Ashton’s Literary Ramblings: Rebecca Ross: Sisters of Sword and Song

Have you ever been so desperate for something to read you just grabbed a random book with a beautiful cover and just started reading it even though you really didn’t want to you were just that desperate? No? Oh, yeah, me neither…..

Anyways, Rebecca Ross hit the author spotlight with her duology: The Queen’s Rising. First, I just have to gush over the beauty of the covers in this dulogy! I mean.. just look at them! They are so so pretty!

Anyways, I read the first one and it was such a unique read that I was totally ready for the next one. I fell in love with Brienna: her journey of self discovery, her thoughts filled with doubt, her strength in herself growing. I just couldn’t get enough of Brienna. Brienna’s story isn’t just about her romance with Aodhan Morgane, that’s a lower factor. The story is about her discovering herself and who she is and finding her strength inside of her. I loved it!

Sorry, I veered off track a little, the purpose of this blog is to highlight Rebecca’s new book, Sisters of Sword and Song. I just love that title.

Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross

After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder.

Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.

-Goodreads

It sounds so good! If you’re a fan of Ember in the Ashes, Sky in the Deep or Court of Fives, then I guess this is the book for you. It said so on Goodreads, so if you are a fan of those and you end up not liking this book, don’t blame me, blame Goodreads!

CLOSED on September 7, for Labor Day

In order to celebrate Labor Day, here are five facts:

  1. The holiday has evolved over the years. In the late 19th century, celebrations focused on parades in urban areas. Now the holiday is a celebration that honors organized labor with fewer parades, and more activities. It also marks the perceived end of the summer season.
  2. Labor Day is the unofficial end of Hot Dog season. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs.
  3. The first U.S. Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, planned by the Central Labor Union.  The Labor Day parade of about 10,000 workers took unpaid leave and marched from City Hall past Union Square uptown to 42nd street, and ended in Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and 9th Avenue for a concert, speeches, and a picnic.
  4. The year in which the 8-hour day was firmly established was 1916 with the passage of the Adamson Act.  This was the first federal law regulating hours of workers in private companies.
  5. Labor Day is viewed as the unofficial last day of vacation before the start of the new school year (and mourned by students all over).  Stated differently, it is the Back-to-School kickoff (cheered by parents all over!).

 

 

Also, don’t forget, the Aurora Public Library District will be closed on September 7, in observance of Labor Day! However, our digital collection is always open for you to use! 

Ashton’s Literary Ramblings: Midnight Sun

It’s finally here! Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer was published on August 4th. I have been waiting for this since I was a twelve year old girl reading the Twilight Saga for the first time and falling in love with Edward and Bella and the whole Cullen family! Midnight Sun had been rumored to be in production or in writing stages and nothing had ever come of those rumors and now…my life is about to be completed!

I just have to say one thing: it’s about time! I was waiting patiently…okay, impatiently, for this. When the Chemist came out, I totally lost all hope that she was even going to write it. Then it was announced and I was shoved back into my twelve year old self discovering the series again! The announcement of this book wasn’t even the best part! The best part is that we finally get to see Edward’s POV!

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting beautiful, mysterious Bella is both the most intriguing and unnerving event he has experienced in his long life as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he let himself fall in love with Bella when he knows that he is endangering her life?

In Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer transports us back to a world that has captivated millions of readers and, drawing on the classic myth of Hades and Persephone, brings us an epic novel about the profound pleasures and devastating consequences of immortal love.

-Goodreads

Okay, that cover? Beautiful! That summary? Don’t even get me started! I’m even more excited to read this than I was before reading that summary. I love the myth of Hades and Persephone so knowing that she used that as some of the inspiration is going to make this story that much better! My fingers are yearning to grab my Twilight book and start reading it already, but I really will force myself to wait. I want to read Midnight Sun, first then re-read the Twilight Saga for the umpteenth time after. I think seeing the story through Edward’s eyes will possibly change how we read and see the story ourselves!

