YA

What I Read in May

April was a slower reading month for me, so I was a bit worried coming into May that I was losing steam.  I managed to read a solid 9 books in May, though, so I’m happy with that!

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When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

I completely devoured this book.  It was so beautiful, full of magical realism, and a truly important story.  It’s a subtle romance between Miel, a strange girl who spilled out of a water tower and has a rose growing from her wrist, and Sam, who paints moons and hangs them in the trees around town.  I can’t recommend this book enough!

Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman

It’s been a while since I read Alice Hoffman.  (By that, I mean read Practical Magic in junior high.)  This was a quick read– interesting at times, ultimately a story about people.  There are parents worried about their young child’s lack of physical growth, but with their own issues as well, an old lady and her rebellious granddaughter sent as her caretaker.  I felt like it lacked enough resolution for me to really connect with it.

The One by Kiera Cass

The Selection Series really went downhill for me.  This was my least favorite of the original trio.  I know there’s one more in the core series, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it.  People that like these books seem to prefer just the story of America and Maxon.  Knowing he was going to ultimately choose her, the book just felt like filler to get to that point.

The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

I have fond memories of reading The Wrath & the Dawn, since I did so while I soaked in the bathtub of my Kyoto hotel room.  I preferred this, its sequel, because of how much more magic played into the story.  While the first in the duology was more of a straight-forward retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, The Rose and the Dagger found its own story.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The Shadow and Bone trilogy really surprised me.  Once I got into the first ook, I truly enjoyed every moment of the quest for the magical beasts that would amplify Alina, the Sun Summoner’s, powers.  I loved the Darking, twisted and complicated.  We get the history of Morozova in this book and finally some resolution to the Alina and Mal story.  Ruin and Rising was extremely satisfying!

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

This was my least favorite of the Miss Peregrine’s series, I think.  It felt like a lot of filler, as did the second book, really.  It was a satisfying ending if you really enjoy this series, but I think I just didn’t?  I was intrigued by the first book, but after that the story really felt dragged out for me.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

After When the Moon Was Ours, I was DYING to read more by this author.  I can’t say that this one captivated me quite as much, in fact, I found it a little hard to get into.  The alternating perspective between two main characters is not as distracting as the fact that one of them speaks French and the other Spanish.  It’s about rival traveling performance troupes– both of which seem so cool!  Once I got into it, I loved it.  There is a heavy dose of magical realism at the end instead of throughout, which is a slightly jarring if you’re not expecting it!

An Ember in the Ashes by Saaba Tahir

Wow, this one really surprised me!  Again, I found it a bit difficult to get into.   Once we get into the world of the Masks, things get really interesting.  The story feels familiar, but unique.  It’s about Laia, whose brother is captured by the empire.  She joins the resistance to get him back, but is sent as a slave spy to a deadly military academy where she meets Elias, who struggles morally with his place in the empire.  It’s a great adventure, and I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel!

Follow along on goodreads to see what I’m reading now!

What I Read: March 2017

Well friends, this is an incomplete What I Read written in the penultimate week of March.  I’ve got 14 books to tell you about at this point, and you can bet the 13 hour plane ride I took last week added at least another to the list.  Since 14 is a lot to get through, I’ll (try to) be brief!

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In attempts to stay brief, I’ll only give full reviews for a few, and share general thoughts/ratings for others!

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

The writing style definitely takes a bit to get used to.  Browsing some Goodreads reviews, you’ll see some hilarious yet accurate examples of how people struggled with this.  For me, the beginning took quite a while.  There were several scenes of pure description repeated and juxtaposed with different connotative language which I liked the first time, but was annoyed at by the third.  By the time we learn the main character’s name (and yes, this takes a while) the story starts to get going.  We follow Mia on her quest to become an assassin.  Mia is a darken who controls shadow.  She has a cat made of shadow as a companion.  The world is fairly reminiscent of Assassin’s Heart, but the story quite different.  I find Mia quite likable and gave this one 4 stars.

