Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Top Contemporary Picks

Top Contemporary Picks

Recently, I did a post detailing my favourite science fiction books. Also very recently, a friend finished the Lara Jean trilogy and asked for new contemporary recommendations. (Okay, maybe I offered. Okay, maybe I specifically brought it up so I could make this post. Shush.) So, being the overstressed turnip I am, I decided to combine these two things into one glorious post! Note: It’s slightly different than my other top picks post because us root vegetables must be open to change. Go with the flow.

Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde
Oooooooh my god this is the cutest thing of ever! Well now I sound like a five year old but it’s okay because I would do anything for the adorableness that is Queens of Geek. I was so sad when I read the last page because I just wanted to stay in the world forever. Great and positive representation, by the way. Bisexual girls, social anxiety, POC, and another person who convinced me that not everyone called Taylor is evil. (The first person was Taylor Swift.) And all the cute and well written romance and friendship! There aren’t enough YA books with healthy and good friendships, but this one hits it right on the head. The friendships are splendid and aren’t sacrificed for the freaking romance thank the Lorde. I might have actually cried at how much I saw myself in Taylor and how amazing the bisexual rep was. Just leave me in my sad miserable / dying of the cute corner with my emotions thanks I’ll need 87 years to recover. Or maybe 86. Or maybe Jen Wilde could write a sequel. 

Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This! This! This! Give me some time to recover from how adorable this book is. It’s set in Paris, which is amazing because I love France. (Except the slavery and imprisonment… Let’s just say the art and architecture is great there.) The romance in the story is so cute and so much fun to read about. I love Anna, she’s so lovely and a great main character. The film critic industry is one I haven’t read about before, and it was cool to get to read about that from her eyes as a person who wanted to join it. It’s always fantastic to find that the main character in a story is actually your favourite. Reader goals I promise. This story is the first one in a trilogy, but you can just read Anna And The French Kiss. Or you can stop at the sequel, Lola And The Boy Next Door. The third book makes me irrationally angry, we don’t talk about it here. The only reason I read it is to find out what happened to Anna and √Čtienne, my children. Yes they’re older than me, and dating. They’re still my children. It’s all very normal.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Actually the second book on this list that deals with social anxiety, which is wonderful. It also normalizes and doesn’t glorify therapy. Double win! However, I thought it had a sliiiiiiiight “girl meets boy and mental illness is cured” sort of thing. But my feelings as to that are very slight, because Linus is only to catalyst to a journey Audrey undertakes herself. I found this book to be hilariously funny. I read it in the middle of the night and had to bite the pillow to keep from laughing because that was how goddamn funny I thought this book was. Do I have a terrible sense of humor? Yes. Does that make this book any less funny? Probably, but for the sake of my emotions, let’s pretend no. I sincerely recommend reading this (it’s quite short) but also remember! If someone who has social anxiety is explaining to you why they don’t like this book, please don’t shut them down. Always be respectful, especially when people have important things to say.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner 
This is the only book on this list that is outright sad, and it’s also the only one that doesn’t mainly feature romance. The Serpent King deals with sadness and grief, but it can also be very funny at times. All the characters have unique voices, and they feel fleshed out with their hopes, dreams, and desires. My favourite was Lydia, but I’m probably most like Travis. The funny scenes were balanced out super well with the sad scenes that broke my heart and also my toe because I dropped the book on it. I also think the undertones of religion were really well handled? I’m Christian (which is the main religion in this book) and I think it was treated quite well considering everything. Also, there’s a very funny joke about the Bible that I just find so damn funny and no one can figure out why. This book is the perfect read for when you want something contemporary but sadder, and also when you want to curse people who write such marvelous debuts that you can never get over them.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Let’s start out with a shoutout for big families that don’t feel like the Weasleys! Can I get a hell yeah? Anyway, this is a very cute very summery read. I can’t even read it in winter, it’s that much of a summer read. All the characters are so very aptly named and there is a fantabulous (Google says it’s a word) romance playing out through the whole story and I am absolutely in love with that. There’s also an actual serious plot, about money and guilt and a whOLE LOT OF OTHER THINGS I CAN’T SPOIL, SUSAN. The point here is that it’s an endlessly cute book with actual conflict and believable characters and fighting and it makes you sad on one page and squeal on the next. Very fluffy, and highly recommended for those who have just read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or Lord of Shadows for the first time. Yes, my heart hurts too. But My Life Next Door is a wonderful balm for all that trauma and I really appreciate it! Shout out to writers who don’t want to murder me.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
I love this book! Can I ever remember the title without scouring the interwebs with vague plot descriptions? No. It was so so so so cute! I died 47 times of the cute. Also, the whole friends to lovers is my favourite trope because you already care about that person and the author doesn’t have to show how the characters get to know each other. It’s just there and the foundation is there which is great. All the family stuff too and how it affects their lives, which is gloriously realistic for a change. *coughs* 90% of YA romance *coughs* I read this such a long time ago and now I’m recommending it and I want to freaking reread it but no. Tests. Assignments. I’m sad now. Forth! There are new settings (either Ireland or Scotland I can’t remember for the life of me) and sweet romance that has such a new spin and it’s amazing! It’s definitely a feel-good book, and it’s just the kind of adorable you can slip into any place, any time. 

