Top Ten: Books Featuring High Schoolers

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was a back to school freebie, so I chose books featuring high school students because, to me, nothing screams “back to school” more than public school.

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The Bad Mother’s Handbook by Kate Long

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
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Paper Towns by John Green

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Top Ten: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2016

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was my most anticipated releases for the second half (July through December) of 2016.

Yay new books! I am also very excited about Roxane Gay’s new memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, and Justin Cronin’s The City of Mirrors.

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July

5: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson

12: Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke Allen

26: The Unseen World by Liz Moore

August

2: The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race by Jesmyn Ward

9: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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16: The Gentleman by Forrest Leo / The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

September

27: Black Panther, Vol. 1: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates / Time Travel by James Gleick

December

16: Lumberjanes, Vol. 5: Band Together by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Brooke Allen

Top Ten: Books Every Fan of Kick-Ass Ladies Should Read

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was “ten books every x should read.”

My top ten list is a two-fer: books to read if you like kick-ass ladies AND want to start a series. (Because, honestly, who doesn’t??)

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Kick-ass lady: Delilah Bard
Series: Shades of Magic

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Kick-ass lady: Diana Bishop
Series: All Souls Trilogy

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Kick-ass lady: Lisbeth Salander
Series: Millennium Trilogy

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Kick-ass lady: Gemma Doyle
Series: Gemma Doyle

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Kick-ass lady: literally ALL OF THEM
Series: Lumberjanes

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Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
Kick-ass lady: Kamala Khan
Series: Ms. Marvel (Marvel NOW!)

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Kick-ass lady: Alexia Tarabotti
Series: Parasol Protectorate

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Kick-ass lady: Jessica Darling
Series: Jessica Darling

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Kick-ass lady: Tally Youngblood
Series: Uglies

Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson
Kick-ass lady: Betsy Taylor
Series: Undead

Five Favorite: Books I Read in 2015

“Five Favorite” is a feature on thewasofshall where I lay out my five favorite “x”. Sometimes they’re relevant to a season or holiday, mostly they’re not. It’s an all-around fun excuse to give my 100% amazingly awesome opinion. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

I read about 30 books in 2015 – a lot of them good and a lot of them bad – but only a handful were absolute re-read favorites. Here are my top five.

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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

TheMartian

The Martian by Andy Weir

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Ms. Marvel, vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Have your own five favorite 2015 reads? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!

Five Favorite: Science Fiction Novels

“Five Favorite” is a feature on thewasofshall where I lay out my five favorite “x”. Sometimes they’re relevant to a season or holiday, mostly they’re not. It’s an all-around fun excuse to give my 100% amazingly awesome opinion. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

I intended to have more than five science fiction novels from which to choose – and to spend the majority of this list detailing why I had to whittle it down – but, instead, I belatedly realized that I spend way more time thinking about sci-fi literature than I do reading it. So, below are four of my favorite sci-fi novels as well as one high on my tbr list.

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11/22/63 by Stephen King (on my tbr, especially now that the mini series is imminent!!)

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Blackout by Connie Willis

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The Martian by Andy Weir

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Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

ThePassage

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Have your own five favorite science fiction novels? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!

Review: Lumberjanes and Ms. Marvel NOW!

Lumberjanesv1Title: Lumberjanes, vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy
Authors: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen (illustrator)
Rating: ★★★★★
Summary: At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

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Title: Ms. Marvel NOW! vol. 1: No Normal, vol. 2: Generation Why, and vol. 3: Crushed
Authors: G. Willow Wilson (author vol. 1-3), Adrian Alphona (artist vol. 1-2), Elmo Bondoc (artist vol. 3), Humberto Ramos (illustrator vol. 3), Jacob Wyatt (artist vol. 2), Mark Waid (author vol. 3), and Takeshi Miyazawa (artist vol. 3)
Rating: ★★★★
Summary: Kamala Khan is just an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm!


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Kawaii April.

Metal af April.

