Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession (bought, library, review copies, etc). My list is split in half: the first five are physical books I bought while on vacation in Scotland, the last five are ARCs from NetGalley/authors/etc.

1) The Nowhere Emporium – Ross MacKenzie
2) Man at the Helm – Nina Stibbe
3) The Monster’s Wife – Kate Horsley
4) The Mermaid Bride and Other Orkney Folk Tales – Tom Muir
5) The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow – Katherine Woodfine (which I technically bought for my 9 year old niece, but I want to read it first!)
6) A Curse of Ash and Iron – Christine Norris (look for my review on Friday)
7) Alice Takes Back Wonderland – David D. Hammons
8) The Dream Engine – Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
9) Hawthorn – Jamie Cassidy
10) Vengeance Road – Erin Bowman

What have you bought/borrowed/been given recently? Anything in particular I should look out for?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read. This is somewhat similar to the other topic from a few months ago, Top Ten Books I Will Never Read (or at least, that’s how it ended up for me).

1) 50 Shades of Grey – E.L. James
I imagine this is one several lists today

2) Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
I know this is like sacrilege since I’m a YA fan, but dystopia really isn’t my thing.

3) Insurgent/Allegiant – Veronica Roth
I read Divergent shortly after meeting Veronica Roth (at work), but I haven’t gotten around to reading the rest of the trilogy, and I’m not in a rush (I already guessed how it ends).

4) Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

5) The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
Also meh.

6) The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Again, sacrilege, but I haven’t gotten around to reading any of John Green’s books, and again, I’m not in a rush.

7) The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
I’m not even sure what this one is about, but it was all over the place last year.

8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
I’ll get to this one eventually, but honestly, I have a very long TBR list, so this one isn’t really a priority.

9) The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen
I’ve heard mixed reviews about this one, but I’ll probably read it before it becomes a movie.

10) The Life of Pi – Yann Martel
I almost want to read it because of this piece of fanart, but I’m not actually interested in it.

life of pi

What’s on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read. I had a hard time thinking of ten books I wouldn’t read (my head’s so full of books I want to read, I don’t have the mental space), so I’ve split my list in two: Five Books I Will Never Read and Five Books I Will Never RE-Read.

Five Books I Will Never Read

1) 50 Shades of Grey (trilogy) – E.L. James

Even if I liked reading erotica, the fact that it’s based on Twilight fan-fiction is a huge turn-off.

2) The Host – Stephenie Meyer

Speaking of Twilight…I don’t think I can read anything else by Meyer. I’m grew out of my Twilight phase years ago, and now I can see that her writing is not the greatest, in my opinion (no offense to anyone who loves her!).

3) Ulysses – James Joyce

Technically I started this one (in my third year British Novels course), but just thinking about this massive tome makes me quake in my Converse. I think I read 20 pages before I gave up and just prayed it wouldn’t be on the exam (thankfully it wasn’t!).

4) Anything by Jonathan Franzen

Because he said that YA equates to “moral simplicity” and I almost flipped my desk over in anger.

5) Anything else by Cassandra Clare

I grumbled throughThe Immortal Devices, I slogged my way through The Mortal Instruments, I even read The Bane Chronicles in the hopes that maybe it would get better. But I’m so over Cassandra Clare, I can’t even consider reading another one of her interminable Shadowhunter books.

Five Books I Will Never RE-Read

1) New Moon – Stephenie Meyer

I’m just really hating on Twilight today, aren’t I? Either way, the second book made me want to punch something because it was terrible. So while I may one day re-read the first one for funsies, I’m not touching the sequel.

2) Inheritance – Christopher Paolini

It took me six months the first time around. I’m not doing that to myself again.

3) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – David Eggers

More like A Mindblowing Work of A Pretentious Tool, am I right? I had to read this in high school and I don’t think I ever hated an English unit more in my life.

4) Northanger Abbey – Val McDermid

love Austen’s original novel, and I was so excited about a contemporary re-telling (it takes place at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?? Henry Tilney as a hot Scotsman?!? SIGN ME UP). But the characters were whiny and flat and the text-speak gave me a headache. I don’t think my review accurately conveys how bad I thought it was.

