1) Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (novella)
Brief Summary: I can’t think of a way to describe this without giving everything away, but Brandon Sanderson’s brain is amazing as always.
My Thoughts: Brandon Sanderson read a bit from this in his signing back at January, so I was glad to finally get to read it. High points were solid humor, a really engaging idea, and typical Sanderson plot twists.
2) Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson (ARC)
Brief Summary: After Lee’s parents are killed, she disguises herself as a boy and joins a wagon train headed to California for the Gold Rush.
My Thoughts: I loved the survival aspect, the resilient main character, and the relationships she developed throughout the story. I was surprised that the magical parts of the story weren’t explored more, but in the end I loved it the way it was, and I think the somewhat slower pace worked in its favor.
3) Nothing but Shadows by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan (novella)
Brief Summary: Simon learns about James Herondale’s days at the Academy and his first meeting with his parabatai, Matthew.
My Thoughts: This is my favorite Shadowhunter Academy book so far! I didn’t like James much when I first met him in The Bane Chronicles, but this book turned my opinion of him around completely (I kind of love when ‘lack of social skills’ is interpreted as ‘brooding and mysterious’ by others) and his friendship with Matthew was the most adorable thing ever. I’m so excited for The Last Hours now. (But Cassie, when do we get to meet Anna Lightwood???)
4) Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson (novella)
Brief Summary: See above re: Brandon Sanderson’s brain.
My Thoughts: Not as fun as Perfect State, but I still really liked it. Original worldbuilding, lots of kick-ass action sequences, and wow, it’s nice to see older women being awesome in a fantasy setting. (Also, this is kind of the best title ever.)
5) The Rose Society by Marie Lu (ARC)
Brief Summary: Our protagonist gains about 200 levels in terrifying.
My Thoughts: Intensely awesome. I love the direction Adelina’s arc is going, and the ending gave me chills for days. I still wish certain secondary characters had gotten more page time and development, but I’m really pleased with this and can’t wait for the last book.
6) The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (ARC)
Brief Summary: Ever wonder what the ordinary kids are doing while the heroes save the world?
My Thoughts: Where do I even start? The friendships? The honest portrayal of mental illness? The balance between parody and genuine emotion? The fact that one of the characters is worshipped by cats? What I’m trying to say is, I love Patrick Ness so much it hurts.
7) George by Alex Gino (ARC)
Brief Summary: A transgender fourth grader comes up with a plan to show everyone who she really is.
My Thoughts: This book was amazing–honest, adorable, optimistic and very necessary. I read it in one sitting, and the ending made me smile. I’m honestly so glad a book like this one exists.
8) New Moon by Midori Snyder
Brief Summary: Girls saving the world and elemental magic.
My Thoughts: The start of this book was so incredibly slow that I thought I wouldn’t like it at first, but eventually it grew on me, especially after something about one of the main characters was revealed about halfway through. I love the detailed worldbuilding and the fact that this book features women of different ages and social classes and skill sets and worldviews.
9) The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
Brief Summary: Three best friends get pen pals in a nearby school.
My Thoughts: Okay, I’m so happy I finally read a Jaclyn Moriarty book! She has a very unique sense of humor and all the main characters have very distinct voices. The friendship between the three main girls is also amazing. I can see myself rereading this in the future whenever I need a cheer-up book.
10) Roar and Liv by Veronica Rossi (novella)
Brief Summary: Being in love in Dystopialand is no fun.My Thoughts: This novella was nice enough. I couldn’t get into Under the Never Sky, but Roar and Liv were two of my favorite characters, so I decided to give this a try anyway. The romance was cute and sad and believable, and now I’m considering reading Through the Ever Night.
11) Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Brief Summary: Rose deals with love life drama, family issues, and vampire attacks, among other things.
My Thoughts: I’m going to be honest and say I’m actually kind of tired of the love life drama, especially with Adrian coming into the picture. I was also disappointed that the Rose/Lissa friendship felt somewhat lacking here–compared to the first book, they barely interacted. However, I loved Rose’s continued character development, and the battle at the end was an amazing payoff.
12-13) Everwild/Everfound by Neal Shusterman
Brief Summary: Welcome to the world of dead teenagers. Again.
My Thoughts: These books really picked up from the first one, and I’m glad I finally reread them. There are so many engaging ideas and plot twists, and I love that a dead teenage girl in an old-fashioned dress is by far the most terrifying character in the series. I will say that certain bits of humor didn’t work for me, and that Neal Shusterman is not great at writing romance. (Though he’s better here than he was in Star Shards, and is even better in Unwind than he is here. Yay for writers growing!)
14) The Knife That Killed Me by Anthony McGowan
Brief Summary: Teenage boys are the worst.
