Series You Should Check Out: Unearthly Series by Cynthia Hand

unearthly I can’t believe that I haven’t written about this series yet.  It’s one of my favorite series to go back and read. In particular, it’s my go-to series when I’ve finished one book but the book I want to read next is coming in a couple of days.  (Like for instance, I’ve finished My Lady Jane but A Court of Wings and Ruin, The Dark Prophecy and Always and Forever, Lara Jean comes out of Tuesday) I usually don’t want to start a new book that I might not finish before they come out so Unearthly or one if it’s sequels, Hallowed or Boundless because I’ve read them so many times, I can skip over parts or not feel bad if I don’t finish.  It’s a romance, it’s a comedy. It has some action!  and it has one of the most swoon worthy love interest of any teen novel.  Unearthly is about Clara, a half human half angel, who moves with her family to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to fulfill her purpose.  All Angelbloods, as they are known, are put on this earth to carry out some divine purpose.  For Clara it starts when she starts having visions about meeting a boy her age in the woods during a forest fire and wouldn’t you know that guy is super dreamy too.  Christian is the guy in high school that every girl has a crush on and every boy wants to be.  However, he’s the guy that makes me swoon.  That title guys to the other love interest.  Tucker Avery.  Tucker Avery is a cowboy.  He wears cowboy boots and hat.  He rides in rodeos and is very outdoorsy.  He would be the perfect boyfriend.  They relationship starts off in the stereotypical bickering back and forth before they realize how much they love each other.  Aww.

hallowed I would say the real theme of the series is fate and destiny and how much control do we have over our future.  Clara is not your normal teenager.  She has Angel blood in her and because of that is she expected to carry out her purpose. At first she is all about it. If it means getting to know Christian, the hot boy is school, she is all for it but what does divine really want from her.  Is she only supposed to save Christian from the forest fire?  Are they supposed to be a couple?  Is God trying to set her up on a date?  She discovers that finding out her purpose in life is not that easy and only gets more complicated when a.) she starts to fall in love with Tucker and b.) she finds out that she has more in common with Christian then she thought.  How much about her future does she get the decide and how much of it has already been planned for her.  She is impulsively drawn to Christian but is that because she is supposed to because of her purpose or does she really have feelings for him and him for her?  And if she is supposed to be with Christian then why does she fall in love with Tucker. (because he’s perfect! but I digress)

boundless All the while she’s trying to find out why she was put on this earth and fighting evil Angels, she still has to dodge of the landmines of attending high school.  Taking test, finding new friends and keeping them.  Going to Prom.  It’s not easy but an Angelblood in high school.  Clara is able to navigate all of these things thanks to other awesome character, Angela, another Angelblood.  Together help each other to figure out each other purposes and the other mysteries of being half angel.  Their friendship is one of those great but sadly rare in fiction, solid friendships between two girls.  They truly love and support each other throughout the everything.  Yes, they have their disagreements but when it matters, they are there for each other.  They push each other to be better.  Challenge each other to learn and know more about who they are and what they are supposed to.  There really should be more relationships like this featured in YA novels.  Too often female friendships get pushed aside once the heroine starts a relationship. But then again, Angela is not someone who would ever let a boy become between her and her best friend.  So yes, go read this series.  It’s the perfect weekend getaway book.  Just don’t let the cheesy covers scare you away.

 

Series You Should Check Out: Necromancer and Firebug by Lish Mcbride

hold me closerIt’s been awhile since I did one of these. In fact it’s been 5 months.  Oops.  I think it’s about time I did another one, don’t you think?  I can’t think of a better series to welcome back this column then Necromancer and Firebug series’ by Lish McBride.  Really, I can’t believe I have waited this long to write about them.  It’s actually two different series but they take place in the same world, just on opposite coasts.  Necromancer consists of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and Necromancing the Stone. Two of the best book titles in history of literature. I decided to read the first book based on the title alone.  With a title like Hold Me Closer, Necromancer it had to be good right? Firebug at the moment is the only book in it’s series but the sequel, Pyromantic, another great title, comes out in March of next year.  (I hope, I’m pretty sure. It’s released date has been pushed back more then once to my chagrin)  They both take place in the underground world of the supernaturals.  Sam, our hero in Necromancer is a necromancer.  When he is discovered by another Necromancer he brought into a world of werewolves and other supernaturals creatures that he didn’t even know exist but now is in the thick of it.  You’ll think about Seattle in a different way after reading this book.  Ava, our little firebug from Firebug, is forced to work for the Coterie, a magical mafia.  She along with her friends, Lock and Ezra, she must track down creatures of all kinds who are behind in their payments or doing something they are not supposed to.