5) Hush Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick

I remember loving this when I first read it (deep in my Twilight phase…), then my sister broke it down for me and I was so upset. But then I really thought about it and honestly, if I’d read it now, I’d probably launch it across the room in anger. So thanks, Ro, for ruining it for me/saving me from a terrible series!

What are some books you’ll probably never read (or re-read!)?

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.

I don’t know how I’ve managed to not read The Little Prince before. For one, I’ve been learning French since like grade one, plus it was half of my major, so you would think that at some point, one of my teachers/professors would hand me a copy. But no. I had to borrow this one from my brother after I saw the trailer and thought “That’s what I’ve been meaning to read!”

I may have chosen the French trailer. Je m’excuse. 

It’s a short read – some 70-80 pages – but I loved it.

For one, I totally related to The Little Prince: grown-ups are strange. I don’t care that I’m technically an “adult” (and have been for a while), I don’t feel “grown-up”, and I don’t ever want to lose my ability to think (and act) like a child.

On a related note: the ending (here there be spoilers).

The ending was sad. But it was also hopeful.

You know how sometimes people say they’ve left a part of their heart/soul somewhere else? I think that’s what The Little Prince did. When he left his planet – and his flower – he almost immediately regretted it, but carried on exploring because he didn’t want to get stuck doing the same thing every day (haven’t we all felt that way at some point?). He went on his adventure and when he had finally had enough, he wanted to go home, even if it meant leaving his new friends – the fox and the pilot – behind. Part of his soul was on his own asteroid, with his flower, but another part of his soul was left back on Earth, with the pilot and the tamed fox, which is why the narrator encourages us, the readers, to keep an eye out for the Prince’s return.

Or maybe I’m thinking Horcruxes.

On the one hand, it does seem like The Little Prince committed suicide (via snake bite). On the other hand, the snake had previously promised that his bite would take the Prince back to his home planet. The pilot says that no body is left behind so it’s a mystery as to what actually happened.

The ending is a perfect example of the message at the heart of The Little Prince:

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Also Known As – Robin Benway // Once Every Never – Lesley Livingston // The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld

One and a half of these books I read last week but never blogged about; the third, I just finished.

Also Known As:

“Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She’ll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school’s security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.”

I’m a big fan of Robin Benway (I’ve talked about Audrey, Wait! many times), and I was really excited to read her spy novel that came out over a year ago but that I kept forgetting to buy until earlier this fall. So it pains me to say this but…it was good. It just wasn’t great.

I liked Maggie, I loved Angelo, even Roux was pretty swell. But I feel like I’ve read these characters before. And not just in my frequent forays into YA, I mean in another Robin Benway book. Maggie was a more socially awkward Audrey (and, by being so, was automatically May from The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June), Roux was Victoria x 3. There’s a scene where Maggie’s getting ready for a date that reads almost identically to the scene where Audrey goes out with James for the first time (incidentally, that’s one of my favourite chapters, which is probably why I have most of it memorized).

“You’re being awfully nitpicky”, you might say, and I’d agree. I draw these comparisons because I’ve read Audrey, Wait! a thousand times, and April, May, and June at least half that. I make these connections because I admire and respect Robin Benway, and I desperately don’t want her to fall into the Cassandra Clare “all my characters in one series are basically older versions of all my characters in the other series” trap.

I also didn’t love Jesse Oliver, but that’s because I compared him to James, Henry, and even Julian (from Benway’s other books), and found him lacking whatever spark I liked in the other guys. He was very sweet, but sort of “meh”. Which is not to say I didn’t like the book; I liked the plot, the pacing was decent, the dialogue was (as always) hilarious. And Angelo was far and away the best character – I’ll read the sequel if only to spend a little more time with him.

Once Every Never:

“Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. On the surface. She’s smart, but a bit of a slacker; outgoing, but just a little insecure; not exactly a mischief-maker … but trouble tends to find her wherever she goes. Also? She unwittingly carries a centuries-old Druid Blood Curse running through her veins.

Now, with a single thoughtless act, what started off as the Summer Vacation in Dullsville suddenly spirals into a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, avert an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a dreadful wrong that happened centuries before Clare was even born, and if there’s still time— literally—maybe even get a date.

This is the kind of adventure that happens to a girl once every … never.”

Apparently this week I was just disappointed by normally beloved authors.

