March 2015 Reading Wrap-Up

Polina

This was such a good reading month for me, both in terms of quantity and quality! I read fifteen books and one novella, and I loved most of them.

1) Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
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Brief Summary: One of the more messed-up versions of Beauty and the Beast, which is saying a lot.
My Thoughts: What a great way to start a month! A dark intriguing premise, flawed characters with amazing chemistry, and a plot that kept me guessing the whole way through.
Rating: 4.5/5

2) And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
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Brief Summary: After her boyfriend’s suicide, Emily Beam attends a boarding school in Massachusetts and develops a connection with Emily Dickinson’s poetry.
My Thoughts: I wanted to love the book, and I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t. The writing is beautiful, there’s a lot of focus on girls supporting each other, and I loved that poetry played such a huge role in the story, but the whole time I felt a disconnect from the events that kept me from being truly invested.
Rating: 3/5

3) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
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Brief Summary: A retelling of the Iliad with a focus on the romantic relationship between Achilles and Patroclus
My Thoughts: Beautiful and heartwrenching. Maybe a bit of a slow beginning, but I cared enough about the characters that I didn’t really mind. The best and worst part was watching Achilles and Patroclus be happy together while knowing exactly how the story was going to end. “What has Hector ever done to me?” indeed.
Rating: 5/5

4) The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
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Brief Summary: Two brothers are on the run from evil magicians. One of them doesn’t have that many feelings, but that’s okay because I have enough feelings for both of us.
My Thoughts: Honestly, I don’t know what I can say here that I didn’t already say in my review! I love all of the characters, I love the focus on sibling dynamics, I love the humor and the sadness, and I love love love the ending.
Rating: 5/5

5) The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
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Brief Summary: Welcome to Ronan Lynch’s brain. It’s a very interesting, not wholly pleasant place. Also, magic and friendship and feelings.
My Thoughts: The Raven Cycle is one of my favorite series; the world is so unique, the writing is amazing, and the characters are believably flawed while still being lovable. Plus, this book focuses on Ronan, my favorite character! Obviously, my reread consisted of me screaming and making emotional noises (and sometimes laughing because Will Patton, your narration is mostly amazing and suits the atmosphere of the books perfectly, but WHAT IS UP with your Kavinsky voice?)
Rating: 5/5

6) Grace by Elizabeth Scott
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Brief Summary: A former suicide bomber and a mysterious guy take a life-changing field trip across Dystopialand.
My Thoughts: I liked this one a lot better than I expected to. The sparse writing style did a great job conveying the bleakness of the world, and the book’s internal focus and character-driven nature made it stand out from other dystopias that I’ve read. I am taking off points because the last few chapters were so repetitive and preachy.
Rating: 4/5

7) Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
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Brief Summary: Mary, Kat, and Lillia decide to break the resident Jerk(-with-a-heart-of-gold?) Jock Reeve’s heart. It goes about as well as you’d expect.
My Thoughts: You know, this is one of those books that I enjoyed while reading it, but thinking back I can’t remember most of what happened. I remember being less excited about the main romance than the book wanted me to be, but absolutely loving the friendship between the three girls and screaming a lot (in a good way!) during the Big Plot Twist.
Rating: 3.5/5

8) Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
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Brief Summary: There’s absolutely no way to summarize this book with spoiling the second book.
My Thoughts: As always, the build-up was amazing, and I ended up feeling more for Reeve than I thought I would, but my enjoyment was dampened by one of the girls being a completely different character, and I found the ending somewhat disappointing and anticlimactic.
Rating: 2.5/5

9) Half Bad by Sally Green
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Brief Summary: You know how teenagers are trying to figure out their place in the world in between everybody’s different expectations? Well, it’s much harder when your world consists of prejudiced witch assholes and your father is one of the most feared, hated people in your world.
My Thoughts: I had trouble with the pacing of the second half, and I really wish the secondary characters were better developed, but I really liked the premise and the world, and the writing helped me get into Nathan’s head and really sympathize with him. It was a good start, and I will definitely be reading the next book.
Rating: 4/5

10) The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
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Brief Summary: Beautiful writing and PAIN.
My Thoughts: Everything hurts and I’m dying.
Rating: 5/5

11) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
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Brief Summary: The happiest zombie book I have ever read.
My Thoughts: A very unique concept, lovely introspective writing, and a message about what living truly means that I think we all need to hear. Definitely an instant favorite.
Rating: 5/5

12) Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson
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Brief Summary: David and the Reckoners fight an Epic who can duplicate himself. A novella bridging the gap between Steelheart and Firefight.
My Thoughts: This one was fun and action-y and had some enjoyable banter and an ending that made me smile. Pretty good, and a reminder to read Firefight soon.
Rating: 4/5

13-16) The Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman
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Brief Summary: Parents can have their teenage children unwound into parts for transplants if the children make too much trouble. Three teenagers end up fighting back.
My Thoughts: I’m so glad to have finally reread this and read Undivided–it took me long enough!. I have to hand it to Neal Shusterman for his tight plotting, his ability to make me feel things for all of his characters (and I do mean ALL of them–even ones with three pages of screen time, and even ones that I initially disliked) and for making me believe in his world despite the seemingly impossible initial concept.
Rating: 4.5/5

 Sondra

Well, unlike Polina my reading life suffered. A lot. Between school, and then some grand carpal tunnel that made it hard to hold any book, I didn’t get a lot read. But at least it made me picky with what I read and I only read some really great books.

1) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
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Brief Summary: Kell has an amazing coat. I will love anyone with the name Lila. White London will give anyone the creeps.
My Thoughts: Ugh. Can I just leave it at that? This book sparked me off on a hunt to find all of Victoria’s books to read simply because the writing was amazing, the characters were great, and the worlds were unbelievable.  This is series is already joining my favorites list without even pause.
Rating: 5/5

2) The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
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Brief Summary: The stakes get higher than ever for both Kestrel and Arin, and there isn’t a word in either Valorian or Heranni that means “shut up and listen”
My Thoughts: This book was just as fantastic as the first one. It nearly killed me. The things I didn’t like about the book were truthfully part of the plot. It was just how the book goes. And we’re not talking about the last 25% of the book.
Rating: 5/5

3) The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
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Brief Summary: A crazy and slightly disturbing world that has crazy and slightly disturbing characters that pull the whole novel together into…something.
My Thoughts: Don’t get me wrong, the book was good, but it had aspects of things that were just weird, and sometimes it lost me… It did have some nice plot twists though that threw me for a loop. But as we all know I’m a sucker for world building and that was pretty grand in this book.
Rating: 3.5/5

4) The Archived by Victoria Schwab
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Brief Summary: I really don’t even know how to sum this one up guys. But I suppose it could be secrets will always eat you up, at at least this time the character learned the lesson.
My Thoughts: I told you I went on a hunt for her books and man I wasn’t disappointed. This book was just as fantastic, but completely different from A Darker Shade of Magic. I adored the characters and the entire ending took me by surprise which is always super pleasant in a book.
Rating: 5/5 

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