necromancing the stoneSo why do I like these books so much?  For one thing they are hilarious!  Like laugh out loud funny you just can’t help yourself.  The situations the characters get in are at times so ridiculous and absurd it’s just too funny.  They are also very original. Sure, there are a lot of other books that feature werewolves, ghosts, nymphs and other supernatural beings but nothing is like this.  I’m not sure how to describe the weirdness of these books but they just work.  There is also a realness to them as well.  Sam and Ava are both great protagonists.  They both find themselves in situations that are out of their control but with the help of their friends and their own gumption they find ways out of them.  They both have a little sassiness to them that I love in my characters.  The supporting characters are more then just comic relief or filler but true characters in their own right.

firebugFirebug came out two years ago and I have been waiting (mostly) patiently for Pyromantic to come out.  Like I said earlier, publication has been pushed back a few times because well life I guess.  Lish Mcbride is not just an author but also a bookseller as well.  The biggest secret of the publication world is that just because you have a book published doesn’t mean you are set for life. Most authors don’t live off of their writing.  They have to have day jobs to make ends meet.  Recently Lish started a Patreon page.  If you not familiar with Patreon, it’s sort of a crowd sourcing website for creators and artist.  You can pledge to give so much money a month to an artist and in return you get exclusive material from them.  Lish so far has posted a new short story and read a chapter from Pyromantic. It’s been satisfying so far.  It ties me over until her new book comes out and I also can feel good about supporting an author I love.  It’s a cool way to support artists and all for that.  So before Pyromantic comes out, I suggest you read Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, Necromancing the Stone and Firebug and read her public post on patreon page.  You will not be disappointed.

Observations on The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

dream thieves This is my favorite book in The Raven Cycle (so far). Gansey in his Ganseyness. Adam in his Adamness and Blue in her Blueness but most importantly Ronan in his Ronaness. I love him.

  • If you could dream anything and bring it back with you when you awoke, what would it be?
  • What really turned Declan and Ronan into enemies?  Is it just that Declan is a liar and that he upheld Niall’s will without a fight?
  • How long has Declan known about Ronan and Niall?
  • Oh Poor Adam.  It’s almost painful to read about his abuse and almost harder to read him think that he deserved it.
  • I know Adam had to accept his bargain but maybe when he started to see strange things, maybe that’s the time to go to the women who deal with strange things?
  • I don’t think I’ll understand the internet stanning for Kavinsky?  He’s a terrible human being to put it mildly.
  • I’m quite charmed by the courtship of Maura and the Gray Man. To quote Hamilton “So this is what it’s like to match wits”
  • Calla is amazing.  Her interactions with Ronan are always a delight.  They should have more scenes together.
  • I wish I knew more about the Gray Man and his brother.  I get his brother is a sociopath but I feel like there is more there.
  • champagne mistake.  the champagne atrocity.  I just loved how the Gray man described his rental car.
  • Let’s talk about Ronan’s sexuality or how little it’s talked about.  I think that’s it’s great that he never out right says his gay. He doesn’t have too. It’s pretty clear that he is.  Just as it’s pretty clear that Gansey is straight.
  • I wonder if there is more to the break in to Calla’s office at Aglionby.
  • Kate pointed this out but I do love how Maggie writes her female characters.  They stand up for themselves.  They never play the damsel in distress.  When Adam loses his cool when arguing with Adam, Blue doesn’t apologize for making him angry or stands and takes it.  She just tell Adam that she would be outside and he can join her if he calms down.  Take note ladies.

I think I had a few more thoughts but now I can’t remember.  Oh well.  Onto Blue Lily Lily Blue.

