It’s Monday: what are you reading?

Goodreads blurb: Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

I totally ignored this one when it came out a while ago in 2017, but now that I am on a spree to check out all overhyped books, particular YA, I decided to give it a chance. It’s not bad at all and I am enjoying the fact that it’s written in two voices, which adds an extra dimension to the story. Ashely Poston is a very capable writer who is so in touch with geek culture, and I might end up giving this book more than three stars

If classic fantasy retellings are your cup of tea and you haven’t checked this one yet, I would urge you to give it a try.

Throwback Thursday

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle.

I just decided to check out this Sci-fi classic that I read years ago during my formative years. Written circa 1960, it’s truly a beloved masterpiece that has stood the test of time.

Meg, the teen daughter of two scientists, goes together with her brother Charles Wallace, and another teenaged neighbor of hers, Calvin O’Keefe, on an unexpected space adventure that comes courtesy of the three W’s: Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit—what a strange way to name characters.

I loved this Middle Grade novel when I recently re-read it, almost just as much as I did when I encountered it the first time around. It’s a fast read with lots of thrills, even though it’s light and targeted at much younger readers. Even so I didn’t regret picking it up at all.

How about you? Did you ever read this one?

Cover Love Friday

COVER LOVE FRIDAY

Hello there, lovelies. Today is my turn to participate in this weekly meme termed Cover Love Fridays. It’s a feature that allows us to judge a book simply by its cover, even though there’s this age-old rule that cautions us against doing just that. My reason for taking part is that Cover Love simply allows us to celebrate the stellar work done by graphics designers worldwide, as they work diligently to bring an author’s ideas to life in the form of a thought-provoking or alluring cover.

My entry today is Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead, a second in series novel I’m currently checking out.

It concerns a down-trodden girl who has signed up to be transported abroad and married off to any wealthy suitor willing to pay the involved hefty fee—and then the girl can live her life happily or sadly as a trophy wife. Does our Girl, Mira, rush to get into the arms of some boring old man? No, not by any chance. Mira has found love for herself and is working hard to flip the system on its head.

My comment: This cover, friends, is awesomely pretty and it swept me off my feet. I maybe a sucker for fine-looking girls but you have to admit this model is the definition of gorgeous. The flowery background contrasts well with her skin, and well, what more could you ask for? Overall, a five-star piece.

First Lines Friday

I have never participated in this weekly feature before, but after noticing several bloggers take part, I thought to give it a go. The feature, hosted by @Wandering Words, revolves around giving away only the first few lines of a novel and then letting readers guess the title, plus of course the author. The little game, I suppose, is most relevant to those readers who read a lot among several genres, and it tests their ability to remember the first chapter of their past reads.

That said, here goes mine for this week.

WHEN WE GOT THE LETTER in the post, my mother was ecstatic. She had already decided that all our problems were solved, gone forever. The big hitch in her brilliant plan was me. I didn’t think I was a particularly disobedient daughter, but this was where I drew the line.

I didn’t want to be royalty. And I didn’t want to be a One…

The answer is THE SELECTION by Kierra Cass,

A novel I read only last week and found it quite entertaining even though the prose wasn’t as polished. A full review is on it’s way. Just watch this space.

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday

 

 

I’m glad to say it’s my first time to participate in this amazing feature, and I probably will continue to do so—because we all love old things, don’t we?

Let me kick off this week with The Death Cure, by James Dashner, the third installment in his amazing Maze Runner series

I have been meaning to read this final book of the Maze Runner saga for years but then never had the time for it, as I got swamped in other things. But now that I have gotten to, I am getting mixed feelings. I loved the first two books but that was years ago even before the movies came out, but now I’m sad to say the third one isn’t living up to the hype.

The Death Cure starts with the M/C Thomas holed up in some prison-like white room, trying to recall the events that led him to be there. The cure for the Flare, the deadly virus that leads to all the experimenting with humans that’s the subject of this novel series, is yet to be found, but Thomas is told by his informer that salvation is near, and what’s left is just a little more simulation and then the ordeal will be over.

A novel in which terrible things are done to children for the sake of saving the greater society might make for an engaging read, but I think by the time the story gets to The Death Cure the power of this plot gimmick has waned considerably. I found it difficult to stay interested in what WICKED was trying to achieve, or feel any connection with what the main characters were striving for.

 

James Dashner is a great writer however, and his prose is up there with the very best and even though I wasn’t too taken with this one, I will always seriously consider any new works he may publish.

What I am reading now. 

 

It hasn’t been my practice to say something about a book before I finish reading it, but here is a brief review of The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead, a historical romance and adventure novel that has won quite some readership in the almost four years since it’s been published. It’s sold as fantasy but I insist it’s a historical romance.

 

The story concerns a lead character named Adelaide, a countess of Osfrid whose family has lost its fortune and she is in danger of leading an impoverished lifestyle unless she can marry well. In the novel’s beginning, Adelaide—apparently not her real name—has an arranged marriage hanging over her head, but before this is consummated, she must make a daring escape to join the Glittering Court, a finishing school for poor uneducated girls seeking to find husbands among successful men abroad. That’s how Adelaide ends up being shown off to potential suitors whom she has zero interest in—while her heart surprisingly is with someone who has always been very close by.

 

Gosh, I must say I am finding this quite a compelling read and will most likely continue with the series. Mead paints a picture of a highborn girl who has had a bit of misfortune but never gives up the fight to make things go her way rather than simply resign to fate. I am invested not only in the story of Adelaide but also of the other girls who are struggling for a better life alongside her. I already gave the book four stars on Goodreads and that’s not likely to change.

