The North Read-members: A “Game of Thrones” Book List

Like many people, we are HUGE fans of “Game of Thrones” here at The Library Ladies. The drama, the action, the intrigue, the DRAGONS, we are here for it. With the seventh season a little past its midway point, we thought that it would be fun to throw out some recommendations inspired by the show. But instead of focusing on plot points, we’re focusing on characters, and what books they might like. The night is dark, and full of readers, so let’s see what books we would recommend to some of the best loved (and most hated) characters on the show.

 

Jon Snow: “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks

Jon Snow, who is presently the King of the North, is less interested in the fight over the Iron Throne, and more interested in the fact that a horde of ice zombies known as White Walkers are gathering an army that is threatening to invade all of Westeros. Even though his strategizing has been mostly solid up until this point (the whole Rickon thing notwithstanding), we think that he should read up on Max Brooks’s book “The Zombie Survival Guide”. This book talks about how to defend against an uprising of the undead in your day to day life, and while it has it’s tongue planted firmly in cheek, it still gives realistic and helpful tips on how to plan for multiple kinds of disasters. Dragon Glass and Valyrian Steel may be key, but having escape routes and plans for any terrain and climate from the get go couldn’t hurt, right?

 

Daenerys Targaryen: “Dragon’s Milk” by Susan Fletcher

It’s been quite a while now since Dany’s dragons were adorable little draclings, but there was a time when they were only adorable little babies, helpless and needing her care. “Dragon’s Milk” was one of my favorite fantasy stories when I was a teenager, and the three adorable draclings that our teenage protagonists “adopts” was definitely part of the appeal. I believe we even named one of our pet birds “Pyrro” after one of the draglings in this story. Here, Kaedra, like Dany, finds herself raising three tiny dragons who are truly babies, temper tantrums and all. What’s more, this book, like “Game of Thrones” doesn’t play it safe with the stakes. There is danger, tragedy, and real consequences involved for all of the character’s actions.

 

Arya Stark: “Skullsworn” by Brian Staveley

For our most deadly Stark, what could be better than a book that is ALSO about a female assassin who has been trained by an organization that essentially worships death? While Staveley’s Skullsworn do not give up their names (or get super cool face-changing-abilities) they do have a similarly pragmatic approach to death and killing and are equally proficient at it. Our would-be-assasin, Pyrre, even has a list of marks she must kill before the end of the book in order to pass her final test. Arya would fit right in with this group! And I’m sure they would have looked on with pride at her mass elimination of no-one’s favorite sleazy patriarch and family.

 

Tyrion Lannister: “And I Darken” by Kiersten White

Going in, this book seems to be about Lada and her rise/fall to power. But this is also Radu’s story, and his is one that in many ways closely mirrors Tyrion’s. They are both born into the world with traits that set them apart and clearly mark them as “other.” This failure to be the sons their fathers want leads to neglect, scorn, and ultimately, exile. Both have complicated relationships with their siblings, specifically their sisters, and both find themselves more welcome and at home in the court of a foreign ruler whom they go on to support and become the right hand man of. Like Tyrion, Radu thrives at political maneuvering and brings these skills to the forefront in his support of Mehmed. And in many ways, Lada can be seen as the combination of Cersei and Jaime into one sibling; she both loves and hates Radu at different points throughout the story, and his feelings are similarly flexible towards her.

 

Cersei Lannister/Jaime Lannister: “Flowers in the Attic” by V.C. Andrews

Well, the obvious comparison is there. Cersei and Jaime, the Golden Twins of House Lannister, are a bit too close for comfort. They are in love with/obsessed with each other, and all of her children with King Robert Baratheon are actually her children with her twin brother. So yes, the Twincest factor matches up with the brother/sister couple of Cathy and Chris Dollanganger. But there are other parallels between the Lannister family and the Dollangers of V.C. Andrews’s book “Flowers in the Attic.” The Dollangangers also have a massive fortune that they sit upon, and with that money comes the dysfunction, cruelty, and haughtiness that has come to define the Lannisters. So does a penchant for poisoning those who may be getting in their way. And much like Corrine Dollanganger, it can be argued that Tywin Lannister doesn’t really care for any of his children, so parent issues are present as well.

