April 16, 2014

The Queen Bee's Knees: April

Ooooh it's new feature time again on the blog! So what am I up to this time?

Sometimes I come across a book I really love. It's the kind of book I can't stop talking about, whether on Twitter, with my friends, or even at work (at a bookstore - so it's socially acceptable, I promise). Of course, I'll review said book on my blog, but sometimes that isn't enough for me and my bookish obsessions. So, to allow myself to gush further, once a month I'll post "The Queen Bee's Knees" where I'll tell you which books are The (Queen) Bee's Knees and why. Usually this list will reflect what I'm recommending at work and I'll even throw in the elevator/twitter pitch I give customers to hook 'em (as well as additional gushing because, why not?).

This feature is also great because I'm terrible at reviewing books in a timely fashion and this will give you an idea of what I'm freaking out over in real time.

So, without further ado, here are the books I've been pushing like crazy for the last month or so.

THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab
Series?: Yes, two books so far but I pray for more daily.
Genre: Urban Fantasy? Probably?

In short: "A Doctor Who episode as written by Neil Gaiman but actually written by Victoria Schwab - who is a boss."

But actually, I started this book just before meeting Victoria Schwab and when I noted the Doctor Who similarities she told me there are THREE intentional Doctor Who Easter Eggs in the book. She listed them, I realized I noticed them all, and then I fangirl squealed because I'm a nerd like that.

And if you're not into Doctor Who... it's a book about a place/library "where the dead rest on shelves like books." This was hard for me to imagine, but once I read it, it all just worked. Also, there's a lot of angst and swoon, so... YES.

Series?: Yes. Scarlet's a trilogy. The third comes out next winter.
Genre: Historical Fiction.

In Short: "Robin Hood's right-hand-man is Will Scarlet. Now imagine he's a girl with a secret past instead."

This book always works for people who love Tamora Pierce and/or Mulan. Always. It's also my go-to for anyone who wants a strong female lead read. Also, if you're in it for the swoons, Lady Thief (book two in the series) is so good, it's worth working through Scarlet, which is a lot of necessary angst, to get to the kissing. Because that kissing? The best of the best.

And if you're not into kissing... this book is also excellent for all who love Robin Hood. He is definitely featured in this book.

Series?: No.
Genre: Contemporary.

In Short: "Lucy and Owen meet during a NYC blackout in their elevator. Unfortunately, they both leave town soon after and proceed to have a relationship through postcards that'll break your heart."

Need prose you can't get enough of? There's something in Jennifer E. Smith's writing that makes me put a post-it tab on every other page. The writing in this book so perfectly describes everything. If I've experienced, I gasp at the accuracy, and if I haven't, I want to go to there immediately.

And if you need more... Lucy and Owen are so authentically two halves of one whole that even when they're fighting you want to smoosh their faces together.

Series?: No.
Genre: Contemporary mystery.

In Short: "Murder mystery, drug addiction, best friendship, emotional turmoil... a book that's gonna tear you apart - but you're gonna like it."

Sophie is by far one of the strongest female characters I've read in a long time. She's put through all of these trials and she comes out stronger for them, even when no one's rooting for her. Except I am. Always. Oh, and all of the relationships in this book are layered and tricky and oh-so-realistic. I just can't get enough.

Oh, and it's an LGBT book. Which sometimes puts people off at the bookstore, but I feel obliged to mention it since, sometimes, parents care. But also because the relationship between Mina and Sophie is so perfect and heartbreaking, you don't want to miss it.

Series?: No.
Genre: Contemporary.

In Short: "In just one night, Brighton, the sunny popular girl, and Jonah, the grumpy loner who wants nothing to do with Brighton, will somehow find common ground. And kiss."

The dual point-of-view in this book is brilliantly executed. I don't know how Tiffany Schmidt knows how a boy like Jonah thinks and I don't wanna know. I just want more. (It also made for so excellent tension between characters.)

And there's also the social commentary... for me, high school was as Jonah sees it. A pyramid. But Brighton sees it another way completely. Her thoughts are so eye-opening, I kind of want to push this book on every high schooler, just so they can know.

Series?: No.
Genre: Contemporary.

In Short: "This book is Sliding Doors but with prom, instead. Oh, and the book's ending's the same, regardless of whether the coin toss lands on heads or tales."

Heads or Tails? Does it even really matter? This book explores the idea of the inevitable through a series of zany, hilarious events. As you read, the heads and tails sections even sort of bleed together, proving that, while an individual gets to make choices, sometimes the end result is just what's meant to happen.

Now, you'd think this book would have to acknowledge the different time lines. But it doesn't. The way Liz Czukas ties everything together at the end of this book is so perfect and brilliant I just don't know what to tell you.

Thoughts on the new feature? Thoughts on the books I'm currently obsessed with? Let me know in the comments below, please and thanks!