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Tag Archives: Jonathan Stroud

It’s taken long enough, I know.  I promise 2016 will not take as long… unless someone else dies and I get depressed and don’t do it.  But back on topic, hope you find something new and exciting here.

Children’s Books:

Tea RexTea Rex by Molly Idle

A little girl and her brother have a tyranosaurus rex over for tea. The text goes over tea time manners while the beautiful pictures tell the story. Hilarity ensues.

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Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds

A picture book about the difficulties of fitting in.  Personally, fitting in has always been a struggle for me, so I found this heartwarming.

 

 

421063Santa Claws by Laura Leuk, illustrated by Gris Grimly

Children’s picture book about monsters and Christmas, illustrated by the amazing Gris Grimly.  Are you looking for a book that’s cute, but creepy?  Look no further.

 

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Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

A short children’s novel about a father who has a wacky adventure while on the way to the store to get milk for his children’s cereal.  And it’s by Neil Gaiman.  ‘Nuff said.

 

 

17591892Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell

A graphic novel about a world where each medieval town has a monster they are proud of.  Every town, that is, except for Stoker-on-Avon.

 

 

Teen Books:

17453303Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

A strange story about a girl and her friend who drink a bat and gain the power to see both people’s past and future. How do you drink a bat? I’m not telling. As for the history of the future, it’s horrifying and compelling, but I can’t tell you much more than that. It’s a story about friendship and choices, despair and hope, truth and lies, art and life, and the connections between people, both past and future. And personally, I enjoy books that delve a little into what it’s like living with mental illness, as well as feminism. I can’t think of a better way to explain this book; you just have to read it.

10874177Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Silly steampunk adventure about teenaged Sophronia, who is failing at being a proper lady. Her mother sends her away to a very unusual finishing school where she learns not only to be a lady, but also spying, poisoning, and a lot of other things she never expected. It takes place a generation before the Alexia Macon stories, so there are guest appearances of characters I recognized, but much younger. Fun fan service to see these characters in their youth.

14059024The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

Lucy, Lockwood, and George take on a seemingly normal case helping out a graveyard crew. But the body they unearth is more perilous than anticipated, and the people involved are just as dangerous as the ghosts. More banter, more scary ghosts, more adventure, and of course, a mystery.

 

 

 

20898019Ms Marvel No Normal by Willow G. Wilson

Part of being a teenager is dealing with being different, not fitting in.  And what I love about this version of Ms Marvel is that the girl is a muslim teenager living in New Jersey.  On top of all the normal teenage angst, she also has to deal with prejudice about her religion, and racism because she is of middle eastern heritage.  Plus, you know, super confusing new powers, and having a secret identity, as if things weren’t complicated enough already.

 

12813630The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black

Holly Black wrote a vampire book.  That’s really all I needed to know, but if you need convincing, it’s about a teenage girl named Tana who wakes up after a house party to find that everyone else in the house has been massacred by vampires.  Everyone, that is, but her ex-boyfriend(of course) and one vampire who has been left behind by his companions to die.  But Tana’s ex is “cold” with the vampire infection, and she fears she may be too. Vampirism is treated as a communicable disease by the government, and “cold towns” have been established and quarantined for those infected.  Holly Black builds a rich world of quarantined concentration camps, prejudice, fear, reality television, and celebrity worship around a character who struggles with her own self destructive tendencies.

 

8490112Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, and Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

I completely tore through this whole series on a recommendation from a friend, Maryelizabeth, who owns Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego.  This is the story of Karou, a mysterious art student with blue hair(yo12812550u gotta have blue hair) and tattoos who draws monsters in her notebook.  What her friends don’t know is that the monsters are the only family she’s ever known.  The double life of a normal art student, and errand girl for monsters is a lonely one, and Karou is starting to get fed up with it all.  Then three angels with wings of fire begin marking magic doo13618440rs with handprints, and Karou’s life is about to literally burn down around her.  I love the amazing world that Laini Taylor has built, the characters she’s created, the drama and the humor, and the marvelous strangeness of it all. It’s a love story full of the worst kind of betrayals and loss, friendship and revenge, wishes and monsters and secrets, but a love story nonetheless.  And I love it.

 

Adult Books:

7235533The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson.

How does he do this?  The books are huge and daunting, but totally worth it, and with Sanderson, you know you won’t be waiting 10 years for the next one.  He builds an amazing world ravaged by magical storms, full of strange creatures, new religions, and characters you want to like because they all believe they are doing the right thing(even the bad ones).

 

17671993Injustice: Gods Among Us, years 1 and 2 by Tom Taylor

I don’t often read DC comics, but these are amazing, and dark, and really explore the line between good and evil, hero and villain.

 

 

 

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 40102Outliers and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Fascinating research on becoming an expert, making snap decisions, and what makes successful people stand out from the crowd.  It gives you insight and perspective, like turning the Rubik’s cube of life around in your hands to examine from all angles.

 

 

91479Death Masks by Jim Butcher

I realize this is a single book partway through a series, but I don’t care, it was still one of my favorites from the last year, so it’s on the list.  Dresden is forced to confront the consequences of some of his mistakes, part of his past he tried to forget, and finds himself tempted to do the wrong thing.  Lots of moral and emotional dilemmas combined with sarcastic humor, badass fighting, and magic and myth.

