Pop Culture Homework Assignment: Extra Credit

So I have decided that I’m going to be that student who is going to go above and beyond. So I’m assigning myself an extra credit assignment.  I’ve finished 13 Little Blue Envelopes and decided that I’ll go ahead and read the sequel, The Last Blue Envelope. I know that Kate didn’t particularly like it since she felt it was unnecessary and that not all YA books should be turned into a series.  I can see what she means.  13 Little Blue Envelopes ended well.  I was satisfied with the ending but since I knew there was a sequel, I was curious.  So I’m going to read it and see for myself.

I’m such a good student.

What I’m Reading: Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

Featured imageIn an older post, I talked about the trend of YA authors who write novellas as an add on to their series.  Last year Cassandra Clare took it to a whole another level with The Bane Chronicles. With the help of fellow authors Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson. Clare wrote a series of ten novellas about everyone favorite Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane.  Over the 10 stories, they wrote about Magnus’ past that is often hinted out in both of Clare’s The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments series.  It was fun to read about Magnus adventures before he met Tessa, Will, Jem and later Clary, Jace and Alec.  Of course the series also served as a introducing characters of upcoming series and fill in gaps between series as well.

This year she is doing the same thing but with another fan favorite, Simon Lewis in the Tales from Shadowhunter Academy. This time she is joined again by Breenan and Johnson and also Robin Wasserman. Now the following is sort of a spoiler to those who have not finished City of Heavenly Fire, the last book in the The Mortal Instruments series.  Simon is attending the newly reopened Shadowhunter Academy as the Clave tries to add new Shadowhunters to their numbers after the loss of life in the last war.  Those who have finished City of Heavenly Fire will know why Simon can attend the academy in hopes of becoming a Shadowhunter himself and for those who haven’t finished will want to before reading.  Personally, I thought the last three books of The Mortal Instruments were three too many but I am looking forward to several Simon centric stories since he was easily my favorite character from that series.  Also it gives us something to read while we wait for Clare’s next shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifaces about Shadowhunters in LA.

Series You Should Check Out: Shades of London by Maureen Johnson

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Maureen Johnson is very active on social media.  If you don’t follow her on twitter, I recommend you do because she’s kinda hilarious.  Anyway, because of her internet celebrity, her books are not exactly unknown but for whatever reason, she’s not a big seller as some of her author friends like Cassandra Clare and John Green.  I’ll admit that I haven’t read her other books.  Yes, they are in my stacks and I will get to them but I do adore this series.  The Name of the Star, and the Madness Underneath are the first two books.  The Shadow Cabinet is being released in the US today.  The fourth book doesn’t have a title yet.  I haven’t had a chance to read The Shadow Cabinet yet because I thought I would wait until the actually release date.  Also I couldn’t get a hold of an ARC.  That’s ok, it has given my time to reread the first two.

The Shades of London is about Rory, a girl from Louisiana who’s parents have decided to do a work sabbatical in England so she decides to go to school at Wexford College in London.  She arrives in just as London is swept under Ripper Fever.  A copycat killer has taken to recreating the Jack the Rippers murders in the East End, which just happens to be the same place that Wexford is located.  Through a series of events, Rory gets swept into the Jack the Ripper investigation.  She soon discovers that the world is far more complicated than she ever thought.  That ghosts exist and only a few can see them and she is one of them.

What I love about this series is the humor in it.  I find Rory to be hilarious.  It’s a sort of a dry sense of humor that I appreciate.  Despite the fact that they are in a middle of a pretty gruesome murder investigation, Miss Johnson keeps things light.  The supporting characters are great.  Jazza, Rory’s roommate, is sweet but I think also keeps the story in reality.  Boo, Callum and Stephen, the other Shades of London may hunt down Ghosts but keep the good sense of humor about it.  I also like the mystery side of the story.  Who is the Jack the Ripper wannabe?  Is he alive or dead?  Rory may not be a detective and may be new to this whole seeing ghosts thing but she’s smart and pretty quick on the uptake.  She may need rescue from time to time but she’s also not weak either.

So far the series has tackled what is death, person-hood and dealing with PTSD.  The last one is important issue to tackle.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not new to YA literature.  Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior have both suffered PTSD but they never really dealt with it.  In the Madness Underneath, Rory has troubles dealing with the events of the Name of the Stars.  Without going into what, I will say that Rory does seek therapy.  First her parents have her in counseling and then she seeks other counseling.  To say more will spoil the book so I will leave it at that but at least Rory is getting treatment for PTSD which is more then Katniss or Tris ever did.

So go read the Shades of London and fall in love with Rory and Stephen and Jazza and Boo.  I think you all will like it.

What I’m Thankful for

So, it’s Thanksgiving.  The one day to gorge on food, watch football and share what we are thankful for. So here’s my literary Thanksgiving list (in no particular order)

I’m thankful for Maggie Stievfater for she is amazing.  Not only is she an unbelievable talented author but she she is also a muscian, artist, goat herder and crazy driver.  To say that I love her would be an understatment.  I love her.  She gave me one of my favorite Book boyfriend, James (from Lament and Ballet).  Her latest series the Raven Cycle, only gets better and eagarly (and dread) the final book, coming next year.

I am thankful for Percy Jackson.  You sarcastic, sassy demigod you.  I hope that after everything that he and his fellow demigods went through that he will get a chance to have a normal life and go to college and live happily ever after with Annabeth.

I’m thankful for Westeros. It’s such a messed up place made up of messed up people. I love it.  I’m still not caught up but since I have a good year before book six to come out and until April for the new season, I’m in no rush to finish.  I’ve got to make it last as long as I can.

I’m thankful for Maureen Johnson’s twitter.  Yes, I do love The Name of the Star and the Madness Underneath but really, her on twitter just makes me happy.  Is she insane or do just eccentric?  Whatever, she’s entertaining.

And I’m thankful for all my friends and family who keep recommending such great books.  I’ll never have enough time to read them all.  sigh.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  What are you thankful for?