Today’s Tea: Spiced Chai
I read this book in one sitting.
Now, I’m a fairly fast reader. In elementary school, I actually got in trouble quite a bit for speed reading – I would be so excited to get to the end of the book that sometimes I would accidentally skip sentences and miss huge, important details. So I had to learn to read more carefully, but I still have a pretty speedy reading pace, especially with books I’m really enjoying.
But even if you’re not a speed reader, this book is a quick read and really, really hard to put down.
Junior is a compelling narrator, peppering his stories with sketches and drawings, finding humor is some truly tragic circumstances. I loved every character in this book, from our wonderfully awkward protagonist to his supportive, yet struggling family as well as both of his two (very different) best friends.
And it’s a story that’s both familiar and unique, which are my favorite kinds of stories. We’ve all felt awkward and out of place and lonely, yet Junior’s story and sense of self is also a reflection of the way Native Americans have been treated in our country. The stories Junior tells about himself and his community are sad, but there’s also anger there. And that anger is important. The stories are important.
Recommended for: everyone. No really. Everyone.
Today’s Tea: Vanilla Rooibos
This is a book for the socially awkward. For the late bloomers. For the fangirls.
I was a lot like Cath in college. While I didn’t read a lot of fanfiction, I watched a lot of animated movies and avoiding things like parties and “socializing”. FANGIRL perfectly captured a lot of my college experiences, except of course there was a lack of Levis, Cath’s totally adorable love interest.
I devoured FANGIRL. There was something to love about every character from Cath’s badass roommate Reagan, to her anxiety-ridden father, to her twin sister Wren who’s trying to find her own identity during their first year at school. Everyone was flawed and engaging and wonderful.
And the romance. Oh, the romance is wonderful! Sweet and lovely and funny. I absolutely adored Levi with his bitable chin and receding hairline.
Recommended for: people who were weirdoes in college. And past college.
Today’s Tea: Green Tea
I freaking love this book. LOVE. IT.
There are dragons. I love dragons. LOVE THEM*. Yet these dragons are utterly unique to this world that Hartman has painstakingly created. The world building in this novel is incredible, especially in regards to dragons and their complicated history with humans.
Seraphina is a fantastic heroine. She’s a wonderfully complex character and an excellent narrator. She had me captivated from the very first page. The story is wonderfully paced and has a bit of everything: action, intrigue, magic, music and romance.
Everything about the book feels purposeful. It’s a beautifully crafted first novel and I’m so excited for the next one in the series – give it to me now!
Recommended for: lovers of dragons.
Today’s Tea: Red Rooibos
Fairy tales have lost a lot of their darkness. We’ve forgotten that Cinderella’s stepsisters cut off their big toe and heel to fit in the hopes of fitting into the glass slipper, or that the Wicked Queen in Snow White was forced to dance in red-hot iron shoes at the royal wedding or that the little mermaid doesn’t actually get the prince and turns into sea foam instead.
DEERSKIN is based on Charles Perrault’s DONKEYSKIN, an especially dark and twisted story*. It tells the tale of a dying Queen that makes her husband promise that he will only remarry someone who is as beautiful as she is. He promises and she dies, leaving behind the King and their only daughter. Years pass and the King remains unmarried until one day he looks at his now-teenaged daughter, who has grown to be as beautiful as her mother and decides that she will be his next wife.
It would be easy to sanitize this story, but DEERSKIN remains true to the original telling. Lissar is an extraordinary heroine and while there is romance, the relationship she has with her dog Ash, is the true heart of the story.
This book is like a punch to the gut. It’s not necessarily an easy book to read, because of its subject matter, but it is well worth the effort. It is beautiful and heart wrenching and incredible. One of my absolute favorites.
Recommended for: people who like their fairy tales dark and twisty.
*Which is saying a lot.
Today’s Tea: Peppermint
If it’s not already evident, let me restate the obvious: I love fairy tales. And I love a good fairy tale retelling, which is exactly what ASH is.
Cinderella is an incredibly popular story. There have been tons of variations on the well-known fairy tale, so making one that stands out is not an easy task. ASH takes the story we know and completely turns it on its head. In this version Cinderella isn’t interested in the prince, instead she falls in love with his huntress. It’s a beautiful story that expands our (sometimes small) fairy tale bubble to include people that are often left out.
Not only am I a huge fan of ASH, but I am a big admirer of its author. Malinda Lo is one my favorite bloggers and she’s an absolutely invaluable resource for writers, especially those looking to expand their bubble.
Check out her website here!
Recommended for: lovers of romance and fantasy.