 

7622500The Artist in the Office by Summer Pierre

Quite possibly the most inspiring book I read all year. A fantastic self help book for artistic personalities who work in non-artistic professions. It helps you to incorporate art into your daily lifestyle at work and at home, and to recognize how you can live your ideal artistic life, or something close to it, while working a day job. It has really energized me, and reminded me about the good things in life.

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The Third Act: Writing a Great Ending to your Screenplay by Drew Yanno

It’s short, and pretty to the point.  And it helped my fix the ending to my first completed novel.  Effective!

 

Gone GirlGone Girl By Gillian Flynn

A dark, surprising murder mystery full of twists.  This story kept me entertained despite the lack of magic OR spaceships!  But dark, Dark, DARK.  Be prepared for some messed up relationships.  Nick Dunne’s wife disappears, and when the clues begin to point back toward Nick himself, he realizes that the most likely explanation sounds completely insane. The movie was a faithful rendition, but the book is still totally worth it.

 

 

Saga vol. 4 and 5 by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by25451555 Fiona Staples.

23093367I love this series so much, and it continues to hold my devotion.  I love the characters, and I
love the art, and I love the world.  Though I have to say, there a was a really harsh sucker punch at the end of Vol. 5.

 

So there it is, only like 11 months late… Happy reading.

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I love Comic-Con. I love fan conventions. I love being surrounded by people who are excited to be there, people who are doing the things they love, and all the wonderful creativity. People are always so friendly, and so happy to share their love of whatever with you, and I love the attitude of joy and acceptance. For example, I was riding the light rail to Phoenix Comic-Con and I pulled a book a book out of my bag. Some guy I’d never met before immediately started a conversation with me about how much he loved that book, and what we were doing at the Con, etc. His name was Doug. Will I see him again ever? Who knows. But because we were going to Comic-Con on the same train and we’d read the same book, we were automatically friends. I love that.

But moving on: I promised YA books. I was lucky enough to be a panelist at Phoenix Comic-Con on 2 panels: Cool Things I’m Reading, and Cool Things I’m Reading YA edition. I wrote down all the books we talked about at these panels, so what follows is a brief review of each of the books discussed that I’ve personally read, and a list of the books other people talked about that I haven’t read. Enjoy. Or not.  I’m not the boss of you  :p

7766027I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

A disturbing mystery told from a very unusual point of view, including all the grisly details. Not for the faint of heart.  Jasper’s father has been teaching his son how to be the perfect serial killer since he was a little boy, but four years ago, Jasper’s father was arrested, and Jasper was liberated. He hopes to live the life of a normal teenager now. And then a fresh murder victim shows up in Jasper’s small town.

6567017Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

A hilarious, touching story about love in all it’s many beautiful forms. With singing. Two high school boys named Will Grayson, one straight, one gay. Gay Will is in the closet, with a secret online boyfriend, while straight Will does his best to avoid relationships. Straight Will’s best friend, Tiny Cooper, has enough relationships for the both of them, and then some! And when both Will Graysons meet in Chicago, worlds collide.

17675462The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue comes from a family of psychics, and it’s an accepted fact that if Blue ever kisses her true love, he will die. But Blue herself is not psychic. She only helps focus psychic energy. So when she sees the ghost of a boy who will soon die on St. Mark’s day, she is surprised. The ghost belongs to a raven boy, one of the students at the exclusive all boys school in her small Virginia town. Blue hates raven boys, but feels compelled to try to fight fate and save this one. Could he be the true love she’s destined to kill?

13555073The Screaming Staircase(Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

This story is set in an alternate history modern day London where ghosts stalk the night, and only children and teenagers can see them clearly. Our heroes Antony Lockwood, Lucy Carlyle, and George Cubbins run a psychic detection agency. That is, they hunt and destroy ghosts. But unlike most other agencies, they do not have any adult supervisors. When Lockwood and Lucy encounter a ghost they are not equipped to handle, they set in motion a deadly chain of events.

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

 

 

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M. G. Buehrlen

The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare (Alex Wayfare, #1)

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Orleans

Life After Theft by Aprilynn Pike

Life After Theft

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Antigoddess (Goddess War, #1)

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

If you like dystopias, then the 5th Wave is for you.  The war was over before it even started. Earth’s human population was decimated in just a few short months by four strategic waves of alien attacks.  The 4th Wave was the worst: aliens who look like humans, making it impossible to trust anyone. 16-year-old Cassie and Zombie deal with the invasion in different ways, but they are both bound by a promise, and the desire to save what’s left of the human race. Action packed, full of guns, explosions, twists, and lies within lies, it’s the story of saving more than just a group of people. It’s about saving the things that really matter.

Paladin Prophesy by Mark Frost

The Paladin Prophecy (The Paladin Prophecy, #1)

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barns

The Naturals (The Naturals, #1)

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

The Grimm Legacy (The Grimm Legacy, #1)

Anything by Diana Wynn Jones

And just to make sure I give credit where credit’s due, my co-panelists were Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy Books, Nadine from the Phoenix Comic-Con staff, and Shantell from Sirens of Suspense.  I’m pretty sure all of these books are available at Mysterious Galaxy, and probably at your local library too 🙂 Happy reading!