Category: Fantasy

Top Picks: 5 Awesomely YUGE YA Picks

Each week, Bookstr gives you a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list.

Today we’ll be recommending 5 awesomely YUGE YA books!

 

 

5-Open Mic Night at Westminister Cemetary by Mary Amato

 

Mary Amato

Image Via Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways

 

This past September 1st, the newest and the coolest from Mary Amato was released. The award-winning children’s and YA book author, songwriter, and poet from the happiest state in the United States—Maryland.

 

Open Mic Night at Westminster Cemetery by [Amato, Mary]
Image Via Amazon
 

Waking up on the final resting place of Edgar Allan Poe, Lacy is, to say the least, confused. Turns out she’s dead and it’s up to Sam, a young soldier who died in 1865, to teach her the ins and outs of the afterlife.

Of course, Lacy would much rather figure out how she died, but unfortunately every soul is obligated to perform a job. Thus, she is given the task of providing entertainment.

Finding a way around this, Lacy proposes an open mic for the dead, but not only do long-buried truths rise up with the dead, but Lacy is under the threat of Suppression—a punishment worse than death.

In this fully realized world, our spirits are lifted up and brought on a hard rocking adventure. As Kirkus Reviews puts it, “Quoth the Raven, ‘Encore.’

 

4-Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

 

Rena Barron
Image Via TWITTER

 

On her website, Rena Barron notes that while she “loves all things science fiction, ghosts, and superheroes,” and is “a self-proclaimed space nerd,” it was “stories of magic and adventure” that initially “sparked her imagination.”

She’s honed her craft for years and brought us Maya and the Rising Dark. Well, September 3rd we were given a spellbinding book that must be possessed, because it hasn’t let us go.

 

Kingdom of Souls by [Barron, Rena]

Image Via Amazon

 

A failure in all things magic, things aren’t looking too good for Arrah, the heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors, but maybe she has to find her own magic.

When the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah turns to a forbidden, dangerous ritual where she must trade years of life for magic.

With her clock running out, Arrah must combat a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves.

Heart pounding, spell binding, this book won’t let you go.

 

 

 

3-Sadie by Courtney Summers

 

Image result for Courtney Summers
Image Via Goodreads

 

Author of Cracked Up to Be, This Is Not a Test, and All the Rage, Courtney Summers came at us with a knockout thriller last September 4th that’s had us stunned.

 

Sadie by [Summers, Courtney]
Image Via Amazon
 

Sadie has raised her younger sister Mattie all on her own. That is, until Mattie was murdered. Following a botched police investigation, Sadie goes to bring her sister’s killer to justice using what little clues are out there.

Sadie’s journey for justice becomes more than a one hit wonder when West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—broadcasts Sadie’s story to the world.

Now West McCray hopes to find Sadie before she ends up like her sister, and Sadie fears that Mattie’s killer, newly alerted, might just slip away again.

This young adult thriller will swoon any lover of YA, or a crime novelist enthusiast. It’ll have you riveted until the last page. Layered and fascinating, it’s ambitious and doesn’t hold back.

 

2-Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

 

Image result for akemi dawn bowman
Image Via SPine Magazine

 

Author of Starfish, a book that swam into our hearts, comes a book that soars even higher since it took flight since its early September release date.

 

Summer Bird Blue by [Bowman, Akemi Dawn]
Image Via Amazon

We follow Rumi Seto, a woman who is unsure of most things except for one: she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

After Lea’s tragic death, Rumi is sent to live with her aunt in Hawaii. Thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life.

With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi will try to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

Coupled with “[c]onvincing local details and dialogue, masterful writing, and an emotionally cathartic climax,” this lyrical expression of grief will make your heart sing.

