Books You Should Read: Badass Women (March Book Round Up)

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This month’s round up of books is filled with a pretty awesome group of badass women. They range in their level of “goodness,” but I can honestly say that they’re all ladies you wouldn’t want to mess with. Or at least have on your post-apocalyptic team! I really loved all the books I read this month, and I even got an advanced reader copy from one of my favorite authors/book series, which absolutely made my month!

 

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“Miss Mabel’s School for Girls” by Katie Cross
Book Type: eBook
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls felt like I was entering back into the world of Harry Potter in many parts. But it was a story truly focused on girls. The school itself is almost as magical and nostalgic feeling as Hogwarts, but it was also exciting to explore this new world and its specific details like being run by a High Priestess witch and having the academics focus on earning specific magical marks.

Also, Miss Mabel is the perfect villain. She’s vicious in her actions and truly evil with no redeemable factor I can see so far. She’s not the kind of sinister evil that you had in Lord Voldemort, but almost a more disturbing one because she’s fully human but utterly maniacal and twisted. My only complaint with the book is that we get a lot of the protagonist Bianca (which is great!) but all the other characters who have so much potential for interesting development are grey and flat in comparison. I suppose it’s because there just isn’t enough time to devout to both Bianca’s incredible rise from first year witch winning the coveted third year assistantship with Miss Mabel and all the other lovely girls and teachers. They mostly function as a mechanism to move the plot along or save Bianca in dire moments. My hope is that future books will delve more into the personalities and histories behind some of these side characters.

Also, hey! No romances! Just a girl with a mission!

 

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“Me Before You” by Jo Jo Moyes
Book Type: Audiobook
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

I wanted to read “Me Before You” because I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie and fell in love with it. Being the book nerd that I am, I felt like it might be worthwhile to read this book before it hit theaters and boy, was I right! This book really takes you through the ringer. It’s different than I thought it would be in some ways, but those are just expectations I made from watching the movie trailer, which really made it, seem like a classic romance. This is a romantic story, but it is not exactly what I’d call a romance. It’s a story about life and two very different people being thrown together in an unlikely and even unwanted situation but finding that they make each other’s lives infinitely better.

I think the only real issue I had with it is the theme of “personal choice.” I didn’t always agree with the way Will interpreted it, and eventually pressed onto Lou to accept. It was all about Will having his own autonomy even though as a quadriplegic he really had none, but I felt like in doing so he took away Lou’s ability to choose at times. So although the ending was beautiful and painful, there was a bitterness that I felt toward Will in the way he demanded his wants and needs over others even though he claimed to care about them.

 

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“Fairest: Levana’s Story” by Marissa Meyer
Book Type: Hard Copy
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

This book is painful to read at times. It’s a wonderful backstory for the first 3 books in the Lunar Chronicle series and a great set up for Winter’s story in the final installment. It also fully fleshes out the type of person that Channary (Princess Selene/Cinder’s mother) is from a real perspective verses just rumors that the characters have picked up on in the last three books. I like that despite Channary’s awfulness as a person, she really did seem to love her daughter.

But this is also a great experiment in character since Queen Levana is very much evil and though you might start out pitying her, you find there are no redeemable parts of her personality. I usually am able to find the goodness in anyone (or any character) but Levana just seems straight up crazy and only got crazier with time).

All in all, it’s a great read before the final book! If you haven’t read the Lunar Chronicles yet, what are you doing with your life? Just kidding! But no really, you should read it if you like fairytales and/or science fiction. The characters are so complex!

 

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“End of Days” by Susan Ee
Book Type: eBook
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

With this book the “Penryn and the End of Days series” comes to an end, and I wish I didn’t have to say goodbye! But I will say that it was a satisfying ending which I wasn’t really expecting with all the insanity going down just a few pages before the end of the book. I love this series because Penryn is tough and I forget that she’s only 16/17 most of the time. She’s had to grow up quickly in a dark and disturbing world with traitorous angels trying to force the apocalypse, an insane mother, and a handicapped (and later science experiment) little sister. And then there’s Raffe who, to be honest, is an angelic dreamboat. I love the witty banter that Penryn and Raffe have, and I love their love-hate, sarcastic demeanor with one another. It’s just fun to read! But I also know that if Penryn gets in over her head (usually not by her own doing), somehow Raffe is going to (usually literally) swoop in and fight it out with her.

I also really like the way this book interprets and utilizes apocalyptic scripture and legend to flesh out this world. And it also comments on itself because one driving force in the plot is Uriel trying to create his own apocalypse and creating horrors from scripture in order to convince the other angels. In that way, I don’t feel “blasphemous” or anything reading this book. It’s probably the most interesting take on the Biblical apocalypse, angel lore, and humanity’s strength in the End Times that I’ve ever read.

 

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“This Gem in My Hand” by David Pandolfe
Book Type: eBook
Source: Own (Advanced Reader Copy)
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

Jack and Lauren are back at their psychic adventures again in “This Gem in My Hand” (Book 4 of the Street Lights Like Fireworks series), and this time they’re on the East Coast where history, both personal and ghostly, comes haunting.

What’s beautiful about this series (and is illustrated wonderfully in “This Gem in My Hand”) is how with each book Jack and Lauren mature as both young adults and psychics. The series itself is maturing as well. Their psychic adventures take a much more sinister and supernatural turn than they’ve experienced making this installment feel like the highest stakes story so far. David Pandolfe expertly gives you the thrills and chills of a deeply haunted house and a 100-year-old secret that doesn’t want to be discovered. While Jack and Lauren have had ghostly encounters before, nothing has felt quite this evil before. But with that increased sinister presence, you can also feel Jack and Lauren’s powers growing. As does, at least in Lauren’s case, their recklessness (or perhaps we should call it selflessness because that’s truly what motivates Lauren’s desire to help those in need whether alive or deceased).

But this book isn’t all dark and brooding, as always Jack and Lauren are also exploring their personal relationships. We have a significant change in setting in this book, as they travel home to Richmond, VA for a summer week trying to mend some wounds with their families. The Richmond setting was actually one of my favorite aspects of this book as I’m a Virginia native. It’s nice to see the two experiencing old places for the first time together and wondering “what could have been” while also recognizing that life brings you exactly where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. Jack and Lauren also individually deal with broken relationships essentially bringing the beginnings of healing to the painful pasts explored in the first two books. Jack and Lauren’s contemplation of their familial relationships brings the levity in this book that makes it a fun, quick read while also dealing with serious topics for maturing young adults with burgeoning supernatural powers.

If this is the first Streetlights Like Fireworks book you’ve discovered, you can absolutely read this as a stand-alone, but I’m such a fan of the entire series because unlike many series’ the story keeps getting better with each installment that I’d highly recommend starting from the beginning to get the full depth of Jack and Lauren’s characters and story.

I received an advance reader copy of this book (my first ever!) and got to work with David (who’s a pretty cool guy based out of Richmond) on making a video blog about the series. Check it out here:

So there you go! We have some super evil women this month (Levana and Miss Mabel) and some amazingly strong ladies too (Penryn, Lou, and Bianca). Jack and Lauren are my superhero psychic team and although “This Gem in My Hand” is about both of them, I still always resonate so much with Lauren, which is why I count her as my final badass woman of the month. Go women! Woo!

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