Thursday, August 01, 2013

Reading Recap: Second Quarter

So, this is going up late.  Surprise, surprise.  Lucky for me, goodreads records the dates I finish books!  This post was inspired by Everyday Reading.

This second quarter I read/listened to 21 books.  Much better than first quarter's all time low record of 5!  Part of the reason for the increase is that I had a new baby in March and when I would nurse during the night, I would read.  I also started listening to audio books while I clean the kitchen.

Listed by date read:
1. The Child Thief by Brom  
I really loved most of this book. The end lagged for me. It seemingly climaxed...and then there was more, but at that point, I was ready for closure and an ending. I would definitely read it again sometime, especially if others were reading it with me. I would also recommend it to anyone who likes dark, creepy stories and doesn't mind gore or bad language. (Be warned, it has a lot of sadness and cruelty in it). There is amazing artwork for every chapter that really brings the novel to life. I will never think of Peter Pan the same way again and I can't imagine a retelling being more interesting or intriguing than this one.

2. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
This book was so not what I expected! It was still great because it's Maggie Stiefvater and I am, of course, going to read the next one, but the topic isn't really my favorite (trying not give anything away!). I really liked the characters and they only did a couple of really annoying things so that's a win. What I really really liked about it was that the "romance" was practically non existent! I like romance in books and everything, but it's also nice to have it take a back seat to other plot lines. I think it's fun to watch an author change and develop and try new things over the years. Maggie is one of my favorites!

3. Austenland by Shannon Hale
Didn't love it.  However, I did love all the Austen tidbits so it wasn't a complete waste of time.  I was really hoping to love it a lot.  Oh well.  The sequel is much better (as you'll see). 

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
I love Sarah Rees Brennan's personality and her tumblr page (she is hilarious), but her books are always disappointing for me.  I might try one more before I give up permanently.  

5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
I was inspired to read this trilogy after I read The Raven Boys.  I read the first one several years ago, but never finished the trilogy.  This time I read the first two, but not the third.  They aren't bad books, I just have too many other books to read.  I might read Forever (the third one in the trilogy) one of these days.  

6. The Pearl Wars by Nick James
I really enjoyed this book. It was a pleasant surprise. 
There were two areas that annoyed me. The story is told by two characters, Jesse and Cassius. I tend to like stories told from different POV's, but this one switched from first person (Jesse) to third person (Cassius). It bugged me.
The other area that I didn't love was the world at the end of the story. It confused me. Maybe it was supposed to...but don't confuse intrigue with confusion. I wasn't intrigued in the sense that I wanted answers to my questions, I was confused and didn't understand what the author had described.
Saying that, those were minor annoyances and I will be continuing in the series. I loved Jesse and Cassius and can't wait to watch their relationship evolve! I am also interested in learning more about the pearls and all that entails.

7. Terrier by Tamora Pierce
I read this as part of The Book Smugglers "Old School Wednesday" read-a-longs.  I really enjoyed it although no one else seemed to find it very great.  Go figure.

8. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Sequel to Shiver (#5).

9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I think this is the third time I've read this book.  It was one of the very first YA books I read so it holds a warm, fuzzy place in my heart.  Plus, the movie is getting ready to come out next month.  It looks like it might turn out to be pretty good, but I'll admit, I'm skeptical.

10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Here's the thing. I loved listening to this audio book. LOVED. I have attempted to read the book twice and ended up not finishing it both times because I found it boring. I find that strange, but whatever. This book just came alive for me through listening. I'm so glad I gave it a shot!
I absolute love the character of Jay Gatsby. He is way beyond flawed, but he is a powerful character with many facets. I didn't love the setting, but I loved what the setting said about each of the characters in how they interacted with wealth (or lack thereof), power, and social status.
To me, Daisy is an unlikable character. I think Gatsby really is too in some ways, but for some reason I understand his flaws and give him grace, whereas with Daisy, I just don't like her.
I liked the way the story was told through Nick's perspective. It was a little hard to believe how he was always around for the major twists and such, but I still enjoyed hearing the story filtered through his mind. 
It was also a short listen (5 hours) which is a must for me with 3 my littles. Even just at 5 hours, it took me an entire week to listen to it while I cleaned the kitchen every night. 

11. Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Excellent!  This was awesome middle-grade non-fiction.  Very informative and interesting!

12. Persuasion by Jane Austen
Love anything by Jane Austen.  Yes, I am one of those women. 

13. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Huge disappointment!  I have this problem where I have these "superstar" authors in my mind in every genre and others just don't stack up.  This book was ruined by my love of all things Kate Morton. 

14. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
I don't even know how I feel about this book.  It has a really great plot and I have no specific problems with it, but it's not memorable to me at all. 

15. Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
If you have not read Melina Marchetta yet, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?  But don't start with this one.  It is the last book of a trilogy.  Start with On the Jellicoe Road.  

16. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I gave this four stars, but I'm wondering why.  I think it was pressure since everyone LOVED it.  However, I didn't.  But it was super clever and interesting so maybe 4 stars is accurate.  You decide!

17. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Lovely as expected.  A book for ayounger audience, for sure, but so universally loved by children and adults.  Will be reading it to my own brood one day. 

18. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
This was sooo much better than the first one in my opinion.  It involved a mystery and a much better love story. 

19. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Read this to see what all the hoop-la was about.  I think the author is a great writer, but the story itself fell flat for me.  I am so tired of dystopian books where the government is "out ta getcha!"  I will possibly keep reading this series just because I did enjoy the writing.  Plus, they are making a movie and that always motivates me to read. 

20. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
This book was flippin' awesome!! My best read of 2013 so far and now definitely one of my forever favorites.   I can not wait to read my hands on the sequel.  If only I was made of money :)

21.  The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
I listened to this book and it was so FUN!  The narrator did a great job with the voices!  I laughed out loud several times and that is something I rarely do.  Hopefully the sequel will make it's way into my path one day.  

Phew!  And, there you have it. 

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