I finished my last book and my planned next book is still in transit so I thought it was a good time to revisit a favorite.
It’s that time of year where we take a look back at the last 12 months. 2018 was by far our best year we have ever had here at Stacks. Thank you for all spent their time reading our little blog here. Here are the top ten posts that you all really really liked.
- Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart – I’m surprised by all the traffic from this post but hey I’m glad you came.
- Quick Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – Thanks to the success of the movie for the first book, which I loved. I can’t wait for the sequel.
- Quick Review: Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Another surprise but maybe you are like me and miss Nick so much.
- Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – Such a great book.
- Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake – Another really great book.
- Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray – For a series set in the 20’s, it could not be more relevant for today.
- A Wizard of Earthsea: Chapter 2: The Shadow – Interesting that our read along to A Wizard of Earthsea that Chapter 2 was the one that to the most views. Also this is the only post in the top 10 that is from 2018.
- Review: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – Another surprised entry.
- Quick Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin – Noah Shaw has some issues he has to work out.
- Some of my favorite Quotes from In Other Lands – OMG! So many great quotes in this book.
2017 is almost at an end. It was quite a challenging year but at least it was filled with a lot of great books. Here are the Top 10 posts that got the most views on Stacks this year. Thank you for all of you stopped by and took a glance at our little corner of the internet.
- Quick Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han I’m pleasantly surprised this one came out on top. It got over twice many views as #2 of this list so you all must have loved it. I’ll admit, I had mixed feelings about this novel because as much as I loved Lara Jean and glad I got to spend more time with her, I’m not sure it was really needed another book.
- Sending Love to Sarah Rees Brennan This is another surprise since it was originally posted in 2016 but I hope the continue views have sent Sarah more healing vibes because I do love reading her books.
- Quick Review: Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon I just adore this series and even though I’m unsure if this is the last book in the series or just shift in the series focus. Either way, I can’t wait to read more about Nick.
- Some of My Favorite Quotes from In Other Lands Another post about Sarah Rees Brennan. This one got a boost from the author herself!
- Rick Riordan Presents I was excited to read about Rick’s new imprint featuring authors of color writing about myths and stories about their cultures. It’s great seeing Rick use his power to feature new voices and help diversify our stories.
- Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray One of my favorite books of the year from one of the best series I have read in a long time. Here’s hoping she doesn’t take another two years to finish the series finale.
- Highs and Lows of Fandoms by Cassandra Clare and Maggie Stiefvater Another post from 2016 that was big in 2017 probably because many of the issues still exist.
- Review: Endure by Sara B. Larson Another surprise. This review made the 2016 list of Top posts too.
- Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare knows how to bring the drama. I’m happy that she’s decided to publish the finale of this trilogy before starting her next Shadowhunter trilogy.
- Review: Half Lost by Sally Green In 2016, this was the top post and in 2017 it’s still in the Top 10 and I’m still surprise. I guess not though because the book still haunts with it’s powerful ending.
There are so many great quotes from Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Lands that it needed a post of it’s own. Serene-Heart-in the-Chaos-of-Battle has the best quotes. In Other Lands takes many tropes and turns them on their head. One is gender roles. In Serene’s Elven culture, women Elves take on more of what we in the human world would consider male roles. This often brings up hilarious misunderstandings and some hard truths. Here are just a couple
“Of course it is,” said Serene. “The woman goes through the physically taxing and bloody experience of childbirth. A woman’s experience of blood and pain is, naturally, what makes women-kind particularly suited for the battlefield. Whereas, men are the softer sex, squeamish about blood in the main. I know it’s the same for human men, Luke was extremely disinclined to discuss my first experience of a woman’s menses.”
Another gem by Serene.
“Come now. It’s natural for a young pure gentleman to be abashed by such discussions,” said Serene. “Forgive me for being so frank with you and puttin you to the blush, Luke.”
Another good one. This from Serene’s cousin, Swift-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle to Elliot.