 

Sansa Stark: “The Witness Wore Red” by Rebecca Musser

There is no question that Sansa Stark has been through hell. She was raised to be a queen, but then betrothed to a sociopath, held political hostage by his family, only to escape to then be married off to ANOTHER sociopath who tortured and raped her daily. But she escaped from him as well, reclaimed her family home, got her brutal revenge on her husband (in one of the most satisfying sequences the show has ever done), and became the rightful Lady of the North once again. Because of all this, she should read “The Witness Wore Red,” a memoir by a woman who was a member of the FLDS Church, until she escaped and testified against her abusers in court. It follows her life as a child growing up in the FLDS, being married off to the elderly ‘prophet’ of the sect, Rulon Jeffs, and her eventual escape and activism. This book is harrowing and hard to read, but ultimately triumphant, as Musser not only has her life and her freedom now, she is also an advocate for stopping sex trafficking and abuse.

 

Brienne of Tarth: “The Woman Who Rides Like a Man” by Tamora Pierce

Technically, “The Woman Who Rides Like a Man” is the 3rd book in a 4 book series, but the title and plot of this one book in the series most closely aligns with Brienne’s experience of life as a lady knight in a world that doesn’t know what to make of that. I mean, this is the tag line of this book: “Let her prove herself worthy as a man.” Alanna faces the same challenges as Brienne now that she has graduated as a full knight while at the same time being exposed as a woman, a fact she has hidden for years as she trained. Both Brienne and Alanna are constantly defending their right to be what they are: excellent warrior women. And both Brienne and Alanna find the people and causes for which they are willing to devote their considerable abilities to fully.

There are so many other characters that we haven’t touched upon. What books would you recommend to those characters, or the ones that we covered? Tell us in the comments!!

August 2017 Highlights

We are entering the Dog Days of Summer, as the heat keeps rising and the last throes of the warmest season start to sound off. In Minnesota that means more trips to the lake and the Minnesota State Fair! We have some books that we’re looking forward to this month, maybe some we’ll take to the beach or on a last summer trip!

Serena’s Picks

32051720Book: “Wicked like a Wildfire” by Lana Popvic

Publication Date: August 15, 2017

Why I’m Interested: The synopsis presents this as a story of two sisters who come from a magical family. Each with their own abilities, one who can manipulate what sees into beautiful glass works and the other who can interpret the true depths of music, these two grow up with only two rules: don’t share the family secret and don’t fall in love. So…it’s like “Practical Magic” right? We all know how much I love sisters stories, so combined with the magical elements, this sounded like the book for me. A bit concerned about whatever inevitable romantic plot lines get squeezed in there, but I’m still hopeful!

31817749Book: “The Stone Sky” by N. K. Jemison

Publication Date: August 15, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I’ve been a fan of N. K. Jemisin since being blown away by the surprise that was “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.” Her novels are always richly complex with complicated character who you long to spend more time with. I haven’t reviewed the first two books in this series on the blog yet, but they’re lined up in the pike to be gotten through so I can get to this, the third book in her “Broken Earth” trilogy. My expectations are high, but she’s one of the few authors currently writing who has yet to let me down!

31438747Book: “The Dire King” by William Ritter

Publication Date: August 22, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I have been joyously making my way through the “Jackaby” series. It’s one of those magical unicorns of a series where the story gets better with each book. The last book, especially, did a lot of work to tie together the threads of the series and set the stage for its grand finale in this, the fourth and final book in the series. The big bad has been revealed, and the stakes have never been higher. Will Abigail, Jackaby, and the rest of their supernatural crew have what it takes to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself? I can’t wait to find out!

Kate’s Picks

33574211Book: “Emma in the Night” by Wendy Walker

Publication Date: August 8th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: A story of two sisters named Emma and Cass who go missing and what happens when one comes back years later, but the other doesn’t. That sounds like a seriously solid premise, right? That’s “Emma in the Night”, and when I heard about it I knew that I would have to get my hands on it. Especially since it sounds like there are going to be some crazy twists and turns in this one, like a dysfunctional family unit, a strange island, and a tenacious forensic psychiatrist who hopes to find answers in this strange case and the return of Cass without Emma. I have high hopes for this one, given that my last foray into a book about a missing child coming home didn’t go as well as I had hoped it would.

