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The Rose And The Beast
by Francesca Lia Block

A beautifully written retelling of classic fairytales. Some I thought a little dark but it is classified as YA so really not appropriate for the little kids. Block's language and imagery are striking, rhapsodic but not cloyingly overdone . Highly recommend if you like classic retellings of stories you thought you knew and even if you don't.

Forests of The Vampire
by Time-life Books

Has many Slavic myths that I had not known before but very little about Vampire legends. Good for a folklore overview, not so good on the subject in the title.

Rising Storm
by Erin Hunter

Rising storm was a great book with a lot of twists and turns. It so perfectly displays a once great leader's decent into madness, while also keeping you on the edge of your seat during the battle scenes. The writing is good enough to really make you feel what the characters feel, and holds one of my favorite death scenes in the series.

Buried Deep
by Margot Hunt

Plain and simple, it just wasn't very good. First of all, the main character was extremely naïve and annoying. Listening to the things she said made me just want to shake her. And the story was anticlimactic. It was pretty much laid out for you from the start and there was a little twist at the end that was surprising but not exciting, like twists in many books. Wasn't worth the read so I'm glad it was short. I didn't give it one star because I've read worse.

by Terry Nation

I knew of this book and the TV series that was based on it pre-pandemic, but reading it now has just confirmed how surreal this all is. The premise of the book is there is a virus that ends up wiping out most of mankind and tells of the people who survive to make a new life for themselves. (Think Walking Dead minus the zombies.) You see how some people stay true to who they are, while others struggle to reinvent themselves, for better or for worse. It was published back in 1976 so it is slightly dated, but it is easy to apply the premise to what it going on today. The TV series (the newer one from the BBC) took some liberties but also still a good companion follow-up to the book.

The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes
by Suzanne Collins

Obviously a must read for fans of The Hunger Games, this gives the story of how President Snow became who know him as. The first 2/3 went pretty quickly, taking place during the 10th Hunger Games (also showing us its evolution). There's a love story for Coriolanus, and that takes up some of the last third. That whole last chunk of the book came off a bit forced to me, like she could have included the content during the HG, but then didn't bother to go back to fill it out and instead tacked everything onto the end. But, you know, Hunger Games. Clearly we'll all read it and ask for more.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor Signed
by Hank Green A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor Signed

4.5 stars! A thrilling end to the April May saga. The ending confused me a bit, and so did a specific characters lack of major involvement in the story, but overall it was a thrilling book that once I began reading, was difficult to put down. There are many quotable moments, and there is a lot to be said on the future of the world and on one person holding too much power. I felt that the story was both anti-climactic and very very very climactic. Overall, a very enticing and enjoyable read in which the book nearly stuck to my fingers whenever I'd pick it up. For the first book I've ever had to wait to have be released, the wait was worth it.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor
by Hank Green

I thought this book was a good way to tie up all the loose ends of the last one. The new character POVs were nice, especially Carl’s. I was a little apprehensive to see April and Maya get back together, but I think if April works on her self-esteem and can consequently treat other people better, it will work out. I would have liked for Robin to be more involved and I wish he had chapters of his own. Otherwise, this book was wonderful. It was paced well, April’s return and her character development were perfect, and getting to look further into the main characters’ lives was interesting and needed. Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot and will read it again.

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
by Jonathan Safran Foer

I'm very ambivalent towards this novel, but not in a bad way. I am stuck between good and neutral. Admittedly, I did not particularly enjoy this book more so than the average read. However within the last 50 pages, I found myself feeling incredibly human, which is something I haven't felt in a while. I've learned to become an escape artist with myself, and for a moment I was able to come back from that. I loved some of the quotes, and occasionally I'd find a one off passage that I'd adore. But over all, I don't really like this as a book. I could understand what was going on just enough to finish it and come out of it with something rather than nothing. I don't regret reading it, but I don't think I would have necessarily picked it up if it weren't assigned for my AP summer reading. I also felt as though this was less than a book and more a snippet of the human experience. I feel like the reader was put in place halfway through the actual story, and was only keyed in to a small piece of the main character as well as the story. It was more of a piece of life rather than a novel, which I both appreciate indefinitely, and kind of am stuck shrugging my shoulders at. Very ambivalent, but given that I enjoyed some one offs, 4/5 stars

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was the kind of book that had me hooked at its title. It wasn't what I was expected, but then again I wasn't quite sure what I was expecting. Upon reading the first 20 pages, I was a bit uninterested. There were a few lulls in the text at some points(mostly the coding talk, which I couldn't understand) and there were some points where I simply found myself getting easily distracted (however, the characters, it seemed, were always just confused as me until the end and that was something I could appreciate). But come upon pages 50-100, well now I just gotta keep going to see how it ends. Upon reaching page 200, I was eager to finish and things quickly picked up from there. While having some very important philosophical points and fun mysteries, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour bookstore was a fun read that was intriguing and somewhat thought provoking. It was not very intense which is something that I appreciated, given just finishing The Deathly Hallows for the first time. I needed an easy and kind of *shoulder shrug* why not read, and although I initially wanted a great deal more from this book(and still kind of do) it was a break that I didn't realize I needed. All in all, this book was in the okay-pretty good range, so I'd give it about 3.5 stars. But from the chapter "A Really Big Gun" and on, I was fully focused and had to stick along for the ride. From "A Really Big Gun" and on, I'd give it a solid 4 stars. If you are looking for something with similar energy alongside this book, I'd recommend An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green.
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