For me, reading graphic novels acts as both a palate cleanser and a productivity boost: something to reinvigorate a reading slump after a couple of disappointing choices (I’m looking at you, Modern Romanceand allow me to finish a self-contained work in an afternoon (gotta pump up those Goodreads counts, y’all). What I did not plan, however, was falling completely in love with both Lumberjanes and the new iteration of Ms. Marvel. Thinking I would just casually flip through my copies of Beware the Kitten Holy and No Normal and then scurry off to something else was a rookie mistake. After reading the last panel of Lumberjanes, vol. 1, I slowly savored each page of extra content, unwilling to close the flap and declare the journey over. What were Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley up to and how soon would their adventures arrive in the next trade edition? I was able to satisfy my thirst for more “hard-core lady-types” with Kamala Khan, but diving into her world only allowed a binge session of No NormalGeneration Why, and then Crushed… followed by the inevitable position of being caught up with a finite number of issues. (Like bingeing on Netflix only to be faced with one new episode weeks apart. PURE. AGONY.)

Kamala meets Wolverine.

Both Lumberjanes and Ms. Marvel are quick studies in supernatural and speculative fiction (respectively), showcasing kick ass females, body positivity, and self-reliance. Kamala might wear a dress and be an über fangirl toward Wolverine (he exists irl okay, and it is awesome), but she still knows how to throw an epic punch and battle a robot Thomas Edison – ’cause exhibiting stereotypical feminine characteristics does not mean a person is weak, thank you very much, and G. Willow Wilson makes sure we know that just as much as Kamala does. Then there’s the graphic novel equivalent of actual female bodies peppered throughout Lumberjanes – tattooed and soft and short and tall and leggy and masculine – paired with an “everybody is strong in their own way” message that never feels forced or heavy handed. Even if I can’t be any of these girls, I want to at least know them and soak up their self-esteem and feminism. (Because any good reader knows that a journey of self-empowerment does not end in the pages of the book.)

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Kamala gets real.

There’s a reason each paperback is aimed at teens and tweens – hello high school politics and post-puberty body shame – but there’s also no good reason why the totally rad (yet sadly fictional) exploits of five teenagers or Kamala’s journey of self-discovery can’t also apply to twenty- and thirty-somethings grasping at their own self-identity. Being kind to yourself and celebratory of your own strengths is hard, y’all, but the hardcore ladies of Lumberjanes get it. And so, too, does Kamala: developing the ability to be her own hero, Captain Marvel, comes with its own disappointments, and Kamala soon figures out that she’s physically stronger when she doesn’t change, and that instead of feeling liberated by the blonde hair and legs, the whole thing leaves her feeling exhausted. It’s a major plot point, but, hell, it’s also great life advice. (You go, girl.)

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Gross.

And, even when Stevenson and Wilson tackle afternoon special-style “real issues,” we’re never taken out of the story to question just what the junk is going on. Crushed features analogies to victim blaming, but we’re right there with Kamala, grimacing at how squicky the whole thing feels. Wilson isn’t preaching to us about why it’s terrible that victim blaming is still a thing. (BECAUSE WHY IS IT EVEN STILL A THING?!) We’re angry at Kamran for taking advantage of Kamala. We’re angry that he’s actually kind of a dick and not the heart emoji type of Muslim boyfriend Kamala swore she wouldn’t date. We’re angry for Kamala and at Kamram. (Just as it should be.)

These graphic novels tackle current issues with grace and over-dramatic Tumblr-worthy flair, and they’re funny and poignant and I NEED MORE, OKAY?!

(If none of the above convinced you to pick up your own copy of either Lumberjanes, vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy or Ms. Marvel, vol. 1: No Normal, what in the Joan Jett are you doing on this blog. Here’s some sassy Loki for you to enjoy before you skedaddle:

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Bout of Books 14

I am usually way behind the times on mini-challenges, but this week I read the right blog post at the right time, and now I can participate in Bout of Books 14! (#woot)

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda (On a Book Bender) and Kelly (Reading the Paranormal) that runs from Monday, August 17th through Sunday, August 23rd. Bout of Books is low-pressure and participants are only asked to read more than they normally would. Meet other participants using the #boutofbooks hashtag on social media.

My regular daily goal is to read 30 minutes per day, so this week I’m aiming for an hour a day (or seven hours for the whole week, however it works out). I also want to finish Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, Ms. Marvel, vols. 1-3 by G. Willow Wilson, and Lumberjanes, vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson. Finishing (let alone starting!) Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck by Amy Alkon and In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume is a stretch goal.

Are you participating in #boutofbooks? Let me know!