All tagged Sarah Rees Brennan

Podcast #20: Diversifying the Shelves (Part 2) with Author Sarah Ockler & Blogger Racquel of The Book Barbies

We're super-thrilled to publish the second half of our discussion with author Sarah Ockler and Racquel, blogger from The Book Barbies, about diversifying our bookshelves, how writers can work to authentically represent people of color in their fiction and recommendations for books and authors that do this successfully. You can find the first half over here. 

In this half, we get down to the nitty-gritty and recommend some novels that really, in our eyes, get it right, and why. It's important to emphasize that this is most definitely not a comprehensive conversation--if anything, it's framing questions and talking about our personal experiences. We hope to continue to explore this topic in future episodes. If you'd like to be involved in a future podcast discussion on this subject, get in touch and let's talk.


List-O-Rama: Eight Quickies

Let’s celebrate National Short Story Week with a few quick reads, shall we?

Admittedly, some of these are novellas, but since I’m pretty sure there’s not a National Novella Week (oh, hell, there probably is—there’s a week or day for everything), I’m defining “short story” liberally. There’s something very satisfying about a shorter read—I know I pick them up a lot in the time between Thanksgiving and New Years, because it’s a nice way to get some reading in in shorter hits. 

Shannon Stacey's Slow Summer Kisses - List-O-Rama: Quickies on Clear Eyes, Full Shelvs

Slow Summer Kisses by Shannon Stacey

This is one of my favorite of Shannon Stacey’s works (her other novellas, Mistletoe and Margaritas and Holiday Sparks are also super-fun), because while it’s short, it reads like a complete novel. It’s light, funny and very current in its themes—plus, it’s only a buck and a half right now. Check out my review here


Lynburn Legacy Short Stories - List-O-Rama: Quickies on Clear Eyes, Full Shelvs

Lynburn Legacy Short Stories by Sarah Rees Brennan

If you’re like me and freaking out over having to wait for Untold after reading Unspoken this year, these two short stories (free!) will help get you through these difficult times waiting for Untold’s release. I particularly liked The Spring Before I Met you, since it gives you a bit of insight into where Jared’s been. 

Download The Spring Before I Met You / The Summer Before I Met You / Goodreads

List-O-Rama: 7 Spooky Reads for Halloween

I am a tremendous wimp. So it really doesn’t take a whole lot to scare me. As a result, I tend to avoid anything that’s too scary or creepy because I don’t have the fortitude for it. 

But, in getting in the spirit of Halloween (because I am most definitely not dressing up), I thought I’d share a few of my recommended spooky or just plain scary reads. 

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett (Arcadia Bell #2)

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett (Arcadia Bell #2)

This is the second in my new favorite Urban Fantasy series—I chose this one instead of the first book because 1) it’s way scarier than the first and 2) it takes place during Halloween. It also gives you a great excuse to read the very awesome first book in the series, Kindling the Moon. 

{CEFS Review | Amazon | Goodreads}

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

I recommend the hell out of this standalone upper-YA novel about a teenage witch. It’s a bit spooky, but not terrifying, and is also pretty darn funny. It’s a great choice for lightweights like me. Also, it’s features a completely fun rural Texas setting that I really enjoyed. (I have such a fondness for Fake Texas, as we know.)

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

 Kami had never wanted to do anything but these two things: discover truth and change the world.

Until I picked up Team Human for book club last month, I’d never read a Sarah Rees Brennan novel. Clearly this was a grave oversight on my part.

Unspoken is a wonderfully unique gothic young adult novel (that’s also—arg!—the first in a series) centered around Kami Glass and her friends in the English village of Sorry-in-the-Vale as they attempt to unravel the mystery behind the Lynburn family, who has recently return after years abroad.

As long as Kami can remember she’s had an imaginary friend, Jared, who she hears in her head. Except it turns out he’s very real. 

I will admit, I was nervous about the premise behind Unspoken—I’m not a fan of the soulmates/deep, unexplain connection trope, especially in YA.

But Brennan takes that concept, the inexplicable connection, and turns it into something fresh. Jarden and Kami’s connection means that they are intimately a part of one another, but that doesn’t mean it’s not awkward and that awkwardness is heightened when they connect in real life. Jared is also an angry teenage boy. His life has been difficult, so being his friend in real-life isn’t that easy for Kami

In fact, Kami and Jared’s connection, and the challenges in negotiating having one another literally each other’s heads, is the most fascinating aspect of Unspoken. Their relationship is different from anything I’ve read in a YA novel. There’s really not any romance to speak of in this book, despite some of the blurbs that mention it being romantic-slash-swoony. It’s more complex than romance, and oddly closer. Kami, who tries her best to plan and be a smart girl, sees their connection as intrusive, yet at times also comforting. Jared, on the other hand, views Kami’s voice in his head as a lifeline out of his troubled family.

And, the contrast between the two makes this all the more interesting. Jared is a bit of a disaster, sort of emotionally stupid and oddly shy. Then we’ve got Kami, who’s all full of confidence and sass and though she’s not the most emotionally intelligent person, she’s pretty good at keeping it all together as well as a teenage girl who fancies herself a hard-hitting investigative journalist can. 

A serious journalist should probably not make so many jokes, but whenever Kami sat down to the computer it was as if the jokes were already there, hiding behind the keys, waiting to spring out at her. 

More Mini Reviews: Two Paranormals I Actually Liked

Continuing my acceptance that I’m not going to write thorough reviews of everything I read, I thought I’d share my thoughts on a a couple of paranormal novels I read and liked (and we all know I’m a bit reluctant when it comes to paranormal). 

Before I Wake (Soul Screamers #6) by Rachel Vincent

Before I Wake (Soul Screamers #6) by Rachel Vincent

You’re not lost, Kaylee. You can’t ever be lost, because I’ll always know where you are. And if I’m not there with you, I’m on my way, and nothing standing between us will be standing for very long.

Despite that I liked Rachel’s Shifters series and love her Unbound series, I was hesitant to start reading her series for the YA crowd about a teenage banshee and her adventures fighting Netherworld creatures with her pals. However, six books in and I’m now a big fan. The first couple of books were mediocre reads for me, largely because Kaylee, the main character, was kind of a frustrating character in terms of maturity. However, around book three (My Soul to Keep), it dawned on me—that’s kind of the point, Kaylee’s growing up, maturing. Now that I get that, I really like how this series has unfolded.