Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review: Still Star-Crossed

TITLE: Still Star-Crossed
AUTHOR: Melinda Taub
PUBLISHED: July 2013
GENRE: Classic Book Sequel/Continuation/inspired, Romance, Historical Fiction
PREMISE: After Romeo and Juliet's death, the Montagues and Capulets continue their fighting and it has gotten out of control. The Prince decides that to stop it, Benvolio and Rosaline must get married to join the two houses. Too bad they hate each other.
MY REVIEW: I'm going to go ahead and say it: Romeo and Juliet is actually probably my least favorite Shakespeare play. Yes, I know, how dare I. I just never could get into it. But then star-crossed love stories have honestly never interested me much so I can't really fault Shakespeare. It's mostly just a personal preference thing. For the record, my favorite Shakespeare play is probably between Midsummer Night's Dream or Two Men From Verona.
So I honestly wasn't expecting to get into this that much. But...I actually liked it quite a bit. First of all Taub plays with history as well as the canon of Romeo and Juliet beautifully. This is a woman who did her damn research and used it to her advantage. It's also written beautifully, a mixture of Shakespearean language but written in such a way that we don't need all those footnotes to tell us what's going on.
The result is a well done continuation of a well known play. It doesn't trod all over the original material for its own purposes like a lot of these things can do. It's well written and actually made me sort of interested in Romeo and Juliet again. So I say, well done, author. Especially considering the fact that this is a debut. This author is one to keep an eye on in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: Shakespeare fans, Romeo and Juliet fans, historical romance fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five swords

Special Note: If any of you are wondering what's going on with the random reviews. What's going on is my work schedule is kind of kicking me in the butt right now. After much consideration, I've decided from now on to do scheduled reviews because that's the only way to keep up on them nowadays. So I swear you will be see more frequent updates now that I've figured out how to do the scheduled reviews.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Book Review: Frost Burned

TITLE: Frost Burned
Book 7 in the Mercy Thompson series
AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs
PUBLISHED: March 2013
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
PREMISE: Mercy and the gang deal with an attack on their pack.
MY REVIEW: You know how sometimes you get the feeling that a series is stalling and the author is just making deadlines but really should have ended the series long ago? That's what I've been feeling with the Mercy Thompson series. I hate feeling that way, I love Mercy. But sometimes things need to come to an end.
That feeling hasn't gone away with this book, sadly. It was fine, don't get me wrong. Mercy was badass as always. I just wasn't very invested in the plot because it didn't really move any larger plot forward. I actually did consider giving this series up last book, but I saw this one in the library and couldn't resist. But with this one...I think I'm done, you all. I literally yawned my way through it.
So if you're a Mercy fan who hasn't been burned out from the series, carry on. But if you're like me and was hoping for a reboot for the series to make it worthwhile to keep doesn't really do the trick.
WHO SHOULD READ: Mercy Thompson fans (still interested in the series)
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five yawns

Book Review: Waking the Witch

TITLE: Waking the Witch
Book 11 in Women of the Otherworld
AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Witches, Mystery
PREMISE: Savannah, now all grown up, takes on her first major case which involves someone who may be after witches...
MY REVIEW: Okay, I confess: I skipped books 9 and 10 in this series. I'm sorry, I just wasn't really interested in them. Book 9 looked like another one-shot that didn't add anything new to the story and book 10 was another Elena book and I'm sorry but Elena bores me and I felt her story was pretty finished. So, I skipped them because I wanted to get to Savannah who was my favorite all along anyway.
I'm glad I did because I liked this one a lot better then the previous ones I read. It was nice having a book that made me feel like it was actually moving the plot forward which I haven't felt with the last few books. As I suspected, I loved Savannah. I actually think, she topped Paige as my favorite (but I still love Paige).
So this was a welcome breath of fresh air into the series. Now I can't wait to read the next one.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Women of the Otherworld, Urban Fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five badass witches