Coming to You: A Prequel to The Hunger Games

The fever has begun to build in advance of the anticipated release of this prequel to the Hunger Games in May this year. Suzanne Collins returns to the world of Panem to chronicle the events of the 10th edition of the games, which happen at least 64 years before Katniss’s. The M/C of this divisive prequel is Coriolanus Snow himself, the much hated villain of the Hunger Games books. Snow—probably having emerged winner the previous year, although there is no details of this yet—is now up to mentoring other contestants, specifically a girl from District 12. Do you like the idea—Suzanne hopes you do.

The general feeling among early reviewers though, at least according to what I have glimpsed, is that fans are not impressed by this choice of lead, and I tend to agree with them. Taking such a dastard human rights abuser like Snow and making him into a lovable hero has to be one of the most ludicrous decisions in the history of novel writing or in this case prequel writing. Coriolanus dies a defeated man at the end of the main series, and there is not an ounce of sympathy anyone felt for him. Suzanne should have left him dead and buried and not try to resurrect him while giving him a veneer of respectability.

I haven’t read an actual copy of this myself, but dare I say it will take a lot of deft maneuvering to pull of a twist like this. Otherwise the whole thing is going to fall flat and seem just a pointless, if not actually a very greedy money-grab. Not that it’s bad for authors to profit from their works, but fans deserve a decent, well-conceived product.

Now how about you guys, what do you think? Are you impressed by this latest effort of Collins and her publishers? Are you going to rush to stores when the book finally comes out in May? Me, uh, I’ll just wait and see.

Moon Over Manifest- by Clare Vanderpool

This little darling of a book, like usual, wasn’t recommended to me by anyone as I am not into the habit of asking for recs. I am pretty satisfied with the way I discover new authors and that’s to scour the internet looking for books similar to what I have previously enjoyed. Which is how I ended up stumbling on Clare Vanderpool’s Moon Over Manifest.

Clare is actually an award winning author and it kind of surprised me that I had never heard of her, which goes to show how hard it is for even good authors to get meaningful publicity these days.

Moon Over Manifest is a crossover YA novel narrated mainly through the eyes of twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker, who has been sent by her father to Manifest, a Kansas town, to live with an old buddy of his. While there, Abilene discovers a treasure trove of cryptic notes and mementos, which lead her on a chase to discover the real identity of the Rattler, a supposed first-world-war spy.

Several other points of view in addition to Abilene’s are used, and the book switches between scenes taking place in the war years 1917-18 and the book’s present, 1937.

My review: I gave this novel five stars on Goodreads. Abilene, young as she is, is a compelling and sympathetic narrator who does things very few other kids of her age would. Together with her sidekicks, Lettie and Ruthanne whom she has just befriended, she ends up solving an age old mystery that would otherwise have lain hidden for eternity.

Clare’s prose is impeccable and the way she weaves between events in different time periods is nothing short of amazing. You have to read this to find out for yourself.

The Giver- by Lois Lowry

Over the holidays I was able to re-read and finish The Giver, a very successful middle grade novel by Lois Lowry. Hardly needing much of an introduction, the story concerns a young MC named Jonas, who lives in a relatively dystopian society. The society assigns roles to its members at the early age of twelve, and Jonas is given the unique role of becoming the Receiver of society’s memories. This is not an easy role, needless to say, and he struggles at it.

I ended up giving this book a three on Goodreads, because even though I liked it a lot long ago, sadly this time around it didn’t impress me much. The society’s ordered ways were too stifling to allow Jonas to develop into an interesting lead character. Everything was just so programmed, forcing adults to behave in predictable ways in a world in which there is no emotion or color. A romance is hinted at but never developed, at least in this first installment. It all resulted in me not developing any connection with the story’s main events or characters, hence my overall disappointment.

However this is not to say The Giver is a bad book. It is actually entertaining and imaginative in ways, and my lackluster response to it may be due to the fact that I read the book with too much of an adult mindset. Also because it was a nostalgic read, I may have gone into it with too many expectations that sadly were not fulfilled. The book is truly written for a youthful audience, and I imagine that young readers will respond favorably to Jonas’s bleak world, and his anxieties regarding being assigned a lifelong duty at a very young age. This probably is what underlies the book’s success.

If there are any readers on here who have kids going into their teens, try it and see. It may turn out to be a good book to introduce them to the dystopian sub-genre.

I’m Not Dying With You

A collaboration from two female authors. This YA contemporary novel from Gilly Segal and Kimberley Jones features two teens, one black, the other white, who hardly know each other well in the beginning, but then get sucked into violence which starts at their school and ends up in the city streets.

Although this unusual YA story that is told from two different perspectives explores some topical issues that are worth paying attention to, I felt it didn’t hit all the right spots. It felt rushed in some areas, whereas in others it felt too convenient, like the authors just came up with this quick story idea because they had a subject they wanted explored at all costs.

Lena, the black girl is the cool stylish one, madly in love with a rapper who in many ways doesn’t show like he shares the same deep feelings with her. Many times over, she just seems like an afterthought. Campbell, the white half of the novel seems like the more grounded one. She is new to town, living with her divorced father after her mother has been forced by circumstances to accept a job outside the country.

I listened to the audio version of this book and the two voices did come out distinctly enough. The story’s two sides mesh quite well and subtle comparisons are made between the problems that black youths face and those that whites do. The idea was a good almost political one, but somehow the plot still didn’t rise to the great level that I expected.

It’s a three-star rating for me. If you have read this one tell me what you think.