I’ve read (most of) Lesley Livingston’s other books. I’ve yet to finish the Starling series (just waiting to pick up Transcedent when I have the time), but I liked them all. This one…this one bothered me for some reason.

First of all, I couldn’t figure out why it took Clare so long to understand who Connal was. Like, pay attention, girl! It’s slap-in-the-face obvious, but it took her 100+ pages to be all “OH, I GET IT NOW”.

There were “romantic aspects” that annoyed me beyond reason. She falls through time and the first thing she thinks is “hey, that guy holding a sword is pretty hot…I wanna see him again”. Even though there’s a hot nerd living in London who’s madly in love with her (of course).

I could forgive that, but the thing that bothered me the most was the frequent messing-with-time-without-any-real-consequences. When she goes back and messes with things, the people who know what’s she’s doing still remember the original series of events. When she literally changes history, everything is still hunky-dory at home. With that much of time travel, I expected one – or more – of her loved ones to cease existing because she accidentally set off a chain of events that altered her life as she knew it. As Ron Stoppable once said, “Time travel…is a cornucopia of disturbing concepts”. You’d think that someone would disappear and raise the stakes, but no. Not yet, anyway.

I almost want Al (Allie, Clare’s best friend) to be the heroine because at least she’s smart and more likely to catch on quickly compared to Clare’s rather delayed reactions.

The Enchanted:

“This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it, but I do.” The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honesty and corruption—ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.”

On a completely separate (i.e. non-YA) note, I read The Enchanted.

One thing I loved about this book was the writing: it was lyrical, poetic, and sometimes disturbing. Our nameless narrator often talked about books and reading in general; as a life-long book lover, it was lovely to read his descriptions of how the act of reading was soothing, how the books transported him to a different place, even when he was stuck in his cell.

This was also a book that can give you pause: on the one hand, you’re reading about death row prisoners, men who have committed unspeakable, disgusting crimes. On the other hand, you can’t help but feel sorry for them, especially the narrator (so that, even though I guessed halfway through which inmate was telling the story, the revelation at the end still punched me in the stomach in a “how can you sympathize with someone like this” way). It was also fascinating to see York’s story unfold, told by such an unconventional narrator.

Overall, it was an excellent read. It definitely fell out of my usual comfort zone (in terms of subject matter), but it was very well done.

Fortunately, the Milk – Neil Gaiman // The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway // Made For You – Melissa Marr

Fortunately, The Milk:

‘”I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”

“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”

Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.’

The other day, I asked Ro, “What was my life like before I discovered Neil Gaiman?” to which she absent-mindedly replied, “I don’t know, it was probably really boring.” Which seems rude, but is also mostly true.

Fortunately, The Milk is one of Gaiman’s most recent children’s books. It’s very short (128 pages, but most of them have illustrations that take up at least a quarter of the page) and very quick, but also hilarious. I literally laughed out loud a couple of times. I mean, any book that has a time-travelling stegosaurus has to be good, right? Plus, despite being very random, there’s still a very good plot hidden amongst the nonsense.

The Sun Also Rises:

“The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style.

A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.”

This is not the edition I read, but it doesn’t really matter (I can’t find the cover for the one I read; granted, I haven’t looked very hard…).

I’ve never read Hemingway before. I don’t know how I managed that since I majored in English, but clearly we weren’t as well read as we should have been. I expected him to be stuffy and boring, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to read.

It’s also much more scandalous than I imagined – Lady Brett Ashley in particular clearly got around but did not explicitly say what she was getting up to. The description of the running of the bulls at Pamplona was very well done – I could picture it perfectly. I felt the plot itself was a bit slow at first but once it got going, it barrelled to the end – not unlike bulls in Pamplona.

For my first time reading Hemingway, it went along swimmingly – which is good, because I have two of his other books sitting on my “To Read” pile (The Old Man and the Sea and Farewell to Arms), and I was worried I wouldn’t like him.

Made For You:

“When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.”

I didn’t realize quite how varied my reading list this week was until just now…

I’m a huge Melissa Marr fan so I was VERY excited to hear about this book. IT WAS EXCELLENT.

I may be biased (because I’ve been a fan since Wicked Lovely came out in 2007), but I’ve always liked Marr’s writing style, her way with words. This book was no exception. In fact, I think she got even better.

