Monday, July 28, 2014

Lex Martin got it right with DEAREST CLEMENTINE

I want to preface this post with the fact that I have not read a ton of NA. Despite starting my own NA project (but more on that in a different post) I have only read a handful of NA and liked even fewer. And then I got DEAREST CLEMENTINE because it was free on my Kindle app a few weeks ago. I hate reading on my Kindle app, it isn't a fun experience for me, but I put up with it when the stories I want to read only come in that format (worthy stories so far have included THE ART OF FALLING by Jenny Kaczorowski, CLASS OF '98 by A.L. Player).  When I saw the tweet that DEAREST CLEMENTINE was free and FINDING DANDELION was coming out, I decided to get them both. But because I'm not big on ereading, I forgot I had them until I didn't get to the library  before it closed and NEEDED something to read.

And how glad I am that I did!

Lex Martin NAILS the college feel. That one roommate who is always screwing her boyfriend but you love anyway and the struggle to politely tell your roommate that you hate their furniture. And the horror of letting someone else plan your 21st birthday party. I loved letting myself fall back into my college days as these girls took me on a great journey.

And don't even get me started on Gavin. He is the perfect mix of confused college boy and sweetheart and amazing cuddler. Gah, I want a Gavin, ok? And the bad communication and the misunderstandings and ugh. Why was this romance so perfect?

Oh, and Clementine? While she has a much darker past, I could so easily relate to the one setting: bitch. Hello, most of my young life. For real, my best friend called me a praying mantis for the way I treated guys in late high school. I loved seeing those feelings of disgust portrayed so accurately in Clementine. I wanted to be her BFF and commiserate about the eternal shortcomings of young men. Except Gavin, because he's perf.

Basically, Lex Martin GETS IT. Her dialogue is awesome, her characters feel real, and her story is part mystery, part romance, and a whole lot of college friendship. Go read this book!

Monday, July 14, 2014

There Is No Wrong Way to Read a Series

I think we've been over the fact that I am a binge reader (I read 5 books in the last 7 days), but I am not a series binger. I realized this on Saturday when I finished THE WARLOCK, the 5th installment of Michael Scott's Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel saga and had no desire to sprint to the library for the sixth and final book. Not because I didn't enjoy the book I'd just finished but because I needed to digest it a little. I wanted to think about what had happened and maybe even think about what might happen in the next one.

As I was ruminating on The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel books, I realized that I had done the same thing with another series book a few days earlier (one I've actually already talked about here) BORN WICKED, the first book of Jessica Spotswood's Cahill Witch Chronicles. This book has a serious cliffhanger ending and I want to know what happens, but I don't want to know right now.

Two examples in a week felt like more than a coincidence so I took a look back on other series books I've read. I read DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS (the last book in Laini Taylor's Smoke and Bone Trilogy) but that was the last book so it doesn't count. Or, at least that was what I thought until I looked at how I had read the whole series. I read the first book after the second had come out but I still waited over six months before reading it and I waited again for the last one.

I asked myself, was this a trend?

I thought of UNSPOKEN by Sarah Rees Brennan the sequel to which I still haven't gone near (although I want to). Then I remembered I just read HOLLOW CITY by Ransom Riggs, the second book in the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Series, 20 months after I read the first one and 6 months after it was released. I haven't read the sequel to PEACHES by Jodi Lynn Anderson even though I know it will be the perfect summer read. Or, the rest of published Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

The list grew and grew as I fell backwards through the rabbit hole of my reading. I couldn't find a single series that I binge read in the last five years. Not a single one.

So I had identified my pattern, now I wanted to know why. Which turned out to be a really easy question to answer.

The reason: Harry Potter.

I will never be ashamed of the impact that the entire Harry Potter phenomenon had on my existence. However, I am often shocked to find evidence of just how much it has effected me. Being a true member of the Potter Generation, I grew up waiting for the next book. I devoured the first three books the summer before sixth grade and then went to my first midnight book release at Media Play for Goblet of Fire. Which I read until I was done, without sleep or nourishment. Then I promptly had to wait until the summer after eighth grade for Order of the Phoenix to come out. I got to dwell on the first four books and the return of Voldemort. I reread them several times. I had numerous discussions about what might happen next. I read some fanfiction.

When Order of the Phoenix came out, I was so engrossed in reading that I missed a friend's birthday party. And, of course, the sobbing and throwing things when it ended. But then 2 more years of waiting for Snape to go all traitorous in Half Blood Prince. I will never forget how much my best friend defended him while I was staunchly with Harry that he'd been a traitor all along. Or discussing what we thought the rest of the horcruxes might be. Then finally we got Deathly Hallows in 2007 and found out what happened.

The process of binging then waiting and speculating and hoping was horrible and wonderful. It was imposed on me but I loved it anyway. Even though I was dying for the next book, the waiting made me love the characters and the stories even more because I got to spend time with them rather than of rushing all the way through on the first go.

It seems that the process has become ingrained. I no longer want to read the next book in a series immediately after finishing the first. I want to stew with the characters. I want to analyze and think about the story, then I want to read the next one.

How do you read a series? (Bonus points if you tell me how you read Harry Potter the first time)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BORN WICKED gave me feels about FATE

So I picked up Jessica Spotswood's BORN WICKED, the first book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles Trilogy for $1.79 at one of those bargain close out places. I'd been looking for it anyway because the all-knowing Jenny Adams Perinovic said it was awesome and that Jessica is awesome (which she is obviously, because she let me threaten to shake her via Twitter and knew it was just the feels talking). I started started it on Monday but was so tired I didn't get very far. Last night, I binge read the rest of it and I'm still hungover from it. Hence talking about it here. There might be spoilers so read with caution.

Cate lives in New England just before the dawn of the twentieth century in a world where The Brotherhood has kept women subservient and uneducated, feeling dirty and stupid. (My hatred of The Brotherhood was so immediate I almost threw the book several times.) Cate is the oldest of three sisters and she has been protecting them since her mother's death. Except Cate and her sisters, Maura & Tess, aren't normal. They're witches. Any not just any witches - sister witches with special powers whose existence was foretold in the last prophecy before the fall of the witches and the rise of the Brotherhood. Sister witches who could change the world. As if her life wasn't complicated enough, Cate is also falling in love with Finn, the gardener and local bookseller's son, and making interesting new friends with the daughter of the Brotherhood council leader. She has some tough choices to make but there are some who would rather not let her choose at all. 

This book was soooo good.  Jessica Spotswood hits the nail on the head every time she describes emotion. She gets the feuding between sisters and the love that underlies it. AND THE FALLING IN LOVE? If you don't love Finn and Kate (FATE), you're being silly. Once again, Jessica nails it: kissing is fun but kissing the right guy is amazing. 

I know that wasn't entirely coherent but I hope you get the idea that this book is amazing and perfect and visceral. And the paperback cover is beautiful! JUST GO READ IT! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


So there are THINGS happening in my personal life right now. Big ugly bad things AND shiny new exciting things. Good or bad, these THINGS mean that my emotions are all over the place. One second I am all hyped up to be productiv before I bottom out in soul-crushing desire to binge watch Teen Wolf.

It is making work hard, and being near people hard, and writing hard. How do you have emotions??!?!

But really? How you do deal when you've got THINGS going on in your life. Do you master it and use it to get stuff done or does it master you?

To reread or not to reread? That is the question.

I don't reread books that often. Sure, I've read the entire Harry Potter series too many times to count and a few others have snuck ...