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Hide and Seek

TITLE: Hide and Seek
Book 4 in the Lying Games series
AUTHOR: Sara Shepard
GENRE: Mystery, Realistic Fiction
SUMMARY: Emma continues to try and find Sutton's killer and learns that it may just be Sutton's father.
MY REVIEW: Once again, I must say: the Lying Games book series is SO much better then then the tv series. It's much better plotted, the characters are much better (and a lot less annoying) and so on. Yeah, Shepard still has the annoying tendency to name drop everything to show how in the know she is about pop culture. Oh and authors, for the last time: LIKING STAR TREK DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE YOU A GEEK. Same with something like Harry Potter or some other thing that the media has declared as "nerdy". I'm actually going to throw this out here: we're ALL geeks/nerds. It's just that it's more acceptable to be nerdy/really enjoy things like sports then it is to enjoy fantasy worlds or books. Hence why Jocks don't get made fun of even though they're just as bad about their sports as Trekkies are about Star Trek.
Now I will say, a good chunk of this book was mostly filler. The thing with the father was interesting while it lasted but it didn't last long enough for my taste. Too much time was spent on romantic drama and that ridiculous girl clique war (seriously what on earth was even the POINT of that plot?).
So...this one wasn't perfect but it did lead in nicely to the next book as these books always do. I just hope this one doesn't go on and on and on like Pretty Little Liars. There comes a time when you just need to stop writers.
WHO SHOULD READ: Lying Games TV Show fans, PLL fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five red herrings

Book Review: Crank

TITLE: Crank
Book 1 in the Crank series
AUTHOR: Ellen Hopkins
GENRE: Realistic Fiction, Verse
PREMISE: A story about a girl getting hooked on drugs told through verse.
MY REVIEW: I have learned something with this book: verse fiction is not for me. I suspected it wouldn't be, which is why I've avoided verse books. I'm not a poetry fan. I know some stuff about it, I get what it's trying to accomplish. I just am not into it. Verse being a form of would be logical to assume I wouldn't get into that either. But I try to give things I'm sure I won't like a chance.
To be fair, this is really just a matter of "it's not for me". Hopkins does nothing wrong from what I can see. I can't tell you how good the verses are because again: it's something I know very little about so I am not a good judge of verse quality. For all I know, these are stupendous. Me, I just felt disconnected from the book and therefore couldn't really get into the story being told.
So...this is mostly a matter of "it's not you, author, it's me." If you are into poetry/verse stuff. By all means, give this a try.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of verse fiction
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five verses

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Fall 2013 TBR List

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish

This week: Top Ten Books on Your Fall TBR List (From September 22nd to December 20th.
As always, I narrowed this down to books released during these dates for convenience sake.

1) Circle Reforged: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce-Fall, which means a new Tammy Pierce book! Also it's Circle of Magic. I know I'm in the minority but I actually sort of like Circle of Magic more then Tortall (not that I'm dissing Tortall because I love Alanna and Co. too). Released September 24rth.

2) Lynburn Legacy series Book 2: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan-Unspoken was a favorite of last year. I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. Released September 24rth.

3) Divergent Book 3: Allegiant by Veronica Roth-I may not be as gung ho about Divergent as everyone else but even I am looking forward to the third book. Released October 22nd.

4) Woodcutter Sisters Book 2: Hero by Alethea Kontis-Saturday was the most interesting sister to me in Enchanted. So I'm looking forward to this one. Released October 1rst.

5) The Legion Book 1: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia-Looking forward to Garcia's solo effort. Released October 1rst.

6) Bloodlines Book 4: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead-Oh VA universe. I just can't quit you. Released November 19th.

7) Legend series Book 3: Champion by Marie Lu-Oh Legend series. I'm going to miss you. Released November 7th.

8) Finishing School Book 2: Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger-Always up for a Carriger book and I really love Sophronia and co. Released November 5th.

9) Crewel World Book 2: Altered by Gennifer Albin-I loved Crewel and can't wait to read the sequel. I wish they hadn't changed the covers though. The original one was gorgeous. The new ones are business as usual in YA covers. Released October29th.

10) Iron Fey series: The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa-Another series I just can't quit. Released October 29th.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Review: God Save the Queen

TITLE: God Save the Queen
Book 1 in The Immortal Empire series
AUTHOR: Kate Locke
GENRE: Steampunk, Werewolves, Vampires, Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: In a alternate history where vampires and werewolves rule England and the world is used to the supernatural, Xandra starts poking around when her sister goes missing and winds up with more then she bargained for...
MY REVIEW: So I picked this one on a whim when Amazon had it as one of their daily deals and I'm not sorry I did. As you guys know, I've begun a long love affair with the Steampunk genre (we're very happy together, thanks for asking), and so it's probably not a surprise to most of you that I liked this.
I will admit, Xandra is probably one of those characters readers will either love or hate. She's flawed. She's got prejudices and she admits it and doesn't go out of her way to correct them. Most of my love for this book comes from the great world-building. This is a well thought out steampunk world that is interesting and exciting and I want to spend more time in it. The mystery and twists and turns in it are also some good stuff.
So I give this one a thumbs up. Sure, there's not much originality. A lot of it reminds me of Parasol Protectorate and every other Steampunk mystery series out there. But it's entertaining as hell with a interesting protagonist who makes me want to come back for more.
WHO SHOULD READ: Parasol Protectorate fans, Steampunk fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five goblins