30753570Book: “Are You Sleeping” by Kathleen Barber

Publication Date: August 1st, 2017

Why I’m Interested: This is described as “In A Dark, Dark Wood” meets “Serial”, so man, that really perked my ears up when I heard about it. When a long closed case is given new life because of a true crime podcast, Josie has to revisit her father’s murder and her messed up childhood. This childhood involves death, a two faced twin sister, and a cult. Okay, does this NOT sound super interesting? It also harkens back to the book “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn, the best of her books. I’m sort of worried that this will turn into another ‘messed up female protagonist’ book, but I’m hoping that it will keep my interest up and that it will surprise me.

32508637Book: “See What I Have Done” by Sarah Schmidt

Publication Date: August 1st, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Um, a fictionalized account of the Lizzie Borden murder and subsequent trial????? I’m both interested and hesitant!! But I have to put this on my list, because true crime is one of my guilty pleasures, and Victorian history is a not so guilty one. I don’t really know how I feel about taking an actual murder and tragedy and fictionalizing it in a way that could appeal to an thriller novel audience, but I’m willing to give it a try. Anything that gives me an excuse to chant ‘Lizzie Borden took an axe…’ over and over again while checking a book out from the library.

What books are you looking forward to this month?? Let us know in the comments!

Not Just Books: July 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks:

mv5bntk4odq1mzgznl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmtmymzm4mti-_v1_sy1000_cr006581000_al_Movie: “Spider-man: Homecoming”

I know I for one was a pretty skeptical when this movie was announced. I love super heroes as much as the next guy. To be honest, probably more than the next guy, but even I had to role my eyes at the idea of having three Spider-man origin stories presented for us on the big screen over 15 years essentially. But after seeing “Captain America: Civil War” and loving Tom Holland’s brief cameo in the role, I was a bit more on board. All of this to say…set your skepticism aside, folks, turns out they can give us something new with this character after all! The true game changers of this movie are the wise casting (Tom Holland is perfect in both iterations of the character), wise story decisions (thank god we didn’t get another Uncle Ben dying “with great power blah blah blah” scene), and wise plots (this is truly a story about a highschool boy as a superhero, and the only version of the three that rings true to the day-to-day challenges and life of a boy this age). Add on a great villain with Michael Keaton’s Vulture, and you’ve got a great summer flick! Definitely check it out if you like superhero movies of any kind!

mv5bmjezmjyzmdq0mv5bml5banbnxkftztcwnze1otm5ng-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “Chronicle”

This movie came out in 2012, but my husband and I only got to it this last month. And man, if we knew how good it was, we would have done it sooner! I didn’t really know what to expect from this. It’s a small production, “found footage” type film about three teens who discover a strange cave and emerge with powers. From the sound of it, it could have been quite trite and cheesy. But man, not only is the “found footage” aspect done extremely well (I’m not usually a fan of this medium), but the film tackles some dark topics amidst its super powers action scenes. It’s also incredibly funny and heart felt. I really can’t recommend this film enough. Bonus points for it being set in Seattle, my old stomping ground!

game_of_thrones_title_cardTV Show: “Game of Thrones”

One of us had to do it, so this time it’s me! Obviously both Kate and I are huge fans of “Game of Thrones.” I’m there for all the high fantasy political action, Kate’s there for the dragons, we’re both there for the eye candy (don’t tell our significant others). While I’m super bummed that this is a shorter season than the last several, I’m also exorbitantly pleased to see a show taking the correct approach to story telling: tell the story, complete with beginning, middle, and, most importantly, an end. All too often massively popular shows attempt to drag on for forever to the detriment of the quality and sense of their own story. There’s tons to get through in these last two short seasons, but I’m hopeful that they’ll be able to wrap it all up in a, I wont’ say “happy,” but, satisfying way.

