July 2015 Reading Wrap-up (Part 2)

Polina

…and more books!

14) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
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Brief Summary: Your heart shatters into a thousand tiny pieces.
My Thoughts: A beautifully-written-and-illustrated honest portrayal of loss with a modern-fairy-tale feel and a universal message about stories and the truth they contain. One of my favorite books of the year.
Rating: 5/5

15) Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, collected by April Genevieve Tucholke (ARC)
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Brief Summary: A collection of horror stories by popular YA authors.
My Thoughts: An anthology where I read all the stories and liked almost all of them, which has almost never happened to me before. I will say that I wasn’t as freaked out as I expected to be–the only stories that made it hard for me to sleep afterwards were those by Jay Kristoff and Marie Lu, which were also two of my favorites. (I’ve seen Marie Lu write in three genres now and she’s been amazing in every single one.) I also really liked Cat Winters’ story–it was sad and atmospheric and I really like her writing style.
Rating: 4/5

16) The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey (audiobook)
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Brief Summary: Echo goes on a quest to end the centuries-long war between the Avicen and the Dracarin.
My Thoughts: There was a lot I liked about this book. Echo is funny, brave, fiercely loyal, and a book lover, so of course she won my heart almost immediately. There are a couple of really solid friendships. There are some beautiful quotes. Dorian’s character arc is pretty awesome. My biggest problem with this book was how similar it was to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, plot-wise. Nearly all the characters and plot points have nearly direct analogs in the DoSaB series. As a result, I kept comparing this book to DoSaB, and DoSaB has a tendency to make most books look bad. Still, I really enjoyed this book, and I will definitely be continuing with the series. I can’t wait to watch Melissa Grey develop as a writer.
Narration: Julia Whelan narrates this, so obviously the audio was amazing! My one complaint: I’m not a fan of how she does Dorian and Jasper’s voices, but my biggest issue is how old she makes them sound, which is a ridiculous concern to have given how old they ACTUALLY ARE.
Rating: 3.5/5

17) Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler
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Brief Summary: Girls falling in love in Hollywood.
My Thoughts: This book was fun and fast paced, with an adorable girl/girl romance, a friendship that develops over time, flawed and ultimately lovable characters, and some important discussion of race and sexual orientation. After reading it, I definitely want to give New Adult more of a chance in the future.
Rating: 4/5

18) More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
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Brief Summary: Months after his father’s suicide, Aaron’s life is slowly starting to get better. But when Aaron’s feelings for another boy makes things worse, he decides to erase these feelings via the Leteo procedure.
My Thoughts: This book is not actually all that happy, and not very nice to the reader’s emotions. The writing is amazing, and so many scenes feel like a punch in the heart. I can’t remember the last time I wanted to rescue a character from the author so much. At the same time, it never felt like pointless pain; it worked with the story the author was trying to tell, and the ultimate message is a hopeful one.
Rating: 4.5/5

19) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
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Brief Summary: A collection of funny illustrated stories from the author’s life, ranging from childhood adventures to dog problems to self-reflection.
My Thoughts: I was a huge fan of Allie’s blog several years ago, so I was very happy to finally read this! Every single story made me laugh, and there were a few (like “Depression” and “Identity”) that made step back and think “wow”.
Rating: 5/5

20) The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle (ARC)
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Brief Summary: For one month each year, every member of Cara’s family frequently gets into accidents. Also, mysteries, secrets, friendships, ghosts.
My Thoughts: I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book. The writing is good, the concept is original. I liked the eerie atmosphere throughout the book, the mysteries that slowly unfold, and the powerful friendship between the four main characters. (There was a surprise f/f romance, which is always nice). The only reason I didn’t give it a higher rating was because of book/time chemistry, but I still recommend you check it out if it sounds interesting to you.
Rating: 3/5

21) Paper Towns by John Green (reread)
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Brief Summary: Q finds Margo, in more ways than one. Also, road trip adventures.
My Thoughts: I was kind of worried that I wouldn’t like this book as much now, since I haven’t reread a John Green book in years, but NOPE I still love it. Aside from being funny and clever, there’s a lot of discussion about how much you can understand a person, and how important it is to imagine people complexly even if you don’t fully understand them. Honestly, this book influenced how I think in so many ways that I didn’t even realize until I reread it just now. Also, I wish people would realize it’s a DECONSTRUCTION of the manic pixie dream girl trope. You can say it’s not an effective deconstruction (I disagree but see where you’re coming from) but please don’t forget that it was meant to be one.
Rating: 5/5

22) Sixth of the Dusk by Brandon Sanderson (novella)
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Brief Summary: Welcome to the island where everything tries to kill you.
My Thoughts: Not my favorite Sanderson thing, but totally worth checking out if you’re a fan of his. I’m impressed with the interesting world he managed to create in just 80 pages, and curious as to how it connects with the rest of the Cosmere.
Rating: 3/5

23) A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz (ARC)
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Brief Summary: A pack of fairies tries to survive in the middle of a fairy/gnome war.
My Thoughts: This is the most weird, what-do-you-mean-it-wasn’t-made-on-drugs book that I have read recently. It includes disembodied limbs, casual treatment of prostitution, and very unreliable narration. Luckily for me, I happen to like weird books. Hannah Moskowitz has an extremely unique writing style–kind of disjointed and rambly and visceral–that really worked for me, and the love between the main characters made me feel a lot of things.
Rating: 4/5

 

 

Sondra

Okay guys, you might have noticed that the amazing Polina has been smashing through blog stuff this month. And I seriously owe her candy and ice cream, and probably some books too. Because this girl has just been phenomenal. My entire month of July was just shot to hell and back. (No seriously, I went from VBS which was every night for a week, then 10 days of vacation, just to come home and have surgery) my life went up in smoke in a way I never even expected. Want more proof? Here’s the books I read this month.

1) Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
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Brief Summary: The story of the Diviners continues and this time it’s with new characters new nightmare fueling material, and people finally working together!
My Thoughts: This book was so so so worth the wait to get my hands on it. I don’t want to wait another three years for the next one, but if it’s as unbelievably amazing as this one? I think I could try.
Rating: 5/5

2) Uprooted by Naomi Novik
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Brief Summary: Beauty and the Beast elements that then take their own twists and turns into a gorgeous book.
My Thoughts: This book was one of those books that I would have read in like two days solid. We’re gonna ignore how long it did take me to read thanks to surgery. BUT this book is so fantastic, it’s an amazing retelling, and a wonderful romance all wrapped up in one. Not to mention a solid high fantasy without over complicated maps or magic system.
Rating: 5/5

3) The Leveller by Julia Durango
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Brief Summary: Video games in real life! People being held hostage! Man eating sharks!
My Thoughts: I LOVE video games. Love love them. I love technology too man, I can’t wait until stuff like this is a reality, even though I already see the terror in it, the reasons why it could be bad. The Leveller explores a lot of those. Not to mention it’s a SUPER quick read, with a nice easy plot.
Rating: 4/5

That’s all I read in July. And I started Lair in June. I was a good 50-60% of the way through it when July started. So there you go guys, an update on my life, and a sign that y’all should totally love my co-blogger. Also this is me saying that I SHOULD be back to normal, I’m still weak from surgery, but I shouldn’t be sleeping all day, so reviews should start happening again, graphics should start happening again, and this blog should be at full beautiful capacity in no time at all! Here’s to an amazing August! 

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