Classic Readalong Discussion: Hatchet

Classic Readalong Discussion: Hatchet

In the first chapter of Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, 13-year-old Brian is the only passenger in a single engine plane when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. 7000 feet above the wilderness and wildly off course, he eventually crashes into a lake..and must find a way to survive. On his own. Without food or shelter. Believe it or not, the stakes only get higher from there. Let’s begin! (Beware spoilers, as usual.) Wendy: I’m a big fan of survival and naturalistic stories, having loved Sign of the Beaver and The Yearling and Where the Red Fern Grows as a kid. But somehow this one passed me by, so I’m glad Kim suggested it for our classics series. Kim: This was one of the few offerings in my 5th grade classroom’s “library” that actually interested me, and holy hell did little Kim devour it. I like survival fiction because of… Read more »

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The Carnival at Bray: Review

The Carnival at Bray: Review

The Carnival at Bray is the coming of age story of Maggie, a 16 year old American who, in 1994, finds herself suddenly moved to a remote Irish town. Is 1994 historical? I would say more yes than no. The time is sufficiently removed from ours with the biggest difference being that Maggie doesn’t have the luxury of Skype, Facebook, and all the modern conveniences of connection. Her isolation from her old life is near complete. An ocean removed from her family, it’s a void that she spends the book looking to fill. Being a teenager is often tough at the best of times. When you’ve been completely removed from everything you know this only becomes that much harder. Bray is the sort of misty, coastal Irish town that could drown you in its dreary isolation and Maggie feels it keenly. She makes a few attempts at friendships with classmates,… Read more »

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The Invasion of the Tearling: Review

The Invasion of the Tearling: Review

The Invasion of the Tearling is not the book The Queen of the Tearling was for me. (This is to say that I was not excitedly texting everyone I knew at 4 a.m. telling them to GO READ THIS BOOK.) In part, this is because The Invasion of the Tearling is a much more ambitious, a much darker, and a much harder book to read than its predecessor. One of the criticisms I remember seeing quite a bit around the interwebz for The Queen of the Tearling was the lack of clarity around The Tearling’s backstory. “What is this crazy dystopian medieval fantasy land and why are we given very little information about how it came into being?” For those of you who had those feels, let me tell you that a good 50% of this book is dedicated to answering precisely those questions. The Invasion of the Tearling alternates… Read more »

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Throne of Glass x Litographs: Giveaway (International)

Throne of Glass x Litographs: Giveaway (International)

So I think it’s pretty well known that I am massive, massive fan of Sarah J. Maas and her brilliant fantasy series, Throne of Glass. You love Sarah, I love Sarah, we all love her. You also love bookish merchandise and shouting your love for all things literary to the world. The wonderful team at Litographs has just launched their ToG line featuring a poster, tee shirt, and a tote bag. The design is so lovely featuring Celaena in triumph with the stag of Terrasen, the Lord of the North. And the landscape is designed with actual text from Throne of Glass! You’ve always wanted to wear these characters on your body, right? Don’t look at me. I’m a normal person, I swear! Anyway… If you are just dying to get your hands on some of these beautiful Throne of Glass items (and why wouldn’t you be!), I have a discount code for $5… Read more »

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Uprooted: Review Discussion

Uprooted: Review Discussion

Uprooted is an adult fantasy well worth your time.  Layla and I both added it to our  “all time favorite” shelves and adore the dark, fairy tale explorations of this story. Please join us for this fun review discussion! If  you’re a fantasy reader and we haven’t convinced you to read this book by the end of our discussion we’ll eat our hats. Let’s dive in.     Kim: You know, it’s been several years, but I finally found a new book to add to my all-time favorites shelf.  This book is so enchanting and warm and lovely while also being darkly comedic and deliciously creepy. There is just a beautiful glow to this story which reads like an old school Eastern European fairy tale.  Layla: I mean, you know I feel precisely the same way. I can’t remember the last time I loved something quiiiite this much. I kept on desperately checking… Read more »

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Challenger Deep: Review

Challenger Deep: Review

Challenger Deep is a difficult book to read, but it’s worth it. I’ve been excited about Challenger Deep since I heard Neal Shusterman and his son, Brendan, speak about it at NCTE and ALAN. They both spoke pretty openly about the family’s experience with mental illness, and also mentioned that some of the artwork Brendan had created during his illness had been incorporated into the final novel. I’ve been really interested in seeing what the book would look like since then. More complex representations of mental illness can only be a good thing when it comes to YA lit, and I’m happy to say that Challenger Deep absolutely satisfies on that count. Challenger Deep takes the form of two alternating narratives: Caden Bosch’s day-to-day life with his friends and family, which is becoming increasingly disrupted by his mental illness, and his other life as the artist-in-residence aboard a ship. The ship is headed… Read more »

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Top Ten Tuesday (3): Top Ten Girl Power Fantasy Novels

Top Ten Tuesday (3): Top Ten Girl Power Fantasy Novels

  Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week was a “choose your own topic” week so, me being me, I chose Top Ten Girl Power Fantasies.         Graceling by Kristin Cashore Katsa’s grace is killing and in many ways she personifies the “Strong Female Character” trope. But the presence of romance is nearly always a must in my fantasy books and I love Katsa’s journey because she learns that having love and having independence are not mutually exclusive. You can be a traditional bad ass and also be invested in the traditionally feminine. Plus, I sure would love to have her with me in a zombie apocalypse. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine The first fantasy novel I read and I adored it! This also remains one of my favorite works of feminist fiction to this day (and what a great intro… Read more »

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