“No doubt you tempted her. Ah, a man’s morals are frail as they are, sweet silly creatures,” Swift said. “I do think it was up to Serene to control herself, though. She must have known I was considering you as a bride. Your humanity would not have mattered so very much, up in the wild north where I am stationed, but now you have been sullied, of course it is out of the question.”
The hard truth. Elliot to Swift.
“Um.” said Elliot. “Maybe both our societies are messed up, and they each only think one type of person is really a person. And the type they think is really a person is allowed to show imperfections and age…whereas the type of person they think is an object should show no signs of being a person. We’re socialized to see the imperfections in those objects.”
And there’s plenty more where that came from. You should read the rest of the book.
Is this Sarah’s best book? No but it was fun and enjoyable so I’ll let it slide. Elliot is one of the most obnoxious people you will ever meet but he’s also kind of charming. One day, he is picked to go on a field trip where he is asked if he can see the wall in front of him. He says of course he can, he’s not blind. He’s taken over the wall and into the Borderlands. A magical land that has humans, Elves, Dwarfs, Trolls, Harpies, Dryads and Mermaids. Elliot is in enrolled in the Border camp that trains young soldiers to be in the Border patrol, to keep peace in the Borderlands. On his first day there he meets the golden boy, Luke Sunborn and the Elven hottie, Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle. He is immediately in love with Serene and so he chooses to stay beyond the wall. He thinks that war is stupid and doesn’t understand how this society is made around war and does everything he can to stop fighting. He manages to make friends with Serene and begrudgingly makes friend with Luke. Throughout the years, the three of them go through so many ups and down. They all find themselves and each other. They rely on each other to get through the years of training but navigate around the camp. Elliot comes from a very unhappy home. His mother left when he was a baby and his father is incapable of love. Elliot tries to make up for it by searching for love though he has no idea how to do it. The best thing about this book is the positive portrayal of a bisexuality teen and turning gender roles on their heads. Elliot is in love with Serene and there truly is no question of his feelings or is there any questions of his feelings for Luke either. Love is love and doesn’t really care if that person is a girl or a guy. Of course, his success with people depends on whether or not they want to slap him or not. Like I said he’s very obnoxious. He thinks he smarter then everyone, he has little patience. It’s amazing he lasts as long as he has considering that everyone around him are heavily armed and trained on how to use multiple weapons. It’s kinda unfair that a male character can be so rude but still come off as charming. Then you have Serene who comes from a matriarhily society that sees women as the warriors and the men as the innocent. Basically, in Elves society the genders are reversed and it’s hilarious. I doubt we would have the same reaction for a female character but that’s an argument for another day. It wasn’t the best book I’ve read this year but it was fun and a quick read.
I like Sarah Rees Brennan and this seems like a fun book. Win-Win
Sarah Rees Brennan is an author I adore. So it saddens me to hear that she has cancer. She has Hodgkins Lymphoma, which is treatable but still cancer. Yesterday, she made a diagnosis known in a very touching and funny post on Tumblr. I do recommend you read it. In attempt to send positive healing vibes out there for Sarah, here a links to some of my past blog posts about her books. I hope she sees the love and that you dear readers, give her books a chance.