Amy And Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Talk about original. The first book I have ever read that details a road trip and makes it interesting! (Sorry, John Green.) The author’s voice and the plot and the characters and I’m in love. One issue I have with a lot of romances is that the characters ditch all their friends to hang out with the other person. I understand why it happens (the author’s goal is to develop the romance) but that’s not healthy. How is that problem solved here? They’re on a road trip! They hang out with each other all day, every day. Flawless solution. The different locations and adventures in this story were so beautifully described that I really felt like I was travelling through the US with Amy and Roger. (I just misspelled Amy’s name as May. Who have I become.) The music stuff was so cool and like nothing I have seen in a book before. I definitely have to listen to some of those playlists eventually. No… I don’t want the book to be over it’s too cute I need more oh no I’m addicted.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Full disclosure: I didn’t realize Morgan Matson wrote Since You’ve Been Gone AND Amy And Roger’s Epic Detour until I checked on goodreads while writing this post. They’re so different that I couldn’t really associate them with each other, although I’m sure I knew they were by the same author at some point. Haha. Once you get over the contraction with “have” in the title (I’m so picky about this) it’s a sweet summer romance with lush and vivid imagery. (I still have not figured out whether the Kelly Clarkson reference is intentional.) The friendship is awesome, and I know a Sloane! Which is irrelevant but that is the name of one of the characters, and I get so excited when a character has the same name as a person I know. So lovely, so unique, and now I associate fifteen different things with this book that I never expected to. In an universe superior to our own, every person who liked contemporary would read this so I had someone to scream about it with.

All The Sarah Dessen
Personally, I have read Saint Anything, Just Listen, Keeping The Moon, Dreamland, Lock and Key, and by the time this post is published (I have 40 pages left) Once And For All. Sarah Dessen writes romances, but her love stories are always fraught with conflict and heartbreak but she just writes them so well that you don’t even care. None of her books are particularly cutesy, but I think that’s just fine. All of her books…. Yes this may be the rom-com loving Peraltiago shipping useless person in me, but Sarah Dessen is just so damn good. I recommend going into her books knowing next to nothing about them, it makes for a much more enjoyable experience. However, she does write about very serious topics, and you should check for trigger warnings. In conclusion, I love Sarah Dessen a lot, maybe more than cake, and I definitely recommend her books. (For reference, my favourite is Once And For All unless everything burns and crashes in the next forty pages.)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The fact that this wasn’t the first book on the list is honestly offensive. Who writes this stuff? Oh wait it’s me. Nevermind. Anyway, Fangirl is an amazing book about fangirl stuff! It’s definitely my favourite by Rainbow Rowell, and it’s a wonderfully relatable story. I mean, eating protein bars in your room for a week to avoid social contact? Me as heck. Humans are scary. *wards off with goblin powers*The Simon Snow stuff as an allusion to Harry Potter? Brilliant! (Although the reference to HP at the end confused me….) I think that the romance played out really nicely, and all the characters were very well developed, and I died ten times because of how much I was Cait. Am Cait. Is that her name. OH MY GOD IT’S CATH I’M GETTING HER CONFUSED WITH PAPERFURY. You should read this book! I really liked it! I can’t remember the main character’s name but I liked it! (Why am I allowed to human I ask you. It’s getting sad for all of us.)

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I will never ever ever stop screaming about how wonderful this book is and how amazing it is someone arrest me. Honestly! It’s got everything you could want from a contemporary. Cute moments, funny moments, Harry Potter references, food, well developed characters, a wonderful romance…. IT’S PERFECT. It does get kind of sad at times, but Becky Albertalli is a master at balancing out happy and sad, making for one hell of a novel. I grinned till my face fell off one page and wanted to smack half the characters the next. The story’s so good and it’s got amazing representation for YA - so y’all should definitely check it out. Run to your library, your bookstore, my shelf and read Simon (the only thing bad about it is the super long title) ASAP so you can come here and we can scream together about it. I read a lot of books, and this one might actually take the cake as being my favourite contemporary. Wait… I’ll have to get back to you on that. This is my midlife crisis ok. 

