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.
Fine. Kate has already read Cinder and Shatter Me. So I’m changing two of her books.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Written by Laini Taylor, who wrote the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. Which we both love. Some characters more then others. *wiink* Strange the Dreamer is nothing like anything that I have read. It’s lush and complicated. It’s full of trauma and hope and really quite beautiful. I’m sure nothing about this will get me in trouble with Kate at all. First in a Duology.
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker. This one I know you haven’t read yet because I only read it this year but totally up your alley. A crew of female pirates out for revenge against those who murdered their family. It’s all about sisterhood and friendship and what makes a family but also our own destructive behavior. First book in what I believe is a trilogy.
Last year I assigned Kate a summer of horror. It was a last minute change. I originally planned on assigning her four first books in a series. It turns out that at least one of those titles, she read with her carpool partner (Mom), Red Queen by the Victoria Aveyard so I’m pretty sure she this is a challenge she will like. I do have a good taste in books if I do say so something. So here we go. Kate’s pop culture homework assignment.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer A new twist on the classic fairy tale Cinderella. This time Cinderella is a cyborg living in New Beijing and there’s a threat of Luna. A kingdom on the moon. Strong female character that looks at Cinderella in a different way and did I mention Moon people. I think you’ll like it. The first book in a four book series.
Firebug by Lish McbrideThis was one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time. It is beyond hysterical and full of life and magic. Ava is a firebug. She can light things on fire and unfortunately, her special powers has got her caught up with the Coterie, a magical mafia organization. She has to go on the run when she refuses a job. I can’t wait to hear what you think. First book in a duology.
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow. This is a definitely different from the others. It was truly gripping. The world has fallen apart and is now ruled by an AI named Talos. To keep the world from going to war, they have taken an Medieval approach and demanding that every country give a hostage. If they decide to go to war, the hostage is killed. Morality tale and coming of age story. It’s a little trippy. First book in a duology.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. This one you are going to have to read because an audio book is not going to fully illustrate Juliette’s mental state. When we meet Juliette, she is imprisoned for being a danger to herself and others. A little dystopian story mixed in with supernatural powers. First book in a series of six.
This is the first book for my pop culture homework assignment! And it was so good! Okay, but before I start gushing about how much I like the book, let me tell you about it.
The small town (population: 212) Cryer’s Cross is in the grip of a tragedy. Tiffany Quinn, a sophomore in high school, has disappeared. They search for her but do not find her. The school year ends, the season turns and then the following Fall another student also goes missing. The town once again comes together to search for a missing student. What is going on and why was Nico, the second missing student, distant and forgetful in the days leading up to his disappearance? The story is told from the perspective of Kendall Fletcher, high school student and best friend of Nico. To add to the mystery, the school has two new students, Marlena and Jacian Obrian, who have moved to Cryer’s Cross with their parents to help their grandfather with his farm. The cops interrogated Jacian about Tiffany’s death. Is Jacian involved in the missing persons case or is he just a grumpy high schooler who is pissed that he had to move before his senior year to the middle of nowhere? (Also, maybe the townsfolk just a little bit racist?)
Okay, now to gush about this book. I love Kendall. She is amazing. Much of the plot is driven forward by Kendall’s obsessive-compulsive disorder. I liked that she was portrayed as a whole person and just as a disorder. I also liked that this wasn’t a story about OCD. I also loved Jacian and Marlena. They are amazing characters. Beth and I were discussing it, and Jacian is definitely book boyfriend material.
I enjoyed this book and if you like paranormal horror/mystery, you should try it.
Okay, now for a bit of a spoiler.
I had a hard time coming up with an assignment for Kate. My originally thought about assigning her first books in four different series but I had a trouble narrowing it down and most of them are series that she would totally have read if she hadn’t been so busy the last couple of years working on PhD. Which kinda defeats the purpose since the assignments are supposed to be of books that we normally wouldn’t read on our own. So I decided on four different standalone horror and suspense novels. All four of these books I enjoyed for different reasons. I think it’s good to have a scare every now and then but also like how genre can comment on social issues without being in your face about it but also to an audience that normally wouldn’t seek out such material on their own. So I’m excited to see how she like them.
I’m starting off Kate with Cryer’s Cross. I would say is kinda of a ghost story. Kendall loves her small town in Montana but she has dreams of going to school in New York. When tragedy strikes and her friends start to go missing, she teams up with the new boy to solve the mystery. Race, mental disorders and small town secrets all come into play in this well written mystery.
Holly Black is a master story teller and this is in my opinion one of her best books. She takes the vampire genre to a new level with this one. I have to say it’s right up there with Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Cities have been walled up to quarantine off vampires from the regular populations. Tana wakes up the day after a party to find herself the only survivor of a vampire attack with the vampire and her ex-boyfriend both tied up. She must make the decision to take them to a Coldtown. Depression and the search for fame are also examined as they make their journey.
They called it the Killing Day when regular citizens go on a killing spree out of nowhere in a small town in Kansas. Five teenagers from different parts of town are thrown together as they try to survive the night and the mysterious virus goes through the town. Social classes, privilege, abuse all play apart of the narrative as they figure out what’s going on and how they can escape it.
I changed my final book. I originally was going to have Kate read another Holly Black novel but it didn’t really fit the whole horror theme. This one kinda gave me nightmares. So good Luck, Kate. Ry and his mother and sister are trying to save their Iowa farm when a meteorite hits nearby and their past comes back to haunt them. Their abusive father is on the loose and Ry must rely on his old imaginary friends to helped him survive his father before. Can they do it again?
I hope Kate and everyone who chooses to read along will enjoy their Summer of Horror and Suspense.
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!
This book repeatedly punched me in the stomach.
In a perfect set of coincidences, I am visiting my parents in Cedar Rapids, IA. Rainbow Rowell is speaking in Cedar Rapids, IA. Oh and the library’s ebook of Attachments became available. So, I read the first three chapters before heading out. To start, I wasn’t sure if she would read or give a talk or answer questions. Rowell did mostly questions and answers and she started by answering a question that she gets a lot: how did you become a novelist.
I knew immediately that I was going to like her because she had on a dress with trees on it (I found out at the signing it was from eShakti) and a large cat face necklace. Normally, I am loath to be the kind of person who judges people by what they’re wearing but plus-size women who have cultivated a sense of style (especially ones that are my age or older and remember a time when all plus-size clothing was hideous) are always cool even if I don’t like them.
So, Rowell started out by telling us about her life before her books were published as a journalist who for awhile had a gig covering Western Iowa for an Omaha paper. It was great to hear her tales of the hijinx that we get up to in the middle of the nation. (We had a Pork Queen who was a vegetarian. If that’s not funny to you, you’re either not from here or you’re not from here and you guessed wrong as to what a Pork Queen is.)
Then she took questions from the audience. She gave advice to young authors. She talked about her favorite fandoms (Sherlock). She talked her X- men-Mary Sue-self-insert fan fic she wrote as a teen. I laughed so much I was so excited to continue reading Attachments.
After Rowell’s talk she signed books. There was a long line and it was great that she signed so many books. I don’t usually fangirl (especially not over an author whose books I’ve not finished) but I stood in that really long line to tell her how much I enjoyed her talk, get my book signed and to get my picture taken.
Yup, I’m that kind of nerd.