Kate’s Picks:

mv5bmji1mdexodg0mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmji4mta2mji-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_Netflix Show: “GLOW”

I love me some 1980s nostalgia trips, and thanks to my husband I’ve found a certain joy from watching the over the top glory and soapiness that is pro-wrestling. So it’s really no surprise, I’d imagine, that both he and I were super into the new Netflix show “GLOW,” a fictionalized origin story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Along with the pretty impressive and always entertaining wrestling moves and in ring antics, we also get the stories of some pretty well rounded women who, living in the 1980s, are trying to succeed in an entertainment industry that doesn’t take women very seriously. Alison Brie as Ruth is, of course, a delight, but there are also a lot of wonderful newcomers that all give their characters a whole lot of backstory, motivation, and complexity. I cannot wait for Season 2.

nosleep-podcast-s4-logo_1400Podcast: “The No Sleep Podcast”

Looking for some original and deeply unsettling horror stories for your commute, gym visits, or doing chores around the house? Then do I have the podcast for you! The “No Sleep Podcast” selects some of the best stories from the Reddit board “No Sleep” and dramatizes them, turning them into a radio drama for the horror geek. I’ve been on the “No Sleep” board a number of times, and while there are definitely ways to find really good stories there, sometimes you have to dig. With this podcast, they do the digging for you, and give them an eerie ambiance with how they tell them. I’ve been devouring my way through the seasons, each episode being about two to three stories each (and if you are willing to pay for it, you can access even more stories), and have found some VERY scary gems within. Listen if you dare, but I don’t recommend doing so late at night.

headerVideo Game: “Stardew Valley”

I was at a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention at the beginning of the month, and while I was there I became privy to a very chill video game called “Stardew Valley”. In this game you are a person who has just inherited a plot of farmland from your grandfather, and have to become a farmer and to join the community of Pelican Town in Stardew Valley. It’s kind of like “The Sims” meets “Farmville”, with some “Zelda” thrown in for good measure. It’s a very laid back and relaxing game, just the thing that I need when the world gets to be a bit too much. You can pretty much decide what your gaming experience is going to be; you can farm, or fish, or go exploring in caves, or make friends and possible romances as well. I really like the open sandbox design of the plot, and the look of it feels like something out of a Super Nintendo era game. If you are in need of a video game that is super relaxing and incredibly charming, “Stardew Valley” may be the right match for you.

Beach Reads: Summer 2017

Back for 2017, here is a list of some more favorite beach reads! “Beach read” is a very fast and loose term for books people read over the beautiful summer months when we really should be outside “doing things” but are instead reading…maybe outside. Some people see these months as an opportunity to slog through long classics (we’re looking at you “Moby Dick”) before the busy-ness of of the fall starts up, but for the sake of this list, we’re limiting our choices to stand alone, mostly feel good books (though there’s some obvious leeway here for Kate’s horror tastes!) that could be easily brought along on vacations. So, still a very loose definition, but hey, we had to start somewhere! We will select one title for each of the genres we most read.

Serena’s Picks:

18782855 Fantasy Title: “Princess of Thorns” by Stacey Jay

I reviewed this one fairly recently on the blog, but it’s still stuck with me as one of the more simply “fun” fantasy books I’ve read in quite a long time. Not only is it a standalone fantasy book (quite the rarity in its own right), but it’s a perfect pick for a summer beach read due to its expert balancing act of tone and story. There’s plenty of action and adventure, just the right amount of romance, witty dialogue, and two main characters who are each a blast. On top of this all, the villain of the story is a compelling and sympathetic character on her own, and in many ways, brings to bare the true heart of the story. This is a fast, fun read that is sure to please fantasy lovers, especially those who like fairytale retellings. For more on this book, here is my review of “Princess of Thorns.”

6424171Science Fiction Title: “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton

So while trying to come up with a science fiction pick for this list, I’ve discovered two things: 1.) I need to get back to my science fiction list, cuz man, it’s been a while since I’ve read any and 2.) what I have read is all super depressing and not really fit for a “beach reads” type of list (ie Oryx and Crake). So we’re going old-school with the fan favorite “Jurassic Park.” I don’t need to tell you the story with this one, though if you are basing all of your knowledge on just the movie, you will be surprised by aspects of it. There’s much more science mixed in with all of the dinosaur adventure madness. And yes, before you ask, dinosaurs eating people is my idea of a light read!

