When You Were Mine- Rebecca Serle
Shut the front door! We all know I’m a Shakespeare junkie, but you probably didn’t know that Romeo and Juliet was the first play I ever read (I was in 7th grade). I loved it from the very first words and I still have the prologue memorized. But as I aged and grew out of my romantic naivete my reading of Romeo and Juliet changed. Those starcrossed lovers are BATSHIT CRAY YO. That coupled with the complete and utter idiocy of the adults give us the real tragedy that is Romeo and Juliet. So when I heard about When You Were Mine, I knew it was going to be right up my alley. Rebecca got everything right making Romeo and Juliet a contemporary- from setting, to scenarios, down to every single emotion. By placing it in Roseline’s point of view we get to see “the lovers” in all their flaws and missteps. Even better Rosaline’s story is the far more interesting one—-about heartbreak, guilt, choice, and forgiveness. This story made me cry not once, but twice which is practically an impossible feat. This is a MUST READ this summer for the beach, the pool or the commute to the office.
When You Were Mine is out now from Simon Pulse. You can order your copy here.
ARC provided free from Simon Pulse.
So Rebecca Serle, author of next month’s When You Were Mine is hosting an awesome contest. What if Shakespeare Got It Wrong? This is your chance to rewrite Shakespeare the way you always wanted. And well, I did. Below is my entry and my revision of Act 5 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Enjoy!
Act V: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
HIPPOLYTA: ‘Tis strange my Theseus, that these
lovers speak of.
THESEUS Darling, this is more than strange. They woke up naked in the woods and expect us to believe nothing happened! Do you honestly think that’s true.
HIPPOLYTA:Why yes! All their stories match up so well.
THESEUS: Have you not watched CSI or NCIS lately? That’s when we’re supposed to be suspicious! I’d bet my last coin that they rehearsed that line. Their lucky we don’t have them all arrested for public indecienceny!
HIPPOLYTA: You’re ruining my wedding with your mouth words! That’s it you’re sleeping on the couch!
THESEUS :Ok let’s not overreact. I’m just saying they all woke up naked in the woods. I can’t have all my subjects running around naked in the woods! Remember what happened when that emperor didn’t wear any clothes. It was practically a nudist colony! I don’t care if they ate the mushrooms, someone needs to marry someone.
HIPPOLYTA: Oh, I love a good wedding! I wonder if we could get David Tutera?
THESEUS Glad we’re on the same page. Now we have to sit through that play. Then we can head upstairs *wink wink*.
HIPPOLYTA Stop winking. It’s unattractive.
PYRAMUS: oh hey wall, oh wonder what’s on the other side of you.
THISBE: oh hey wall, wonder what’s on the other side of you.
PYRAMUS: a Girl!
THISBE: a Boy!
PYRAMUS: lets meet here later, yo. I heart you.
THISBE: Ok. *giggle giggle*
PRAYMUS: OH NO A LION and moonshine!
THISBE: Oh my, this moonshine makes me so tipsy. GET OUT OF MY WAY LION, MY FUTURE HUSBANDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT WALL.*stabs lion*
PYRAMUS: (having seen all): yea. uh, Thisbe. I got a thing. It was great meeting you. Don’t call me.
THISBE: Why does it always end like this? And what am I going to do with all this lion meat?
Meanwhile with the faeries:
TITANIA: So let me get this straight, you drugged me and made me fall in love with a human transformed into an ass.
OBERON: That about sums it up.
TITANIA: Seriously, I’m married to a 7th grader. How long have you been around, a cool thousand years? An ass? If you put half that much effort into our marriage, we wouldn’t be living in separate nests.
OBERON: What do you mean? That was hilarious.
TITANIA: *SMH* *storms off*
Puck: If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
The Juliet Spell- Douglas Rees
Juliet Spell was in short: delightful! Just as with any Shakespeare related story all I can say was, You had me at Shakespeare. The plot was cleverly done, and I loved that it wasn’t a glorification of the bard but a portrayal through another’s eyes of a very human Shakespeare. But lest you be confused, this book isn’t really about Shakespeare, it’s about everything from theatre to language to science to friendship and of course the play Romeo and Juliet. The contemporary YA plot is classic but Rees stays true to the tragic end of the Romeo and Juliet that is central to the story. I am not a fan of the Epilogue which I think ruins the emotional blow Rees successfully pulls off at the end of the novel proper. In the end what matters is this: it was a sweet read, a smart read, full of quotes from Shakespeare, plays with language, and two main characters to fall in love with it (Miranda and Edmund).