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

I had heard a lot about this and knew it wouldn’t be a real serious read for me.  I went into it expecting a fluffy book, so to be disappointed even with those expectations is saying something.  It’s about a high school student named Harper who suddenly has supernatural powers thrust upon her.  This is NOT Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I think it’s the southern belle things that really bothered me… perhaps it’s just not something someone who grew up in suburban Boston can understand.  Beyond that, everything was too easy without any real world implications.  Everything felt frivolous.  The death of her sister was casually thrown in there for what reason?  1 star.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Again, I kept hearing so much about this book!  It’s a compelling adventure with a healthy dose of mystery and a dark, dangerous feeling.  It’s about a girl named Scarlett and her sister, Tella.  Their life hasn’t been the best with their abusive father.  They’ve always dreamed of going to Caraval– an immersive festival/show/game.  Now, there are some things that don’t work for me, mainly the lack of character development, but it’s a fun and quick read.  4 stars.

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The Game Begins

All weekend, I’m partnering up with Xpresso Book Tours to bring you sneak peek excerpts, cover reveals, and giveaways!  It’s no secret I love to read anything I can get my hands on, so I’m always jumping on the opportunity to talk about books!

Today, I’m talking about Victoria Danann’s “The Game Begins.”  The synopsis of this book really pulled me in.  It’s sounding like a darker, more adult Percy Jackson.

If you want to read this book, you can enter to win one of 10 signed copies!   Enter here!

And if you want to get started reading it now, there’s an excerpt under the cut:

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What I Read in December

I think my new year’s resolution is going to be making sure I do one of these every month… I know I missed a few last year.  Well, this What I Read is going to be December, plus a 2016 Goodreads wrap-up and 2017 goals!

December first then.  I read 5 books last month!

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The Magician’s Land | I read the whole Magicians trilogy last year and I really, really liked it.  More of an adult Chronicles of Narnia than Harry Potter, which I’ve often heard it compared to.  The school stuff is largely over by this, the third and final book in the series.  This serves as a nice wrap up to the story as a whole.  Each book really stands alone but they come together to tell a complete tale.  I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes books about magic!

Walk on Earth A Stranger | As soon as I started reading this one, I knew it wasn’t what I had expected.  The main character, Leah, senses gold in the earth.  However, the story comes off less magical and more… Oregon Trail.  I swear, that’s all I could think about the whole time I read this book!  I followed this one by watching West World, which was completely in aesthetic, so I’m grateful for that.  I ended up liking it, but again, it just wasn’t what I expected.  I wanted more of a focus on the ability and less of a historical piece.

Frost Like Night | How did I read this whole series?  I wanted to like it, and the covers were so beautiful, but just eh.  The first book set up a world that I wanted to be interested in, the second book gave me Indiana Jones-type adventures and puzzles renewing my interest, but the third book just dragged.  The whole book was just waiting for this final battle; it just felt so drawn out.  I just wanted it to end.

The Blood of Olympus | I read the Percy Jackson  series like lightening (pun intended) and the Heroes of Olympus started out the same way.  House of Hades slowed me down a little, and this last one had been waiting and waiting for me to pick it up.  I wanted to knock the series out before the year is up.  While again, you’re sort of waiting for the final conflict, at least I’m very endeared to these characters and most really got an opportunity to shine– Piper, Leo, Nico, and Reyna in particular.  I loved the end and totally shed a tear or two.  Totally recommend these books for loves of mythology and adventure!

A Modern Witch | I had marked this as to-read long ago, but breaking open my new Kindle and seeing the price… it was time!  I really tried to save this one for the new year to get a jump start on my 2017 reading goal, but it was too quick of a read.  A sweet book for anyone who likes witchcraft.  There’s very little actual plot, but it’s nice to read.  Feel good stuff.

These five books bring my 2016 total to 58 books!  (Check out which on Goodreads!)  My original goal was 50, so I kind of killed it.  This year, I’ve set myself a goal of 60 books… and I’m off to a good start already!

Anyone else have a reading goal for 2017?

What I Read: November Edition

Last month was another great reading month, save for the time Pokémon Sun & Moon brought reading to a screeching halt.  I managed to read 5 books before the game came out, though!

