Tag Archives: romance

Set in Stone by Linda Newbery

28 Feb

535646Title: Set in Stone
Author: Linda Newbery
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Genre: Historic Fiction/Gothic
Page Count: 368

The poster is almost obscured by the press of people in the gallery.

The year is 1898, and Samuel Godwin is a naive young artist who has been plucked out of a London art academy by the wealthy Mr. Farrow to tutor his daughters in art. From the moment he first sees Fourwinds, the Farrows’ sprawling country home, he is captivated by it, and by the three young women who live there: Marianne, young and kind of bonkers but totally bangin; Juliana, passive, reserved, and a bit on the melancholy side; and Charlotte, the governess, who basically tells nobody anything about herself, ever. As time unfolds, Samuel (of course) begins to realize that things are not as they seem, and at the heart of Fourwinds lies a web of scandal and lies more ghastly than he could imagine.

First sentence rating: weak sauce.

OK, so I’ll start by saying that I only read this book because I came across it as I was weeding my teen fiction collection at work. It hadn’t gone out very much so was destined for the chopping block, but when I looked at the blurb and read reviews I thought, by golly, I want to read it! One reviewer even said it was for fans of Brontës. And I mean, I am a fan of Emily AND Charlotte Brontë! Sign me up!

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

22 Jul

As a longtime avid consumer of storytelling, I’ve slowly put together a mental list of writers who have made me cry longer and harder than I would care to admit: Patrick Ness, Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, Joss Whedon. Now, granted, I cry pretty easily, but as far as I’m concerned a writer’s ability to bring me to tears speaks to their ability to make me care about their characters. I sometimes think that reading or engaging in narrative of any kind brings on a sort of temporary lunacy in me; how else can you explain getting hysterical over someone or something that doesn’t actually exist?

I started thinking about all this crying gobbledie gook after I watched the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer a couple nights ago after a year long binge of the entire series in chronological order. It was one of those things where I was unsure whether I wanted people there for emotional support or not, and now that that trauma is over I can honestly say I am so happy I was home alone, because the word “crying” doesn’t adequately describe the sounds that were coming out of me.  Point being, sometimes I wonder whether I want to knight these tear-jerking writers for making me love their characters so much and sometimes I want to sue them for emotional damages. Now, after reading The Fault in Our Stars, John Green has made his way onto my STOP MAKING ME CRY, YOU JERK list.

Hazel was thirteen years old when she was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer, and fourteen years old when a miracle drug dragged her from her death bed. Two years later she is stuck in a rut of depression (a “side effect of dying”) when her parents force her to go to a cancer kid support group where she meets an Adonis with a prosthetic leg, Augustus. They develop an existentially fraught relationship that juggles the meaning of life, mortality, and making out.

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

2 Apr

I like to read, a lot. Obviously. However, sometimes I come across a book that sinks its claws so deeply into my imagination that I am transported beyond the average realm of simply enjoying the reading of it, to a place where literally all I can think and talk about is the BOOK. I simultaneously always want to be reading it but don’t want it to end, ever, because there really is nothing quite like the experience of meeting one of your literary soul mates for the first time, is there? Well, Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races (Scholastic Press) was one of those books for me.

This book first landed on my radar when my friend/teen librarian goddess/Printz panel…wizard?, Sarah Couri, reviewed it for the School Library Journal blog “Someday My Printz Will Come.” I will admit that I was surprised to see that Stiefvater’s newest was a contender for the American Library Association’s Printz Medal for teen fiction; I read her novel Shiver a couple years ago, and while I enjoyed it she didn’t really strike me as the the kind of heavy-weight teen writer that normally wins the prize. However, I have a lot of faith in Sarah’s taste in books, so I put it on my to-read list. It catapaulted itself even higher when it was named as a Printz Honor book and even higher when I had several friends approach me and tell me that if ever there was a book for me, this book was it. Sold.

The Scorpio Races takes place in an alternate reality where every year tourists flock to the island of Thisby for the deadly Scorpio Races, in which the island men race the mythical capall uisce on a narrow stretch of beach, fighting each other to reach the finish line before the sea calls the predatory water horses and their jockeys into its depths. The narrative focuses on two young characters: Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly. Sean Kendrick, who lost his father to the Scorpio Races when he was ten, has won four times on the monstrous and beautiful Corr. Puck Connolly and her two brothers were orphaned when a water horse attack claimed both her parents in one fell swoop, and after years of trying to hold their family together, her older brother, Gabe, announces he’s leaving for the mainland. Puck, desperate not to lose what little family she has left, declares that she is riding in this year’s Scorpio Races. As the two young contenders train for the race their strong yet strikingly different personalities draw them together, but their growing feelings for each other are threatened by one sad fact: only one person can win the Scorpio Races, and it is very likely one of them will die in the trying.

How amazing is this book trailer?

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