plays Talis. The sassiest, homicidal AI in history of Artificial Intelligence. The world was in constant war so Talis was like let’s go all Medieval on you. I’m taking your heirs as Hostages. If you declare war, I kill them. That’s oversimplification but it’s awesome and tense and has LGBTQ love triangle in it that is just too good to ignore. This should be made into a movie but again only if Tilda Swinton is involved. I won’t accept anything less.
So there are few books I think need to get the big or small treatment. What do you all think> What book or book series do you want seen into a movie or TV show?
It’s that time of year where we take a look back at everything we have read this year and come up with our best of the year. It’s a tough job but not one we take lightly. It’s been a very diverse year for me.
1.Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi –This fantasy was like nothing I’ve ever read. A little bit of magic, a little bit of adventure and a little bit social commentary. It took me on a wild ride as Zelie discovers her own powers and does what she can to help her people from the evil King who has done all he can to erase her people. It was a breathtaking first book.
2. A Cruel Prince by Holly Black-Holly Black is at her best when she is writing about fairies. It really is her element. The lush world that Black has created is so rich and vibrant that I almost wanted to go if it wasn’t filled with blood thirsty fairies. Looking for a fantasy full of royal intrigue this one is also for you.
3. Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab –Technically I read the first book last year but I finished the trilogy so I’m counting them all as one. It was one wild fantasy series. From truly vile villains, pirates, royalty magic and supernatural forces it really did have everything but never felt too much.
4. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland- This one I think I liked for the very beginning. Jane was born a slave but when the dead of Civil War come back to life, Jane is sent to a boarding school that teaches her and other girls of color how to fight zombies so they may one day work in a nice home as protection. Jane is resourceful, smart and funny. She knows how to kill a zombie.
5. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer –Carrie was truly one of a kind and is sorely missed. Her diary that she wrote while filming the first Star Wars was honest, raw and funny. Really what you would expect from Carrie Fischer.
6. Shadow and the Fox by Julie Kagawa- Add a little fox, a trained warroir with a demon infused sword and Japanese mythology and you get one fun book. I really enjoyed the story building and characters as they try to steal save the scroll that will summon the dragon that will grant wishes was great.
7. Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake- The third book in the series was definitely a keeper. I mean they all were but it was still great. We finally get to see more of the world outside of Fennbirn Island and how the Queens became to be. The mythology is really coming together and it’s going to lead to an epic finale.
8. Wildcard by Marie Lu – Emika is so cool. As she unravels the mysteries and tries to save not just Hideko from himself but everyone else from an even bigger conspiracy. It was a fun novel and reminder that not everyone on the internet is your friend.
9..Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir- Elias, Laia and Helene are on opposite sides of the fight against the Nightbringer and keeping the balance. It’s a thrilling race against time to bring down the Nightbringer and the Empire and Elias Mom, who is just frightening.
10. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson- I’m still waiting for the last book in her Shades of London series but this filled the void. Who doesn’t love a good boarding school mystery? Stevie decides she wants to go to this exclusive boarding school because she wants to be the one to solve it’s biggest mystery of who kidnapped and killed the daughter and wife of the school’s founder. Twice and turns abound in this one.
This book had a lot of hype before its release and it was right up both our aisles. So, we both got it on publication day. We decided we would do something different. Instead of only one of us reviewing it or doing two reviews, we’re doing a joint review. We’ve come up with five questions.
What are your overall impressions of the book?
Kate: the writing was tight and the story sucked me in. The characters were great; I loved that they had obvious flaws and strengths. And the premise of the novel, zombies rising during the Civil War was so interesting.
Beth: I agree with you about the writing and being sucked in. I was invested in the story from the first page. The characters felt like real people and allowed to be imperfect and unapologetic about their undesirable traits. And who doesn’t like a good zombie novel? I think what I liked the most about it that is that we are seeing the aftermath of the Civil War from the perspective of a Black girl instead of a white person. How many books are from that point of view?
Kate: Not enough.
What did you think of the historical context?
Kate: I like what-if historical novels but I was a little worried about this one. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer already did the paranormal set during the Civil War and it was meh. But, this was so much better. Where Buffy Lincoln changed the context of the Civil War (the South have to be defeated! they’re evil vampires!) this novel leaves the context intact and to it adds zombies. So, we can’t just write off the uncomfortable Civil War context of the bible being used to justify slavery or the ideology that there is a racial hierarchy because oh no! supernatural beings! And, that made it so much more thought provoking and interesting.
Beth: This could have gone bad very quickly but I think she handled the time period well. I kinda like the fact that the Civil War never really ended, it sort of was put on hold when the zombies started to come from the dead leaving this uneasiness to every day life. Sure, slavery ended and they passed laws to educate former slaves and Native Americans but as for the racial hierarchy it was never really addressed. Much like it is today. Justina Ireland doesn’t shy away from the the injustices against African Americans and Native Americans pre-and post-Civil War and even though Jane and Katherine are educated and can kill any shambler, they will always be reminded of their place.
Kate: Agreed. She definitely didn’t shy away. I also liked the follow up at the end of the book which included readings about residential schools.
Who was your favorite character?
Kate: Jane McKeene. Obviously. She’s a hero. and a role model. I can’t wait to see what Jane gets up to next.
Beth: Agreed Jane McKeene is my hero. I want to be her friend. Not only is she smart, sarcastic, likes to read but she can also kill zombies. That’s so badass!
Kate: I know this is a little early but, Jane McKeene for best character of 2018!
Beth: Indeed. She’s going to be hard to top.
What was your favorite part?
Kate: Any time Jane and her friend Katherine fight zombies.
Beth: I loved the zombie fights but I think I loved the most the bickering between Jane and Katherine. The chemistry between those two was amazing and you can see how the relationship developed over the course of the novel.
Kate: their relationship is so good. I really liked that the most developed relationship was their friendship and not a romantic connection.
Beth: exactly! More of female friendships in YA please!
What are you looking forward to in the next book? (possible spoilers)
Beth: I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in California and finding out who Jane’s Momma married that betrayed her. I feel like whoever he is, he’s going to be play a bigger part in Jane’s story. I also hope we get more of Katherine’s backstory beyond being raised in a brothel.
Kate: Yes! More of Katherine’s backstory! Please! Especially with the role that brothels played in Western expansion in the US! And, maybe some gold rushing in Cali? I also hope we meet Jane’s mom and her Aunties. Oh, and I hope we meet Daniel Redfern again.
Beth: Me too! I think we will meet Jane’s Mom and Aunties again and I want to know more about Daniel Redfern. I feel we only have cracked the surface of his character.
We’ve been reading about this book for months now. So excited to finally get a chance to read it.