Posts Categorized: Recommended Reading 101

Recommended Reading 101: Fae

September 30, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 2 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Fae 101

6283272If you’re looking for dark Urban Fantasy…

The Fever series is quite possibly by favorite Urban Fantasy series (although I admittedly still have plenty more to make time to read). The story starts with a murder but quickly transforms into a nightmare where if it isn’t stopped the Earth could be overrun with Fae, and far from the good sort.


If you’re looking for a whimsical adventure…

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is one of the most whimsical adventures you could ever go on. This has definite shades of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe but with an unforgettable heroine and a stunning writing-form that will appeal to young and old alike.


Short & Sweet – Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1) by Rachel HawkinsIf you’re looking for a story with a collection of paranormal beings, including fae..

Hex Hall was such a fun read filled with all sorts of paranormal creatures and set within the walls of a boarding school. Who doesn’t love a good boarding school story?


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Recommended Reading: Short Story Collections

September 16, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 2 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Short Story Collections 101

If you’re looking for a Horror collection…

Night Shift includes the ever popular Children of the Corn short story but includes equally impressive stories such as Graveyard Shift, Jerusalem’s Lot, and my favorite (and creepiest) I Am the Doorway. I love King’s writing but he absolutely excels at the art of a short story.


If you’re looking for a Sci-Fi/Futuristic collection…

Beukes has the most bizaare yet fascinating writing style and she’s so extremely creative with the worlds she builds. Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing is mostly a set of futuristic stories with a few surprising Non-Fiction pieces (the letter to her five-year-old daughter about the meaning of true beauty was my favorite) as well to really round this collection out.


If you’re looking for a Contemporary collection..

When I read this collection several years ago, I was at a stage where I typically stayed away from contemporary and short story collections in general so this was a complete spontaneous read but it was so worth it. The writing was truly brilliant and left me always wanting more.


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Recommended Reading: Civil War Fiction

May 27, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 5 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Civil War Fiction 101

Early Review – Sisters of Shiloh by Kathy Hepinstall & Becky Hepinstall HillikerIf you’re looking for two sisters who choose to join the battle…

When Libby’s husband dies in the war, she vows to avenge him by joining in the war effort. Her sister is unable to let her go alone so disguises herself as well and the Josephine and Libby become Joseph and Thomas. The two sister writing team crafted a truly sorrowful yet memorable tale in Sisters of Shiloh.


Paperback Release Day Feature + Giveaway! I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabeIf you’re looking for a woman who disguises herself to fight beside her husband…

I Shall Be Near to You is another moving story of a woman disguising herself in order to join in the war effort. It’s heartrending and inspiring and Rosetta was a truly remarkable character that was  inspired by the letters of a real-life female soldier who fought in the Civil War.


Book Review – Fallen Land by Taylor BrownIf you’re looking for a behind the scenes tale set during the Civil War…

Fallen Land is a more subdued tale of the era, removed from any actual battle but no less fraught with brutality. It’s a harrowing tale of two people who fell in love in the midst of war while being chased by bounty hunters. It’s a slow, meandering tale with a positively sumptuous writing style.


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Recommended Reading: Fairy Tale Mashups

May 20, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 2 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Fairy Tale Mashups 101

If you’re looking for some Gothic fairy tales…

I’m super late to the Angela Carter party but oh man, did I love this collection. Each of her stories is a retelling of the fairy tales we all know already (Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, etc.) with her own special Gothic twist. They’re macabre and eerie and a total delight to read.


Book Review – Indexing by Seanan McGuireIf you’re looking for something with fairy tale detectives…

Indexing is the first installment in a series about a government agency that monitors fairy tale manifestations and prevents them from getting out of control. The concept is that people are born predisposed to a certain fairy tale and if allowed to run its course, it could be disastrous for the rest of the world. Highly entertaining.


If you’re looking for some fairy tales in comic book form…

Fables: Legends in Exile is the start of a long and thrilling series about the inhabitants of Fabletown, a town kept veiled from normal humans which allows the fairy tale beings to live right alongside of us. This is the first installment of a 22 volume series (not including the additional spin-offs) so be prepared to devote some time.


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Recommended Reading: Psychological Thrillers

April 22, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 5 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Psychological Thrillers 101

6569735If you’re looking for a story from a survivor of a massacre…

…then pick up Dark Places. After her family was all killed and her brother is sent to prison for the crime, Libby Day tries her best to live a normal life, to no avail. She begins to reinvestigate the crime after a group known as “The Kill Club” shares with her their belief that her brother is actually innocent. Gone Girl may be her most popular but Dark Places is Gillian Flynn’s best story yet.


Early Review + Giveaway! Night Film by Marisha PesslIf you’re looking for a literary mystery with unique visual incorporation…

An investigative journalist begins searching for a young girl gone missing and falls down the rabbit hole of an even bigger mystery at work. The actual story of Night Film is superb but the incorporation of visual aids (newspaper articles, websites, and case notes) that takes this mystery to a whole other level.


Classic Curiosity – And Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieIf you’re looking for a go-to classic…

And Then There Were None is a constant guessing game when ten people arrive on an island and one by one they each suffer a tragic fate. A nursery rhyme is the only thing that predicts exactly how each guest will fall, but who is next, and who is responsible for committing the crimes? Such twisted good fun.


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Recommended Reading: Stories in Verse

April 8, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 3 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Verse 101

I’m going to an event to see Ellen Hopkins today so in celebration of this exciting event, I’m sharing a few of my favorite stories in verse!