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The Graces | I picked this book because the cover was gorgeous and the book jacket intrigued me.  I was a little disappointed with the writing style and the story felt… hmm, a bit younger than I expected?  It was kind of teen party heavy, but the heavy dose of witchcraft kept me in it and a slight twist and the end keeps me interested enough to read a sequel, which I believe there will be.

Rebel of the Sands | I somehow found a signed copy of this one in my local B&N.  This is an immersive story and the world only gets more and more interesting.  It starts a little Western mixed with Arabian, but once the magical history of the world comes into play, things get much more interesting!  This is the first of a trilogy and ends mid-rebellion, so I’m in it for the next one.

Aerie | The sequel to my beloved Magonia.  I actually saw this cover and picked the book up before I read Magonia– bringing this home was my catalyst to start Magonia, and as you can see, I read them very near to each other.  While not quite as amazing as the first, Aerie brought me back to Aza’s life and world.  It was emotional and beautiful, and brought an end to the tale in the sky.

The Magicians | My coworker was telling me about the TV series based on this book series and I remembered I’d had this in my to-read pile forever.  I devoured it.  It’s an interesting twist on a Narnia-type world.  The pacing was very, very strange but the end was extremely satisfying!   All-in-all I enjoyed the book and jumped into the sequel.

The Magician King | Here’s where the series got a little grittier, as promised.  More oriented in the world of Fillory and the world of The Magicians, I read this one even faster.  Learning about Julia was the most interesting thing in this book.  The end of this one was not as satisfying, and thus I jumped into the third and final book in the trilogy… which I’m still working on!

What did you read in November?

What I Read: October 2016

Okay, it’s pretty late in November to put this post up.  I’ve been busy with Pokémon Sun and Moon, duh.

The good news is, after a slow summer with books, October saw me picking up the pace again.  My trip to Tennessee with its immense flight delays helped me get two books under my belt and feel up on my reading game again.  Here’s what I read last month!

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A Game of Thrones | I can’t even tell you how long ago I started this book.  I picked it up again and finished in in a combination mass market paperback/audiobook format.  I’ve been struggling with whether audiobooks count toward my goal of 50 this year, but if Goodreads says they do, I guess they do.  Anyway, the book is dense but it’s always better to read the original than watch a TV adaption, just saying.

Mistborn | I also started this before my summer slump and got like, 100 pages into it.  I picked it up again and started loving it.  Once I got into it, it was really a quick read.  This is my first foray in Sanderson and I must say, I’m excited to read more!  I picked up a copy of the next in the Mistborn series already.

Firewalker | I read this in the airport and on the tarmac.  I was iffy about the first one in this series, Trial By Fire, but I found myself thinking about the story and wanting to read this one… this is why I usually take breaks in between series!  I’m iffy about this one too.  We’re much more oriented in the world this time around, but being a middle novel in a series, this feels a bit transitional to me.

Soulless | A friend recommended the Parasol Protectorate to me last year.  I found all 5 in a used genre bookstore in San Francisco’s Mission district and picked ’em up for $4 a piece.  I read this on the plane ride home from Nashville, and it went pretty quickly.  It’s probably not something I would’ve chosen for myself, but the main character is engaging enough and I’ll definitely finish out the series.  I’m glad I got them used, though.

Never Fade | The second book in the Darkest Minds series was definitely not as good as the first.  I do like Alexandra Bracken, though– her worlds are so full and her writing is great.  I got a little emotional at times reading this one, believe it or not.  The ending was unsatisfying, but only in a way that means you need to keep reading.

Magonia | Confession: I read this title as Magnolia and thought it was that until the world came up in the book.  The first maybe 30 pages of this one are slow.  We dive right into the main character, Aza’s, pattern of thinking/speaking.  I grew to absolutely love the way Aza was written, but it’s not maybe the most engaging part of the story.  Once you do get to Magonia itself, you can’t put this book down.  I cried a bunch of times.  I freaking loved this book and read the sequel soon after… more on that in What I Read inNovember’s post!

So, 6 down in October and with November almost over, I can’t wait to share what I got through this month.

For a preview, follow along on Goodreads!