Recent Reads, (belated) August Edition

Hello world! And welcome to another round of, “let’s play catchup, shall we?”

I’m FINALLY getting around to all those posts I had planned / half-written. One of them had to do with two of my favorite subjects. Books! And reading! So many yays.

 

So here’s what I’ve read since the last recent reads:

 

Blog---August

And here’s the breakdown.

 

Series I’m in the Midst Of:

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter, Gallagher Girls #5

The Titans Curse by Rick Roirdan, Percy Jackson And the Olympians #3

These were both fun reads, but at the same time, I realized I’m starting to plow through these series less for the book I’m reading at the moment, and more for the drama of the series that I’m hoping to absorb simply by reading it. If that makes sense. There are a crazy set of fans for the Percy Jackson series, and I know a big part of my motivation is to try and get a little bit of what they have when reading it.

So basically I realized that I need to slow down and start absorbing these series more, devouring less. I think I might set them both aside for a while and pick up later when I’m able to enjoy them more 🙂

 

Books With Buzz & First Books in a Series:

 

The Archived by Victoria Schwab, The Archived #1

Pivot Point by Kasie West, Pivot Point #1

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede, Psi Chronicles #1

I can’t believe I finally read these! I feel very, very belated about it, but am so excited to have finally checked out for myself what everyone else was raving about.

And I can say it was well-deserved. The Archived was certainly unique and interesting. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t devour it so quickly (yes, this is an issue with me.) I’m not a big fan of any kind of ghost story, and I don’t like creepy, but I did enjoy this. Am waffling just a teensy bit about whether to follow this series or not (like a lot of other people, I have series burnout right now.) But at this point I definitely plan on giving book #2, The Unbound, a try.

As for Pivot Point–holy bleeping goodness! I was so glad I gave this one a shot. Sometimes a book is good, and sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it’s rave-worthy. I’m not sure what it was about Pivot Point, but I just LOVED it. The main character was likeable (even if her falling for mr. superpower guy was annoying) (but that gets explained in a REALLY satisfying way later.) I loved mr. normal guy and her relationship with him. I loved the concept, and especially how that concept was explored and how you see it breaking down to everyday life, and holy smokes, the way the two storylines began entangling together and finally resolving just kept the tension amping up and up until that twist at the end–which I was not expecting at all. Except I had the deliciously horrible uneasy sensation that something was wrong. I was missing something. And I was right.

Great book, and am definitely on board for the sequel. I want to see how Cassie can manage to recapture the life she had explored with her abilities and see how all the new elements play out.

As for Freakling, I loved the premise for this MG, and loved the book even more. The concept was really well explored and I found myself seeing little hints of Enders Game mixed with The Unwanteds, but somehow better than that combination might sound. It was fun and very mature without being too dark or intense, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a series though? I’m not sure. It read very much like a stand-alone, and I’m curious but a bit hesitant as to how the author could continue the premise through the series, given how it ended. Definitely plan on checking book #2 out, uncertain how I will feel about it.

 

Last But Not Least:

 

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Lottery by Patricia Wood

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

 

 

So, I was excited to read Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal because she is one of the amazing Writing Excuses podcasters. I’ll be honest. I love those guys. I’ve been waiting for them all to get published books in genres I enjoyed, and it’s finally happening — Dan Wells has Partials and the sequel Fragments, Brandon Sanderson now has a YA sf/fantasy coming out that sound AWESOME (it’s called Steelheart and it involves normal humans banding together to fight superpower villains. What!!!) So. Yes. Anyway. Shades of Milk and Honey. I quite enjoyed it although, as a rabid Pride & Prejudice fan, I have to admit I was comparing nearly every plot movement to the original story. Am planning to read the continuing books in the series and am hoping for more shenanigans 🙂

 

Lottery by Patricia Wood — What a cute story! I picked this up because the author got published around the time I was very active on Absolute Write, and she was an active member as well. Plus I’m a sucker for any kind of developmental disabilities or learning impairment stories. And Lottery did not disappoint. I admit, I really hoped his relatives would get their just end, and not a single cent of his money. But despite all the ups and downs, it had an excellent ending and I was so proud of him by the end. Definitely worth the read (despite some sexual language and scenes and a bit of swearing, which I could have done without.) If you haven’t given it a try and you don’t mind skimming the rated parts, it’s a fantastic story 🙂