91661Mystery Title: “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice”  by Laurie R. King

As a lover of all things Sherlock Holmes, of course I have to highlight King’s amazing “Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes” series. I’ve been reading these books for over a decade now, and while there are some hits and misses in the long-running series, the first several books, and the first book itself, “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” are simply excellent. (While this is the start to a series, it easily reads as a stand alone novel, so I feel justified in including it). Here, Mary Russell becomes the apprentice and, later, partner of Sherlock Holmes. There are nods and winks to the original mysteries, but the stories themselves are all new. Most importantly, Holmes is spot on with the way I always think of him, and Mary Russell is a strong enough character on her own to never get lost in his large shadow. Definitely check this book out if you like historical mysteries, and Sherlock Holmes especially.

37470Historical Title: “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory

Chances are good that if you’re a fan of historical fiction, especially historical fiction focusing on the years during the Tudor reigns, you’re already well familiar with Philippa Gregory. She’s written what seems like a million and one of these novels in her many years as an author, but I remember picking this book up way back when she was lesser known, and this was her first book and absolutely loving it (I have fairly mixed feelings about many of her following books). The story focuses on the life Mary Boleyn, the younger sister of the infamous Anne Boleyn. Through her eyes, we see the inner workings of the court, all while waiting with a sense of sickened dread for the inevitable doom of her family. While that sounds grim, and yes, it is, Mary’s story still has moments of brightness, and, for the most part, ends in a satisfying manner…you know, given the beheadings and all. This is a longer book, but for fans of historical fiction, especially those who like some romance in their stories, definitely check this one out!

Kate’s Picks:

924765Horror Title: “‘Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King

If you want to go for fun beach reads that are also a bit scary, you really can’t go wrong with horror master Stephen King. While he’s very good at dark and angsty existential dread, he can also tap into entertaining and ‘lighter’ horror. His second book, “‘Salem’s Lot”, has been referred to as vampires meets “Peyton Place”, so you know that there’s going to be some fun and sudsy drama along with your vampire scares. When a man comes home to the small town of Jerusalem’s Lot, he slowly comes to the realization that the townspeople are turning into vampires. This is the book that has the iconic scene of the little boy vampire hanging outside his brother’s window, and since it was still kind of early in King’s career it was before some of the darker and deeper themes of small town banality and innocence actually hides a deeper evil, a la “It”. Really, for fun vampire fiction, this is the book.

2247142Thriller Title: “The Talented Mr. Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith

I literally read this one on a beach in California when I was a teenager, and have been meaning to revisit it as the trope of the ‘charming psychopath narrator’ has started to gain popularity again. Tom Ripley is living an unfulfilled life, so when he’s approached by the wealthy father of former classmate Dickie Greenleaf, he’s a bit surprised. Seems Dickie is living it up in Italy when he should be at home. So Tom says he’ll go find Dickie, but instead finds a life of luxury and power that he doesn’t want to come back from… even if that means murder and identity fraud is necessary. I haven’t seen the movie version, but I was quite struck with how charming and yet malignant Ripley was, and he paved the way for future characters like Dexter Morgan and Joe Goldberg. For unsettling and addicting thrills, take this one with you.

12959045Graphic Novel Title: “My Friend Dahmer” by Derf Backderf

Okay, before you question my tastes (more than you probably have already), I want to make it clear that this isn’t the story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes. This is the story of his teenage years, as seen through the eyes of his high school classmate and kind of friend Derf Backderf. It looks at the high school years of both boys, with Backderf’s not so popular group taking Dahmer into their fold, but only because they think he’s a complete weirdo whose weirdness entertains them. Backderf tells us the Dahmer he knew in school, the one who was the product of a broken home, who was hiding a heavy drinking habit, and who was never a member of any group of peers who could, or would, relate to him. While Backderf takes special care not to give Dahmer a pass when it comes to his later, horrific crimes, he does ask where the adults in his life were when he was so clearly fighting a number of demons, and whether interference could have saved multiple lives. This book is insightful and, yes, upsetting, but it’s also compulsively readable.