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Book Review: Belle Epoque

TITLE: Belle Epoque
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Ross
PUBLISHED: June 2013
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Drama
PREMISE: A girl gets a job by posing as the non-ugly friend of a debutante to help further the girl's prospects...only the debutante has no idea she was hired to do so by her mother...
MY REVIEW: The thing about Belle Epoque is that it honestly just isn't my thing. It's more interested in the glitz/glamour of this time period and the social scene and the drama. That's fine but I have little patience for it. It has to be really good for me to want to read it. There's a reason I never got into the Luxe series despite it being historical fiction and in one of my favorite time periods. Same with Bright Young Things.
So...this was mostly a case of just not for me. It's wonderfully written, I'll give the author that. In fact, I say she's actually kind of better then Anna Godbersen (author of before mentioned series). I like the messages in it, even if the author kind of hit you over the head with said messages. It boring after awhile and became predictable as well.'s not a horrible debut. I just couldn't get into it. If the author writes other stuff, I may look into it. It'll depend on the plot though.
WHO SHOULD READ: Historical Fiction fans, Luxe fans, Bright Young Things fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five corsets

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Book Review: Infinityglass

TITLE: Infinityglass
Book 3 in the Hourglass Trilogy
AUTHOR: Myra McEntire
PUBLISHED: August 2013
GENRE: Time Travel/Science Fiction, Paranormal
PREMISE: The group has found the Infinityglass: It's a girl named Hallie whom Dune falls in love with.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. This is one of those series that while cheesy, had a lot going for it. But then it's like...nothing happened? Nothing that really turned it into a must read now series anyway. This is more like one of those books you pick up when you want to read a romantic time travel plot and don't care about quality.
Because honestly? This was like the other two books in terms of plot and thus it was predictable. I think that's ultimately why I haven't been able to get into this series as much as everyone else: the books are all basically alike, they just have different couples. It makes for rather boring reading to be honest.
So I'm sorry but I thought this ended with a bit of a whimper instead of a bang. Nothing happened that wasn't really unexpected. In the end I was kind of yawning. Bad sign.
WHO SHOULD READ: Hourglass Trilogy fans, Time Travel plot fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five shrugs because I found myself no longer caring

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

TITLE: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman
PUBLISHED: June 2013
GENRE: Drama, Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: A man returns to his childhood home and remembers a friend he had who showed him a whole new world and helped him fight a monster...
MY REVIEW: As always I have to give a personal bias warning in this review. I love Neil Gaiman's stuff. He is one of those authors who just appeals to me and so it's going to be pretty damn rare that I NOT like anything he does. I think my least liked book of his was Anansi Boys but even that I thought was good so there you go.
This book is no exception to my Gaiman rule. I loved it. It's weird as hell, it's creative, it's thought provoking, and it's wonderfully written. There's something vaguely Studio Ghiblish about this one as well (seriously, how awesome would it be if they had been the ones to get movie rights?). So all of that means this was a awesome book. For me anyway. Due to before mentioned personal bias I can't say for sure everyone would like this. I'm sure there'll be some out there who won't get it or won't like it though.
So another great Gaiman book. If you've loved Gaiman before, I have no doubt you'll love this one as well.
WHO SHOULD READ: Gaiman fans, Studio Ghibli fans, Dark Fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five worms

Book Review: Deviant

TITLE: Deviant
AUTHOR: Helen FitzGerald
PUBLISHED: June 2013
GENRE: Mystery, Science Fiction (of sorts)
PREMISE: A girl gets a new life when she discovers her long lost father and sister and inherits money after her mother dies. But when she arrives, things start spiraling out of control, starting with her sister's death...
MY REVIEW: Deviant was one of those books that you have no idea what to think of it. Because I'm really torn here and judging from the mixed reviews on Goodreads a lot of people are in the same place.
I did love the author's writing. She's good at setting the tone of the book, giving info, and outright storytelling. I liked that this was a somewhat different sort of YA book that wasn't afraid to talk about things like class difference, privilege etc. It was also a interesting idea/twist. My problem lays mostly with the ending. It's very...abrupt. If I knew for sure that this was going to be a series, I'd say it's a good lead in for a sequel. But as far as I know this is a standalone and a standalone that's kind of a anti-climatic ending.
It was a interesting read, I'll give it that. Just a few things kept it from being really great.
WHO SHOULD READ: Um...honestly no clue here. Mystery fans maybe.
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five spray-cans

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top Ten Books I'd Love to See Get Made Into Movies/A TV Show...