Good golly, I gave you a lot of recommendations, didn’t I? That’s me, overcompensating for everything. Anyway, if you’re bored during the summer, you know what to read. Are there any books I missed? Are there any books on this list you positively hate? Please let me know! I wish you good reading and all the other good blessings normal people wish on others.

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue: A Review

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Delinquents, Young Love, and an Astonishing Amount of Alcohol*
*told via colours, lists, and a healthy dash of sarcasm

RATING: ★★★★☆
My neighbours get so much
free promo
SUMMARY: Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions. But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Even with his younger sister, Felicity in tow, he vows to make this year long escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores. (Courtesy of goodreads.)

Well, this was decidedly unexpected. Usually, when I crack open 500 page (yes you read that right) historical fiction novels I do not expect to actually enjoy them. However, I did quite enjoy this one. The writing is descriptive without being flowery, the settings are vivid and different, and I only wanted to stab the characters 19% of the time. (Except for Monty’s father. I wanted to stab him 100% of the time.) It was a very, very good book. I would recommend it for fans of A Darker Shade of Magic and Shades of Bronze and Gold. (Give me a break, they’re both green and I don’t read much historical fiction.)

Quick warning! Past this point in the review, here are some spoilers for this book. So, if you haven’t read it and want to read it, don’t continue. Go read it on the recommendation of a random Internet person with a crooked bookshelf and anxiety issues. If you’re reading it for English class (although I can’t imagine why historical fiction about alcohol and romance would be a good English class choice, but you do you boo) and want to pretend that you read it, continue for my spoilers. 

Anyway, moving on to lists! To start off, a small list of likes, because it’s always best to start positive and spell the word ‘small’ correctly. (Not a callout, I’d just die for grammar.) There were quite a few things I liked in this novel, and a few things I disliked. Instead of writing them out in a coherent paragraph, I think I’ll make lists because I’m secretly a two year old.

“God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.” - Henry Montague, probably describing me.

The Characters: Y’all I know Monty is the main character here, but Felicity really stole the show. I mean, a girl who wants to be a doctor and work on a pirate ship? She took the covers off amatory (new vocabulary word!) novels to hide her medical textbooks? I would die for her and I need to read the follow up in her perspective. And Percy was really great too, I liked him. I felt as though his character was really well developed and I thought he was great. Oh, and Monty was great too. Great character, that guy that’s on the cover.

Plot: I really loved the whole premise of having a grand tour around Europe! I just kind of love these books where you see a lot of different places that are developed very well. The romance, which I will later talk about, was very well written and very cute. I maybe died a lot. The way it ended was oh so very satisfying? It tugged on all 13 of my heartstrings. (Thirteen’s my lucky number because thirteen.) Pirates? The whole James Boswell plan? Perfect. Absolutely perfect. I thought that a good deal of this story was very tightly plotted, and it shows.

♥  Style of Writing: I absolutely adore vivid descriptions of new settings. I love when you can just tell when the characters have traveled to a new place because it’s very lifelike and I feel not a lot of authors have been able to do this. Especially with this novel, where there are a lot of different settings, I felt it was important to establish different moods and tones for different areas, which this book does remarkably well.

♥  Author’s Note: Author notes are literally always fun. It’s great to see the author discuss their love of their book child and appreciate said book child as much as I do. (This is a weird analogy, but go with it because you love me.) Also, Mackenzi Lee included references for the historical basis in the book and I am in absolute love? The notes on the actual Grand Tour and queer culture and epilepsy were great. I learned quite a bit with this novel, and I will now use this in my annoying list of why YA literature is actually educational.

♥  Representation: Monty is lowkey bisexual and I am definitely here for it. More positive bi rep in fiction! The main romance was man x man, and it was so cute and played out so well. I really liked the fact that there were people of colour in this novel, something a lot of historical fictions overlook. Also, epilepsy representation, which is always nice to see because it’s shockingly underrepresented. Even though we’re not actually speaking of Monty, I think I should bring up how well his PTSD was handled. (It was handled really well.) 

♥  Strings Instruments: I learned what a fiddle is here and apparently it’s like a small (NOT SMOL) violin which means it’s a strings instrument which means I now have to marry this book for mentioning strings instruments. If only it had been a cello tho.

