Saturday, April 26, 2014
Author: Kami Garcia
Summary: Ilana would love nothing more than to leave the carny life and her role as a "fortune teller" behind, but what if she's not quite the fraud she thought she was?
Thoughts: Oh this one was creepy! Kami Garcia has a gift for taking something ordinary, finding the nightmare inside, and twisting it in a way that is both realistic and fantastic. There's so much here she could build on to do a much longer story if she wanted to (and part of me wishes she would!), but this short story was wonderfully written, plotted, and paced.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Summary: Corvina, the bastard daughter of the king, loves her half-sister Princess Lucia more than anyone in the world, so when Lucia falls ill, Corvina leaves the castle for the first time seeking the Fabled Cup to restore her.
Thoughts: When I first thumbed through this story, I was a bit apprehensive due to it's length - 40 pages? But as it turns out, I quickly fell into this fantasy and would have loved it to be longer! Corvina before, during, and after her quest takes readers through a wide range of emotions. While I've read two of Mitchell's historical novels which contain fantastical elements, this was much more like a traditional fantasy with a heroine who I was rooting for harder than ever because she's the only one who didn't know what she was capable of. Loved this story!
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Author: Matt de la Pena
Summary: When Joanna gets an ominous fortune cookie on her sixteenth birthday that "The Hour Has Finally Arrived," she braces herself for the worst.
Thoughts: One of the reasons I enjoy short story anthologies so much is that they are a fast way to get to know authors whose work I've never read before, like a sample platter. This is my first time reading anything by Matt de la Pena and I really enjoyed this fast paced story. While I guessed early on where it was going, it didn't end up exactly like I expected and it actually leaves a lot open to the reader. Hopefully I'll be able to check out one of his many novels sooner rather than later.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Cath's freshman year of college is off to a rocky start before she even gets to campus. She's a girl who doesn't do so well with change, but that's all that's happening lately. First her identical twin sister Wren doesn't want to live with Cath at school, so her new roommate is a surly girl whose boyfriend is always with her. Then there's her writing professor who doesn't like fanfiction, which is something Cath can't even comprehend. She may not be great with people in real life, but she's sort-of Internet famous for the Simon Snow fan fic she writes, and with the final book in the series coming out next year, Cath is racing to finish her own spin-off first. Plus there's Dad, home all alone so of course Cath worries. Can Cath give up all the things she's comfortable with and knows? And does she even want to?
This is one of the most perfect books I think I've ever read especially in terms of having a story that is an honest, realistic portrayal of a freshman year at college. I see so much of myself in Cath that my heart ached. Roommate issues. Going to the same college as her sibling. Trying to find a place in her major. Being on her own for the first time. So many of the highs and lows typical of a college experience are here and I completely loved that.
Rowell has a gift for turning phrases and guiding her readers through the wide range of emotions that Cath comes to face over the course of 10 months. This is a relationship book in lot of ways, both romatically and platonically. Cath's relationships with her dad, mom, sister, and friends all get their turn in the spotlight in addtion to her first romantic love. What unfolds between her and Levi takes its time and made me swoon with the force of these shy but powerful Feels, and what was great is that readers got to see their relationship. Not just a first kiss at the end of a story, but seeing these two people grow and work together and fall first into like, then into love.
Plus I feel like I can connect with this story on a slightly different level because I'm a part of the Harry Potter generation, growing up with that series like Cath does Simon Snow. The last book came out in June 2007, a month after I survived my freshman year of college.
I can't remember the last time I was torn between being happy I was flying through an incredible book while at the same time trying to force myself to slow down because I didn't want it to end. (Actually, it was probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.) So thanks, Rainbow, for painting an a true-to-life portrait of us fangirls, college, and the growing pains that can actually make us stronger. You can bet I'll be buying a copy of this one - it's one of those books I'll probably never shut up about and the only reason I didn't read it sooner is because my students always had it checked out :)
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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Saturday, April 5, 2014
Author: Heather Brewer
Summary: Most residents of the gray town of Misery are happy to get their annual Gift from the local pychic, but this year Alek is apprehensive and it turns out he may have good reason to be.
Thoughts: I had a much better reaction to this story than the previous one in the anthology. The pace clipped along, the world and conflict quickly established, and there was something immediately relatable about the protagonist. I liked how the ending was both definitive as well as open ended - it's a difficult thing to pull off, but Brewer did it well and I think I actually prefer this over some of her novels.