This is a weekly Meme Hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This Week: Top Ten Books I'd Like to see Made Into a Movie/TV Show.

1) Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter-Yes, I know this has recently been optioned. but that doesn't mean anything, I'm sorry to say. I'm also weary of them doing a film. I think this is one of those that would work way better as a tv show. Especially considering the severe lack of legit female teen friendship on TV right now (you can find some adult female friendship like Rizzoli and Isles, but teen female friendship? Perish the thought). But probably if it was made for TV, it would be by the CW and I'm positive they would change everything so it's probably just as well.

2) The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray-Has been in development hell for YEARS. This is a travesty. I'm positive it's because it's female driven because this is Hollywood and they run scared every time something that is female heavy comes along (also pretty damn positive this is why we will never get a good Wonder Woman movie or a Wicked movie).

3) The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi-Why on earth this has not been made into a movie I will never know. ;looks at plot that has a girl becoming a sailor to make up for a mistake, zero romance, talk of mutiny that is somewhat justified, talk of sexism, talk of racism, talk of how power corrupts instead of love triangle...; Oh, never mind. I know why.

4) Graceling by Kristin Cashore-Again, I am aware that this has recently been optioned. Again, doesn't always mean anything. I will say this though: Hollywood if you whitewash this, I will be PISSED.

5) The Mediator series by Meg Cabot-Apparently talks of a tv show/movie are on the ground again though. ;crosses fingers and prays it doesn't get screwed up like pretty much all the other Cabot turned into movies projects have gone;

6) Tortall series/Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce-If I had my way, these would be done as a tv show. Like Game of Thrones: each book would be a season.

7) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein-Would never be done of course. It's too female heavy, little romance, and there's torture and a sad ending. If it were done, it would gloss over like...everything. If it were done though, and done right? We would have a Oscar contender on our hands I bet.

8) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake-Would be a awesome spooky movie for October.

9) Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor-Would be visually beautiful movies if nothing else.

10) The Secrets if the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott-These would make for either a awesome action TV show or a movie franchise. I think it would work best as a TV show though because then you'd be able to get all the subplots in there.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Review: Golden Girl

TITLE: Golden Girl
Book 2 in the American Fairy Trilogy
AUTHOR: Sarah Zettel
PUBLISHED: June 2013
GENRE: Historical Fantasy, Faeries
PREMISE: Callie continues to search for her mother along with the help of her friend Jack in 1920s Hollywood...
MY REVIEW: Dust Girl was one of my top underrated books of 2012. I just love this series and the way it plays with historical fact and fantasy. Of course, historical fantasy is one of my favorite genres so that probably helps too.
The sequel went in ways I wasn't expecting and that's a good thing. It's rare nowadays when YA trilogies take different routes. Also, can I just give a shout out to the fact that the author was not afraid to show that Callie was not perfect? Another thing in YA that is rare these days because it seems like authors just are afraid to have flawed main characters, especially if they're female. I understand why of course. Fandom is littered with fans who are harsh on flawed female characters (just look at how the Hunger Games fandom treats Katniss as opposed to how they treat Peeta and Gale). But I personally believe making characters real is more important then creating a character everyone will like. Especially since you can't really make sure everyone will like your character no matter what you do.
So this was good sequel. I can't wait to read book 3.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of Dust Girl, Diviners fans, Historical fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five hollywood starlets

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: September 9th

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week.

Bought at Barnes and Noble:
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)-Yes, I caved and bought the Rowling book. For the record I totally understand why she wrote under a different name and I think she basically proved that there is reader prejudice towards certain authors like herself. Instead of getting angry at her, maybe readers should take a long look at themselves and ask why they never would have read this book if it had been printed under her name even though they enjoyed it just fine when they didn't know it was written by JK Rowling.

Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Book 6: The Enchantress by Michael Scott-Final book! ;sniffs;

Bi-weekly library haul:
Women of the Otherworld series Book 11: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong-I admit it: I skipped books 9 and 10. From what I understand they're basically just one-shots that don't really add anything huge to the story and I was anxious to get to Savannah. Maybe after I finish these, I'll read 9 and 10...

Mercy Thompson series Book 7: Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs-Did I say I was quitting the Mercy series? Yeah, I lied.

Crank series Book 1: Crank by Ellen Hopkins-Finally given Hopkins a shot. I'm not a huge verse/poetry person so I've been avoiding these books since I know it's written in that style. But I thought I'd take the plunge. We'll see how it goes...;eyes book warily;

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay-Giving this one a shot, even though Jay is on and off for me as a writer.

Vampire Queen series Book 2: Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel-Library FINALLY had this.

Lying Games series Book 4: Hide and Seek by Sara Shepard-Trying to get caught up on the series which I like way better then the PLL books.

Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub-Book that apparently goes into what happens AFTER Romeo and Juliet die. Bring it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Book Review: The Nightmare Affair

TITLE: The Nightmare Affair
Book 1 in the Arkwell Academy series
AUTHOR: Mindee Arnett
PUBLISHED: March 2013
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Mystery
SUMMARY: Dusty is a Nightmare: a being who feeds on dreams which can be drag to say the least. Her life gets extremely difficult when she not only reveals herself to the hottest boy at her old school but also gets involved in solving a murder.
MY REVIEW: Here's the thing: there are certain tropes that I'm going to enjoy no matter what. Yes, I am admitting I have bias. Really, all of us readers have preferences about what we like if we're really honest with ourselves. Magic boarding school story where sassy girl gets into solving a murder while having snarky in-denial feelings for hot guy? That's one of those tropes I'm gonna read no matter what. There's a reason I love Mythos Academy so much.
So the fact that I enjoyed the hell out of this should be taken with a grain of salt. Because this just has all those things that I kind of love. It would have had to be really really bad for me to dislike it. I will admit, it's not the most original (hell, take out a few things and it's almost exactly like Mythos Academy). There were a few things in it that made me roll my eyes (the mean popular girl I could have done without for instance). Some things in it are predictable but it's a fun read nonetheless.
So I loved it. But I admit, there'a personal reader preference going on, on my part. So I would check it out of the library first.
WHO SHOULD READ: Mythos Academy fans, teen sleuth fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five snarky relationships

Book Review: Enchanted

TITLE: Enchanted
Book 1 in the Woodcutter series
AUTHOR: Alethea Kontis
GENRE: Fairy-tale retellings/mash-up, fantasy
PREMISE: Sunday is from a family full of girls who live charmed lives (literally, they're charmed by their fairy godmother). One day in the forest she meets a frog and falls in love....
MY REVIEW: Fairy-tale mash-ups can be a bit hit or miss with me. Sometimes they can be like Once Upon a Time and draw you in by giving great twists that make you think about the original tale in a new light (god, I am so excited about season 3 you guys! You have no idea. Actually if you visit my tumblr, you'd probably get some...). But other times...they can be a mess. To put it nicely. This is one of the pleasant times where it was fun.
The way Kontis chose to do these tales is clever and I love her slightly Terry Pratchett way of telling the story. Of course like all retellings, we get some idea of how it's going to end but the ride is fun, and I enjoyed seeing the twists on tales that she incorporated.
I can't give too many points for creativity because well, retelling. But if you're in the mood for fantasy-like retelllings to tide you over till the next Lunar Chronicles book (February is way too far away) or season 3 of Once Upon a Time, this totally fits the bill.
WHO SHOULD READ: Once Upon a Time Fans, Lunar Chronicles fans, fantasy fans, retelling fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five golden balls

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Be Required Reading

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week we got two choices: Books that you'd pair with a classic or books that should be required reading (or you could do a mixture of both). I chose required reading because I have lot of feelings about required reading in schools. I won't get into those feelings because this post would get way too long. Just know I have a bunch of issues about the required reading list, the way teachers treat it, the way students treat it, and the nonsense that comes up about them (like parents whining about how a certain book is too much for their precious spawn to handle even though precious spawn has probably seen a lot worse on tv).

So here I my picks for books that should be required reading:

1) The Diary of Anne Frank-This one does pop up on a lot of lists for some schools but it is not like say Great Gatsby or Romeo and Juliet which are pretty much reads you can bet everyone will read in English. I actually read this one on my own because I went to Auschwitz one summer on a Europe trip. Otherwise, I likely never would have given the book a look because none of my teachers had the book on their list. I had one teacher in HISTORY class suggest it because we were talking about World War II at the time. But never in English class.