The Alchemy: It’s just not realistic…. I’m sorry but y’all can’t market a book as being an epic tour of Europe with politics and a heist and then add this element of almost magic to it? I love fantasy, it’s my favourite genre. But the alchemy plot had no real basis here and I felt it really derailed the story. The story could have been perfect if it just stuck to one main plot, the alchemy stuff or the Grand Tour stuff. But for Lee to combine them both felt not only risky but also contrived. 

Villains: Okay so I really enjoyed the actions of the villains and how their effects played out through the novel, and I think that part was remarkable. What I didn’t enjoy was how we don’t really understand motivations. It’s easy to make us sympathize with the heroes over the villains, but there are so many villains and so few motivations that it doesn’t really make sense throughout the story.

Tone: I usually dislike stories written in first person. I couldn’t tell you why if you asked me, but I just don’t like them. This is more of my personal taste being annoying than an actual qualm with the story, but I felt Monty’s perspective didn’t explain as much as I would have liked to hear about the alchemy. (Hey, if you’re going to include an unnecessary plot derail, at least explain it!) 

Humour: So many people have said that this book is so funny. I know humour is subjective, but the book just didn’t strike me as very funny. The only character who I actually found humorous was Felicity. I felt that the banter between Monty and Percy was very contrived and not that funny at all, but that is just my opinion. I did enjoy this book regardless of it being not that funny, I just found it odd that so many people have said it’s hilarious. 

Contractions: This isn’t really a reason I detracted percents or anything I just really hated a lot of the contractions used in the book. There were triple contractions, contractions with have, contractions everywhere… I know it might be historically accurate but a lot of things were okay in the past and contractions are evil. 

Scipio: Listen, the whole scene where he’s talking to Monty about throwing punches is gold. It was a beautifully written scene, but it didn’t fit with his character. He seemed to do a complete 180 in terms of behavior and I was so confused by it. So much missed opportunity for development I cry. He suddenly goes from being chicken liver to a beautiful fried egg in the space of 10 pages? I was just starting to hate him? It makes no sense someone find me a convenient wall to smash my head into.

No Cello: I mean, this is an issue with almost every book. But please please please I want more characters who play cellos! More characters who have pet cellos! More characters who are cellos! All the cellos in fiction please. I just said cello too much it’s not a word anymore.

On the whole, I really enjoyed A Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue! It was some of the better historical fiction I have read, had cute romances and amazing imagery. Also, the love of my life, Felicity Montague was in it so that fixes everything. Happy reading!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mini Reviews With Minna (because you know you love me)

This past week I’ve been granted with access to a lot of new novels. Actually, I still have 11 unread books from the library, which I’m super excited to read (and should stop procrastinating because remember that time you had $20 in overdue fees?). I also bought some books, stole some books, and ate some books. Without further ado, here are my reviews of the books I read last week. Does not include books I’m halfway through or books I don’t remember reading. Also, my definition of a week is rather flimsy because time hates me personally. Okay! Here are the reviews.

This Book Is Gay: ★★☆☆☆
This book actually provided some adequate advice for people of different sexualities, and I felt like it discussed some things very well. However, in the stereotypes chart there was some transphobic language, and there was some aphobic language towards the end of the book. A lot of the humour was really forced, and read as being immature. The definition of bisexual was also really narrow and exclusionary. The book claimed to span a lot of different sexualities and genders, but pretty much stuck to gender binaries and mostly talked about gay and lesbian people. Which would be fine if this book wasn’t marketed as being about all sexualities and genders. The topic of religion was not handled well, becoming very generalizing at times. I’m giving this book two stars not because I believe there is anything wrong with the LGBT+ community (which there isn’t) but because it was not written in a inclusive or mature way.

The Accident Season: ★★★★★
In a very sharp turn from my last review, I thought that The Accident Season was a fantastic book. Usually, I don’t particularly like magical realism because it doesn’t get explained a lot and that annoys me. But this story, while being magical realism, explained just enough to help me understand but not enough to ruin the aura of paranormality. The style of writing was so gorgeous it could be a Taylor Swift song, promise. I fell in love with every single one of the characters from page 1, except maybe Sam. I don’t know, Sam is a shady name. Moving on! The premise of this story was both heartbreaking and fascinating, and I thought the way it played out was really interesting. The story was just so beautiful in so many ways and I died. It was also very creepy and dealt a lot with secrets, which I adored and related to quite a bit. Extremely good storytelling. I still can’t get over it. I went into this book with sky high expectations and it met them all.