The story is told through alternating points of view: Eva, her best friend Grace, and “Judge”, the killer. I don’t know if the hints were obviously there or if, because of the amount of YA I read, I was able to piece it together on my own, but even though I guessed who he was, it still sent a shiver up my spine when Judge’s true identity was revealed. It was creepy to get inside his head, especially toward the end.

I also liked the addition of Eva’s new “skill” – the “death visions”, as she called them. She doesn’t just see how people will die, she experiences it as if she was that person in that particular moment, and it makes for some truly compelling reading.

Company of Liars – Karen Maitland // The Reluctant Assassin/The Hangman’s Revolution – Eoin Colfer

I don’t think I’ve ever done a post of THREE books…but one I finished on Sunday, the next on Monday, and the last one on Thursday.

Company of Liars:

“In this extraordinary novel, Karen Maitland delivers a dazzling reinterpretation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales—an ingenious alchemy of history, mystery, and powerful human drama.

The year is 1348. The Black Plague grips the country. In a world ruled by faith and fear, nine desperate strangers, brought together by chance, attempt to outrun the certain death that is running inexorably toward them.

Each member of this motley company has a story to tell. From Camelot, the relic-seller who will become the group’s leader, to Cygnus, the one-armed storyteller . . . from the strange, silent child called Narigorm to a painter and his pregnant wife, each has a secret. None is what they seem. And one among them conceals the darkest secret of all—propelling these liars to a destiny they never saw coming.

Magical, heart-quickening, and raw, Company of Liars is a work of vaulting imagination from a powerful new voice in historical fiction.”

This one took me forever to finish. I felt like nothing really happened until somewhere around page 300, and by that point I had already started skimming. So many long descriptions! Which were good and really gave you a feel for the time (the 1300’s), but it got tiresome after a certain point because I just wanted action.

I also found that the character I wanted to learn more about was the “villain” of the piece – Narigorm, the weird little witch girl. She was in it but not in it. A big part with very little background detail. That might have been the point – because she was so mysterious – but I would have welcomed pages of description for her and her life-before-the-company. I also liked Cygnus but he didn’t last long.

That was my other problem: once the story actually got moving, it seemed very formulaic: Narigorm reads her runes and indicates that someone’s secret is about to be spilled; the person she implies to be in trouble goes missing late at night; the next morning, the same person is found dead – either a brutal murder or an apparent suicide.

There were nine people in the company, and by the time it ended, only four – excluding Narigorm – survived. I will admit that most of the secrets were quite scandalous, especially for that time period, but, had they been revealed a little sooner, it might not have taken me so long to get into the story.

The best parts were the “tales” that each traveller told. I wanted more of those.

The Reluctant Assassin:

“Riley, a teen orphan boy living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, an illusionist who has fallen on difficult times and now uses his unique conjuring skills to gain access to victims’ dwellings. On one such escapade, Garrick brings his reluctant apprentice along and urges him to commit his first killing. When the intended victim turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI’s Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP), Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern day London, followed closely by Garrick.

In modern London, Riley is helped by Chevron Savano, a nineteen-year-old FBI agent sent to London as punishment after a disastrous undercover, anti-terrorist operation in Los Angeles. Together Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip through the wormhole. Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist’s knowledge. He is determined to track Riley down and use the timekey in Chevie’s possession to make his way back to Victorian London where he can literally change the world.”

and it’s sequel, The Hangman’s Revolution:

“Young FBI agent Chevie Savano arrives back in modern-day London after a time-trip to the Victorian age, to find the present very different from the one she left. Europe is being run by a Fascist movement known as the Boxites, who control their territory through intimidation and terror. Chevie’s memories come back to her in fragments, and just as she is learning about the WARP program from Professor Charles Smart, inventor of the time machine, he is killed by secret service police. Now they are after Chevie, too, but she escapes–into the past. She finds Riley, who is being pursued by futuristic soldiers, and saves him. Working together again, it is up to Chevie and Riley to find the enigmatic Colonel Clayton Box, who is intent on escalating his power, and stop him before he can launch missiles at the capitals of Europe.”