 

1-Here to Stay by Sara Farizan

 

Image result for Sara Farizan
Image Via Workman Publishing

 

An Iranian American writer and ardent basketball fan, Sara Farizan is an award-winning author of If You Could Be Mine and Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel, and her third novel, a September 18th release, is one to keep track of:

 

Here to Stay by [Farizan, Sara]
Image Via Amazon

 

The Amazon description put it best:

 

Bijan Majidi is:

  •         Shy around girls
  •         Really into comics
  •         Decent at basketball

Bijan Majidi is not:

  •         A terrorist

 

What happens when a kid who’s flown under the radar for most of high school gets pulled off the bench to make the winning basket in a varsity playoff game?

If his name is Bijan Majidi, life is suddenly high fives in the hallways and invitations to exclusive parties—along with an anonymous photo sent by a school cyberbully that makes Bijan look like a terrorist. 

The administration says they’ll find and punish the culprit. Bijan wants to pretend it never happened. He’s not ashamed of his Middle Eastern heritage; he just doesn’t want to be a poster child for Islamophobia. Lots of classmates rally around Bijan. Others make it clear they don’t want him or anybody who looks like him at their school. But it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends.

 

Kirkus Reviews sums it up as “[p]owerful,” Publisher’s Weekly calls it “an engaging page-turner,” and we here at Bookstr say that this top notch high school drama about fighting prejudice SCORES!

 

 

 

Featured Images Via Amazon

Hulu & Netflix Adaptations To Fill You Up This November

Whether you celebrate this month’s holiday of Thanksgiving or not, the cold season brings us a lot to be thankful for. Family, friends, warm clothes, and of course enough book content to fill your plate ten times over! So round the family up, and enjoy these amazing adaptations Netflix and Hulu have to offer.

Every new release has been put into categories and include the Netflix and Hulu release dates to boot! Click on the titles or where it says “book” or “novel” to either the watch film/show trailer or to purchase the original book!

 

        

 

About Authors

 

Ladies and gents, the great Margaret AtwooD | Image via fromclairespov

 

  • Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word is Power (2019 Documentary) – November 19th, Hulu
  • Vita & Virginia (2019 Film) – based on the story of the love affair between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf (November 22, Hulu)

 

Romance

 

From Under the tuscan sun | Image via giphy

 

 

Drama

Helena Bonham Carter’s intense glare from Wings of the Dove | Image via Pinterest

 

           

 

 

 

Crime

You don’t want to mess with The Queen of the South | Image via giphy

 

 

Thriller

 

From Apple Tree Yard | Image via ginges be cray

 

 

Supernatural

 

From NOS4A2 | Image via Tumblr

 

 

 

          

 

Comics

 

From The End of the F***ing World | Image via Giphy

 

 

Animation

 

From Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas | Image via Timblr

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Variety

Harry Potter Screenwriter Set to Co-Write ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’

As much as we love the Harry Potter films, all Potter fans can pretty much agree that the, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was very disappointing. Out of all the Potter films this one has the lowest rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 37%.

 

 

According to CNBC it also has the lowest bow office haul, with a total of $160 Million dollars, which may seem like a lot, but when it comes to Potter it’s not even scratching the surface. Its first film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, holds a box office haul of $814 million, and before that, the final Potter film, Deathly Hallows Part 2 hauled $1.3 billion.

 

J K Rowling
Image VIa Flare

J.K. Rowling, creator of the Potter universe penned the script for the first two Fantastic Beasts movies, added some confusing plot twists that left fans in an outrage.

 

Steve Kloves

Image via IMDB

 

Now, she will be joined by Steve Kloves, who helped adapt the Potter films from book to screen. David Yates, will continue to direct, as he directed the final four Potter films and the first two Beasts movies. The cast, such as leading man Eddie Redmayne will continue his role as Newt Scamander, as well as Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore, Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, and Ezra Miller as Credence. Along with Alison Sudol and Katherine Waterston as Tina and Queen Goldstein, and our favorite No-Maj Jacob Kowalski will be portrayed by Dan Folger.

Unfortunately, the third installment won’t be released in theaters until November 12, 2021. It will begin filming in Spring of 2020, in Rio de Janeiro.

