I really fell out of the habit of doing these monthly wrap-ups, but I want to get back to them–I have fun looking back at what I’ve read each month, and I hope you do too! It also gives me a chance to include mini-reviews on my blog, since I don’t post full reviews of everything I read here (I do put reviews up on Goodreads for each new title I read, so if we’re not friends yet, we should be!).
Champion (Legend #3), by Marie Lu (hardcover, 369 pages). Three out of five stars. My husband bought me this trilogy for Christmas and while I felt it didn’t get off to quite the same high-energy start as some other YA trilogies like Divergent, it definitely had more staying power. I did feel like there were some elements that were a little rushed, but the action scenes (parkour!) totally made up for that.
The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician trilogy #2), by Charlie N. Holmberg (paperback, 222 pages). Three out of five stars. This was an okay middle installment, but it bugs me that everything resolves itself so EASILY for Ceony! Still, I’m eager to read the conclusion to the trilogy later this year.
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (V #1), by Joanna Wiebe (hardcover, 272 pages). Two out of five stars. Where do I start? This book was so bad I couldn’t look away. There’s clunky writing, a boring love triangle, plot twists that do NOT surprise in the least, and more slut shaming than a Taylor Swift song. I do think there’s a REALLY interesting plot premise hidden underneath, so I’d like to skim the sequel and see what happens next, but I can’t in good conscience recommend this book. (Unless you’re interested in an example of how NOT to write YA fiction.)
The Red Magician, by Lisa Goldstein (ebook, 188 pages). Three out of five stars. As far as YA historical fiction/magical realism goes, this was surprisingly fun to read, if a little light. I think it would definitely appeal more to pre-teens than to adults.
Garden Spells (Waverly Family #1), by Sarah Addison Allen (hardcover, 304 pages). Four out of five stars. A friend lent me a stack of Sarah’s books and this one hooked me right away with the magical garden. It’s light, sweet, and hard to put down. (But luckily, you can read it one sitting!)
The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen (hardcover, 276 pages). DNF. I put this one down pretty quickly. Weirdly, the main plot device (spoiler alert: our heroine’s a binge eater of both candy and trashy novels) sparks two very different reactions in me. On the one hand, it doesn’t seem dark enough to support all the shenanigans that ensue–what’s wrong with enjoying a nosh and a book? On the other hand, if we’re going to treat it that seriously (like, serious enough to hide a fugitive in your closet to avoid the secret getting out), then I feel like it got a weirdly light treatment, considering–again, if you’re taking it in that serious of a light–that Josey is basically a binge eater, and that’s an eating disorder just like anorexia. No matter how I look at it I don’t like it, and beyond that, I couldn’t connect to the characters at all. Anyone else read this? Did you feel the same?
The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen (paperback, 292 pages). Four out of five stars. This was really sweet and magical. A little predictable, but it was a good light read for a rainy day.
Lost Lake, by Sarah Addison Allen (hardcover, 296 pages). 3.5 out of five stars. I enjoyed this, but I felt like the plot twists were a little too predictable and the “shocking reveal” wasn’t that hard to guess at. It just seemed like a way to create drama between the MC and her love interest, but it wasn’t necessary. Still sweet, just not as awesome as Garden Spells.
The Queen of the South, by Arturo Perez-Reverte (paperback, 464 pages). Three out of five stars. I have to hand it to this book for having one of the best opening lines ever. That said, while this novel was interesting, it wasn’t the sort of page-turner that I simply couldn’t put down.
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel (paperback, 339 pages). Five out of five stars. This was an AMAZING book, in terms of plotting, prose, characters–everything. I loved it. I couldn’t put it down and yet I wish I hadn’t rushed through it so fast. I would recommend this to everyone.
Hausfrau, by Jill Alexander Essbaum (hardcover, 336 pages). Two out of five stars. In terms of prose and a fractured timeline, this novel is a work of art–it’s no surprise the author is a poet. But in terms of “enjoyable books to read”, I finished this book with a headache–I couldn’t summon any sympathy for any of the characters, and as things wound on toward the conclusion, I found myself eager to get it over with so I could read something more fun. (And I do get that the MC is not supposed to be terribly likable–but I could barely tolerate her presence on the pages!)
The After House, by Michael Phillip Cash (paperback, 194 pages). Two out of five stars. Ugh. The author couldn’t seem to decide if he was going for horror, suspense, romance, or comedy–so he cobbled them all together, and not well, either! Apparently I’m in the minority here since there are lots of five-star reviews on Goodreads, but…this was terrible. Bad writing, and no surprises in the plot twists at all.
What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations for me? I feel like I’ve read so many two- and three-star books lately, and not enough really good ones! Do you ever get in that kind of a reading slump?