Series You Should Check out: To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

to all the boysNot that long ago, Barnes and Noble was having a sale on teen books, buy 2 for $20, basically you get one for free.  I kept seeing To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before pop up on my Tumblr dashboard that I decided to check it out.  Contemporary Fiction and Romance are not my usual go to reads but I do dabble in it from time to time and since both it and it’s sequel, P.S. I love You were apart of the sale, I decided to just go on get them both.  If they are as good as Tumblr insists then I should read them, right?  Tumblr would never steer me wrong.  Tumblr did introduce me to Rainbow Rowell after all.  It was a wise decision because once I finished the first, I had to read the second. Actually, I read the sequel in one day, it was good.  To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still I Love are both delightful.  True they are not really groundbreaking, besides it centers on a Korean American teenage girl but it’s sweet, kind and lovely.  Lara Jean is the middle Song sister.  Her older sister, Margot is about to go to College in Scotland and her younger sister Kitty is well a firecracker.  Their mother died unexpectedly when they were little so it’s just been the girls and their dad.  Margot has been their surrogate mother the last couple of years but with her going it’s now Lara Jean turn.  Lara Jean is a romantic in true sense of the word.  She is sixteen and is about to start her junior year in high school.  She’s never had a boyfriend but she’s been in love before.  More accurately she’s had crushes, five of them and she wrote all five letters and hid them in her hat box.  One day she finds out that her letters that were never meant to be seen were mailed out to the boys she loved before and well this is a problem.  One of those goes to Josh, Margot’s boyfriend that she just broke up with and Lara Jean had a crush on before they had started dating and those feelings for him start to return. Another one went to Peter a former friend from Middle School that was her first kiss and her ex-best friend, Genevieve’s recent ex-boyfriend.   Lara Jean and Peter decide to fake a relationship to save face with Josh and to make Genevieve jealous.  Of course in true Rom-Com fashion they end up falling in love for real and things get messy.

P.S. I still love youIn the sequel, Peter and Lara Jean decide to date for real and well it’s not as simple as it once was. Old insecurities come up and when another recipient of Lara Jean’s letters shows up it complicates things even more.  John Ambrose McClaren was also apart of Lara Jean’s middle school group of friends until he moved away.  Lara Jean goes from a reserved girl, who lived in her sister shadows to a more confident girl who knows what she wants but a lot happens for her to get there.  First she has to get over this idea that she is not worthy.  Peter is the golden boy.  He’s the boy that every girl in high school wants to be with and Genevieve is the beautiful blonde girl that you would expect to be with the golden boy.  Lara Jean is not popular or in the “in crowd”.  She constantly compares herself and her relationship to Genevieve to the point her jealously and insecurities take over.  It’s something that all of us have dealt with from time to time. This is Lara Jean’s first relationship and she is closer to her sisters then to anyone else, so it’s hard to open up and trust other people.

Now let’s talk about the guys. Josh, her sister ex-boyfriend and the literal boy next door.  He’s nice and caring but I felt he was more of the big brother type then anything else.  It’s a shame that their friendship never truly recovered after the break up and the letter but they did find a way to be friends again.  John Ambrose McClaren is nice.  He’s the kind of boy who would be perfect for Lara Jean.  He’s smart, sweet and unassuming but he doesn’t really enter the story until the second half of the second book so we don’t get to know him as well as the other two.  And finally Peter.  He comes at first as egotistical and vain and well there is some of that too but he’s also caring and observant. Of all the guys he’s the one who truly challenges Lara Jean the most.  He brings her out of her shell without forcing her to change or wanting her to be different.  I liked that Lara Jean had different suitors.  She didn’t fall for the first guy that noticed her, she realized she had options.  I think that’s important to girls to know that if a relationship doesn’t work out that they are going to be others too.  Another important element of the story is the double standard between boys and girls.  At one point of the story, a video goes viral of Lara Jean and Peter kissing in a hot tub. Typically, all the comments on the internet are about slut Lara Jean is even though she is doing nothing wrong.  As far as anyone knows, Lara Jean is only kissing her boyfriend.  Of course nothing is said about Peter.  When she goes back to school, teachers and counselors talk to Lara Jean about the video and how disappointed they are in her but no mention of Peter.  It’s sad how true this scenario is.

So in conclusion, I really loved these two books.  With beach season coming up soon, these are the perfect books to take on vacation with you to read and just mellow out.  Also for anyone participating in our reading challenge, this is a good choice for a book with an Asian American character.

P.S. If Jenny Han somehow reads this, can we have a spin-off series about Kitty?

Series I said Goodbye to in 2015

For my last Series You Should Check Out post of the year I thought I would do something different. In the spirit of Award Shows In Memoriam segments.  I thought I would take the time to highlight and say goodbye to the series that I loved that came to their conclusion this year.  It was only 4 and I know that I have highlighted them once (or many times) before but all good things need a proper send off.  So without much further ado.  Here are the Series that I said Goodbye to in 2015.

