I have been following Alexandra Bracken on Instagram for not so long, but I love her InstaStories in which she talks about writing process and deadlines. I have been meaning to pick up one of her books – I even recently purchased a new paperback copy of ‘The Darkest Minds” intending to read it before seeing the movie (both of which I am still yet to do).
But I was the most interested in picking up “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding”, and since I am a bit on a middle-grade streak, it seemed to be the perfect time.
I even purchased my own copy without knowing if I am going to enjoy it or not. I got it from Amazon and started reading it immediately, and I am so happy I did.
Okay, I have dwindled my thumbs enough – time to sit down and be done with it. Here is what I read in December – not as much as in November by any account, but still enough. I was pretty busy in December and I couldn’t devote a lot of …
I had an amazing reading month in November. I didn’t have a set TBR list for November. I got a lot of books from the library and simply tried my best to read them all. And I read A LOT of books. Mostly due to the fact that I was sick for the majority of the month, even taking a couple of days off work, that allowed me to read more. (Although reading while being sick really sucks, let me tell ya.)
I split my list of read books into sections. The reviews will be at the bottom. This is going to be one hell of a post.
Alex Gino “George”
Kelley York “Made of Stars”
Melissa Landers “Invaded”
Alex London “Proxy”
Alex London “Guardian”
I.W. Gregorio “None of the Above”
Nicola Yoon “Everything, Everything”
Rainbow Rowell “Fangirl”
R.G. Alexander “Curious”
Bonnie Dee “The Tutor”
Laura Harner “Continental Divide (Separate Ways, #1)”
E.M. Lindsey “Time and Tide”
East of West, Vol. 1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman
East of West, Vol. 2: We Are All One by Jonathan Hickman
East of West, Vol. 3: There Is No Us by Jonathan Hickman
Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy (Lumberjanes, #1-4) by Noelle Stevenson
Blue is the Warmest Colour by Julie Maroh
The less than epic adventures of TJ and Amal vol. 1 Poor boys and pilgrims by E.K. Weaver
Emily Carroll “Through the Woods”
Marie Sexton “Promises”
Marie Sexton “Strawberries for Dessert”
Sue Brown “Nothing Ever Happens”
So, if my math skills do not deceive me, in the month of November I read 24 books. Holy moly! That’s definitely way more than I expected! Granted, a huge part of those were short ebooks and graphic novels, but still! I don’t think I will ever be able to beat that.
Okay, onto reviews then. All of these are posted on my GoodReads page, so I am only going to post reviews of books and graphic novels and will skip ebooks and books I’ve read before.
“George” by Alex Gino
Personal rating: 4 stars
I read this book in one go. It has less than 200 pages with huge font and it a middle grade novel.
I liked it. I think it is great that the author touches upon a topic of gender identity in a middle grade novel. Reading it, I couldn’t help by sympathize with George. I think that her voice was very prominent and well defined.
I am happy that such books exist nowadays.
“Made of Stars” by Kelley York
Personal rating: 5 stars
You know there are some books that you finish reading and then next day you still keep thinking about it? For me it was “Made of Stars”. (Where has this book been before?? Why haven’t I read it sooner??)
This is a contemporary/suspense YA novel, that tells the story of three friends (a boy and his half sister and their friend, whom they see once a year during summer). One summer they all meet again, and things change. And their feelings change too.
Hunter and Ashlin start noticing the lies Chance is telling them and things he is NOT telling them. They start questioning things he says and does.
And then a murder happens.
It is not exactly a murder mystery, but the book has a very strong suspense undercurrent. I don’t want to say anything or I might spoil the ending, but let’s just say that I spent the last 20% of the book dreading what was about to happen while knowing that it would probably happen. Basically, I was just sitting here and yelling “NO!” a lot.
I couldn’t put it down.
The ending was like a sucker punch. Have you read Allegiant by Veronica Roth? Remember THAT? Well, THAT thing in Allegiant gave me the same feeling as this book. Remember, how at some point in Allegiant (just by the way the POV is switched) you could totally tell that THIS was going to happen? Same thing here.
I spent some time trying to think of what might happen next, if there is hope, if there is any way that it could not have ended in so much heartbreak.
But no, there was no other way.
I both heartbroken and in awe with what the author did to my poor heart. It was painful and amazing.
I want more. I am definitely putting Kelley York on my list of favourite authors.
“Invaded” by Melissa Landers
Personal rating: 3.75 stars
(SOME MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!)
I read Alienated in September and was quite excited to get ahold of Invaded quite easily (I landed a copy from the library and it was a new copy which is a rarity at times).
I can’t say I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Alienated. For one thing, I really liked Cara’s blog, which was barely there in Invaded, as well as her sense of humour (overall the novel felt more serious in tone than Alienated). The romance between her and Aelyx still ran true but Melissa used pretty much the same trick as in Alienated: creating a rift between them, only to bring them back together followed by a dramatic event. It felt rather boring to read the same plot twist in the second novel.
I did like the intrigue that was happening in both worlds, as well as depiction of L’eihr and its traditions, but I felt as if the first part of the book dragged a bit.
There was one character whom I really liked and who died, which really annoyed me, because it could have been avoided (seeing as other major characters are always saved by deus ex machina). This death affected another character, who has already been through a lot. I feel as if this was done for the sake of drama and it felt a bit cheap to me.