 

 

 

Featured Image via Sciencefiction

8 of Literature Worst Monsters (Who weren’t all that bad)

Who are literature’s worst monsters, but aren’t actually all that bad? Who has a silver lining that we can look into? Who are the almost monsters of literature that are almost terrible but not quite?

Let’s find out!

 

 

8-Vernon Dursley

Vernon Dursley

Image Via Cat and Ellie’s Bookcase – WordPress.com

 

At least Umbridge told Harry the truth! At least she told him that he shouldn’t lie!

Not only did this pig in a human suit lie to Harry, but he abused him since he was a BABY. He’s not even magical.

Objectively, of all the characters from the Harry Potter series, Vernon Dursley is just the worse. He’s human, so we can judge him as much as we want, for keeping a baby in a closet under the stairs for ELEVEN YEARS. Voldemort had the decency to try and kill Harry, Umbridge at least spoke in a nice voice, but Vernon just yelled at him, smacked him around, lied about his parents, and threw him under a closet for ELEVEN YEARS.

To make matters worse, no one called the cops. At least Petunia kept the blanket Harry came in when he was a baby.

At least Umbridge told Harry the truth! At least she told him that he shouldn’t lie!

Voldemort had the decency to try and kill Harry, Umbridge at least spoke in a nice voice, but this pig in a human suit just yelled at him, smacked him around, lied about his parents. At least Aunt Petunia kept the blanket Harry came in when he was a baby. Of all the characters in the Harry Potter series, he’s not even magical, but he’s certainly one of the worse.

OR IS HE?

Horcruxes can influence those around them and Voldemort made one out of Harry. Thus the Dursleys’ dislike of him was exacerbated by Voldemort’s magic.

 

J K Rowling
Image Via Parade

 

Granted, J K Rowling said this:

James was amused by Vernon, and made the mistake of showing it. Vernon tried to patronise James, asking what car he drove. James described his racing broom.

Vernon supposed out loud that wizards had to live on unemployment benefit. James  explained about Gringotts, and the fortune his parents had saved there, in solid gold.

Vernon could not tell whether he was being made fun of or not, and grew angry. The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant, while Lily burst into tears and James (a little ashamed of himself) promised to make things up with Vernon at the earliest opportunity.

Either way, Vernon might not be as bad we thought he is (though he’s still pretty terrible)

 

7-Moby Dick

Moby Dick

Image Via Public Radio International

 

The titular character from Moby Dick, at the end of the day, is a WHALE. It has no concept of good of evil, it’s just a big whale.

 

Captain Ahab

Image Via The Guardian

 

Captain Ahab is the rotten one here. Blame him, not the whale!

 

 

6-Alexandra Finch Hancock

Image result for Aunt Alexandra
Image Via To Kill A Mocking Bird.com

 

While not the worse character in To Kill a Mocking Bird (the real monster is Bob Ewell), Aunt Alexandra is a racist piece of crap. The formidable matriarch of the Finch family, Aunt Alexandra is the king of woman who wears a corset even under her bathrobe. Before she even comes onto the page, Scout compares her to Mount Everest: “throughout my early life, she was cold and there,” but when she comes on the page she far exceeds our expectations of her.

Bossy, hyper-critical, Aunt Alexandra likes thinks done her way or the highway. Imagine the pressure poor Atticus is under when she targets him, taking umbrage with his client, Tom Robinson, noting that the case might endanger the Finch reputation.

She forgoes human decency because of the family. To her, “what is the best for the family” is more important than the family itself.

Aunt Alexandra, in underlining the moral of young Sam Merriweather’s suicide, said it was caused by a morbid streak in the family. Let a sixteen-year-old girl giggle in the choir and Aunty would say, “It just goes to show you, all the Penfield women are flighty.” Everybody in Maycomb, it seemed, had a Streak: a Drinking Streak, a Gambling Streak, a Mean Streak, a Funny Streak.

She’s obsessed with family streaks, hinting that she believes that the Finches are destined to be superior. In a book about racism, the real reason Aunt Alexandra doesn’t think Atticus should take the case are clear.