Wonder Woman Volume 2: Guts: ★★★★☆
I would like to preface this review by saying that this is a comic book, and usually I don’t really read comic books. But I love DC’s New 52, so I decided to give the Wonder Woman series a shot, because I love Wonder Woman. Each story just takes you on this wild ride of adventure and pretty art and murder, which is great. Also, new characters! Not just Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor! Hurrah for Brian Azzarello. Did I mention that these comic books have Greek mythology incorporated? Don’t mind me, I’m just going to run off into the sunset and marry it at dawn. Small star deduction because I feel like the scene changing can get a little confusing at times, and you might not realize who’s who if you didn’t have that weird Percy Jackson phase. (Stop pointing at me. You had one too.) The twist murdered my heart. And soul. Excuse me but this week I was murdered many ways and I blame the books.

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda: ★★★★★
Excuse me but this was cute and gay and sad and I loved it for all those reasons. It’s one of those stories where you wanna punch a character in anger on one page and you squeal on the next. Very diverse range of emotions going on here. It also made me want to eat Oreos, which is unfair because I’m not allowed to eat Oreos. The romance was one of my favourites of all time, because it played out beautifully and was adorable and unique and so so well written. Every one of the characters had a very distinct personality, which was nice because I could really tell them all apart from each other, even though I thought Abby was called Abbey for half the book. And I never saw Blue’s identity coming! This might just be because I’m an unobservant starfish, but I actually didn’t see it coming and I didn’t think it was too unbelievable. Yay on this book for being awesome! Now let me run to go get Leah On The Offbeat and sue Becky Albertalli if Leah and Abby don’t get together because the chemistry was so real y’all.

When Dimple Met Rishi: ★★★☆☆
I have such mixed emotions on this book I can’t even. I mean, I thought that an almost-400-pages contemporary might have some actual romantic buildup? Sue me for thinking such an absurd thing! Sorry, that sounded bitter. Let’s talk about what I liked first. I really liked the exposure it gave to Indian culture, which is shockingly underrepresented in YA fiction. The whole premise of the coding camp and the photography activity were also pretty cool. The side romance? Very very cute. Dimple Shah? I mostly thought she was a cool character. However, the focus of this book goes very quickly to being about coding with a strong girl character to being about an underdeveloped romance where I want to strangle both characters. I mean! I get that it’s a romance, but you should never ever sacrifice the personalities of both characters to get them to be in a relationship. Instant romance wrecker. Also, the fact that the talent show (remind me why it needs to exist) got more page time than the actual coding competition drove me insane. Someone remind me why I spent so long wanting to read this book please and thanks.

Strange The Dreamer: ★★★★☆
Laini Taylor is such a great fantasy writer it’s honestly incredible. I just flat out adored this book! And now I want to live in Lazlo’s library please and thanks. The worldbuilding was so absolutely excellent I promise you. It was amazing. We’re all just going to ignore that my favourite character was the six year old creepy girl who can bind ghosts to her will. Yeah. That’s normal. (Her name is just one letter off from mine? Minya/Minna? I want an undead army now wait don’t call the cops.) Sarai’s power? Quite original, very cool, super great. All the characters were well developed and the plot was strong as heck. My only qualm? A case of instalove. The relationship was cute and all, but in a 500+ page book you absolutely have time for more development please and thanks. But it’s such a good fantasy? I wish there were more fantasies like Strange The Dreamer because fantasy is my favourite genre and this was so well done. (Quick note: every time they said “strange the dreamer” in some form, the CinemaSins voice was in my head shouting “roll credits!” It was as weird as it sounds.)

        Anyway, that’s all for now. I might update this post to include The Marrow Thieves and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which are the two books I’m currently reading. Tell me if you’ve read any of these books, and if so, what did you think? Did you agree with my star ratings or am I just a limp piece of chicken trying to have an opinion? Do you like comic books?

       Have fun reading, and try to find The Accident Season, Strange the Dreamer, and Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda at your local library!

Minna Potter

Her Crooked Shelf

Monday, May 21, 2018

Top Science Fiction Picks

Top Science Fiction Picks

As any seasoned reader will tell you, one of the hardest parts of looking for science fiction books is finding one that is actually good. Most of them are full of jargon; some of them have no plot, and some never mention cake not even once, which is of course a travesty and a disgrace. My favourites kind of fall under the fantasy label, are romantic, and sometimes have murder. Science fiction is a tricky genre because it’s either really good or really bad. Without further ado, here are my top picks for the best young adult science fiction. (Fair warning: These books will hurt your heart, soul, and brain. I do not apologize.)

