May 2015 Wrap-Up

Polina

1) Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
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Brief Summary: Annie and Liza fall in love and it’s cute and then sad and then cute again.
My Thoughts:
 I had some trouble with the writing; Liza’s voice definitely did not sound like a teenage girl. In addition, none of the characters were particularly developed. However, the romance is cute and this book is obviously very important; from what I understand, it’s the first YA lesbian romance with a happy ending. There were some really powerful passages that I appreciated.
Rating: 3/5

2) Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
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Brief Summary: Sibling relationships, airplanes, the tragedies of war, and WW1 Ethiopia.
My Thoughts: Really difficult to get into at first, but beautifully written with excellent family dynamics.
Rating: 4/5

3) P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
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Brief Summary: The continuation of Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter, with a side of family and friendship and growing up.
My Thoughts: Adorable and really well written. Some of my favorite parts of were the sister dynamics and Lara Jean’s character growth. Like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, it was the kind of book that, based on plot alone, wouldn’t have stood out at all (and, indeed, one particular storyline felt very typical-YA) but the characters and the writing style still made it feel very unique.
Rating: 4/5

4) Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
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Brief Summary: Between the cute anonymous boy Simon is e-mailing and the frenemy using those e-mails to blackmail him, his junior year is turning out the be very interesting.
My Thoughts: Possibly the cutest book I have ever read. All the characters seemed like people I knew in real life. Simon’s voice was funny and real, and the romantic relationship (with the E-MAILS!!!) was so adorable from start to finish.
Rating: 4.5/5

5) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
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Brief Summary: In a world where people separated into classes by the color of their blood, a Red named Mare must become a part of the cut-throat royal court of the Silvers.
My Thoughts: This one was a fun read with some interesting plot twists, a terrifying atmosphere, and a combination of fantasy and dystopian that I thought worked really well. However, the characters felt too much like tropes I’d seen in a million other books  for me to truly love it, and the love triangle got tiresome really fast.
Rating: 3/5

5) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
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Brief Summary: Two boys meet at the pool, develop a deep friendship, and fall in love. Meanwhile, Benjamin Alire Saenz makes us all cry with his words.
My Thoughts: The writing in this book was amazing; every word was perfectly placed, and there were so many passages I just whispered to myself when I read them because I loved them so much. I loved being in Ari’s head and watching him grow and begin to understand himself, and I thought the ending was perfect. I also really appreciated both boys’ relationships with their families.
Rating: 5/5

6) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
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Brief Summary: …it’s Pride and Prejudice. I think you already know.
My Thoughts: At the moment, this is my second-favorite Austen book. I loved the writing and dialogue, loved Elizabeth Bennet with all my heart, actually loved ALL the Bennets, even the ones I’m not supposed to like, loved how real and vivid the characters felt, loved…pretty much everything.
Rating: 4.5/5

7) Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
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Brief Summary: Caden’s struggles with schizophrenia, complete with terrifying pirate-ship parallels.
My Thoughts: This was not at all what I’d expected from the summary, and I think I loved it even more for that. Of the books I’ve read this month, it’s probably the one I thought of the most afterwards. Caden’s mental illness is written in a way that is painful and honest, and the scenes on the ship, which parallel what Caden is going through in real life, are filled with that creepiness that Shusterman is so good at. Even thought the book is hard to read at times, the message is ultimately one of hope, and books like this are incredibly important.
Rating: 5/5

8) The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
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Brief Summary: …I’m not even going to bother trying to sum this one up in one sentence.
My Thoughts: This one took a while to get into, but once I did, I couldn’t stop reading. Brandon Sanderson’s worldbuilding is some of the best I’ve ever seen, and I loved Vin almost immediately. One thing I appreciated: the world and magic systems are pretty complex, but we were still able to learn a lot about them without it feeling like an infodump. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Rating: 5/5

9) The Whitechapel Fiend by Cassandra Clara and Maureen Johnson
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Brief Summary: Simon learns how Jack the Ripper is connected to the Shadowhunter world, and Tessa, Will, and Jem in particular.
My Thoughts: Like the other Shadowhunter Academy books, fun but ultimately forgettable. That said, this one is my favorite in the series so far, just for the Herongraystairs moments.
Rating: 3/5

10) Blank Confession by Pete Hautman
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Brief Summary: A boy shows up in a police station to make a confession.
My Thoughts: The writing was good, I guess, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care. I also felt like the reveal of Shane’s past was a little anticlimactic; it would have worked better if the story had left it mysterious. Mostly, I’m just happy to get this out of the way, since I’ve had it since high school.
Rating: 2/5

11) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
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Brief Summary: Terrifying military school, all the terrible things happen, and, of course, there are love triangles aplenty.
My Thoughts: I loved this book so much! The high stakes, the world that’s brimming with potential, the complex and flawed characters who develop throughout the story…basically, I couldn’t stop reading this book; even though the pace isn’t the fastest, there was never a moment when I got bored or felt as though nothing was happening. The two love triangles were a bit too much at times, but compared to other books, it didn’t bother me, especially since I was invested in all the characters as individuals.
Rating: 4.5/5

12) Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
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Brief Summary: After Sydney’s brother is sent to jail, she transfers to a new school and develops close relationships with a family who help her grow and understand herself.
My Thoughts: This is the first Sarah Dessen book I’ve read in years, and reading her voice again was so comforting. Sydney’s relationship with her overcontrolling mother is very relatable, and all the characters are unique and flawed and well-written; I especially loved  Layla and Sydney’s friendship. However, the pacing was very slow and the book dragged a lot, and I though the themes were pushed too much and too obviously.
Rating: 3.5/5

13) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
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Brief Summary: Rose is determined to protect her best friend Lissa from the many threats she faces at the academy.
My Thoughts: So much better than I expected! Rose and Lissa are both amazing characters and I love that their friendship is the heart of the series. I had a lot of fun reading it, but also appreciated the more serious emotional moments. I can’t wait until later books when the plot really kicks off.
Rating: 4/5

14) End of Days by Susan Ee
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Brief Summary: Some awesome ladies kick the apocalypse in the face. Penryn and Raffe make me feel all of the things.
My Thoughts: This is definitely my favorite of Susan Ee’s books. As usual, so much happened, but nothing ever felt rushed (which is especially impressive given that this book was mean to be three books). I was constantly surprised, excited, and terrified, and I teared up over a character I never in a million years expected to feel anything for. The ending was incredible satisfying, and Penryn and Raffe made an amazing team as always.
Rating: 4.5/5

Sondra

I read through seven books this month, and I DNF’d two more. Thanks to both school being out, and, well, my PC crashing and dying and burning….okay, maybe it didn’t burn but it sure felt terrible to be without it!

1) Rogue by Julie Kagawa
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Brief Summary: So many things happen, so many dragons and plot twists. Also love triangle.
My Thoughts: My thoughts for this book can be summed up in one sentence: I’m going to lock Garret away where Julie can’t hurt him.
Rating: 4/5

2) To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
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My Thoughts: I just couldn’t get into this one with Lara Jean’s voice, I WANTED to like it but I just…couldn’t. The story was interesting, cute even, I liked the love interest, but there was just the narrators voice that I couldn’t get past and love the series.
DNF

3) The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
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Brief Summary: A retelling of Arabian Nights, but with gorgeous writing, and amazing characters, and everything people want in a book.
My Thoughts: I feel like I could go on forever about this book because it’s so fantastic and I love it so much and I need the sequel so much in my life that I don’t even know what to do with myself.
Rating: 5/5

4) This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee
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Brief Summary: A really interesting take on Frankenstein, not so much a retelling but an alternate world where Frankenstein is real, but so is Mary Shelley.
My Thoughts: I’m not sure how many people have this book on their radars but as a standalone, with an interesting idea and some great writing, it really should be! It was definitely fresh in the world of books right now.
Rating: 4/5

5) Court of Fives by Kate Elliot
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Brief Summary: Don’t believe the back of the book when it tells you this is a book about simple games, because it’s not.
My Thoughts: I really thought this would be some kind of light book that I would just relax and read, and wow was I wrong. This book took me on some crazy turns and I am thrilled that I picked it up and read it because it was fantastic.
Rating: 4.5/5

6) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
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Brief Summary: Do I have to summarize this one? Is that a thing? Classic of classic love stories.
My Thoughts: I’d never actually read the book? I know I know I’m terrible, but I hadn’t. I love the story on so many platforms (I watched Lizzie Bennet Diaries air live my friends) and yet I’d never sat down and read it, and man, it was worth it.
Rating: 5/5

7) Rook by Sharon Cameron
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My Thoughts: Crazy interesting world, great idea, great plot, as far as I could tell interesting characters. But, a plot that moved so slow… Now admittedly I will likely come back to this book when I have more time. But the book was due back at the library and I couldn’t find it in myself to binge it before it was due back
DNF

8) Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
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Brief Summary: A book form of Revenge season 1 when the show was actually good, and then stays that good throughout the entire story. Throws plot twist after plot twist and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
My Thoughts: Damn damn damn. If I could find more books like this? I would be a happy girl. I binged this book so hard because it was just that amazingly good. I just loved it and read through it so crazy fast that I didn’t even know what to do with myself, I just HAD to know where this ended.
Rating: 5/5

9) Boomerang by Noelle August
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Brief Summary: Two people wind up fighting for the same internship, and against their growing attraction.
My Thoughts: Okay, fine. I’m not the best at giving summaries for romance books, but that’s what Boomerang was, a really great New Adult romance. I’d branched out of my comfort zone for this one and I’m so thrilled that I did because it was probably the cutest book I’d read in a long time.
Rating: 4.5/5 

2 thoughts on “May 2015 Wrap-Up

  1. Wow, you guys really smashed through a lot of books last month! The Mistborn trilogy is pretty much the most amazing thing ever. So good!!

    • I’m reading The Well of Ascension right now and enjoying it so much. I am very grateful to the internet for introducing me to the amazingness that is Brandon Sanderson’s books.

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