I feel like there might be a third novel. Invaded does not end with an obvious cliffhanger than Alienated had, but still there are some things that were left unresolved. The problem is that I am not sure how Melissa can create the third novel without making it even more boring. Will I be reading it? Perhaps, but it won’t be high on my list.
“Proxy” and “Guardian” by Alex London
Personal rating: 3.75
I couldn’t wait to pick up this book. I heard great things about it. I can’t say that I was disappointed but I wish my expectations hadn’t been set so high. It is a great dystopian YA novel, with a unique world, but at times it felt as if it lacked depth, and some of the characters’ actions didn’t make much sense. There was a lot of talk about feelings and decisions, but I think that the author described things instead of *showing* them.
I did like the characters and I love the fact that this book had a main gay character, who was essentially “the chosen one”.
Some events in this book didn’t make much sense, but the ending had a good twist. And it made me a bit sad too. You will know why. (I would have preferred a different punch line at the end, as it felt a bit weak, but over all it was ok.)
Personal rating: 4 stars
I think that this book is stronger than “Proxy”. It is better written and it has more plot twists. I did enjoy both the relationships (a budding romance) between the characters and the main intrigue. I also liked how it was shown how “the chosen one”, ex-proxy, was dealing with his fame.
The resolution of the moral peril in which the characters found themselves felt a bit too “deus ex machina”, but I did like the ending. One might say, it is too open, or even a cliffhanger, but I enjoyed it.
Can’t say this book is going to be high on my “re-read list” but it was enjoyable. I would love to read more dystopian YA with main queer characters.
“None of the Above” by I.W. Gregorio
Personal rating: 3.75 stars
I enjoyed the book because it is rather different from all other YA which is readily available on the market. It is the first book with an intersex character that I have ever read. I liked the book. I didn’t love it though. I feel that it was more educational than anything else, as the plot was rather predictable (discovering herself, friends turning enemies, bullying at school, therapy) and some twists made me feel rather sad.
I liked Kristin. I liked that she is an athlete, she is a runner. I liked how her struggle to come to terms with her diagnosis was described. What I didn’t like was how predictable everything else was (her boyfriend, her friends’ reaction, etc).
I still recommend this book. It has to be read at least for the educational purposes. I feel that it was a bit overhyped for me in terms of the plot though.
“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon
personal rating: 4.5 stars
This book deserves all the love and hype surrounding it! It is a very cute story about a girl who is allergic to everything. One day, a new family moves into a nearby house and she befriends their son.
I liked everything about this book. The way it is written. The fact that it is interrupted by illustrations and notes written by Madeline. The fact that this book has some similarities to “The Fault In Our Stars” but only it is way better and lighter and happier. (And also, HAWAII!)
The characters are unique and have very distinctive voices. I loved both Madeline and Olly. I loved the setting of the book. I loved all the descriptions.
I also loved the twist and the way the story resolved itself, even though I did suspect something like this would happen. (It also quite unexpectedly resonated with my own experience, which was a bit surprising.)
Can’t say more but this book gave me rather happy, warm and fuzzy feeling. Even though it mostly about illness. Nicola Yoon has achieved something that John Green failed to do for me.
Read it. You will love it.
“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell
Personal rating: 5 stars
I thought this book was overhyped on booktube. I thought I wouldn’t like it. I thought it was something like “shopaholic” novels.
I was so wrong!
This book is fantastic. It is well written, it has amazing characters and a very sweet romance. I loved Cath. She is very relatable. Levi is a sweetheart (I was rooting for him the whole book!). Wren is something. Reagan is something else altogether.
And Cath’s father, Art, is adorable. (I have a soft spot for him. Because I don’t know how you can NOT. It is probably the first time ever I feel so strongly about a secondary character.)
I don’t even know how to express how much I loved this book (which can be confirmed by the fact that I ordered my own copy online while being only 50 pages into the library copy). It is everything my life is and is not, but potentially can be. This book made me feel less embarrassed about being “a fangirl”. It also gave me a strong urge to write.
This book was so good, and so well written, that I want to read it again.
Also I need “Carry On” like RIGHT NOW.
All of other reviews you can read on my GoodReads page, as I don’t want to make this post longer than necessary. I do want to point out that Nimona, Lumberjanes, Adventures of TJ and Amal, and Through the Woods are my favourite graphic novels of the month, while Blue is the Warmest Colour is the least favourite.
Charles Bukowski “Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook: Uncollected Stories and Essays, 19-44-1990” (it was a library book and sadly I returned it before I took this photo, but it was in my July TBR photo)
Jamie Meadows “Against the Odds” (ebook, finished in July)
*I don’t know why I added James’ book to the pile – I finished it in late June… Oops.
My target was to read 5 books in July, which I did, although I didn’t get to reading Margaret Atwood’s books and swapped them for the rest of the Divergent series.
Overall, I am quite happy with myself! I am back on track and I am reading writing reviews! Yay!
Let me start with the story about how I learned about Maggie Stiefvater. It was November 16, 2014, the last day of the international book fair INSPIRE! (which was the first and the last time this fair happened to my disappoint). For some reason I had ben completely ignorant about …