2020 has been a very bad year pretty much on all fronts, and the ongoing lockdowns have severely curtailed our social lives, but if there is any silver lining to this horrendous situation, it’s that the stay-at-home orders have vastly increased the amounts of time we have for reading. Personally I can say I have completed more than fourteen books already, and that’s a feat, given that I’m not such a fast reader, and my lack for time, particularly when things are normal, is legendary. Audio books have offered help to an extent, in that I can listen while driving—mostly—but these days having nowhere to go during my off days has greatly given me the time to hold on to a physical book and indulge in one of my favorite pastimes.
Of late I’ve been checking out a lot of YA—used to totally ignore it—and I’ve since discovered some of the stories do really pack a punch and should not be dismissed out of hand. My eyes have therefore been open to take a peek at what’s coming in that genre and one book that has caught my eye, and which I can’t wait to give it a try, is Legendborn by Tracey Deonn, a series actually.
According to Goodreads, Legendborn starts when sixteen-year-old Bree Mathews suffers a loss after her mother dies in an accident, and she must join a residential school—where on her first night she witness a magical attack. And while this attack does not succeed, it has the effect of unlocking Bree’s own magical powers and she will surprisingly learn that her mother’s death is not quite what it seemed.
The book sounds a lot like an Urban Fantasy, and I haven’t read those in a while and so I should enjoy it when I finally get hold of this one. How about you; does this title intrigue you?
Like those who know me well do, I’m not usually drawn to contemporary YA novels, especially of the romance variety, but I just got drawn to this debut from Emma Lord as it was all over Tweeter and that got me wondering. Well, I then picked it up to see what all the noise was about, and got myself very surprised to find that this book is actually quite entertaining. Although the story-line is not exactly outrageously unique, for after all, the story is based on a social media war—of which there’s been quite a smattering of those lately—I found this book to be quite cute and humorous. At the center of it is Pepper Evans, a teenaged perfectionist and daughter of owners of a fast-growing burger chain, and Jack, her classmate, an underrated boy who for most of his life has lived under the shadow of his more popular twin brother.
The two are unwittingly drawn into a Tweeter battle when they take sides in a war of words between their parents’ businesses, the inciting incident being the supposed or actual theft of a grilled cheeseburger recipe by Big League Burgers, on Pepper’s side, belonging to Jack’s grandma. While this warfare is raging on the internet, a romance is developing between Pepper and Jack. A sprinkle of supporting characters add sizzle to this conflict-filled story and you’ll love to see how siblings add unusual twists to this entertaining piece.
Emma’s writing is modern and refreshing and the snarky Tweets she cooked up between her protagonists are quite hilarious. I have already given this book four stars on Goodreads, even though I have yet to finish it.
My TBR pile is sky high at the moment—whose isn’t—big sigh. Two books in particular though seem like they finally might get lucky to be picked, as soon as I’m done with what I’m currently reading.
First on the radar is Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth. This mega-selling author impressed the world, including me, with her Divergent series which, in the YA Dystopian genre, was perhaps only outsold by The Hunger Games. Now I am curious to find out if Roth has lived up to expectations, after her debut effort did that well. Goodreads reviews, though, aren’t particularly great for Chosen Ones, but I remain keen to know for myself how good or bad this story is.
The next one is The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. This title, a prequel to the famous Hunger Games, was one I initially wasn’t too keen on after I learned that it was based off the character of President Snow. I so much couldn’t bring myself to imagine there could be anything good to tell about someone who went to so much lengths to bring grief to other people like that. To the contrary, reviews have been encouraging, and many who have read it say it’s a valid addition to the series, not just the money grab I’d initially suspected it to be. They also say that the book paints another side of Panem that the original Hunger Games didn’t, and that got me sold.
So, I guess we’ll see how things turn out.