What are you planning on taking to the beach with you this summer? Let us know in the comments!

July 2017 Highlights

We’re back from ALA and ready for another holiday with the Fourth of July coming up tomorrow. Also, it happens to be Serena’s birthday today, so there’s that. She will not disclose her age except to say that “Yes, she is turning 30 once again!” But on to relevant business: here is our list of books we’re excited to get our hands on this month!

Serena’s Picks

29750595Book: “Buried Heart” by Kate Elliott

Publication Date: July 27, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I’ve read and loved the first two books in this series, “Court of Fives” and “Poisoned Blade.” This series has it all: great world building, an interesting commentary on colonialism that gets beyond the surface points, and, most importantly, a stellar main character. Not to mention the sports! The first book focused on Jes’s rise to stardom as an athlete. The second saw her begin to realize her own power as public figure and the responsibilities that came with that. And now, in the third book, Jes will need to find her place in the growing rebellion while trying to maintain her relationship with the prince who falls on the other side of it.

32452160Book: “Strange Practice” by Vivian Shaw

Publication Date: July 25, 2017

Why I’m Interested: This is the story of Greta Helsing, a girl who has inherited her family’s strange medical practice of providing health care to to the undead. And when a group of murderous monks come onto the scene, killing both the living and the dead, Greta must jump into action to save herself and her practice. What a bizarre sounding story! And I’ve had some great success with bizarre-ness in the past, so sign me up for this! The mixture of fantasy, horror, and mystery all bookended by a girl physician sounds great. And full props for the cover art that also immediately struck me!

32600725Book: “The Painted Queen” by Elizabeth Peters & Joan Hess

Publication Date: July 25, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Sadly, Elizabeth Peters passed away before she completed this book, the 20th and last in her “Amelia Peabody” mystery series. From what I can tell, it was in the editing stage when she died, and was finished by Joan Hess, a friend of Peters’ and a fellow mystery author. Luckily, I still have many, many books left in the series to enjoy before I get to this one, but as I love the series so much, I had to highlight the last one coming out. And I will be curious to see the reception it receives. All of my fingers are crossed that Hess did right by Peters and Amelia Peabody, and that the series can end as strongly as it has been at its very best.

Kate’s Picks

32796253Book: “Final Girls” by Riley Sager

Publication Date: July 11th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Once again, I have been sucked in by the promise of a group of horror movie scenario survivors in peril. While “Survivors’ Club” ultimately didn’t give me everything I needed, I’m hoping that Sager is going to bring this concept to grisly, scary life. So basically a girl who survived a massacre while on Spring Break has become the member of an unofficial club of other survivors like her. Just as her life has started to get back on track, with a loving fiance and a successful blog (about BAKING, this girl sounds great), the original Final Girl in their group is found dead. Could it be that the nightmare is happening again? I am REALLY looking forward to this one.

32895291Book: “The Lying Game” by Ruth Ware

Publication Date: July 25th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I really loved Ruth Ware’s book “In a Dark, Dark Wood”, and while “The Woman in Cabin 10” wasn’t as enthralling, I liked it enough that I’m still a huge fan of Ruth Ware. So of COURSE when a new one by her is coming out, I’m going to be pretty excited to get my hands on it. This one concerns a group of women who are linked by a dark and mysterious past. When they were in school they played ‘The Lying Game’, in which they would tell lies to see how far they’d go. When it ended in tragedy, they were expelled and went their separate ways. Now they are being pulled back in for reasons unclear. I am totally on board for this and have it on request, hoping to get it ASAP.

31450633Book: “The Breakdown” by B.A. Paris

Publication Date: July 18th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: While I haven’t read Paris’s last big runaway bestseller “Behind Closed Doors”, this one definitely has my interest piqued. This one concerns a woman named Cass who saw a broken down car on the side of the road, but didn’t help the driver inside. Which, of course, lead to the driver’s death. And now Cass is starting to feel like someone may be watching her, along with her own nerves being frayed and on edge. My hope is that it will keep me guessing, and given how it sounds like it could be “I Know What You Did Last Summer”-esque it could be a creepy stalker book, and I haven’t read one of those in awhile.

