So Meg, how does it feel to write a post you intended to publish in the last week of February a month late? HORRIBLE! Though most of my plans for this blog go up in smoke more often than not, this resolution was one I had been doing hot with up until this point when I totally blew it in an air of procrastination and writer’s block. Obviously I did eventually clear my head and put my thoughts on the paper, but at this point many of these books have already been read by people with much stronger skills in time management. If you’re interested though in seeing the list of six books I spent nearly thirty days of my life curating, read on! They’re all books I am somewhat interested in, and that I think readers of this blog would be persuaded to check out on a rainy day. On the bright side though…if you like this type of post I have my March edition coming out in a matter of mere days!
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Back in October I read the first book in this trilogy, Red Queen, to mixed results. On the one hand I couldn’t stand main character Mare, and found the plot to borrow too many aspects from other successful dystopians. But then I really enjoyed the last hundred pages with the edge-of-your-seat action and strong story arc involving a supporting character, leaving me curious to see if Aveyard can continue the momentum into Glass Sword. Though it has received strong reviews on Goodreads/Amazon/etc. they’ve largely been written by people who enjoyed the previous installment, which doesn’t tell me if any naysayers like yours truly were converted to fandom. As always I hate to miss out on any books hot in the young adult community, but I’ll probably feel like I stuck my hand intentionally in the mouth of the lion (???) just so I could write a snarky review when I almost inevitably wind up hating it. Do you guys ever feel this way when it comes to series? If so, did you throw caution to the wind and read the book anyways?
The Word for Yes by Claire Needell
This contemporary by HarperTeen is meant to pull at your heartstrings, examining the complex relationships between sisters. Though the dust jacket description is very vague; three very different girls, divided by their parents divorce, further estranged by a mystery shrouded contemporary, who then must work their way back together, my excitement is only further piqued by just how “blank canvas” the book is. Claire Needell could quite literally write the events any way she pleases, and I would be none the wiser. Furthermore, sister dynamics are very much the forgotten child of relationships with all types of romance being featured in young adult, along with platonic friends and even brother/brother pairings. It’s about time blood besties get some page time! I’m in a bit of a realistic fiction slump right now, with my last few being rather lackluster, so The Word for Yes may be exactly what I need to reinvigorate my interest for spring and summer.
Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
As anyone who’s ever been to the young adult section of the bookstore knows, fairytale retellings have been white hot for the last few years; with Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Arabian Nights being some favorite fodder for authors. So why would it be so farfetched as to tell an origin story (a prequel of sorts explaining the beginnings of a famous character/person), and especially one of such infamous notoriety as Blackbeard? As you may have guessed from the title, Nicole Castroman debut Blackhearts is all about the love story between former British nobleman Edward Drummond (who would eventually become history’s most epic sea crusader) and penniless maid Anne Barrett. I’ve never read a book even remotely like this, so hats off for ingenuity, and I’m in the mood for what is almost undoubtedly a tragic romance where nothing goes the way I want. Excellent reviews, exciting subject, sign me up!
Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky
I’m right in the midst of reading queen of satire Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, and let me just say I cannot put it down! So in that vein I’ve been looking for a quirky and lighthearted new release that pokes fun at a similar subject as consumerism, feminism, etc. That’s when I found Goldy Moldavsky debut Kill the Boy Band about, well, killing a boy band. Not that ringleader Erin intended for things to go that far, but in an effort to get close to the One Direction-esque band The Rupert’s the four friends maybe end up kidnapping a member. Is that not the most hilarious premise ever? I’d imagine a reader has to be in a very specific mood for this story to tickle all the right funny bones (it definitely sounds dark, and satirical, and kind of a little sadistic), but seeing as that’s exactly the kind of storytelling I’m into=my dream book. Not only is it being laureled as hilarious, but as having a lot of heart too while breaking stereotypes and waxing poetic on the up’s/down’s of high school life. A girl can only hope she’ll end up fangirling on a book about fangirls, right?
First Life by Gena Showalter
Reading truly is an ever changing cycle. For two years following The Hunger Games it seemed like all I checked out was young adult dystopian. Following the natural burn out that arises from such utter devotion, I went on a contemporary craze where every other book featured a sick teen or quirky hipster. Well, I can officially say I’ve broken out of both cycles (for now at least), and am attempting a healthy mixture of both by potentially picking up the post-apocalyptic/science fiction/ fantasy First Life by Gena Showalter. This first in a new series by the author that brought us the uber-cool Alice in Zombieland series follows Tenley Lockwood as she is caught in a game of cat and mouse by two “corporations” attempting to lure her into their realms of the afterlife. This chase, far fetched as it may be, is the core for a world where your first life is only in preparation for the decision of where you’ll reside for the rest of eternity. An intriguing idea I think, with a lot of room to grow in a market over-sodden by books with essentially the same premise.
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
After reading so many less than spectacular reviews on my 2015 superhero nod, Zeroes, I’m really in need of a new spin on supernatural extants to satisfy my cravings. Here’s hoping though that this mutant hybrid of Jane Austen regency and the X-Men adds a unique flavor to a genre increasingly bland compared to the TV offerings (gasp!). Could it be the next Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? While that certainly remains to be seen, I would say it could definitely hold its own as a contender in the running. I’m even willing to excuse the atrociously bland cover in favor of reading the content inside, a first for me. Though it does have hints at a love triangle involving two brooding bad boys, I think Evelyn has the potential to wield some serious street cred with knife throwing, and martial arts fighting inspired by Etiquette and Espionage. While two authors spinning a genre bending tale may not always be the easiest thing in the world to pull off in a debut, I’m confident in These Vicious Masks ability to tie it altogether.
Once again, I’m sorry this is so late, but better a month past than never, right? In any case I’ve already started on my March edition of this in the vein of punctuality, so stay tuned for THAT in the coming week. I’d also love to hear about any great February releases you would recommend and/ or are anticipating reading.
-Keep Calm and Read On