She also uses it to beat Scout over the head with.

Oh, yeah, Scout is in her line of sights as well. Scout is a tomboy, Aunt Alexandra is a proper lady, the pinnacle of the South. Thus, Alexandria sets to work trying to quash Scout’s tomboyish tendencies and forge a new identity for her.

Aunt Alexandra’s vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a ray of sunshine in my father’s lonely life.

But it’s not just racism, Aunt Alexandra is also a classist. When Scout wants to play with Walter, a poor boy, Aunt Alexandra:

…took off her glasses and stared at me. “I’ll tell you why,” she said. “Because—he—is—trash, that’s why you can’t play with him. I’ll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what.”

 

Image result for Atticus Finch and Aunt Alexandra
Image Via PInterest

 

However, are we judging her too harshly? Is our picture of her incomplete?

After Tom is killed, family affection that looms largest for Aunt Alexandra, telling Miss Maudie:

“I can’t say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he’s my brother, and I just want to know when this will ever end. […] It tears him to pieces”

She’s concerned for her brother, standing by him even when she disagrees with him. Make of that what you will, but at least she’s not Bob Ewell, a man so terrible that I’ll bet when Boo Radley killed him no one in town even batted an eye. Not even his daughters.

 

5-Grendel’s Mother

Image result for Grendel's Mother
Image Via ArtStation

 

Depending on your translation of Beowulf, she is either called Grendel’s mother or Grendel’s dam, but I’d liked to call her Mother-whose-son-had-his-arm-ripped off.

I think we can all sit down and agree that Grendel is a monster. He terrorized a village and Beowulf was in the right in defending the town against that monster, but Grendel’s Mommy isn’t that bad. Her son was returned to their cave mortally wounded, one of his two arms (or claws) ripped from its shoulder socket and now hanging in a mead-hall as a grotesque trophy.

Of course she’s going to be mad. And you know what? Good for her for stealing her son’s arm back. Why’d they even want it so bad?

 

Grendel's Mother decapitated

Image Via PInterest

 

But Beowulf just had to come, invading her home, and decapitating her.

Her motive is human and, from her point-of-view, she’s lived there over a hundred years and was never a problem. She just wanted her son’s arm, but they just had to kill her because she was a monster. As Tyrion once said, “I wish I was the monster you think I am!”

 

 

4-Cholly Breedlove

Image Via Baakari Wilder

 

Pecola Beedlove, a young black girl, is routinely mocked by other children for her physical appearance. The only person to find her desirable is her father.

Cholly Breedlove makes this list. To make a long story short, he abuses his wife, he burns down his family home, and repeatedly rapes his own daughter.

But he’s not quite the evilest character Toni Morrison has ever created. In his one and only appearance in The Bluest Eye, we learn quite enough about him that creates a picture of how abusive is cyclical.

 

Cholly Breedlove

Image Via Youtube

 

Abandoned in a junk heap as a baby, Cholly is taken in by two white men who force him to perform sexually for their amusement. When he finally meets his father, he shits his pants.

Thrown in a world where people abuse him, Cholly grows up into a man who doesn’t care about life. He’s free, but he cannot love or be loved. He does what he wants, uncaring for what happens him.

He rapes his daughter to remind himself that he is alive. He rapes her to feel the pain he felt as a child because that’s all he knows. He’s a monster made from monsters who tries to make his own daughter into a monster, all the time thinking ‘monster’ is synonymous with ‘human.’

 

3-Jaime Lannister

Jaime Lannister
Image Via A Wiki of Ice and Fire – Westeros

 

Kingslayer.

Oathbreaker.

Snobbish, rude, Jaime Lannister is in a relationship with his twin sister, Cersei, making three bastards that are set to become Kings and Queens themselves without the actual King Robert none the wiser. He even throws Bran out a window when he catches him having sex with his sister, crippling the boy.

But do I even need to explain why this character from George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series just isn’t as bad as he sounds?