I think I liked the sequel more, but they were both good, if not occasionally confusing. I spent much of the sequel wondering how the future-travellers were going to adapt if they changed the course of history. Just re-reading that sentence causes me to furrow my brow in consternation. But that can’t be helped because time travel is, as Ron Stoppable one said, “a cornucopia of disturbing concepts”.

I’ve read most of Eoin Colfer’s other books, particularly the Artemis Fowl series which first came out when I was 11 and ended when I was 22. So I’m a fairly big fan. Of course, being a fan, I got the sense that Chevie Savano is basically Holly Short: spunky, sassy, and a troublemaker-with-the-law-even-though-she’s-part-of-the-law. Both are fantastic, strong female characters, but, I felt, are rather similar – except Chevie’s a human (Holly’s an elf).

The writing was very efficient: any time someone got stuck in a small space (which happened a surprising amount of times), I actually felt mildly claustrophobic just reading the descriptions. And, since I had bought them within days of each other, I knew there was a sequel, but it still didn’t stop me from feeling a little anxious about halfway through The Reluctant Assassin. And there were some colourful characters, one of the best being Otto Malarkey, a king of thieves, who plays a bigger role in book two.

Alice I Have Been – Melanie Benjamin

Alice I Have Been:

“Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.  

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.”

This book has been on my “To Read” list for at least a year and I finally got around to it this past week.

I quite enjoy Alice in Wonderland though I didn’t realize how much I like it until I re-read it for my Children’s Lit class about three years ago and re-discovered how whimsical it is (I like whimsy). So, despite how long it took me to actually pick it up, I was very intrigued by this book – for all my knowledge of Alice in Wonderland, I don’t know much about the real Alice herself.

I’m sure everyone, at some point, has heard that Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) was a bit – well, creepy, is probably the best way to put it, particularly in terms of his fascination with photographing little girls (even that sentence is creepy). What I didn’t know where that there were some rather risqué photos of a young Alice Liddell that probably fuelled these thoughts to begin with.

This one in particular – quite scandalous when you think about the era and the fact that she was only 7 at the time.

I also didn’t know that there was a point where the Liddells broke off all communication with Dodgson and there are no recorded explanations (correspondence burned, pages from his diary ripped out…); that’s the whole basis of this book: what happened, presumably between Alice and Dodgson, that led to this break?

Benjamin doesn’t explicitly say what she thinks happened until near the end of the book when eighty-year-old Alice Liddell is reflecting on her childhood, right before selling her first (handwritten) edition of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. Because we don’t have real facts, a lot of the novel is based on speculation, but it’s interesting.

It also made me feel a bit creepy and at first, I was worried it would ruin Alice in Wonderland for me, but if anything, it just made me think: what did happen between Alice and Dodgson? Will we ever know the truth? Probably not, but this book did a good job at offering a possible explanation.

Wicked Girls – Stephanie Hemphill

I didn’t read much last week so it took me longer than it should have to finish Wicked Girls.

“From Printz Honor winner and Your Own, Sylvia author Stephanie Hemphill comes this fictionalized account of the Salem Witch trials from three of the real young women living in Salem in 1692.

Ann Putnam Jr. is the queen bee. When her father suggests a spate of illnesses in the village is the result of witchcraft, she puts in motion a chain of events that will change Salem forever.

Mercy Lewis is the beautiful servant in Ann’s house who inspires adulation in some and envy in others. With her troubled past, she seizes her only chance at safety.

Margaret Walcott, Ann’s cousin, is desperately in love. She is torn between staying loyal to her friends and pursuing a life with her betrothed.

With new accusations mounting against the men and women of the community, the girls will have to decide: Is it too late to tell the truth?”

I read one of Stephanie Hemphill’s books, Hideous Love, a few months ago. I thought it was fascinating that it was written in free verse rather than the traditional prose. The same goes for Wicked Girls.

I don’t know much about the Salem Witch Trials, so this was a bit of a history lesson for me. I mean, obviously Hemphill took a few liberties in the telling of the story, but I imagine she did her fair share of research before writing. Plus, there is a convenient section at the end of the novel that explains what happened to the girls in real life.

There’s not much to say about Wicked Girls. It was enjoyable and somewhat educational. It takes a few pages to get used to the free verse but once you hit your stride, you don’t even notice how much you’ve read. It also might make you want to pick up an actual history book, but when has that been a bad thing?