November 10, 2018

I Have Been Betrayed | Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns

By Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns #1
Published on September 20, 2016
398 Pages
Young Adult, Fantasy

When kingdom come, there will be one.
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.

October 30, 2018

Halloween Books for my Fellow Scaredy-Cats

I am the first to admit that I am a coward. I don't do horror movies, haunted houses, scary costumes, or anything that will involve a jump scare. When it comes to horror, I am screaming mess who reacts to every little scare (sometimes things that aren't even meant to be scary).

Due to my sensitivity to spookiness, I always feel left out during the Halloween season. After the age of 12, it is so longer acceptable to wear cute costumes and content yourself with candy. Instead, you are meant to dive headfirst into a world of horror, blood, and guts-- a world I was not meant for. For the past couple of years, I have been searching for the common ground between scaring myself senseless and just sitting on my couch alone, eating candy while watching rom-coms.

So, in the spirit of being a scaredy-cat who still wants to enjoy Halloween, I am going to list some of my favorite Halloween inspired books to help you enjoy the season even if it scares the dickens out of you.

October 23, 2018

Moral Ambiguity is my Cup of Tea | My Favorite Anti-Heroes and Gray Villains

My favorite villains are the ones who may not be evil. I love a good villain who can convince me that they are the hero of their own story. I love conflict between right and wrong that doesn't have a clear answer, as the line between good and bad is rarely clear in the real world either.

In short, I like it when villains make me think. They need to have a good backstory. They might even be masquerading as heroes. Sometimes a main character is neither unequivocally good or bad, and I think that the gray area in between is the most interesting. I am interested in where the lines meet, when a character is not necessarily a hero but doesn't exactly fit the bill of a villain either.

Authors who can make me love a villain or root for an unlikeable anti-hero have clearly mastered the art of the character. Here's a list of my current favorite complicated villains and morally ambiguous heroes (and heroines!).

October 20, 2018

When Murder Disappoints | Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious
By Maureen Johnson
Truly Devious #1
Published on January 18, 2018
416 Pages
Young Adult, Mystery

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. "A place" he said, "where learning is a game."Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

October 12, 2018

The Beauty of Ridiculousness | Takeaways from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

5 Takeaways is a feature designed to exalt books that deserve more than just a review. You can see the other posts in this feature here. 

This feature is specifically for books when I decide that a review was kind of pointless. Almost everyone knows about the book and you don't need another person screaming at you to read this book (no matter how amazing it is). It is a given that my review would never do it justice. Instead of convincing you to read it, I want to discuss what I got out of it besides a five-star review.

The Hitchhiker's Guide is a renowned classic on multiple levels, but not on the dusty old level of Shakespeare and Dickens (which I say with the most love possible, as an English major). It is a cult classic that has greatly influenced science fiction, including one of my favorite shows of all time, Doctor Who. Even though it isn't an academic classic, there are still a bunch of takeaways worth discussing (in a fun way, not in an English class way, I promise).