Monthly Mini-Reviews

July Mini-Reviews

This is has been one crazy month, but thankfully I’ve somehow found the time to get some reading done. I’ve been applying for internships, hiking on mountain trails and planning a wedding– all in the span of 30 days. The books I’ve read were able to keep me sane (at least a little), through all the stuff! This month contained a new favorite, which is very nice, and nothing that I despised. All in all, July did me good.

Unwept (Book One of The Nightbirds), Tracy Hickman [Galley received in exchange for an honest review]

A very engaging thriller with some fantasy/paranormal touches, which get more pronounced as the story goes on. Ellis is suffering from amnesia. She is going back to her hometown to heal from whatever has caused her to lose her memory and hopefully get it back. She is surrounded by supposed friends who claim to know everything about her, but Ellis feels that there is something very dark lurking in this little town. It  gets pretty crazy and it’s hard to put it down. I don’t read too many thrillers or mysteries– even though I always enjoy them– and this book makes me want to read more and more. {4/5 stars}

Alias Hook, Lisa Jensen [Galley received in exchange for an honest review]

Jensen gives us a very interesting take on the classic Peter Pan story. This is one of those novels that shows us the story from the “bad guy’s” perspective, and show us that they were really super wonderful all along. This book ended up being very different from I expected. I can’t say that I loved it, but I really enjoyed certain parts of it and it was beautifully written. It reads much more like literary fiction than fantasy, to me. The characterization and development of Hook was enchanting. Also, I adored the romance and it had a wonderful ending. It’s definitely worth a read, but don’t expect a very “magical” experience.  {3.5/5 stars}

Starters (Starters, #1), Lissa Price

Good concept, not too great execution. In this future-dystopian world, desperate teenagers loan out their bodies to elderly people, who use them to skydive, go clubbing, and do things they wouldn’t be able to do. Obviously, doesn’t work out too well and therein lies the story.  It was just pretty average. The writing was okay, but the characters were very shallow and that’s were the story was really lacking. {2/5 stars}

Blood Song (A Raven’s Shadow, #1), Anthony Ryan

This was so good. I can’t even talk about it in a coherent way (I’ll try my best). My brother, Javier, had been bugging me to read this all summer, and man was it worth it. This story is about Vaelin, whose father is one of the most famous warriors in the realm. Instead of raising him, his father drops him off and abandons him at some crazy assassin boarding school. He makes a family of his fellow classmates, who are all pretty awesome in their own right, and goes on some amazing adventures. I have a real weakness for school stories and novels that play with storytelling as a concept. The book begins with adult Vaelin about to face an execution. He tells his story to a man who despises him, but like the reader, learns to appreciate this cold, mysterious killer. I’m not doing this justice… just go read it! {5/5 stars}

Sailor Moon (Volume 1 & 2), Naoko Takeuchi

Sailor Moon holds a very special place in my heart. I was obsessed with the anime, movies, and manga as a little girl (and now, too, I can’t lie). I was always checking out the volumes from my library and devouring them. Now, this was a long time ago and my library didn’t always have the one I needed to read, so I was just kind of jumping around the series reading whatever I could. These volumes are a re-release from Kodansha, which are a more accurate translation from the original Japanese. So far I’m loving them so much, check in next month to see what I think about the rest of them (I’ll probably finish them before next week 😛 ). {5/5 stars}

What did you guys read in July? Any new favorites? 🙂

Advertisements

June Mini-Reviews

Another month gone and the year is halfway over! June was actually a pretty good reading month for me. I didn’t read too many titles, but there was some good variety. I mean, it’s still all fantasy– I’m not planning on radically changing or anything :P.  Here’s hoping July is even better! I have some interesting posts planned and I hope y’all will like them.

Child of a Hidden Sea, A.M. Dellamonica

This is a fantasy adventure story that is the perfect beach-read for a person that usually hates beach-reads (I speak from experience). It’s an interesting world with memorable characters, and it never takes itself too seriously. I really enjoyed this book and wrote a nice, long review about it. Also, this review was featured on Dellamonica’s website— you have no idea how freakin’ happy that made me! This brought my blog quite a bit of attention, which is always awesome, especially when it happens because of a great book! {4.5/5 stars}

The Princess in the Opal Mask, Jenny Lundquist

This was easily the cutest book I read all month (and maybe all year). It’s a fairytale version of The Prince and the Pauper and it does a wonderful job of crafting the two protagonists. The girls were very different in complimentary ways and the romances are very sweet and there are no love triangles in sight. It’s a great, fun read. I go on about it in much more detail in my full review. {4/5 stars}

