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Pretty Little Liars: Men of PLL

Pretty Little Liars is the story of five girls who were once the best of friends. When their friend Ali died, they all went their separate ways. Three years later, the surviving four are brought together again by a mysterious figure named “A” sending them messages taunting them about the secrets they keep.

Secrets only Ali knew.

I picked up PLL because a) it’s a popular series, b) it’s spawned a tv show on abc family and c) the title of the book is hand lettered. (If your book font is hand-lettered, I am 95% more likely to want it.)

This review is going to be different. PLL is a good, intriguing read. It takes on some serious issues (eating disorders, sexual identity, divorce) in a mature way and the four main girls read like actual teenagers to me.

The men of this book however…are not mancandy to me. But I don’t want to analyze them as per usual. I just want to rant at them. Thus spoilers ahoy. I think I can justify the spoilers because the events of this book have happened in the tv show and the book has been out for five years.

If you would rather not be spoiled, go on your merry way. If not, read on. (If I happen to channel the Sassy Gay Friend while doing this…well, that happens.)

Continue reading ‘Pretty Little Liars: Men of PLL’

Game of Thrones: Eddard/Ned

Game of Thrones has been on my to-read list for a few years. I didn’t read it only because my book selection depends 90% on what the library has. When they made an HBO series of the first book (and my cousin who loves fantasy urged me to start reading them) I figured it was about time to pick up a copy. So I made my purchase at the local book store and oh my god…

…I am so glad I did.

Out of respect for others just getting to the series, I will limit my spoilers. And I ask that if you do comment, please do the same. I have not picked up my copy of the next book in the series (thought I intend to soon).

Also, there’s an undercurrent of fear when reviewing something that has such a large, devoted fanbase. Even if I’m somewhat in gushing fangirl mode as I write this.

Continue reading ‘Game of Thrones: Eddard/Ned’

The Sicilian Doctor’s Mistress: Gio

Another Harlequin! I feel a little weird reviewing a Harlequin not recently published because the company releases so many category romances per month. Kinda like fashion trends, I wonder if I’m going on about something that has already passed us by. But this is one of my of Harlequin’s categories so…yes.

Like Protecting Plain Jane, this book is short in length. Thus I will analyze a lot of the book but I won’t be discussing the ending.

Continue reading ‘The Sicilian Doctor’s Mistress: Gio’

WSJ, YASaves and A Reading List for Teens Who Don’t Want to Read Paranormal

This response is a bit late but it needed time to germinate. At the beginning of June, the Wall Street Journal published an article called “Darkness Too Visible.” You can read the article but the premise is that fiction for young adults has taken a turn into more “dark” material and the author felt this could be harmful to teens. The YA community responded in force about how teen literature needs to also include stories about the darker parts of life. About how some of the books people might deem “too dark” have actually helped teens out of some bad situations. The movement was called “YASaves”

A few things before I continue:

1) I am not a parent. I am not a teacher. I am not a psychologist. What I am is a reader, a writer and most important: someone who was a teen not too long ago with her own “dark” problems to work out.

2) I agree with YA Saves. I don’t think you’re doing kids any favors by removing media that acknowledges the darker parts of life. I think books can be one of the safest environments to learn about the bad parts of life. You learn to empathize with characters in situations far removed from your own and recognize parallels to your own life. You learn that you are not alone.

I think A Wrinkle in Time author Madeleine L’Engle said it best when she said:

“Our responsibility  to [children] is not to pretend that if we don’t look, evil will go away, but to give them weapons against it.”

3) I will concede to the author that some language and scenes are unnecessary. I think there authors who use violence/swearing/sex in a way that is gratuitous and does nothing for the plot. HOWEVER…I actually don’t come across this very much in YA. In adult fiction yes but most YA fiction I’ve read handles these things very well.

4) The one thing that did resonate with me was the beginning of the article, describing a mother and daughter leaving a Barnes and Noble, unable to find a “non-dark” book. Now I don’t know the situation, whether it was the daughter or the mother who had a problem with the books.

I do know that most bookstores have a balance but to the newly inititated, I can see why one would assume all books are “dark.” Rather then dismiss these consumers, we should try to guide them.