At the age of fifteen Jaime become the Kingsguard to the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. He took an oath to defend the King no matter what, and he broke that oath.

 

Jaime Lannister

Image Via PInterest

 

Yeah, he killed the king, but for two years he witnessed the Mad King’s growing insanity and tendency for burning men alive first hand. One night after burning someone alive, Aerys visited the chambers of his wife and raped her. During this time, Jaime was outside, telling his fellow Kinsguard that they were sworn to protect the queen as well, to which he was told, “but not from him.”

Later, during a rebellion, Aerys devised a plot to burn the entire city to the ground rather than lose it. Upon learning about this plan, the Hand to the King resigned and Aerys burned him alive. Jaime stood back.

When Aerys ordered the city to be burned, Jaime killed everyone involved, including the King, an action which saved the whole city and caused them to hate Jaime for breaking his oath. Even after he was pardoned, even Jon Snow, who “[knows] nothing,” notes that “[t]hey called him the Lion of Lannister to his face and whispered ‘Kingslayer’ behind his back.”

 

2-The Wicked Witch of the west

The Wicked Witch of the West

Image Via THe Vintage News

 

Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge a witch by their name. Plus, odds are this witch only chose the name because of the alliteration. Ignoring the film adaptation and the musical and book the musical is based on, the original Frank L Baum book introduced her only when some magician tells Dorothy to murder her.

Taking the film into consideration, however, the Wicked Witch is still sympathetic. Dorothy murdered her sister, dropping a house on her head, and then her sister’s body disintegrated. The last thing the Witch has to remember her sister by is a pair of shoes, which Dorothy can’t give her and Glinda refuses to take off her feet.

 

Wicked

Image Via IMDB

 

Imagine if your sibling was murdered and the murderer had their prized heirloom on their feet, refusing to give it you because they didn’t like you. And why doesn’t Dorothy try to talk to the Witch? Is it because she’s Green?

The Witch was in the right. She might not have gone about it the right way, but Dorothy is a murderer hanging out with a discount iron man, a scarecrow (don’t give him any fear toxin), and a lion.

Plus, Wicked, both book and musical changed our minds about this Witch.

 

 

1-The SharkJaws

Image Via Amazon

 

IT’S A SHARK! It has no concept of good of evil, just food and hunger. Both in the Peter Benchley novel and the Steven Spielberg film, it is a big hungry shark.

 

Image Via MovieFanFare

 

The mayor should have closed the beaches. Blame him (or the mob), not the shark.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Decider

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 11/1/19

Halloween has concluded. Hopefully, you picked up plenty of candy and four-dollar-Chipotle burritos, and avoided all the creepy killer clown pranks that must have taken place (Joker and IT Chapter 2 were very popular after all).

Now it’s time to sit in bed with all your candy/dentist’s nightmares and pick a new book to sink your teeth into.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

Our Hot Pick

The Art of Game of Thrones

 

 

Synopsis:

Filled with gorgeous illustrations and artwork from HBO’s hit series, The Art of Game of Thrones is the definitive Game of Thrones art collection.

The official collection of behind the scenes concept art and production design from HBO’s landmark TV show Game of Thrones. Learn how BAFTA and Emmy award-winning production designer Deborah Riley and her team brought to life the iconic locations of Westeros and beyond.

One of 4 comprehensive and officially licensed Game of Thrones retrospective books from Insight Editions.

• UNMATCHED DEPTH – 432 pages of concept art, sketches, and production design images covering Game of Thrones seasons 1-8.
• DETAILED REVELATIONS – Comprehensive behind the scenes details covering the design of iconic locations such as King’s Landing, Winterfell, Dragonstone, and Castle Black.
• CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE CREATORS – Authored by production designer Deborah Riley and including an exclusive foreword from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B.  Weiss and preface from Emmy Award-winning production designer Gemma Jackson.
• A PRESTIGE COFFEE TABLE BOOK – Deluxe 9.75 × 13 inch format.
• A SOUGHT AFTER GIFT FOR FANS – Released in time for the holiday season, this is the perfect Game of Thrones gift for fans and collectors.