P.S. I want this dress on the cover.
The Juliet Spell is due out September 27th from Harlequin Teen. You can pre-order your copy here.
eGalley provided gratis by Harlequin Teen via Netgalley
So Silver Bright (Eyes Like Stars Book 3)- Lisa Mantchev
Now I know, you’re all itching for some juicy tidbits as to what happens in this book. I will not give them to you, so stop the begging. You must read them for yourself. They must be experienced; you must revel and rage as I did reading them. I will say this though: it was not until the ending that I realized how I had pinned my hopes on our heroine and a leading man until I found those hopes dashed. At the same time, the end fulfills my definition of love (to will and to work for the good of another) to such perfection that you cannot possibly be angry, only a bit bereft like Beatrice herself.
To be quite honest, I have nothing but praise, delight, and awe for Lisa Mantchev who with Eyes Like Stars and Perchance to Dream enchanted me as though she was Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Over the course of the series, Mantchev does what the Shakespeare himself could not; her glittering golden characters express the full range of human emotion within the arc of a single story (or three if we count each book separately). Either way, it is a feat to behold. The engaging plot, which is at times hilarious and others heartbreaking, is highlighted by the exceptional quality of the writing. Allusions to Shakespeare and other notable authors hide in plain sight within the text making this not only an enjoyable read but a smart one. Finding these allusions amongst Mantchev’s own scintillating prose became a puzzle to be conquered, a self-test for a literati such as myself. I delighted in every second of it.
My only fault with the series is this: that it could not go on infinitely with book after captivating book.
So Silver Bright is out in stores September 13th. Pre-order your copy here.
ARC provided free by Feiwel and Friends
Juliet- by Anne Fortier
At this point you could probably put something Shakespeare in just about any book and it would make me like it, but Juliet surpassed this by miles as stunning tale of the origins of the Romeo and Julietstory and it’s modern day impact on descendants of the families. Set in Sienna rather than Verona, and with an interesting twist in the family feuds, I loved everything about this re-imagined tale. Full of much more intrigue than the first, Juliet melds historical fiction, modern romance, a bit of the paranormal, gangsters, two sets of star-crossed lovers, and at least 4 plot twists. Fortier kept me turning pages late into the evening because I couldn’t go to sleep not knowing how it ended.
Note: This is not a YA book review, because sometimes I need to read adult things too.
Haunt Me Still- Jennifer Lee Carrell
OK let me preface this review by saying if you haven’t read her first book, Interred with their Bones you need to go read it. Like right now. No, seriously, go get it.
Jennifer Lee Carrell is utterly brilliant as a writer with plot twists you never see coming. I mean, we’re talking way better than Dan Brown since the subject of her books is occult Shakespeare not conspiracy theorist religion. Additionally, Kate Stanley could take Robert Langdon any day of the week. Carrell is capable of some stunning prose to boot.
Haunt Me Still is the second installment with our leading lady Kate Stanley. This novel centers around the Scottish Play, Macbeth, its curse, murders and ritual magic. LOVES IT.
You should read this book if:
1. You like Shakespeare.
2. You like mysteries, thrillers, suspense, historical fiction or action adventures.
3. You like anything Scottish.
4. You have even a budding interest in language or linguistics—particularly Anglo- Saxon, Welsh, Gaelic. (I’m looking at you Leslie!)
5. You enjoy well written books with fantastic plot arcs and beautiful prose (that’s you Hal!).
6. Cause I said so. Clearly the most compelling of the reasons!
Perchance to Dream (Theatre Illuminata Book 2)- Lisa Mantchev
Love triangles in literature are funny things. Inevitably, there is a love interest that you as a reader love more than the other; for instance, it results in being on either “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob.” Mantchev’s second book of the Theatre Illuminata series, Perchance to Dream, achieves what every other love triangle has not: I love both male love interests equally, just as Bertie does. There are no “OH my goodness, why do you even like him moments?” for me. Their petty jealousies, the variations in how they love her, their dramatically different personalities, it all works brilliantly. More than that, it allowed me as a reader to feel exactly what our lovely female protagonist Bertie feels.
Bertie meanwhile remains as headstrong stubborn, loyal and foolish in the best ways possible just as she was in Eyes Like Stars. Moreover, Mantchev’s writing thrills me with it’s inclusion of lines of Shakespeare and other theatrical references. Reading feels more like watching a play complete with scene, set and costume changes. I can only hope that this isn’t the final curtain, but merely intermission in the Theatre Illuminata Series.
Exeunt Verb Vixen