This week I would like to feature the three lovely covers of The Handmaid’s Tale, a novel by Margaret Atwood that I have been meaning to read for ages but still haven’t got to. I love dystopian tales and this is one of the classic popular ones that captured quite a sizable audience. It’s success was boosted, too, by the fact that it got adapted into a movie, an opera, and then a TV series. It probably also helped that it was published by one of the most iconic writers of today, one with a long list of decorated works, spanning from short stories, to poetry, and graphic novels.
My preferred cover for this title is the second one, although it probably doesn’t better portray the image of an oppressed woman living in a dystopian period like the other two do. Still I’m loving it! How about you, what do you feel?
Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
Like millions before me, I have decided to give this one a re-read. Published circa 1998, it and it’s companion books are hardly new anymore, though their popularity hasn’t diminished at all over that time. Chamber of Secrets is the second in the series, and being in that position, it carried the unenviable burden of having to move the whole story forward without loss of thrills, or any diminution in entertainment value. That was a feat hard to achieve, coming off the back of the highly-adored Philosopher’s Stone, and had this book failed to deliver, we wouldn’t have had any Harry Potter legend to talk about. Fortunately it actually did sizzle and the success of the HP series is sealed in gold and beyond all debate.
For now in this story, I’m at that stage where the Weasleys dare a huge magical rescue and whisk harry out of his home prison by means of a flying car😊😊
Ever since I’ve put my own writing projects on a hiatus so I can figure out where I want things to go, I have taken to reading fiction a lot, both as digital or audio. To be honest I used to hate audio but have now completely embraced it, since it offers certain flexibilities that can’t be possible with other formats. This is a fact that has been dealt with extensively on many blogs, and I will not bore you with the arguments here.
So far as my choice of genres go, currently I have been dedicating most of my time to checking out those hyped YA books that I totally ignored when they came out. Apart from popular titles like The Hunger Games, Divergent series, Harry Potter and Twilight, I have never been too eager to pick up YA novels but now I’m discovering there’s actually a lot out there, great and not so great. It’s not an easy genre to like if you’re too much into serious plots, but if you’re into easy reading and simple characterization, then it does have something to offer.
Moving on to what I’m currently enjoying, or alternatively enduring, here are two I’m taking in simultaneously.
The Elite: #2 in The Selection Series
I’m listening to the audio version of this. A beautiful though low caste girl has entered a competition to become the bride of a rich, handsome prince.
The Sound of Us. #1 in the Radio Hearts Seies
The first ever novel by famous Geekerella writer Ashley Poston. I only just began reading this and have no idea where the plot will take me, so we’ll see.
If you’re into YA, have already checked out these titles? What do you think about them?
This week I have decided to visit Allegiant, the third book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. It opens with Tris Prior being held in some sort of prison, but a plan is soon hatched to free her together with her comrades. I’m kind of having mixed feelings about this book and so far have found nothing extraordinarily exciting about this story even though I have reached that part where Tris and her co-conspirators have finally managed to escape from the city. It’s supposed to be a major turning point but so far I haven’t had any vibes that something big is around the corner.
I’ll stick around though and find out where it all ends. I didn’t read this book when it came out, so please don’t send me any spoilers.
I like to participate in this feature a lot because it helps us to check how much we remember of those books we have read and loved. The first lines of a novel do quite a bit of heavy lifting—they welcome us into a story, pique our interest, and initiate the whole process that keep us glued to the pages, until before we know it, we have consumed a good amount of a book. And although a story’s ending is usually what sticks in our brains the most, the first lines are what have paved the way to make us get there.
So here’s my installment for this week.
The screw through …..’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another. By the time it was extracted far enough for her to wrench free with her prosthetic steel hand, the hairline threads had been stripped clean…
And here’s the answer: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I haven’t checked this one yet but it’s so high on my TBR list, I won’t be surprised if it’s the next one I pick up, a couple days from now. It received rave reviews on Goodreads, too, so guess I’m going to like it.
How about you. Have you read it, and if so, did you like it?
Credit: First Lines Friday started at Wandering Words, Please head over there and give them some loving.
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.
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?