 

Why?

Whether you dressed up as your favorite character for Halloween or Comic con, you’ll want to continue celebrating your love of GoT with this epic art book. Production designer Deborah Riley provides an in-depth, eight-season-spanning retrospective and walk down memory lane with this visual compilation. Riley proves that the world building of GoT was without equal, and this book is filled with more imagination and scenic vistas than any touristy trip you might be planning. Your next social media vacation post can wait while you delve into Westeros once again.

 

Our Coffee Shop Read

A Tall History of Sugar

 

 

Synopsis:

A Tall History of Sugar tells the story of Moshe Fisher, a man who was “born without skin,” so that no one is able to tell what race he belongs to; and Arrienne Christie, his quixotic soul mate who makes it her duty in life to protect Moshe from the social and emotional consequences of his strange appearance.

The narrative begins with Moshe’s birth in the late 1950s, four years before Jamaica’s independence from colonial rule, and ends in the era of what Forbes calls “the fall of empire,” the era of Brexit and Donald Trump. The historical trajectory layers but never overwhelms the scintillating love story as the pair fight to establish their own view of loving, against the moral force of the colonial “plantation” and its legacies that continue to affect their lives and the lives of those around them.

Written in lyrical, luminous prose that spans the range of Jamaican Englishes, this remarkable story follows the couple’s mysterious love affair from childhood to adulthood, from the haunted environs of rural Jamaica to the city of Kingston, and then to England–another haunted locale in Forbes’s rendition.

Following on the footsteps of Marlon James’s debut novel, John Crow’s Devil, which Akashic Books published in 2005, we are delighted to introduce another lion of Jamaican literature with the publication of A Tall History of Sugar.

 

Why?

A love story that spans eras and decades. There’s a sugar and coffee/sugar and Halloween joke here somewhere, but I will take the highroad, given how heartfelt the subject matter is. The New York Times reviews Curdella Forbes’s romantic epic as “a gift for grown-up fans of fairy tales and those who love fiction that metes out hard and surprising truths. Forbes’s writing combines the gale-force imagination of Margaret Atwood with the lyrical pointillism of Toni Morrison.” The emotional journey you’ll embark on from your local coffee spot will be quite bittersweet.

 

Our Dark Horse

A Year Without a Name

 

 

Synopsis:

From “an extraordinary new voice,” a “passionate and clear-eyed and unputdownable” meditation on queerness, family, and desire. (Mary Karr)

For as long as they can remember, Cyrus Grace Dunham felt like a visitor in their own body. Their life was a series of imitations–lovable little girl, daughter, sister, young gay woman–until their profound sense of alienation became intolerable.

Moving between Grace and Cyrus, Dunham brings us inside the chrysalis of gender transition, asking us to bear witness to an uncertain and exhilarating process that troubles our most basic assumptions about who we are and how we are constituted. Written with disarming emotional intensity in a voice uniquely theirs, A Year Without a Name is a potent, thrillingly unresolved queer coming of age story.

Named one of Fall 2019’s Most Anticipated Books by:

Time

NYLON

Vogue

ELLE

Buzzfeed

Bustle

O Magazine

Harper’s Bazaar

 

Why?

One of Fall 2019’s most widely anticipated releases has finally arrived. Growing up is already complex enough without having to deal with the kind of emotional self-discovery that few will really understand. Dunham’s timely memoir captures the struggle of growing into your identity when the answers aren’t at all easy to find, and shares her story with strength and vulnerability. According to REWIRE, “Dunham navigates how confusing gender is: how useless it can be while also existing as an essential facet of identity. Dunham stays true to their unfinished story by packing a lot of meaning into just 176 pages but never reaching concrete conclusions. But the concrete would be antithetical to the story; Dunham lives in the truth that all of us are unfinished, forever growing and learning. This in itself is a very queer frame of thought.”

 

 

All In-text Images Via Amazon.