Are you excited for this?

Ashton’s Literary Ramblings: Katherine Applegate: The One and Only Bob

So awhile back, I wanted to try an audiobook. I wanted a book that I didn’t really have to concentrate on but that would be interesting enough that if I had tuned out I could get back into it easily enough. I came across, Katherine Applegate‘s The One and Only Ivan. I thought to myself, what could it hurt.

Well, truth is, it hurt me. The One and Only Ivan is an absolutely amazing story and it still touches my heart and even occasionally makes me tear up when I think about it. While I was a little put off about it being a juvenile book, it didn’t stop me from being entertained and captivated by the story of Bob, Stella, and Ruby.

Thankfully, Katherine Applegate understood that Ivan just had to be shared with more people and is now adapting the book for the big screen with the help of Disney. The movie will star Angelina Jolie and Bryan Cranston and will premiere August 21, 2020 on Disney +. I am so excited to see this amazing animated film!

However, she also decided to write another story and she made it the sequel to the One and Only Ivan. and I am so so excited to listen to the audiobook of this one as well!

Published May 5, 2020

 

Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.

-Goodreads

Ivan is in it and so is Ruby and that is enough for me to get behind this book and read it–or in my case-listen to it as well! Katherine Applegate will surely entertain even the most serious of readers with this and hopefully, she doesn’t tear my heart out like she did with The One and Only Ivan, I mean, thankfully, she gave me my heart back, but still.

 

Ashton’s Literary Ramblings Review: Sarah J. Maas: Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood

So if you are a die hard fan of anything, then you know the anticipation and the eagerness that fills your veins when they (whoever they are) announce an addition or new item. Well, Sarah J. Maas announced early last year that she was starting an adult fantasy series called Crescent City. I was like a little kid in a candy shop with unlimited money; I was so, so excited. Then, of course, I had to wait…and I had to wait. As a reader, we know the definition of waiting. While some authors can publish a book each month (James Patterson, I’m pointing my fingers at you) or at least publish a few novels a year (Danielle Steel, this is where you come in), other authors take a long, long, long time. Look at Stephenie Meyer. She’s finally finishing Midnight Sun after thirteen years, but that’s a whole other blog post (coming soon).

First off as always:

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood

This cover is absolutely breathtaking! The cover is made by artist Carlos Quevedo, a Venezuelan graphic artist. The intricacy of his artwork is amazing and makes this perfectly suited for Sarah’s book.

Now let’s get to the point: the book. First, here’s the summary taken from Goodreads:

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars, but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

 

At first, I struggled with this book. I didn’t like the set up of it or how Bryce was perceived as a ‘party girl’. Eventually, I started becoming more interested in the story. While I was still confused about how Sarah set up the world of Crescent City and how that world operated, I eventually became invested in the characters and the mystery revolving around the horn. Hunt and Bryce, of course, became a top contender of my favorite fictional couples. I could see how bruised and hurt they both were by things that had either happened to them in the past or things they had done in the past and how those things had shaped them as characters. Their relationship evolved from one of loathing to loving. However, if you’ve read anything by Sarah J. Maas, then you know about her plot switches. I won’t invest myself in any specific relationship in this series until book two comes out because I know how her plot switch upended my whole world when I read her other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. 

Now, I’m back to waiting for the next installment in the series (no publication date yet). I’m hoping Maas will use Book 2 to fill in the cracks about this world in Crescent City.

Ashton’s Literary Ramblings: Kiera Cass: The Betrothed

I’ve always been a fan of YA Romance. Between reading The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, and the Divergent Series, I’ve been well taken care of in the YA Romance department. However, two years ago, I discovered Kiera Cass‘s series, The Selection. It was such a great series to read; I would definitely rank it with the other YA series listed above. Cass reports on her web page that The Selection will be made into a Netflix movie sometime in the future.