  1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
    What can I say about this series that I haven’t already said? I am truly going to miss this it.  The mix of fairy tales and sci fi was perfect. It never felt forced.  How Miss Meyer was able to incorporate this familiar stories into her own new world and combine them with such ease was truly impressive.  It all came off naturally and fun.  It was full of romance, action, wonderful heroines and even a little social commentary on how we treat those who are different and the difference between tyranny and freedom and the lengths one goes to lead.  Next year Meyer will release a collection of short stories that revolve around reverse perspectives of important scenes and even a wedding for one of our couples but it had the perfect ending for a fairy tale.  They all lived happily ever after.
  2. Penryn and the End of the Days by Susan Ee
    This series was very different in it’s look at Angels.  As they are not all that angelic like at all or at least how we have come to think of Angels to be like.  It touched on two major trends in YA of late with both it’s dystopian and fantasy elements and they blended nicely.  It also had a strong lady protagonist in Penryn.  She was brave, smart and fierce.  She had flaws though.  She had to get over her own fears and even prejudice to truly win the fight.  It was an uneven trilogy as the second book wasn’t as strong as the first but it was still a great read.  I’m curious to see what Susan Ee does next now that Penryn has come to a very satisfying ending.
  3. The Goddess War by Kendare Blake
    Greek Gods and Goddesses living in the modern world is not a new idea. We all know of Rick Riordan’s work but this was a little different.  Instead of Gods and Goddesses that live on top of the Empire State Building overseeing what is going on in the world.  These Gods and Goddesses actually live in it though barely does anyone know who they really are.  It was a twist on the Greek Champions.  Instead of them being the children of the Gods, they are the original Champions, reborn.  Once again, we are introduced to Odysseues, Hector, Achilles, Cassandra and more.  Instead of reliving the Trojan War they make their own paths to save the Gods and Goddess of Olympus.  It was fun, a little romantic, action packed and a new take on everything we have grown to love about Greek Mythology.
  4. Finishing School by Gail Carriger                                                                      In this steampunk version of England there is a girls finishing school that not only teaches girls to be the finest women in all of England but also the deadliest.  Sophronia is the best student at Madame Geraldine’s.  Through four books she has drove every teacher banners with her constant curiosity and always in the thick of things.  She knows every square inch of the ship that is her school and every secret there is to know in England.  From the inter-workings of vampire hives and werewolves clans to evil secret society of the Picklemen.  She has thwarted evil plans and made friends with those all over the class spectrum.  From the charming Soap who is black and one of the sooties who works on the ship to the devilishly handsome Felix who is a Duke’s son.  She may be a women in Victorian England but she is anything but helpless.  More then once she uses her own skills and intelligence to save the realm from treasonous acts.  It’s funny so funny and filled with action and excitement that I’m sorry it’s ending but good news is that Gail Carriger has other series set in this world.

So those are series that ended that year that I love.  What series did you love that ended this year?

 

A Quick Series You Should Check Out: Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

knife neverI don’t remember what panel at Book Riot Live where they talked about what books they wanted to see turned into a movie but The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness was one of their suggestions.  I full heartedly agree with this pick  The Chaos Walking Trilogy is cinematically epic story that it would make for a visually stunning filmed.  If done right of course.  The Chaos Walking Trilogy is made up of The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men. Each is a tense, action packed novel that you will be thinking about long after you finish.  Todd is shy of his birthday that will make him a man.  He lives in Prentisstown, where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts, including the thoughts of his dog Manchee.  It’s a stream of constant noise and no privacy.  Everything for Todd is about the change when he meets Viola.  He can’t hear her thoughts.  Together they learn the terrifying secret of their world and together fight to change it.  It goes on many twists and turns and at times you love and hate both of them but you never stop rooting for them.  All I can say is that you really should read it.

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Featured imageQueen of Shadows is the fourth book in Throne of Glass series.  It has taken quite a few twists and turns in the four books. What I love about this series is that it keeps on surprising me.  I think I’m a pretty savvy reader but I totally didn’t see the big reveal at the end.  If you haven’t read, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, or Heir of FireI highly recommend that you do.  I also recommend you read them before you read this review because SPOILERS!

(Editor’s Note:  Or lack of one.  Like the other reviews of this series, I didn’t have Kate look over it because I very much like her to read them without being spoiled.  Seriously, Kate you need to get on this!  Anyway, please forgive any mistake I might have made) Continue reading