fiction

What I Read in May

Now that it’s June, I wanted to update you on my progress toward my 2016 reading goal.  I’m now over the halfway mark and still a handful of books ahead of schedule.  Here’s what I read last month:

Dream House by Marzia Bisognin

I’m not sure what prompted me to pick this one up, as I’m not a CutiePieMarzia fan at all– not that I dislike her; I simply don’t watch her.  I think it conceptually sounded like something I would enjoy.  It was a super quick read– a disorienting haunted house story that comes together neatly with a bow on top at the end.  Nothing prolific here.

The Thinking Women’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Baker

This book takes a turn very quickly– you’re immersed in a fairy world and as disoriented as the main character.  At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not.  It was actually a bit frightening at times.  The world created here was beyond interesting!  Once you’re kind of out of the fairy stuff, I actually think it slows down a little.  It definitely ended up being a great read, though.

Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

I liked this one a lot!  It felt very Italian to me… like ancient Venice, maybe?  The culture described was so cool.  A strict adherence to very real gods creating very real results on Earth.  The god served by the titular assassin calls for death; death is holy.  This is a revenge tale like Kill Bill– we cheer for Lea to kill the family that killed hers.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I find myself disenchanted with YA series that I know I would’ve enjoyed had I been ten years younger.  I kind of rushed through this one, but still found myself liking the main character, Blue, so much.  In Blue’s life, ghosts and spirits are the norm and she knows she is destined to kill the one she loves with a kiss.  This teen mystery struck me more than anticipated, and I intend to continue with The Raven Cycle.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Holy canoli, this was absolutely one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.  It’s a tale through time of the strange Roux family up until Ava Lavender herself, who is born with the wings of a bird.  It’s written gorgeously, and I absolutely couldn’t put it down.  Magic bleeds into real life where horrors are alive and well.  This is not a love story, but it is utterly beautiful.

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

I wanted to like this series.  I can see a lot of things about it to like about it, with a plethora of myth references.  A lot of the time, what I read skews young for me.  Usually this doesn’t bother me; I know I’m reading YA.  Sometimes it just skews too young, and that’s where I think I land with this one.  I was expecting more of a Harry Potter tie, and it’s just not there.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading now!  Please leave me some recommendations in the comments!

Summer Reading 2014 (part 3)

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Let’s jump right in, shall we?

07. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

  • Karen Russell is a very talented author.  I so appreciate the way she writes, the vivid word that she created, and the characters that feel so real, yet strange.  This novel is really written in the voice of the main character, Ava.  Later, her brother’s voice plays a role in the novel as well.  Both voices are strong and do not distract from each other.
  • The adventure part of the story is a bit weak– the mystical journey through the swamp I was promised isn’t really the highlight here.  The end doesn’t feel as complete as I would’ve liked.
  • It’s an odd novel, but when all is said and done, it’s a unique piece of fiction.  I’m really looking forward to reading more of Russell’s work.

 

08. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

  • This true crime novel is the second piece of nonfiction to make it to my summer reading list!  Maybe it’s that I’m not used to reading true crime, but this seemed to take a lot of liberties with nonfiction.  It’s written like the author was there while all of this took place.  I was unclear on this the whole way through.
  • This book, pre-murder trial, does so much for Savannah.  I’m adding it to my list of American cities I want to visit immediately.
  • The cast of characters are so compelling.  In my previous summer reading post, I spoke about how I’ve been watching TV to accompany my books.  This time around, the best fit show would be RuPaul’s Drag Race because this book features a fabulous drag queen called Chablis.
  • When you actually do get around to the trial and the murder, which if you’re anything like me, you kind of forgot was coming, you find yourself with a renewed interest in everything.  The trial itself make me so nervous with this: the jury was sequestered for 2 weeks and the selected jurors freaked out about it.  I have jury duty tomorrow and this tidbit made me so, so paranoid.

 

09. The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

  • The cover of this book promises its contents to be “sweet, magical and bookish” which are all things I look for in a book!
  • I’m not going to lie, for such a short book, this was difficult for me to get through.  The magical element came in right away, as did the literary element.  I don’t think the former ever panned out to my expectations.  Interesting things come into play much later in the novel, but trying to get to them is tough.
  • The characters were not compelling.  I came around to the main character, Alba, but not so much to the others.
  • I am glad I stuck it out, because this book is a love letter to great women– from Dorothy Parker to Sylvia Plath.  The best part was after the story was over, there was a guide to all these wonderful women who stayed at Hope St.

 

10.  People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

  • I just started this one!  I’m sure I’ll let you know.  As I said, I have jury duty tomorrow which should give me plenty of time to read… wish me luck, guys!

Keep on reading!