Tag: space

Kick Off March with These YA Titles

A new month means new novels to look forward to. These YA titles are just vying for a spot on your TBR and what a wide selection of novels they are.

  1. “Of Curses and Kisses” by Sandhya Menon

Image via Amazon

Of Curses and Kisses follows two young royals at a boarding school, Princess Jaya Rao and Lordship Grey Emerson. The Raos and Emersons have a longstanding feud, and when the Emersons threaten to target Jaya’s little sister, Jaya must get revenge and what better revenge than to make Grey fall in love with her so she can break his heart. Grey, on the other hand, hates interactions with other human beings and he’s used to an isolated life but when Jaya works her magic, they begin to communicate. However, Jaya’s plan to hurt Grey doesn’t work out so well when she begins to fall for him herself. Grey on the other hand doesn’t trust Jaya completely, he is struck by the ruby pendant she wears. Now the two together must figure out if they’re destined for their own happy ending.

2. “THe King of Crows” by Libba Bray

Image via Amazon

The King of Crows is the final book in the Diviners series. In the previous novel, the Diviners lose one of their own and are about to begin a war with the King of Crows. Isaiah receives a vision from someone named Sara Beth who knows how to stop the King of Crows, and she needs the diviners help to stop them. Jericho knows the truth to the Kings of Crows plans and he just managed to escape from the Marlowe’s estate, so now the diviners have to travel to Nebraska to get Sarah Beth’s help to stop the King of Crows. However, hope dwindles when towns start to become ghost towns, and now the diviners must really band together to save the world.

 

3. “Yes No Maybe So” by Becky Albertali and Aisha Saeed

Image via Amazon

Yes No Maybe So follows two teenagers, Maya and Jamie, who are volunteering with the local state senate. Jamie wants to work behind the scenes of the campaign, but he has to go door to door to get votes and that is nerve racking for him. He gets choked up talking to literally anyone, but then Maya comes along. Maya is going through a lot; her parents are divorcing, her summer trip is cancelled, and her best friend doesn’t have time for her. So, her Ramadan isn’t going like she planned. She is helping with the senate race because her mom thinks it’s a good idea. Now she is subjected to spending time with Jamie, whom she hardly knows. Of course, working together every day lights a spark between the two, and the polls are getting closer, but the biggest issue is the cross cultural romance between Jamie and Maya.

4. “The Gravity of Us” by Phil Stamper

Image via Amazon

The Gravity of Us follows Cal, whose dad is a pilot and just got a job with NASA for a mission to Mars. The job is going to be highly publicized and with Cal’s social media presence of half a million followers, he is used to being in the eyes of the public. However, his family now have to move from Brooklyn to Houston. There, Cal meets Leon, who just so happens to be another ‘astro’ kid. Their connection grows as the NASA mission continues, and when Cal learns a secret about the mission, he must decide how to tell the truth without hurting the people he cares about.

5. “The Upside of Falling” by Alex Light

Image via Amazon

The Upside of Falling follows Becca Hart, who lies to her ex best friend about being in a relationship after she teases her for not having a boyfriend. Lucky for Becca, Brett Wells, captain of the football team and one of the most popular people in school, overhears the lie and decides to step in and be her boyfriend. Brett has always been more concerned with his future than being in a relationship but pretend dating Becca is just what he might need. However, being in a relationship with someone you barely know is hard, Becca is dealing with past chaos and Brett is dealing with similar chaos now, and that just might be enough to get these two connect and realize that they have more in common than they both thought. The question is: will this pretend relationship breed real feelings?

 

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“Despair Makes Us Fall and a Fall Makes Us Laugh”

The Crying Book isn’t sad. This New York Times Bestseller explores tears in a very original way; the author doesn’t follow a linear path, but reflects on crying and its origins in small, isolated, almost stanzaic paragraphs. This book is a historical, philosophical, existential probe into who, what, how, and why humans (and animals) cry. Heather Christle draws from historical and personal resources in order to weave together an intimate and educational book.

image via amazon

 

One of the beautiful and poetic ideas the author lands on in the book is that tears don’t necessarily fall. Or they do, and the words tears and fall always have this marriage of sorts, she insists. She goes on to talk about babies, (she’s pregnant,) and that for babies, to fall is primal, natural; she quotes Homer, who says it’s natural for us as babies to fall “from the knees of our mother.” She goes on to state: “On the moon, where the astronaut Alan Shepherd cried, gravity exerts one-sixth of the force it does on earth. Tears fall, but more slowly, like snow.” She goes on to state that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong didn’t cry, or at least Armstrong’s tears did not fall. “Back in the Lunar Module, Aldrin photographed Armstrong with wet eyes. Would tears have dropped had they been here on Earth?”