2241059If you’re looking for a coming-of-age story in verse from one of the very best…

Identical is about Kaeleigh and Raeanne, twins, that seem to have the perfect life but their secrets run dark and deep. It deals with a lot of issues: self-harm, bullying, drug abuse, and rape just to mention just a few. Hopkins carefully layers each issue within the tale without making it feel excessive. This is one of Hopkins’ best and has a most unforgettable twist.


753028If you’re looking for some free verse poetry about the deceased of a fictional town…

Spoon River Anthology was such an amazingly fun read, delving into the history of the residents of Spoon River and usually how they each met their death. More along the lines of poetry but highly recommended for those of you that haven’t found any poetry collections that actually work for you. This one is for you.


Short & Sweet – Half-Blood Prince, The Rose and the Dagger, The Lover’s DictionaryIf you’ve read a ton of verse, but are looking for something different…

Lover’s Dictionary is a gorgeous little story that is told verse-like but is actually a series of dictionary definition entries. It’s emotional and moving and show every facet that love entails — the good and the bad. It’s a powerful little book so be prepared to feel things.


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Recommended Reading 101: Graphic Novels

April 1, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 3 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Graphic Novels 101

With the rise in graphic novel popularity, these are a few I feel have been glanced over but are definitely deserving of a read.

If you’re looking for a story about a housewife that is more than she seems…

Lady Killer is the story of Josie Schuller, a picture-perfect wife and mother who kills people in her spare time before picking the kids up from school. This one is a ton of gritty fun with some unexpected laughs and gorgeous (yet bloody) illustrations. Volume 2 comes out in a few short months.


If you’re looking for true crime in the form of a graphic novel…

…then you should pick up Green River Killer. This is the true story of a serial killer in the 1980s, responsible for the deaths of dozens of women in the Seattle area. The most interesting thing about this novel is the author is the son of Tom Jensen, the detective who was put in charge of this case.


If you’re looking for a story about zombies that isn’t The Walking Dead…

Revival, Vol. 1: You’re Among Friends is the introduction to a small town that is put under quarantine after the dead come back to life. They’re far from the people they were in life, but they aren’t the straight-forward out for brains zombies. After a brutal murder though, the dead coming back to life are suddenly the least of their worries.


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Recommended Reading 101: Magical Realism

March 25, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 5 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Magical Realism 101

If you’re looking for mythology + magical realism…

Bone Gap is the gorgeously written retelling of the abduction of Persephone myth. It’s cryptically written but it’s also fanciful and unconventional. Mythology + Magical Realism + Romance = Bone Gap. There’s a reason this was a National Book Award finalist in 2015.


If you’re looking for horror + magical realism…

Perfume is the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a boy born with an astonishing sense of smell. He grows up and becomes an apprentice to a master perfumer who teaches him the art of making perfume. His desire to create the ultimate perfume takes him down a very dark path. This remains one of my all-time favorite reads.


If you’re looking for romance + magical realism…

Sarah Addison Allen was my first introduction into the sweeter form of magical realism and I adore everything she’s written. Sugar Queen, the story of Josey Cirrini who has an insatiable sweet tooth, is my favorite of hers. Romance + fairy godmother + delicious sweets = a most delectable tale.


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Recommended Reading 101: Assassins

March 18, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 1 Comment

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Assassins 101

Early Review – Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFeversIf you’re looking for a story about assassin nuns…

…because let’s be real. Who isn’t? Grave Mercy is the story of Ismae who is sold to a pig farmer but is turned away after he sees the scarring on her body. The scarring that identifies her as having been sired by the god of Death himself. This is one fascinating and thrilling story that is impossible to put down.


If you’re looking for a story that plays on the Cinderella fairy tale…

This series has been hyped to an extraordinary degree but is one that is fully deserving. Throne of Glass was originally a play on the original Cinderella fairy tale and Maas has created a fascinating world full of incredible characters. The sixth and final installment comes out next year and if you’re just starting out, be sure to read The Assasin’s Blade first.


If you’re looking for a story about badasses stopping an assassin…

Dina Demille runs a magical Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town and when someone or something has brought death to her community, she sets out to stop it. This one manages to possess a strong female lead, believable alpha-males (even a love triangle that I didn’t mind a bit), fantastic secondary characters that aren’t relegated to the background, and some steamy chemistry. If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries, Clean Sweep is the next step up.


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Recommended Reading 101: Time Travel

March 11, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 7 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Time Travel 101

In honor of Daylight Savings time, these are a few of my favorite stories that deal with lost time.

Early Review – The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesIf you’re looking for a time travel crime thriller…

The Shining Girls is the story of a man that travels through time, committing murders. He visits his victims when they are children to warn them of what’s to come later in life when he revisists them. This is a nightmarish tale but Beukes is a truly amazing writer.


If you’re looking for a story to take you back to the medieval ages…

Timeline is the original time travel story for me. Crichton tells the riveting story of a group of archaeologists that are sent back in time to the medieval ages. 600 years before their time. Much like how Crichton blew me away with his scientific detailing in Andromeda Strain, he will have you believing time travel is absolutely possible.


Book Review – The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean GreerIf you’re looking for a time travel tale that deals with past lives…

In The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, Greta Wells undergoes electroconvulsive therapy in an attempt to cure her crippling depression yet after each session finds herself living a slightly different life than her own in a different time period. I read this many years ago and at the time found this to be flawed, yet it’s a story that has curiously stuck with me and that I find myself thinking on often.


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