THE ILLUMINAE TRILOGY by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
These books are actually some of my favourites. I have not read the third one, so don’t quote me on any opinions. (Don’t spoil it for me in the comments. I will destroy you with my dragon army. I definitely have one.) However, the first two books, Illuminae and Gemina, are testaments to the power of good storytelling. They keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last. Note, do not read them before you go to bed, because they are very scary books and you will not sleep. Both of the books (and Obsidio, the third installment) are told in the form of documents, which I found really interesting. I’ve heard of epistolary novels, but I’d never read any until these. Quick side note: my favourite character is the psychopath sentient computer who tries to kill everyone. I’m sure this is very normal - don’t call the police.

THE STARBOUND TRILOGY by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Okay, so apparently trilogies are a thing in science fiction. Sue me. But the Starbound trilogy is actually pretty good. Each book focuses on a romance, but it doesn’t feel contrived. I will note that the first book is quite romance heavy; the second more even keeled;, and the third has a ton of action and violence. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the third one is my favourite. The first one is easily the weakest, but you should stick it out because not only is it a) still good, but also b) you need to read it to understand the glory that is the last book, Their Fractured Light. Interestingly enough, this trilogy is written by one of the same people that wrote Illuminae! The writing style doesn’t really cross over, so I was as shocked as you probably are. Side note: all three books have covers that are prettier than I am and this is 99% of the reason I started reading this series. 

The third book in the trilogy of trilogy mentions! Yes, I do think I’m funny. No, keep your comments to yourself. Anyway, the Shatter Me trilogy is a very good trilogy. I would lay down my life for the eyeball covers (it’s prettier than it sounds) and the writing is absolutely phenomenal. If Tahereh Mafi could write 400 more books I’d be absolutely okay with that and I’d probably read every single one. The humor is great throughout the series although I think that the first book has the best plot. Some people say it rips off X-Men, but I hate Marvel so… make of that what you will. It’s also kind of a dystopian trilogy, so if you’re still missing the six month rise and fall of dystopia, you should probably check this trilogy out. Three more books are being added to the series, which I think is great because the third book is not enough resolution for me. So technically it’s not a trilogy! Go me for being creative!

ARTEMIS FOWL by Eoin Colfer
THIS IS ADVERTISED AS SCIENCE FICTION FANTASY GIVE ME A BREAK. Honestly, Artemis Fowl is Harry Potter with science. It’s that iconic. Every single character is a gift to our world and the series finale left me sobbing. It also has eight (not very long) books, so it’s perfect if you love to read but have a short attention span. It also somehow magically manages to actually have a time travel plot that makes sense. A miracle. And the main characters! Holly is badass but loveable, and Artemis is evil but loveable, and as the most iconic main characters they’re loveable and loveable. (Yes, that’s a Brooklyn Nine Nine reference. They’re on hiatus until 2019, I have to let it out somehow.) Another cool thing about Holly and Artemis is that there’s never the forced romantic plotline. They’re just partners in crime, which is so refreshing. Basically, you should read Artemis Fowl. (Have you noticed this is the first current non trilogy I’ve mentioned in this post and it’s also counted as fantasy? I’m useless.)

If you haven’t read these books yet, we’re not friends. Yes, the first 30 or so pages of Cinder are a little dry, but it picks up really quickly and gives you great worldbuilding so you understand everything properly later. Each book is a science fiction retelling of a fairytale, which was really cool! The books have so many clever references that you feel smart every time you pick up on one. It is a four book series, so props to me for not mentioning another trilogy. On the other hand, I’ve mentioned another romance series. As in the fairytales, each retelling centers around a romance, but each one is well developed and never becomes more important than the main murder plot. Also, the retellings are decidedly more feminist than the original versions, and the protagonist of each story is a girl. The foreshadowing for these books is also brilliant. We’re introduced to things that will be relevant in the third book in the first. If you decide to start any series off this post, start the Lunar Chronicles!

In conclusion, science fiction is a pretty hard genre to do well, and most of it relies on trilogies, which can be problematic. But there are very well executed science fiction novels, and my post details only my absolute favourites. Also, this is only YA fiction, so books like Foundation and Gameboard of the Gods aren’t here. I strongly recommend these books to anyone looking to read more science fiction, or anyone who just wants to branch out from their typical genre of reading. Happy reading!

Minna Potter
Her Crooked Shelf

Interview with the one and only... CG DREWS!

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