My Year in Reading: Cassie-la’s February 2015 Wrap Up

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The Boy in the Smoke: A Shades of London Book by Maureen Johnson

This prequel to Maureen Johnson’s supernatural/paranormal series Shades of London is a must read. Especially for fans of Stephen Dene. Bonus: it’s available on Wattpad for free!

Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky by Marissa Meyer

Apparently I was big on my prequel stories last month — this adorable short from Marissa Meyer’s fractured fairy tale series The Lunar Chronicles features the always confident and sassy Carswell Thorne.

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue

Part monster, part ghost story, Keith Donohue’s frightening and shocking tome is suspenseful right up until the very end. And what an ending.

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Hot Off the Proverbial Presses: February 24, 2015

No Parking at the End TimesNo Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

Abigail’s parents believed the world was going to end. And—of course—it didn’t. But they’ve lost everything anyway. And she must decide: does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail’s parents never should have made that first donation to that end-of-times preacher. Or the next, or the next. They shouldn’t have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there for the “end of the world.” Because now they’re living in their van. And Aaron is full of anger, disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right.

But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Finally, a rapture novel where people have to deal with the cold hard truth that the rapture is never happening.

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My Year in Reading: Cassie-la’s Best and Worst of 2014 Wrap Up

Jaws the Revenge2014 shall forever be known as the year I failed my reading goal for the first time since deciding I was going to start setting them. Rest in peace reading goals.

Regardless, I still smashed my reading totals from 2008-2010, even if I couldn’t mimic the success of 2011-2013.

I suppose this is what happens when you’re juggling a full time job and a part time job. Reading 150 books in a year and still keeping your life in order just isn’t feasible.

Despite the change in circumstance, in 2014 I read a grand total of 96 books (see full visual list HERE), failing my 150 book goal abysmally. 21 of those were novels, 5 were anthologies, 1 was non-fiction, 35 of them were young adult novels, 26 were graphic novels and trades, 5 were middle grade books, 2 were children’s books and 1 was a poetry collection.

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Hot Off the Proverbial Presses: September 23, 2014

HorrorstorHorrorStör by Grady Hendrix

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Brooka glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofa beds—clearly, someone or something is up to no good. To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-till-dawn shift—and they encounter horrors that defy imagination. Along the way, author Grady Hendrix infuses sly social commentary on the nature of work in the new twenty-first century economy.

A traditional haunted house story in a contemporary setting (and full of current fears), Horrorstör comes conveniently packaged in the form of a retail catalog, complete with illustrations of ready-to-assemble furniture and other, more sinister accessories. We promise you’ve never seen anything quite like it!

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Have you ever been to an IKEA? If you’re not careful you can get trapped there. For forever. Bonus points for making the book look just like an IKEA catalog.

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The Great Tales Never End: Cassie-la Rates the Stories in “Stone Mattress” by Margaret Atwood

Stone MattressStone Mattress by Margaret Atwood (Galley)
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Genre: Fiction, short stories, horror, vampires, literary, fantasy, further proof that Margaret Atwood can do no wrong
Rating: 4.89 out of 5 stars

Summary: Margaret Atwood returns to the short story form (at least anthology-wise) for the first time since her 2006 collection Moral Disorder. With nine tales centered around long dead authors, soon to be dead authors, old age and death and ranging from tales about severed hands and vampires, to long-dead grooms, tiny imagined people and death by stromatolite, this is Atwood at her darkly comedic best.

Despite the seemingly impossible feat I may have set for myself, I decided to go a different route with this short story collection and rate these nine stories (or rather tales) written by the perpetually fabulous Margaret Atwood and order them from best tale to worst tale. Worst being a relative term since really, I loved them all. Honestly, if I were rating them according to US academia none would receive lower than an A.

While only three of the tales are interconnected, the same themes run through all the stories. Specifically themes of aging and in turn death (through either murder or old age), revenge, change (the old making way for the new and the juxtaposition that comes with it) and acceptance.

Most of these ideas Atwood explores through classical poetry, literature, and more specifically, long dead poets and authors, always keeping in mind (to borrow a quote) that storytellers never die. They just disappear into their own stories.

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