 

As for Ice by Sarah Beth Durst — I’d heard this is one of the best East of Sun, West of Moon and Tam Lin retelling out there. But Sarah Beth Durst is such a hit or miss for me. I LOVED her Drink, Slay, Love and I enjoyed Vessel, but found myself pretty disappointed in Enchanted Ivy and now in Ice. Her voice is so different from book to book, and Ice didn’t have the maturity of writing style I had honestly expected. Durst has another YA coming out soon, Conjured, so hopefully this will be another one to love.

 

In conclusion! I had a pretty decent reading month. Not as exciting as I’d hoped, since I really only felt Pivot Point and Freakling were rave worthy, and I had been hoping for multiple raves this month. But I definitely enjoyed the books I read, and it was GREAT to have something to read when I got home after those long days at work.

Well. Phew. That was my belated reading in August. A lot of new books come out this month, so hopefully/maybe I’ll have a really exciting Recent Reads for you in a few weeks.

What have you guys read recently?

Truly and always!

-Mandy

 

Recent Reads, July Edition

 

 

Hello lovelies.

So I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to read in massive spurts. I will order 4-6 books from the library, devour them in about a week and a half, immediately order more, and devour those as soon as they arrive. I’ll repeat that, oh…say four times, over the course of two or three months. Which means about twenty books or more in that three month time period.

And then I will stop for a while *

But the stopping is IRRELEVANT because right now I am in the middle of a surge and, oh look, books!

Series I’m in the midst of:

Endlessly, Paranormalcy #3

Don’t Judge a Girl by her Cover, Gallagher Girl’s #3

Only the Good Spy Young, Gallagher Girls #4

So a while back I got into the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter when I saw the title of the then-newest book in the series, Out of Sight, Out of Time, and read that it involved amnesia. Amnesia! I thought. My favorite. Also, friends of mine, namely Chandler Craig, had been raving about the Gallagher Girls for a while. So anyway I gave it a try. I got hooked on the series, but I’ve always been reading with that goal in mind of getting to the elusive fifth book with amnesia…and now I’m finally there! The next one I read will be it! I’m excited, because the series has been sweet but a bit light up until now, and only in the last two books has it really started darkening up a bit. I’m liking the heightened tension and stakes, and I can’t wait to read the fifth in the series. *Cue dramatic music*

Then there’s Endlessly.

So I’m ashamed to admit that when the Paranormalcy series first came out, I sort of shuffled my feet and decided I didn’t feel like it. I was tired of paranormal. And paranormal was right in the title. But the covers were pretty…So I watched how the series developed, and decided I might give it a try. Eventually. Maybe. Perhaps.

Sometime last winter I finally gave Paranormalcy a try–and I loved it. Early this spring I read Supernaturally, the sequel, and was a little less enthusiastic. So I was nervous, about the final installment of the trilogy. Would it be meh, would it be angry-making, would it be anything as good as the first? Then I read Endlessly and realized all my fears were unfounded. It recaptured the magic of the series and kicked it up a major notch. I was very excited.

Books That Were/Are Big (and I read them, yay!)
(if belatedly, boo–)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Different Girl by Gorden Dahlquist

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

And I have to say guys, these books were well worth the read. Eleanor & Park reminded me quite a lot of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, in that it was honest and real and sweet–but also challenging, and sometimes gritty; sometimes gritty to the point that it lessened my enjoyment of it. However, it was every bit as awesome as everyone said it would be. Definitely lived up to the hype.

Timeless by Alexandra Monir felt like a tad bit of a let down; the cover was just so beautiful, that I found myself hoping for a YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. While Timeless was fun and easy to read–it reminded me quite a lot of Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz, and Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard–it didn’t have the intensely complex feel I like in time travels. So I think expectations spoiled this one for me.