What are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Kate’s ALAAC17 Experience: Books I Got

Over this past weekend, we had the honor of attending the Annual American Library Association Conference in Chicago, Illinois. ALAAC17 was a get together of librarians from all over the country (and in some cases the world) to come together and celebrate libraries, literacy, books, and information sciences. This week we are going to share with you the things that we saw, the things we did, and the books that we got that we are the most excited for.

Kate’s Top 5 Books from ALAAC 2017

15797848“There’s Someone Inside Your House” by Stephanie Perkins

This book is being described as “YA meets “Scream””, so you know that I am one hundred percent here for it. Students at a high school called Osbourne High are being picked off one by one and murdered in increasingly horrific ways. New girl Makani finds herself in the middle of it all, wondering if she will be next. But Makani has secrets of her own that she is trying to forget. Now she may have to confront her past as well as a killer. I went looking for horror and thrillers at this convention when it came to to the books that I wanted to come home with, and I feel like I found it and then some with this book. It’s been on my personal radar for awhile, and I was absolutely stoked when I was able to get a copy of it to take home. It’s not easy to find slasher horror that translates well to the page, so I am really hoping that Perkins can make it work.

24974996“Dear Martin” by Nic Stone

I really, REALLY enjoyed “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, and when I heard that she had really good things to say about “Dear Martin”, I knew that I needed to keep an eye out for it. It’s a story that feels all to real and relevant, with more and more stories in the news of African Americans being victimized by the police, which means it’s all the more important. Justyce is an A student filled to the brim with extracurriculars and a bright future. But all the police officer to puts him in handcuffs sees is the color of his skin. While Justyce is released without charges, he’s completely shaken up by his experience. He starts to feel the derision and contempt from his classmates and those around him at school, and so to cope he starts a diary in which he writes letters to Martin Luther King Jr. Given that here in Minnesota we are still feeling the fallout from the Philando Castille/Jeronimo Yanez verdict, this feels like a book that I need to read ASAP.

32957193“When I Am Through With You” by Stephanie Kuehn

When I asked the publisher rep about “There’s Someone Inside Your House”, one of them said that if I wanted that one she had another one in mind for me. When she handed me Stephanie Kuehn’s new book “When I Am Through With You” I started jumping up and down. As you all know, I LOVE Stephanie Kuehn’s novels, as they take gritty and dark thriller lit and expertly make it seamlessly YA. And this one is a CAMPING TRIP NIGHTMARE!! ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS! When a group of teenagers go camping, something goes terribly wrong. Now Ben is in jail, and while he isn’t claiming it to be a confession, he is saying he will say what happened to Rose, even though he isn’t sorry about what he did. He tells the tale of what happened on the camping trip, who lived, who died, and potentially why. Kuehn is so good at exploring the psyches of messed up and tragic people, and I am very excited to have this one on my shelf.

31123250“Ravenous” by Amy Lukavics

If you recall, I absolutely LOVED Lukavics’ book “Daughters Unto Devils”, but was a bit underwhelmed by her other book “Women in the Walls”. That said, I know that she has a serious talent for writing straight up horror for teenagers, and so I’m more than willing to give “Ravenous” a try. The Canes are a seemingly put together and loving military family, but the reality is the sisters hate each other, their father is always gone, and their mother is lost in her own world of sadness and addiction. But when Rose Cane, the youngest sister of the bunch, dies tragically, the sisters are completely ruined… Until Rose comes back to life, and has a need to eat human flesh. Now the Cane sisters need to figure out how badly they want to keep their family together. ZOMBIES, GUYS.

30251972“Strange Weather” by Joe Hill

As I am sure you guys can imagine, when I saw that “Strange Weather” by Joe Hill was available at ALA I practically screamed. Hill is one of my favorite authors writing today, and I have been aching for this book since I finished “The Fireman” last year. In this book Hill is kind of taking a page from his father’s work structure wise, as it’s four novellas combined into one book. They sound like they run the gamut from the bittersweet to the scary, the surreal and whimsical to the disturbing and finite. A camera erases memories. A cloud is solid and traps a skydiver. The sky rains nails. A man stops a mass shooting but loses his sanity. I just know that Hill is going to write all of these stories with a deft hand and deep insight, and that I will no doubt end up curled up on the floor rocking back and forth either because I’m so freaked out, or because it’s so damn good.