If you have read A Tale of Two Cities then you pretty much know the plot of Tell the Wind and Fire. The title itself is a quote from the Dicken’s classic. Instead of it taking place in London and Paris during the French Revolution, it takes place in New York City that has been split in two. Manhattan is home to the elite, light magicians while Brooklyn (and I assume the other boroughs but it’s not made clear) is home to the lowly Dark magicians. Lucie Manette is a light magician who as born and bred in the dark city but after her mother has gone missing and her father is falsely imprisoned, she stages a stunt that goes viral and gets her father released and them passes to live in the light city. She falls in love with Ethan Stryker (our Charles Darney stand-in) the nephew of the powerful Mark Stryker and head of the light council. One day after a short getaway, Ethan is accused of treason because he has been positively identified as passing information to the Sans Merci, the rebels in the Dark City. He is about to be executed when Carwyn steps out. Carwyn doesn’t just look like Ethan in the way that Sydney Carton does to Charles Darney but he is exact copy of Ethan. He is an doppelganger. In this world, Light magicians can hire a dark magician to make a doppelganger when they are sick and it will save their lives. There are many laws against doing it and even more against doppelgangers themselves. For instance they have to where a hood. Well, Ethan can’t be executed now because what if it was Carwyn who committed the crime? This sets in motion the rest of the story. As I said before, if you know A Tale of Two Cities, you can guess what’s going to happen and more importantly how it’s going to end but that’s not the point. Sarah Rees Brennan creates a world that is both familiar and not. Many landmark will bring up memories but presenting a darker light. On a personal level, Green-Wood Cemetery, which takes the place of the Bastille, is only a few blocks from where I live. I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at the same way again. Lucie, on the surface seems like a timid girl, who wants nothing more then to everything she can to save the people she loves. That in itself takes a bit of bravery. As the story progressives and things start to take shape, she starts to stand up more for herself. Ethan is your typical hero character, the golden boy and Carwyn, the misunderstood bad boy but of course nothing is at seems. I think for fans of Dicken’s will like it and fans of Brennan will like it too.
A Tale of Two Cities but with magic.
For the last 10 months, Cassandra Clare, Robin Wasserman, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan have been treating us with Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. A set of short stories that follows one of Clare’s heroes, Simon Lewis, as he tries to learn how to be a Shadowhunter. I wrote about it a little but after the first book, Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy, came out. This week marked the release of the tenth and final story in the series. For those who are not familiar with Simon or Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, let me catch you up. *Spoilers* When we first met Simon in City of Bones he was just a normal teenage boy in love with his best friend Clary. Throughout the series, he goes from normal boy to normal boy among supernaturals beings to becoming a supernatural being himself, a Vampire, saving the world and then returning to a normal teenage boy with no memory of the supernatural world or his friends. That is where we are now. Simon, has been once again become aware that vampire, werewolves, warlocks, fairies and Shadowhunters exist. After the wars of the two Mortal Instruments books are over, the Shadowhunters are depleted in numbers so they have reopened their academy and invited children of Shadowhunters as well as a few Mundanes to Ascend and join their ranks. That is what Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is about. In 10 shorts stories, we follow Simon and his fellow students as they learn how to fight like a Shadowhunter and how to be like a Shadowhunter. Special appearances from other characters from the Mortal Instruments as well as Clare’s other series, The Infernal Devices and upcoming series’ The Dark Artifaces and The Last hours, we learn more about the history of the Shadowhunters but also clues into what to expect in her new series. It’s really just a good excuse to fill in a few gaps between the end of The Mortal Instruments and beginning of The Dark Artifaces. Also to give Clare’s readers something to read since the last book, City of Heavenly Fire came out last year and Lady Midnight doesn’t come out until Spring of next year. However, I don’t think you are going to hear much complaining from fans. They were fun, quick reads that give more insights to how the Clave, who govern Shadowhunters work, also gave us more time to hang out with one my favorite characters, Simon. As expected with a collection like this not all the stories were good. I felt some they didn’t know what to they put together a quick story with a couple of fan favorites and call it a day but others I felt were worth it. One story I liked a lot was Bitter of Tongue. In it, Simon is kidnapped by fairies and is saved by Mark Blackthorn, who has been stuck with faries since the last book. Mark, who is half Shadowhunter and half fairy and because of this and what happened in the last war, the Shadowhunters have left him there and banished his sister, Helen to exile. When Simon comes back he goes to Helen’s wedding. It’s a heartbreaking story as they are being punished for no other reason then an accident of both. Truly relevant to what is going on in the world. It also gives Simon more motivation to become a Shadowhunter and make a change from the inside. You can buy all 10 stories individually as ebooks or you can wait until next year where they will be combined together but for fans for Clare’s work it’s a must.