Classics I’ve Finally Read

Quick story: I was given the Narnia books as a present for my eighth birthday and let’s just say that my eight-year-old self was totally underdeveloped and unprepared for the density of Lewis’s high fantasy world. Sure, I’d read Harry Potter, but Harry Potter felt accessible to me in a way that Narnia wasn’t. So twenty pages into The Magician’s Nephew (not realizing it might’ve been better to dive into The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first), I left Narnia behind me.

Fast forward into high school, where I tried to read The Hobbit. I was still a die hard Harry Potter fan and had become a voracious reader and I figured I should read into this Tolkien fellow that everyone was talking about. It seems I hadn’t gained much more patience in the years since I attempted Narnia and got–you guessed it–roughly twenty pages in before I threw in the towel.

Cut to present day: I’m a twenty-four-year-old grad student studying writing popular fiction and in my Fantasy Classics class, we have to read–again, you guessed it! You’re such a clever cookie–Narnia and The Hobbit. Good old Tolkien & Lewis.

So what’s the verdict? How have I tackled these classics now, all these years later?

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My Most Anticipated Fall 2018 Releases (MG & YA)

I recently participated in a round table at the bookstore where I work and got a front row seat to some of the truly phenomenal titles being released this fall in the children’s department.  Here are the ones I’m most looking forward to! Continue reading

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.

Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she’s just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…

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Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she’s drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan. Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity, but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hellbent on murder when the devil’s son just won’t give up?

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Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper Extraordinaire, is back in this sexy, suspenseful novel of supernatural shenanigans When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she cant help but wonder what Cookies up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously?

Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a womans name. Mimis husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.

Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. Hes left his body because hes being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes cant let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, theyll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heavenwell, lets just say it wouldnt be pretty.

Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?

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Riders by Veronica Rossi

Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Two teens are forced to murder—maybe each other—in the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.

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First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual.
Or a diagram of some kind.
A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can’t she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.

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His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature.

Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

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