The Beast of Talesend is the first book in the Beaumont and Beasley series by Kyle Robert Shultz (here’s his blog). It’s hilarious, and I can’t wait for the sequel.
Normally I’m not big on the secondary, comic relief character. They’re usually not as interesting as the main characters or as funny as the author thinks they are. In The Beast of Talesend, though, I love Crispin, Nate’s lazy younger brother.
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane, the second of the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins, is just as good as the first (which is saying something). (Spoilers ahead for the whole series)
The Underland Chronicles, by Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games), is an amazing story. I first read this series eight years ago and was obsessed with it for ages. I haven’t revisited it in years, though, and figured now was a good time to do so.
I can see several similarities between this series and The Hunger Games. Not like she copied herself, but there are personal touches that mark both stories. The biggest touch is the themes both stories explore. (Spoilers ahead)
Out of Darkness is the first book in The Creation of Jack series by indie author E.B. Dawson (check out her blog!) I have to admit: I stayed up way later than I meant to when reading this book. That’s pretty high praise, right there!
I’ve read a lot of books, and after awhile, you start seeing patterns in the types of characters. You’ve got your YA dystopian heroine, your black-haired sassy bad boy, your farm boy hero… But I can’t think of any other characters like Logan, Out of Darkness‘s heroine.
You can read the synopsis (and buy the book!) on Amazon.
There’s tons of buzz about diversity in today’s books. Whether you think this is needed or not, you would probably agree that characters should be different from each other. After all, no one wants a cast that’s exactly alike.
The Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo is pretty diverse, in the popular sense of the word (including disabilities!), but something that really stood out to me was the diversity in culture.
So I finally conquered my (rational) fear of e-books and my (irrational) aversion to self-published works. With this new world of possibilities open, I started with a short story called Skies of Dripping Gold by Hannah Heath (who happens to be an awesome blogger).
There’s a lot packed into this little story- most of it good. One thing that really stuck out to me was its allegorical aspects. Before getting into that, though, I’ll give my non-spoiler thoughts.
Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, is a super fun YA fantasy heist book. It’s about six teenagers and their attempt to infiltrate the most secure prison in the known world: the Ice Court. If they succeed, they’ll be rich for life. If they fail, they die.
Let’s be clear here: I loved this book. There’s lots of great things about it, including the surprisingly fresh characters and the multiple cultures and settings. However, it definitely falls short in some areas, including handling multiple points of view.
Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys, is a phenomenal YA historical fiction book. It follows four young adults from different countries during World War II as their paths converge to the fated MV Wilhelm Gustloff.
In 1945 the German military transport ship Wilhelm Gustloff sank in the Baltic Sea (the sea between Sweden and Latvia/Lithuania/Poland/etc.) while carrying around 10,600 passengers and crew. The majority of these were civilian refugees fleeing the approaching Red Army. Up to 9,400 people died, making it the largest loss of life of a single sunk ship, even greater than the Titanic, which is far better known (thanks, Wikipedia!).
Salt to the Sea‘s four main characters end up on this doomed boat as they flee from their past. (Spoilers ahead)
Ugh. If I’d wanted bad fanfiction, I would have gone to tumblr.
Every word you write makes a promise to your readers. Some are implicit, others explicit. Implicit promises are promises like characterization- with your depictions, you are promising your readers that this is how your characters would act. Explicit promises are promises like, oh, I don’t know, “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years.”
Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt is a phenomenal novel by Anne Rice. It’s a first person narrative following seven-year-old Jesus Christ as he leaves Egypt and is reestablished in Nazareth with His family.