Image via Madly Odd

There are several passages dedicated to the elephant, for the elephant is a grieving beast, known to mourn for days to months to over a lifetime if a child or family member has passed. Christle writes specifically about a hunter who shoots an elephant specifically to make the animal suffer, but the elephant withstands the cruel hunter’s torture and only sheds a few tears the second before he finally does pass away. In this case, it appears the animal only cried out of physical pain. We humans are a cruel race, but Christle mentions there are moths, too, “Mabre Elephantophila”, who feed on Elephant tears by scratching at their eyes—humans aren’t the only ones to make Elephants cry.

 

Other interesting facts: did you know Shirley Temple could cry on cue? As long as it was before lunch. One director did not know any of this and in order to make her cry told Shirley her mother had been kidnapped. Needless to say, he got a big finger-wagging from Shirley’s mother after learning of his deception. As for Shirley’s crying rule, she said, “crying is too hard after lunch.”

Christle makes it clear that there are perils to a white woman crying on and on. To be serious for a moment, the term “White Tears” means tears “which are shed by a white person who has been made suddenly aware of systemic racism, or her own implication within white supremacy.  They can be a form of defense against an imagined aggression, a way of shutting down a conversation…” Christle goes on to say that these kinds of tears are dangerous. “I do not want to redeem those tears. I want to read them for what they are and I want to read beyond them.”

Image via MaNdyBrasher

On a somewhat ridiculous note, did you know there are hotels in Japan where you can rent rooms just to cry? Did you also know, if you have the money, you can pay men to wipe away your tears? Some churches have crying rooms. There is also something called lachryphagy, which is the act of drinking tears, though I think that’s reserved for butterflies, moths, etc.

Another fact from the book: men and women often cry on planes. A survey found that 41 percent of men hide it by literally covering their face with a blanket while women pretend they have something in their eye.

 

The Book of Crying is full and ripe with rare facts but also filled with beautiful stories about the author’s personal journey through her ups and downs until she is diagnosed with cyclothymia, a lesser form of Bipolar Disorder. Again, she’s also pregnant throughout and gives birth towards the middle of the book. A lot is going on! The book is a tapestry of history, knowledge; it can be dark but then comes back up with funny musings over Yahoo!Answers, and sentences like, “despair makes us fall and a fall makes us laugh. Why?”

I can’t answer the question, I think it answers itself.


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Three Books About Aliens and #ThingsWeAreNeverMeantToKnow

Alright, so I don’t really think there’s stuff we’re not meant to know – vive la science! – but a lot of people were talking about aliens (and Monty Python – Twitter, never change), so here are some books about aliens to start knowing some things. Maybe. The truth is out there!

Cinder – Marissa Meyer

This is a great start for anyone who likes their sci-fi light and lush, with enough cyborgs, psychics, and space travel to satisfy more die-hard fans. Set in futuristic Beijing, this well wrought fairy tale retelling features plague, sisterhood, and a robot who’ll be your favorite character. What more could you want? Crime? Formal wear? A lost foot? All that and more, plus, your book hangover will be delayed for quite a while, because there are several excellent sequels and a delightful graphic novel companion series. And did I mention Cinder is a mechanic? She’s a mechanic. Heart eyes.

 

These Broken Stars – Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

Quick question – are you ready to suffer? This is a good book, maybe even a great one, but it’s going to break your entire heart and not even be sorry. Two strangers, the only survivors of a massive spaceliner crash, try to find their way across an alien landscape to the ship’s wreckage and hope of rescue. An unlikely pair, an heiress and a former soldier must work together not only to survive harsh conditions on dwindling hope, but to discover the secrets of this planet, long hidden, and more lovely and terrible than they could have imagined. Like I said, this one’ll hurt, but read it anyway. It’s earned.

 

Binti – Nnedi Okorafor

Confession; this one’s from my TBR. But it’s at the top of the list! Brutal, large scale war against terrifying aliens, an intergalactic university, and the terrible pull of leaving the Earth behind. Clocking in at under a hundred pages, this is definitely a quick read, but don’t worry about being abandoned – it’s the first of three novellas. Plus, we always, always stan a heroine who’s good at math. Isn’t that the dream? Be good at math, and risk death to go to space school? Don’t boo me, I’m right.

Images via Amazon

Featured image via DevantArt