The Different Girl, however, was a real fun surprise. I wasn’t going to read it. Like at all. I thought it looked like a creepy dystopian, but then I read a few reviews by people who had also thought it would be a creepy dystopian, and said they were disappointed, and I thought, hmm…so I read the sample pages available online. And sat up. And paid attention. Because I was hooked. I reviewed this book, somewhat, on my Goodreads, but basically it was a lot quieter and more intriguing than I had thought–it reminded me a lot of Melody Burning by Whitely Strieber in the sense that it was different, and a bit quiet, but very intense in it’s way.

As for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making? Out of the fourty two books I’ve read so far this year, it was one of only eight that I rated a full five stars.

I LOVED it.

It was everything everyone said it would be. More. It was the Alice in Wonderland I had always wanted to read, without being as weird or creepy, and the ending was fantastic, and everything about it was fantastic. I’m desperate for the sequel. Enough said.

Then we have A Long, Long Sleep which, like The Different Girl, I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to read. Initially it looked intriguing. A while ago I ordered it from the library in one of my sprees…read the first two chapters…and thought to myself, shoot. I know exactly how this is going to go. And put it down in frustration. But then, because I am stubborn sometimes, especially with books with pretty covers, I ordered it again, and this time I skipped ahead. And got hooked. And went back and read up to where I was. And phew, boy guys, I am sooooo glad I gave this the second chance. I’m not sure what it was about chapter two that had turned me off initially, but once I got past it, I loved everything I read.

A Long Long Sleep is actually a sci-fi adaption of the fairytale Sleeping Beauty, and I loved how this translated to a girl who gets lost in cryo for sixty years. One of my current WIPs is a cry story–TES, if you were keeping track–so it was a lot of fun to compare notes, and also, the book was an excellent read. I really wish it had gotten more attention than it did when it came out, because it’s so well written.

Bottom line: I was so excited to finally read so many of the books that had been lingering on my TBR list, and that I enjoyed them so much!

 

Last but not least:

Each library book run, I tend to include at least one book by Diana Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, Sarah Beth Durst, or one of the books from each of the series I’m currently catching up on (Gallagher Girls, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, and Jackson Pearce’s Fairytale Retellings series.) That way I know I’ll have at least one or two really awesome books per reading splurge.

My obsession with McKinley is the sole responsibility of her novel, Pegasus. I’m sure my obsession with Pegasus will end at some point. Maybe when she finishes the series. Who knows. Whatever. Until then, I have been slaking my McKinley-obsession by reading her backlog of previous works, and yay for me, she has a lot of good stuff to read. So far I’ve dug into some of her most popular stuff–I read Sunshine (thumbs up, it a bit creepy) and Chalice (had no idea what was going on in that story!) and The Blue Sword (hmm) and I’m also reading her online serial novel, Kes. So I thought it was about time I got into her fairytale retellings.

Spindle’s End was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty (which I guess means I read two such retellings–this, and A Long, Long Sleep in one month. By accident! Hah!) (But both were very different, so.) It was a lot of fun. It read like the non-Disney version that feels much closer to how the original story might have been. I liked it a lot, and it’s been a while since I last read any McKinley, so I’m back to having my obsession slaked for a little while.
(I’m not really obsessed.)

(Sort of maybe kinda.)

(COUGH)

So! I’m already halfway through my goal of 80+ books to read, this year.

This is great considering I haven’t been including re-reads, which would have added about 15 books or so. And I’m very excited to be close to a Barnes & Noble again which (hopefully) means I can keep up with reading the new YA releases instead of twiddling my thumbs and waiting for a library to get them in, or preordering them on my starving-student income.

Yays all around.

What have you guys been reading?

Also, afterthought: I’ve been extremely busy with the new job, and because it’s physical labor, I’ve been pretty beat afterwards. So I haven’t had much energy for blogging despite having things worth blogging about. But I’ve got a couple posts lined up, including another weekly Pinspiration, an author interview (!) and another Making Up Meals style foodie post (but with desserts, not meals. NOM.) (And PICTURES. Nom nom nom.)

So as soon as I get a weekend to myself, there should be more blog things occurring. Hopefully.

So double yay!

 

truly and always,

-Mandy

*Were you guys waiting for me to explain why I stop reading? I thought I’d save that for another time. Because, I know, the intricaciesof my reading habits are sooooooo fascinating. Ahem ahem.