Flight of a Golden Harpy, Susan Klaus

I couldn’t finish this book. I got about halfway through and then skipped around to the end. It’s a scifi story about a distant jungle planet colonized by humans. They share it with humanoid, savage harpies, who are hunted for their beautiful wings. The story revolves around a young woman and a harpy who fall in love and it doesn’t go too hot for them. The world was well crafted and very creative, but the dialogue was very clunky and the characters were shallow. The book just took itself and it’s message a little too seriously. {Did Not Finish}

Tiger Lilly, Jodi Lynn Anderson

This was an interesting book, but I can’t say I really enjoyed reading it. It’s a retelling of Peter Pan that focuses on Tiger Lily. The story is told through Tinkerbell’s perspective, who acts like a casual observer most of the time, except when she interjects a pointed opinion. The world Anderson creates is different from the classic Neverland; she brings some interesting twists to the tale, but I just felt disconnected from the characters and the story. I didn’t hate it and I loved some of the things it was trying to do, but I just didn’t have fun with it.  {3/5 stars}

What did you guys read in June? Anything you loved or hated? 😀

May Mini-Reviews

May was a busy month for me! I did a lot of traveling, which is always awesome, but I haven’t had much of a schedule because of it. My reading has been a bit all over the place this month, but I did manage to get some books off of my TBR list that had been sitting there for far too long. Hopefully June will be more normal and I can actually get some posts up!

1. Red Rising, Pierce Brown

This book was so much fun. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did, and I went into it with pretty high expectations. Darrow, the lead character, has a pretty awful life as a Red (the lowest class of their intergalactic society). After some super tragic stuff goes down, he gets recruited by a group of rebels to bring down their government. To do so he has to infiltrate the Golds (the top of the caste system) and try to bring them down from the inside. The first part of the book was a little slow to me, but once it gets going… it doesn’t stop. I stayed up til like 4am finishing it and I don’t regret it one bit!  {4.5/5 stars}

2. These Broken Stars, Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

This book was okay. It was an interesting idea, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It a story about a pair of teenagers traveling on a huge spaceship across the galaxy. She is a spoiled heiress and he is a war hero, and obviously they would never be allowed to be together. But when the ship crashes on a mysterious planet, they are the only survivors; so they must learn to get along and work together to find rescue. The problem I had was that I really didn’t care too much for the characters– the soldier was bland and the heiress was so grating. But it was well written and did have some lovely moments. I’ll probably pick up the sequel (if I’m not mistaken it involves different people, woohoo!). {3/5 stars}

3. The Mapmaker’s War, Ronlyn Domingue

This is another case of me having a problem with the protagonist, but Aoife was way worse than either of the kids in These Broken Stars. She made me angry. She was such a petulant, unhappy woman; I was just so done with her and her problems by the time I finished the book. Now that I’m looking back, I really don’t know why I finished the book. I would try to describe the plot, but nothing really stuck with me. I feel like even though things happened in the book, I never really felt invested in the story. The world Domingue built was very interesting and she is definitely a talented writer,  but things like the second-person point of view structure felt like she was trying too hard to make her work feel “different” or “literary.”  {2/5 stars}

4. Parallel, Lauren Miller

This was a fun, little book! It’s about a girl who wakes up one day with a completely different life. She was starring in a big, action movie and then next thing she knows she’s a freshman at Yale. It turns out that some strange cosmic event caused two different timelines to collide, and now she has to figure out what to do with her new reality. It does get a little science-y in parts (which is always fun for me :P), but never dry or boring. I really enjoyed this one. I think it would be a great beach read! {4/5 stars}

5. Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2), Brandon Sanderson

I really loved this book. It’s so freaking huge; It’s 1000+ pages in hardcover, but I can honestly say it never got boring! I won’t get too much into the plot– it’s the second book in a series, and it’s hard to talk about it without spoiling everything. But I really do want to recommend this series to anyone looking for an outstanding epic fantasy series. The world is very different from all the others out there and the characters are nuanced and likable (well, at least when they have to be). If you’re anything like me, you’ll stay up way too late to see what happens to them. Just read it, I think y’all will like it 🙂 {5/5 stars}

What did you guys read in May? What was your favorite or least favorite book? 😀

April Mini-Reviews

April was a busy month for me; I feel pretty proud of myself for all I was able to accomplish in it! I finished up my first year of graduate school, went to a variety of book festivals and signings, and celebrated my birthday! Even though I didn’t have a chance to read too much, I did enjoy what I did read. When I was looking at this list, I noticed that I read quite a number of graphic novels this month. I do tend to do that around exams. I guess all I want to do is distract myself with pretty art!