2) A Handmaiden's Tale by Margeret Atwood-Considering how popular dystopians are in YA nowadays I think teens would benefit from reading some of the early dystopians (I also would rec 1984 or Clockwork Orange). Plus, it's a good book to open up discussion for many topics from oppression (because sometimes I don't think people actually get what oppression is nowadays) to sexism (ditto ;looks at Mens Right Activists and sighs;)

3) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson-Really, everyone should read this. Not just teens. But considering how much date rape happens in high school...yeah, it's a thing that should be read and that people need to discuss.

4) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher-This is one of those books that is just good for opening up discussion about bullying/teen suicide (both things that actually effect a lot of teens)

5) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak-Honestly, it's just plain good. And again: good for opening up lots of discussion.

6) The Brothers Grimm FairyTales-I think everyone should read the original fairy tales. If only so people understand that they actually weren't childish at all. Seriously, have you guys read the original Snow White? Disney left out some gruesome stuff. Would also do Hans Christian Anderson.

7) If I Stay by Gayle Foreman-Good book for discussion about life and death. Again, something that effects teens whether we like it or not.

8) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams-Why is humor fiction NEVER taught in English? It should be. Parody/humor meta books are big part of our pop culture. Just because it's humorous doesn't make it any less important then the tragedies. Also you can do Much Ado About Nothing if you want classic humor. Personally I was always more of a fan of Shakespeare's comedies then his tragedies but hardly anyone teaches the comedies. Have you read Two Men From Verona? That's some funny stuff.

9) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings/or others by Maya Angelou-Would do this mostly for seniors/juniors because of maturity level needed to read her stuff (it can get heavy). But people should read it.

10) The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne-Like Anne Frank, you can probably find this on a random list or two but it's not a automatically going to be read in high school book. I actually read it for a school project that had nothing to do with English class. Good book for opening discussion up about stuff like slut shaming. Don't even try to tell me teens don't know anything about slut shaming.

Some other classics that aren't required reading in every school but totally should be: Fahrenheit 451 (actually BANNED in some schools)
Jane Austen-Can you believe none of my teachers ever did Jane Austen? Or Jane Eyre? Or Wuthering Heights? Or Frankenstein (which freaking started Science Fiction)? Female classic authors are almost always ignored in high school English class. This annoys me. A lot.
Peter Pan/Alice in Wonderland-Why do fantasy classics never get taught in schools? This is SO ANNOYING as someone who loves fantasy. People will teach Harry Potter before they teach these. What the frak?
To Kill a Mockingbird-Again, read on my own. Was never on any school list.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Book Review: Black City

TITLE: Black City
Book 1 in the Black City series
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Richards
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance, Vampires
PREMISE: Natalie and Ash do the unthinkable: they fall in love even though she is human and he is a darkling...
MY REVIEW: Apologies for my absence last week. I had a heavy work schedule again and it cut into reading time a lot so I didn't have any books to review. Good news is though, it looks like my work load is getting back to normal next week so hopefully I won't be neglecting this blog as much.
So Black City was one of those books from last year that I made a note of but didn't really go out of my way to read. Part of it was honestly I wasn't very interested in the idea. Romeo and Juliet stories are a dime a dozen in YA and honestly the summary made it sound pretty cheesy. But people kept giving it good reviews so I thought I'd check it out. I was pleasantly surprised. I won't lie to you: it IS cheesy. But it's sort of well done cheese? To me there are three levels of cheesy in entertainment. There's the bad cheese: stuff that tries so hard that it just misses the mark entirely and comes off as a unintentional parody (aka Twilight). There's the medium cheese: which is stuff that tends to be self aware and makes in jokes but in the end doesn't really care about quality as long as it entertains (aka Mortal Instruments, anything on SyFy). Then there is good cheese: the stuff that uses its cheese to do meta commentary (aka Star Trek). Black City falls somewhere around medium cheese but does have moments where it goes into good cheese. The romance stuff is business as usual but the world building/plot are some pretty entertaining stuff and there are some good character things going on here and I love Richard's writing.
So this one was a pleasant surprise. There is way more going on in this series then the summary (and cover/packaging) would suggest.
WHO SHOULD READ: Immortal Rules fans, vampire fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five surprise reads