A new YA Romance by Cass was published on May 5, 2020,  and I couldn’t be more excited to read it!  I’m even more curious to see how it will differ from The Selection series!

When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.

-Goodreads

First of all, that cover is beautiful! Secondly, I literally cannot wait to read this! The eager book beaver inside of me just wants this book right this very second! Kiera Cass has a way of writing about royalty that keeps the characters likeable and interesting, rather than overbearing or annoying. As with her other books, I know that Cass will weave a tale that draws me into a world of intrigue and romance.

Ashton’s Literary Ramblings: Suzanne Collins: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Most of us have either read or seen the film adaptations of the Hunger Games. The series took over every high school, middle school, and even some elementary schools by storm. Many libraries had to buy multiple copies and many families bought their children their own copies of the trilogy.

Me? I never actually bought the books or the movies, but I’ve seen all of them and read all of them. While I wasn’t as obsessed with Katniss and Peeta as I was with Bella and Edward (Twilight), I was still entertained by their story and the idea of the Hunger Games itself.

Coriolanus Snow, the villain from the Hunger Games, is getting his own book! I hated Snow because of the movies and the books; however, maybe this is the author’s way of making us understand his brilliantly evil mind. Aren’t you curious?

Expected Publication Date: May 19, 2020

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

-Goodreads

It’s going to be interesting to see what made Snow into the tyrant and killer we all have come to know and hate. I’m curious as to how the games were played during the first decade or two of their creation. Hopefully, one day, we get a prequel of this prequel about Dean Casca Highbottom, the man who created the Hunger Games, or even the world before the Hunger Games and why they were created in the first place? With all these ideas that Suzanne Collins has at her disposal, I’m eager to see all that she creates in the world of her making!

Are you going to be reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes too?

Comic Book Craze

While comic books aren’t quite as popular as they were in the 40s, they are still loved by an ever loyal fan-base. With Marvel making movies based on their superheroes every year and DC following behind, comic books are slowly making a more popular comeback. The evolution of comic book illustrations and characters have grown to be more gender inclusive and LGBT aware. Just like everything in our world, comic books are evolving to fit our ever-changing world. The Aurora Public Library District has a section called “graphic novels” which includes many popular comic books and heroes. We have some comic books about the most popular heroes and some who may be new to you!

Stop by and check out the comics in our teen ‘graphic novel’ area!

Want to read one that we don’t have? You have two options: if the comic is older than 6 months, you can inter-library loan it (borrow it from another library in Indiana for free) or if the title is new than 6 months you can ask to place it as a collection request (a database of titles that we consider to buy for patrons).

Manga Mania

While manga and comic books occasionally get categorized together, they aren’t the same. Manga are comics or graphic novels created in Japan that conform to a style the Japanese developed in the late 19th century. They are read right to left instead of left to right. While comic books have their own loyal fan-base, so do manga. More popular with young adults than adults, manga can cover a host of genres such as romance, action, drama, fantasy, and so much more.

Stop by and check out the manga in our teen ‘graphic novel’ area and browse through the display of manga we have up!

Want to read one that we don’t have? You have two options: if the manga is older than 6 months, you can inter-library loan it (borrow it from another library in Indiana for free) or if the title is newer than 6 months you can ask to place it as a collection request (a database of titles that we consider to buy for patrons).

Cinderella, which one are you?

Who doesn’t like fairy tales? Thanks to Disney, most children know at least one or two fairy tales! Disney often begins with a traditional story and edits it to tell a different version. The same can be said about children’s fairy tale books. Many authors have chosen to rewrite fairy tales in their own unique and creative way. These retellings are often referred to as “fractured fairy tales”.  Whether it’s Cinderella, Thumbelina, or Rapunzel, we have many versions you will enjoy sharing with your favorite children!

Cinderella is probably the most popular retelling with so many different versions.

 

Cinderella, the Dog, and her Little Glass Slipper    Smoky Mountain Rose by Alan Schroeder