Throwback Thursday: Anne of Green Gables

In case you missed it, Jonathan Crombie “Gilbert Blythe” died. In honor of this man, and my love of Gilbert Blythe because of him, I decided to re-read Anne of Green Gables.

Now, I am partial to this cover since I thought this accurately captured my vision of Anne, I will say this version is gorgeous.

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So what to say about this beautiful book? Well, I love when Anne breaks her slate over Gil’s head. There is also the scene with the drowned boat in a lake, or the  imagination of Anne in general.

Basically, this book is just a fun read. It is wholesome, if that makes any sense. I would totally give this to my kids to read, if I had any. I highly recommend a re-read of it.

Life Updates

Some really exciting things are afoot.

I recently landed my dream job at a publishing company doing exactly what I love.

Dumbledore is pleased! Also, I am pretty sure this is what my mentor did when she found out…

For the time being, there will be a few more posts to come and ::gasp:: maybe a revamp. Don’t worry, it won’t suddenly become a blog about my love of guacamole (though really, I do make some fine guacamole).

Now I want guacamole…

Fangirl Review

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Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (Macmillan)

Flap Copy:

“In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life–and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

So I hopped on the Rainbow Rowell love a little late. I had been toying with the idea of reading this book for a while, but you know how it goes, so many books, so little time. But I decided to take the plunge and download the eBook. Side note: eBooks feel like not as much of a commitment. I can just read it on my phone as I wait for the train or during lunch.

My pet peeves with this book were all the Simon Snow excerpts. We get, she is a fan. It did not need an excerpt t the end of every chapter. I felt like that wasted space could have actually gone into more story.

I have to say, I know someone like Cath and it was a nice change to read about an introvert. I loved the attraction between Cath and Levi (the always around boyfriend); it was sweet. I just wish, instead of having those dang excerpts, we got some actual meat on that relationship instead of the entire lovey dovey relationship.

Elements of this book worked for me: the new roommate, the issues with her sister. Those were all great. But I feel like I wanted other aspects explored as well. Cath’s issues with her mother: she writes a short story about it and yet, I did not see the full scope of that piece of writing.

Would I have acquired this? Maybe. Rowell’s approach to plot makes me feel the same way as I do about my mom’s creamed spinach: not sure if I like it, but darn if I will stop until I know.

Complex Characters: (Not) My Hero, Klaus

Randomly, I have been thinking if there have been any protagonists in YA books who are clearly not a hero, but not a villain either.  The closest I could come up with is Mara Dyer in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Truth bomb: I am obsessed with The Originals and a large part of that is because of Klaus Mikaelson.

When Klaus was first introduced in The Vampire Diaries, he was the villain. Like straight up. He killed Elena’s aunt. He terrorized the residents of Mystic Falls. But somewhere along the way, fans fell in love with him. I personally fell in love when he revealed his softer side to Miss Caroline Forbes.

And then he jumped ship to his own show.  And suddenly, the villain that had been developed for a season and a half became the protagonist of another. At first, I wasn’t so sure I would like this. Klaus was THE villain. Yes, he had some redeeming qualities, but even he would admit he was evil.

However, as the second season develops, I find myself getting sucked in (pun totally intended).  He still does the villainous things, and other characters view him as a villain, but, especially on the most recent episode, Klaus has greater complexity. He admitted to killing a beloved character, even though he didn’t, because everyone else needed to fear him. We can debate whether this actually played to his advantage or not, but I digress. The videos below give a bit better context to the situation.

Unlike Rumpelstiltskin, who reveled in being a villain, and Snape, who was a conflicted hero, I am not sure what Klaus is. He certainly acts like a villain, but I am not sure he revels in it. More like a hurt child acting the way everyone says he must.

There are now books about The Originals, but I would love to see a YA book tackle a protagonist like Klaus, a character everyone else views as evil, but that we as readers can see differently. Actually, Julie Plec should just write that book for me.

Magonia Review

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Title: Magoina

Author: Maria Dahvana Headley

Publisher: HarperCollins

Flap Copy:

“Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza’s hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?”

What to say about this book? I love the cover. The story was neat. BUT…I kind of felt like it was really preachy, if that makes any sense. The message of environmentalism felt very heavy handed and at times, I grew weary of it.

That being said, it is an interesting story. I like the idea of revisiting naval exploration, but through the sky and a race of people who live there. That is a very fresh idea. Based on the book, I suspect there will be a sequel, which I hope explores more of Magoina.

Was it my favorite book of the year? No, surprisingly not.

Don’t get me wrong, Headley’s writing style is gorgeous, like Kristin Cashore’s style. But I was not a fan of the preachiness I felt from the book. Honestly, that kind of knocked it down a few pegs for me.

Would I have acquired this? Yes, I would have, if only to move away from the heavy message of environmentalism. I liked most everything else about it.

Cruel Beauty Review

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Title: Cruel Beauty

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)

Flap Copy:

“Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom’s mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can’t resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who’s gotten in her way by stealing her heart.”

I can see why people had problems with this book. It wasn’t the best I have ever read. The major redeeming factor though was the chemistry between Nyx and the Gentle Lord. I loved the give and take of their relationship. I would say read it I only for that aspect.

It is not the best Beauty and the Beast retelling I have seen, but there were a lot of elements from various mythologies wrapped together: Cupid and Pysche for starters. These elements worked for me, but I think that I would have preferred a straightforward retelling. Again not the best, but not the worst.

Would I have acquired this? Not sure. It was interesting enough and the author is not planning this series to follow the same characters, but I have also seen better retellings that I definitely would have acquired. I think ultimately I might have acquired it, but not for a ton of money.

Geek Girl Review

download (18)Title: Geek Girl 

Author: Holly Smale

Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)

Flap Copy:

“Harriett Manners is a Geek.

As if the Oxford English Dictionary on her nightstand isn’t enough of a clue, there are also the weird looks she gets at school, and the way no one appreciates her extensive trivia knowledge.. So when her friend Nat drags her along to a fashion show and Harriet is accidentally discovered by a modeling agent, she leaps at the chance to reinvent herself.

Harriet isn’t sure she’ll ever learn to navigate the terrifying world of high fashion—at least not without falling off a runway and embarrassing herself in front of her gorgeous new costar, Nick. But read or not, she’s about to learn whether she has what it takes to transform from geek to chic.”

OMG. I love this book. It was so funny! If you read and loved The Princess Diaries, you will absolutely love this book.  Harriett has some pretty spectacularly awkward moments in the book, like hyperventilating into her hands and then trying to pass it off as just smelling her hands.

But Harriett is not the only funny character.  My favorite, by far, is her father. At first, the quips between her father and he stepmother made me think they might be getting a divorce (my brain works weird) but that chemistry was just too cute! The other characters were just as amazing.

My only complaint was the bully, Alexa. I just felt like that was more middle school than high school style bullying, but considering the characters are fifteen, I went with it.

I would definitely have acquired it. I am not sure how well it will do in the US (it was up for several awards after its UK publishing) but this is the type of book I would be glad to spend a year with and make sure everyone reads it.