And I do know this: when I was younger, I was not comfortable with vampires/werewolves/the like. Which is funny because now I eat up paranormal books, be they YA or Adult. At the time though, no vampires for me. But that was okay because there were plenty of contemporary/historical/fantasy options for me and still are. With the internet, most of these books are accessible even though they’re not new releases.

(This is not at all to say that all vampire books are automatically “dark.” Not at all. That is what a lot of people assume, not what I think.)

I’d like to share a quick list with you, if you’re a teen who’s also not big on vampires (for whatever reason) and looking for some reading material.

1. Anything by Madeline L’Engle

2. The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques

3. The Princess Diaries Series by Meg Cabot

4. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

5. Anything by Patricia Wrede

6. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

7. The Avon True Romace Series by Avon/Various Authors

8. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

10. The Young Royals Series by Carolyn Meyer

11. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

12. The Once Upon a Time Series by Various Authors

Honestly this list could go on and on and on and on because there are options up there. I don’t think its fair to blame publishers or writers. Maybe, just maybe, you can get away with calling out one or two individual bookstores for not stocking enough of a variety. But even that I can’t really support.

Kids are pretty discerning. Or at least I was. If something made me uncomfortable with its subject matter, I put it down. Not to say I was a perfect little child, there were times I read things that a lot of people would deem inappropriate for my age at the time. And I definitely read some dark books about issues far out of my realm.

But the thing is…I think reading about those things helped me. I struggled a lot with depression and self-esteem issues throughout adolescence. I was in and out of counseling.

A lot of books about grappling with darkness helped me during those times, because a lot of days all I could see was the darkness hovering over my life. Also music played a key role–a song from Linkin Park about dealing with pain helped me more than any cheery bubbly song. And I had parents who told me I wasn’t a horrible person for feeling the way I did. They acknowledged the darker things I was feeling. The same way a lot of books do now.

So in conclusion…I don’t want to hate on people who feel like they have no reading alternatives. That seems legit to me as someone who was raised a conservative Christian and very concerned with subject matter throughout adolescence. I think we should provide help for them, not hate.

That being said, you can’t remove the darker parts from books. Because 9 times out of 10, those dark elements are there for good reasons. You are the one to make the choices, don’t demand that the publishers and writers do it for you.

Darcy Bomb 2: The Darcy Strikes Back

It’s 2011 and even though Austen-mania has receded, I’m still finding Pride and Prejudice spin-offs. And I am still unable to not pick them up if I see them in the library. So here’s another round of Mr Darcy goodness.

Continue reading ‘Darcy Bomb 2: The Darcy Strikes Back’

Abandon: John Hayden

Usually I don’t review a character in a trilogy until I’ve read all three books. But (1) I talked up this book in my Hades and Persephone post and (2) I went crazy on the Twitter after I read Abandon. So I’m just going to do it and go more in-depth when I’ve read all three. This review will be fairly short because I don’t want to spoil anything.

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The Rochester Riddle

(Before I begin I’d like to apologize for the delay that’s been a problem all year. I’m in a transition stage of finishing school and plunging into the working world. This blog is a priority however and always in my thoughts. I don’t know when the hectic schedule will end but when it does I hope to put new life into this blog. Thanks for understanding.)

No, I haven’t seen the new Jane Eyre movie yet. My only excuse is that it’s only playing in select theaters. And that’s not much of an excuse since a select theater isn’t that far away from me.

But it is one of the reasons I’m writing this. And I’m also prompted by a debate between two of my favorite authors Robin McKinley and Melissa Marr about whether or not Rochester is an attractive character. (McKinley likes him. Marr so does not. Here are the links here and  here )

Usually I am with you, Robin McKinley. Despite (and because) of Mr. Rochester’s “fatal flaws,” when I read Jane Eyre I am swooning for that man. But the older I get, the more I wonder if I should be twitterpated for this man. My wonderings were only compounded as I stumbled across two re-tellings of the story. So…let’s take a look and analyze this man.

Continue reading ‘The Rochester Riddle’


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