Tomorrow Serena will be giving her book highlights. Keep an eye out, because there is one on there that I got as well and that I’m VERY excited for along with these. Suffice to say, ALAAC17 was a success all around, and I am so glad that we were able to go and experience all parts of it.

 

 

Not Just Books: June 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Joint Pick

mv5bndfmzjgymtetytk5mc00nmy0lwjhzjktowy2mzi5yjkzodnlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymda4nzmyoa-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_Movie: “Wonder Woman”

We bought tickets to this super in advance because we knew, WE KNEW, it was going to be awesome. So just imagine our smug self-satisfaction when we walked out of the theater knowing that the DC flop fest had ended at last. And with a female superhero’s story none the less! The hype is real with this one, folks. Not only is Diana Prince/Wonder Woman fabulous, her supporting cast of characters all fit together perfectly. Want to feel empowered, ladies? Go see this movie.

 

Serena’s Picks:

 mv5bmwy3ntljmjetyzrimi00nwm2ltkznjitztvmzje0mtdjmjjhl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyntq4ntc5otu-_v1_TV Show: “Sherlock”

While I will admit that “Elementary” is my preferred go-to Sherlock Holmes TV show (mostly because I love Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Lu’s Watson is a unique element to the tried and tru duo), my husband and I started watching the BBC “Sherlock” this month on Netflix. We’re now on the third season, and I’m warming up to the series as Sherlock becomes less of a jerk and Mycroft’s snarky British greatness really comes to the forefront. Though we did just finish the historical piece that re-imagines the series set back in the books’ original time period, which, for a historical fiction junky like me, just made the transition back to modern times all the more painful! Why did they have to torture me with “what ifs” and an historical version that I probably would have preferred?!

mrhpdh-cover-819x1024Blog: Mark Reads “Harry Potter”

The obsession with this blog continues! Last month I obsessively read Mark’s growing horror at the “Twilight” books all while muttering to myself “It gets even worse! Just wait for the next book!” So this month I got to experience the opposite side of book-feelings while reading Mark’s growing love affair with the “Harry Potter” series all while muttering to myself “It gets even better! Just wait for the next book!” I know it’s kind of a cop out to highlight the same blog twice in a row, but the reviews of these two series were such complete opposite ends of the spectrum that it felt like a completely different beast this second time around. And the one thing better than reading about someone hate-read a series you disliked, is reading about some fall in love with a series you adored.

Kate’s Picks:

p13713169_b_v8_aaTV Show: “Twin Peaks: The Return”

Remember how I said I hoped I’d be able to finally put this on my highlights? Thanks to my Mom and her generosity with her Showtime Anytime password, I CAN! “Twin Peaks” is back, and it’s crazier than ever. While it’s definitely feeling more “Eraserhead” than the original “Twin Peaks” at this point, I’m already hooked if only because of getting to see such favorites as Dale Cooper, Bobby Briggs, Albert Rosenfield, and (hopefully soon) Audrey Horne, aka my muse, back on my screen. It’s bananas and I just love it. We finally get to see where all of these characters have ended up after all these years, and while in some cases it’s very confusing (what is happening with Coop?!), in others it’s bittersweet and lovely (Bobby Briggs made me cry and I’m not ashamed).

e1c2bd0b5aa0a8d2fff1fe4aeb2ce4157761d9c2Netflix Show: “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return”

Another ‘return’! So I was pretty well obsessed with “Mystery Science Theater 3000” when I was in college. I liked the snark, the retro trash movies they watched, and the characters (at least for awhile. I’m solidly a Joel girl and once the Mads leave I’m not interested anymore). So when I heard that Netflix was going to revive it, I was nervously hopeful. The good news is that while the revival isn’t going to live up to the golden days of Joel, the bots, and the Mads, it still has so much heart, great nerdy humor, and terrible movies to make fun of. Plus, while the new people (including Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day) are good, it’s fun seeing some of the original people pop up in cameos. If you like the original “MST3K”, this is a worthy revival!