Summer Reads

Hello readers,

Welcome back! I’ve taken quite the break from blogging over the past few weeks but I promise you, I haven’t stopped reading. One of my favourite things about summertime is having more time to read, so here are a few good ones I’ve picked up over the past month and a half.


 

X-Men Reimagined. 

I mentioned these two briefly in my last blog post – here’s a more thorough look.

  • If you like X-Men and the what-if-we-had-special-powers scenario, I recommend Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series. Set in dystopian America in the near future, The Darkest Minds series examines the lives of children with special abilities and their rebellion against repression and certain death. To mutant or not to mutant? I couldn’t put these books down – I finished the series in a week.

The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken

  • If you like the special-powers scenario but are looking for a different angle, check out Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen. Aveyard has created a world where those with special abilities are the ones in power and heroine Mare Barrow is about to upset the whole system. This is looking to be a big seller in Young Adult fiction this year, so definitely take a read. Aveyard is set to release Book 2 in 2016.

 

The Queen is Back.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika JohansenThe Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

  • If you haven’t read The Queen of The Tearling yet, well, shame on you. It’s a book people have been buzzing about all year, and here’s one reason why: Emma Watson is set to star as the heroine, Kelsea Glynn, in the film adaptation. Erika Johansen signed a seven-book deal last year and the second book in the series, The Invasion of the Tearling, was released last month. In my honest opinion, I found The Queen of the Tearling lacking – but Invasion had a lot more substance and it left me wanting more. If you’re a fan of fantasy, pick these two up and tell me what you think.

 

Emily St. John Mandel's Station ElevenWhat the End of the World really looks like.

  • One of the best books of 2015, Station Eleven will make you long for a world we already live in. I’ve never felt nostalgic for light switches or refrigerators until I read this masterful novel written by Emily St. John Mandel. It’s ridiculously realistic – a pandemic hits Toronto and life as
    we know it grinds to a screeching halt. Station Eleven chronicles the lives
    of the survivors, giving us a glimpse of humanity’s darkest days and reminding us how precious life really is. I loved this book.

 

 



The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreightGossip|Gilmore Girl(s) and Feisty Females

  • It’s Literally a Book Club read and discussed two great summer reads to put on your nightstand: Reconstructing Amelia and The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules.
    • We were huge fans of Reconstructing Amelia. Having just read The Girl On The Train, we were in mystery/thriller mode, so this was the perfect follow-up. After the tragic death of her daughter, Kate begins researching the mysterious circumstances surrounding her daughter’s last days and final hours. Kimberly McCreight definitely has a knack for nailing mother-daughter relationships and strong female leads. Secret societies, long-held grudges, and prep school politics are uncovered in this thrilling and heart-wrenching story. If you’ve enjoyed Gossip Girl and The Gilmore Girls, you’ll definitely find a favourite in Reconstructing Amelia. We gave this one 3.5/5.
    • Next, we tackled Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg’s The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules, a hilarious romp about a group of pensioners who believe that jail would hold more comforts than their retirement home. A comedy of errors, this book will keep you giggling. To sum up the funniest scene, two words: sauna + marijuana. Funny things happen. This was an unexpected pick for our group but we enjoyed it. 3/5.
  • Next up, we’re reading Agatha Christie’s classic mystery, The Tuesday Club Murders. It’ll be just like reading a game of CLUE and I can’t wait.

 

Close to Hugh by Marina EndicottJeff Rubin's The Carbon BubbleCanadian writers are the best writers. I’m biased.


 

A few more books on my “to be read” bookshelf: Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember In The Ashes and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, out next week. So many good books for us to explore this summer, my friends!

Keep your eyes on the blog for more summer reading recommendations.

Happy reading,
Katrina

 

‘Tequila Mockingbird’ and other Harper Lee News

Hello readers,

Big news in the literary world this week: Harper Lee, Pulitzer-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird,  is releasing a new book for the first time in more than 50 years! This is timely news because I’m totally re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird right now. Lee’s new book, Go Set a Watchman, is a sequel to the famous To Kill a Mockingbird, set in the same fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama and based on a grown-up Scout Finch, even though it was written before To Kill a Mockingbird.

In a USA Today article released yesterday, Lee is quoted as “explaining that she abandoned the Watchman manuscript decades ago, after her editor suggested she write a new book from the young heroine Scout’s perspective and to set it during her childhood. That became Mockingbird.”

While there has been a massive amount of suspicion about the timing of Watchman’s release (read up on the controversy here), I am personally really looking forward to reading this book when it comes out – and it looks like I’m not the only one. It’s already the #1 book on Amazon.com’s bestseller list and it isn’t set to come out until July 14, 2015. Pretty exciting stuff!

To Kill a Mockingbird is such a popular book that it inspired the title for Tim Federle’s Goodreads Award-winning cookbook Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist, the book I’m going to head out to buy tonight – the perfect way to spend a Friday night is mixing literary cocktails! Love the punny play on words right there.

(http://www.foodiemisadventures.com/2012/05/frozen-margaritas.html)
(http://www.foodiemisadventures.com/2012/05/frozen-margaritas.html)

Cheers to a great weekend!

Happy reading,
Katrina

New Year, New Books!

Hello readers,

Welcome back! I took a bit of break from writing over the holidays to take full advantage of my time off, and it was blissful. I did a lot of sleeping, reading, movie watching, treat eating, crafting (see my last blog post!), and friend seeing – I feel like I don’t get to see everyone as much as I would like to when school is in full swing so it was very nice to see friends and family, and relax. I hope you all had a fantastic holiday as well!

Now it’s official: 2015 is here – which means new classmates, new projects, and of course, new books to read!

giphy.com
giphy.com

I just finished Ken Follett’s Edge of Eternity over the break – the book is about the size of your average Bible so I waited until Christmas to read it so that I could give the story my undivided attention and it was well worth the wait.

The book spans 1961 to 2008 and wow was there a lot to cover. Follett writes with clarity, wisdom, and honesty about the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the decades-long battle for civil rights in the U.S.A., the Vietnam War, the changing landscape of communism and the Soviet Union during the Cold War (with some impressive discussion on the Cuban Missile Crisis), the Watergate scandal (which was great prep for reading All the President’s Men this semester! For a sneak peak about the legacy of Watergate and the Washington Post’s Pulitzer-winning coverage, check out this link), and so much more.

Through characters experiencing historic events on the front lines, Follett leads us on a journey through the last third of the 20th Century, tying up loose ends and finishing off his epic Century trilogy that began with Fall of Giants and continued with Winter of the World. If you’re seeking a better understanding of the cultural, political, and social tensions and transformations that took place between 1900 and today, read this trilogy. It was so well written and I look forward to seeing what Follett writes next (I’ll need a BIG book to read when we take a break from CreComm over the summer!).

Now that I’m pretty well-versed on the 1960s and 70s, I’m delving into All the President’s Men for my Journalism class. I don’t normally read non-fiction because I’m a sucker for fiction and fantasy, but so far I’m finding All the President’s Men riveting. Up next, I’m hoping to read some classics that have been on my shelf for a while, including Doctor Zhivago, War and Peace, 1984, and To Kill a Mockingbird (I’m sensing a 1960s/Russia/revolution theme…). However, I might change things up on you – Anne of Green Gables is also looking like a good prospect. So many choices! I’ll just have to keep you guessing.

Here’s to a new year of adventures on the page and in real life!

Happy reading,
Katrina