September Reading List

September is here! I’m going back to school, in a flurry of moving boxes and new eraser smell and tears over how much my textbooks cost. There are so many books I’d rather buy. It’s fine, though. I’m over it.

My reading (and writing) might slow down a bit, but I’m still feeling pretty ambitious. There are several books on my TBR pile that I’m ready to tackle once and for all, and of course there will always be random books that I pick up. I’ve got several books on hold through my online library system (if you’re not connected to yours, definitely check it out!), and my birthday was in August, which means I have some gift cards to spend. *devilish smile*

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Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel BeautyI’ve read a couple of Beauty and the Beast retellings, but Cruel Beauty still manages to stand out. I’m a big Greek/Roman mythology nerd, so that aspect of the book really appealed to me. The basic premise is this: Nyx’s father bargained with the Gentle Lord, the prince of demons, so that he and his wife could have two daughters. The price was one of his daughters once she turned seventeen. Nyx’s father accepted.

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Kickbutt Heroines Who Actually Kick Butt

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a few annoying trends for female characters, specifically in YA. One is the whole “tougher than the boys” character. She fights, she swears, she’s probably got the lockdown on her emotions. But hey, what did you expect from a tough girl? The problem here is that being more traditionally masculine doesn’t make you strong. Femininity isn’t weak. But that’s not what I really want to write about today, so if you’re interested in that, check out this awesome blog post from Kaitlin over at Ink and Quills.

Today, I’m focusing on the problematic other side to these characters. They’re so painted as strong and competent, but when it comes down to the wire, they end up needing to be saved.

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Review: Serafina and the Black Cloak, by Robert Beatty

SerafinaSerafina lives in the basement of the Biltmore with her Pa, who keeps the Biltmore’s machines up and running. Her entire existence is a secret from the “folks upstairs”, for fear they’ll be thrown out if anyone found out. It’s not so bad, though: Serafina naps all day in the sunshine, then prowls the halls at night as the Biltmore’s Chief Rat Catcher. One night, though, she witnesses a sinister man in a black cloak snatch away a young girl. Desperate to know who he is, and to prevent future disappearances, Serafina teams up with Braeden Vanderbilt (one of the aforementioned “folks upstairs”) to track down and stop the man in the black cloak.

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Bruiser, by Neal Shusterman, and Sharing the Pain

BruiserA few days ago I read a book called Bruiser, by Neal Shusterman. The main character, a boy named Brewster, has the involuntary ability to take others’ injuries and pain onto himself… including their emotional pain. (Bruiser, get it??) As if absorbing everybody’s skinned knuckles and twisted ankles wasn’t enough, Brewster also takes on their rage, their grief, their worry. But there’s a defense mechanism: Brewster only absorbs people’s pain if he cares about them. The story follows Brewster as he meets twins Brontë and Tennyson, and begins to let both of them into his heart. Life is suddenly richer and fuller, but also more difficult and more painful.

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6 Fantastic Fairy Tale Retellings

In 1909, G.K. Chesterton wrote “Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.”

It’s 2016 now, and it’s pretty clear from the recent wave of fairy tale retellings that they’re still resonating with people: there’s still some magic left out there. Fairy tales combine a clear sense of good and evil with a (usually) happy ending, even if it can be pretty grisly (I’m lookin’ at you, Brothers Grimm). Continue reading “6 Fantastic Fairy Tale Retellings”

Review: Memories of Ash, by Intisar Khanani

Memories of AshI received an early review copy from the author in return for an honest review. This has not in any way influenced my review.

I’m thrilled to be reviewing an advance copy of Memories of Ash! I love Intisar Khanani’s writing so much: I feel like she’s someone similar to me, who got fed up with the clichés and stereotypes plaguing YA. So she up and wrote the book she (we) wanted to read.

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Review: Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville

Perdido Street StationOne of the most astonishing books I’ve ever read, with so much I loved, and a few things that I hated. The worldbuilding was incredible: women with beetles for heads, where the males of the species are just mindless bugs; monsters that steal memories and whose dung allows people to relive those memories; desert bird-people whose only crime is stealing another’s choice; a gigantic, powerful spider who collects scissors… I’m in awe of Miéville. He’s my new writing hero.

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