1. Bride of the Water God (Volume 1), Mi-Kyung Yun

This is a manhwa (a Korean graphic novel), and I’d never read one before. The art style is very similar to most manga, but it’s read left-to-right like a Western comic. I really enjoyed this story. It’s about a girl in an ancient village, which is going through a major drought. The villagers decide to sacrifice a young woman to the Water God, in hopes that he’ll give them some rain. Soah‘s chosen to go. She enters of world full of deities and magical things. But, of course, she’s not too happy about being shipped off to the handsome and petulant Water God.  {4/5 stars}

2. Demon Love Spell (Volumes 1-5), Mayu Shinjo

These books are hilarious. They’re pretty much romantic, silly beach-reads in manga form. It’s the story about a demon and a priestess that fall in love, and obviously that comes with many problems. I had so much fun reading these and I’m excited for the final volume, which comes out this summer. {4/5 stars}

3. The Here and Now, Ann Brashares

I didn’t enjoy this book. I’ve probably rambled about it enough already. Check out my full review here. {2/5 stars}

4. Library Wars (Volumes 1-11), by Kiiro Yumi

Yet another manga series I got into in April. This was honestly my favorite thing I read all month! This manga’s set in the near future when libraries are fighting the federal government over censorship. The situation has gotten violent and the local government and libraries have had to create their own army to protect freedom of speech– the Library Forces. We follow a young trainee into the Force and she is so adorable. She’s clumsy and so earnest. You can’t help but love her. The romance is really cute, too 🙂 {4.5/5 stars}

5. Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang

These books were really interesting. I can’t say that I loved, or even particularly liked them, but I really appreciated what the author was trying to do. Yang told the story of the Boxer Rebellion through two different perspectives. In Boxers, we follow a boy on his journey to save the country from the “foreign devils” invading them. In Saints, we follow a girl who is on the other side of the conflict. Both of the characters struggle a lot with their religions and sense of national identity. They are quick reads, if you want to give them a try, but I cannot wholeheartedly recommend them to you. {3.5/5 stars}

6. Sora’s Quest, T.L. Shreffler

This book was a nice surprise; I really enjoyed it. It was a very fun, quirky adventure story in a well-developed, fantastical world.  I wrote a full review of it, check it out here. {4/5 stars}

7. Thief’s Magic, Trudi Canavan

This was another great read. I reviewed it for Girls in Capes (they’re awesome and they have a GIVEAWAY going on for a copy of it). I’m putting review up here soon, as well! {4/5 stars}

 

What did you read in April? 😀

 

March Mini-Reviews

This is an idea I stole from my friend Emily over at Darling Bibliophile! 😛 This is a way for me to let you all know all the books I’ve read this month! They will just be short little reviews, quickly describing how I felt about the books.

This was a crazy, busy month for me. I was swamped with projects, papers, and visitors. I didn’t get as much reading done as I would have liked, but hopefully I have a bit more time for my books in April!

1. Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Phèdre, the protagonist, is a courtesan who is marked by scarlet mote in her eye. This is a sign from Kushiel (one of the figures from their intricate religion) and it means that she feels pain as pleasure. This story sounds much more naughty then it actually is. There are explicit scenes, but nothing that you cannot find in other adult fantasy novels.  The world is beautifully crafted and the story is quite unlike many of the other epic fantasies out there. {4/5 stars}

2. Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater

This book was really boring. It’s a love story between a girl and a werewolf, and I really just didn’t care. Stiefvater’s werewolves were very interesting– they turn into wolves when it’s cold out and as they get older that time expands and eventually they stay wolves forever and that’s sad.  The characters aren’t very likable. The two leads have a love at first sight moment, which is fine and all, but this all happened when one of them was a wolf… I’m not too into romance-y books and this was no exception. {2/5 stars}

3. The Archived, Victoria Schwab

I’ve already rambled about this book at length. I wasn’t a big fan of this one . I guess I didn’t have a good YA month this March. Check out my review here. {2.5/5 stars}

4. A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Marie Brennan

I went into this book knowing that it was more a memoir than a book about dragons, and it really added to my enjoyment of it. The cover is beautiful, but a little misleading. It has a dragon drawn in a scientific fashion; many people thought this book would focus much more on dragons and their characteristics, anatomy, and whatnot. It’s really a story about how a woman becomes a scholar and scientist in a setting equivalent to Victorian England. I liked it, didn’t love it, and I am very excited to read the sequel (where there will hopefully be much more about the dragons).  {3.5/5 stars}

What did you read in March?