My Thoughts: When I first finished this book, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I’m normally a fan of books that are dark and brutal and painful (hi, I’m a George R. R. Martin fan), but this one was too much for me. There’s one scene in particular that I still can’t think about without feeling nauseated. The main character was fairly generic (which I understand was the point) and I didn’t care about him at all. I could appreciate what the author was trying to do, but it didn’t work for me at all, and the past-to-present switches got really old after a while, especially since the “present ones” were basically the same thing over and over. I still appreciate the author’s willingness to Go There, what with his unlikeable main character and the sheer brutality of the book and that final plot twist, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Mostly I’m just glad I finally read it after it was on my shelf for five years.
no rating for now
15) Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Brief Summary: Ten years ago, Elantris went from the land of the gods to a dirty, pain-filled disaster zone.
My Thoughts: Even Brandon Sanderson’s earlier, less good books are still pretty freaking good. The worldbuilding isn’t quite as mindblowing as it is in his other books, and Raoden and Sarene, while enjoyable, are just a little too flaw-free. But there are still some AMAZING and original ideas and the pacing is done right the whole time. As with the Mistborn trilogy, I never *felt* the book’s length because it flowed so smoothly and was so much fun. I loved the little hints interspersed throughout the story and the way everything came together in the end. Probably my biggest complaint is the way the narrative handled a secondary character with autism, but I can’t really get into that without spoilers.
16) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (ARC)
Brief Summary: Spaceships! Pink-haired hacker teenage girl kicking ass! Everything is incredibly terrifying! AI with feelings!
My Thoughts: I suddenly understand why Sondra (and the rest of the internet) was freaking out about this book. Everything about it is amazing, from the unique format (told through e-mails and documents) to the fast pace to the believable and awesome characters to the plot twists. For the entire second half of the book, I swear my heart rate went up. I am officially one of *those* people telling you to get this book when it comes out in October.
17) The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
Brief Summary: Shai has her most complicated assignment yet: to recreate the emperor’s soul.
My Thoughts: The thing about having read so many of Brandon Sanderson’s books and novellas in one months is that at some point, saying “holy shit that man’s brain is amazing” gets kind of old, but…Brandon Sanderson’s brain is kind of amazing. Shai is an excellent character, and the magic system of Forging is one of my favorite ones so far.
18) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Brief Summary: Delilah Bard is better than you.
My Thoughts: At this point a lot of people have been talking about this book, so you probably at least know something about it. I’m here to tell you every good thing you’ve heard is true. The writing and worldbuilding are amazing, and I just wanted to hug all the characters. The book has this amazing atmosphere that reminded me of some of my childhood favorites. Lila (brilliant adventurer thief who could totally kill me) is my biggest fictional crush of 2015. There were also some Sibling Feelings, which I loved and was not expecting.
19) Uprooted by Naomi Novik (audiobook)
Brief Summary: Sentient creepy forests and Beauty and the Beast vibes.
My Thoughts: I loved this book so much! The writing was beautiful and the magic was original and intriguing. Agnieszka was an amazing character, and I love that she grew so much while staying wholly herself and refusing to change for anyone.
Narration: Eh. For some reason, the reader had an accent and would pause in the strangest places in a sentence. Also, I am never listening to an audiobook this long again.
20) A Curious Tale of In-Between by Lauren DeStefano (ARC)
Brief Summary: A girl who can talk to ghosts helps a boy look for the secrets of his past.
My Thoughts: This is my first Lauren DeStefano book. I’m not in love with it, but I enjoyed it a lot. The writing is gorgeous, the friendships made my heart happy, and the author does a very good job discussing death.
21) Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot (audiobook)
Brief Summary: Mia and Michael are about to get married, but Mia’s family and her celebrity status make it very difficult for them to have the wedding they want.
My Thoughts: This book was so much fun! It has the humor and quirky style of the original series, but Mia’s voice sounds different enough to show how much she’s grown over the years and how much more comfortable with herself she is. Michael is just wonderful and I loved every one of their scenes together. The references back to the original series were hilarious. I’m so glad Meg Cabot decided to write this book, and I can’t wait for Mediator 7.
Narration: It was strange adjusting to a different narrator after having gotten used to the one in the original audios, especially since this one made some character voices sound really different. Other than that, the narration was pretty enjoyable.
22-23) The Demon’s Covenant/The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan
Brief Summary: Demons and sibling love and heartbreak!
My Thoughts: I wasn’t going to reread these books this month, but a couple of my friends started reading the series and they kind of dragged my back into it. Anyway, I love this series so much it hurts, even if I do have some plot-related issues with the third book. Just give me all the stories about siblings who would do anything for each other and red-headed scheming liars who love books.
24) Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (ARC)
Brief Summary: A girl who lives in a bubble falls in love with the boy next door.
My Thoughts: The way I feel about this book is a little strange. If you read my review, which should go up around the release date, it is possibly the most fangirl-y review I’ve ever written. The book is so cute that it just brings that out in me. But I was kind of disappointed in the ending, which is way too simple and falls in line with a trope I hate. I really liked most of the story, but the more I think about the end, the more it bothers me.
25) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (ARC)
Brief Summary: Six people with dark pasts team up to pull an epic heist.
My Thoughts: This is probably my favorite book I’ve read this month, which is really saying a lot! I love: the slow revelation of the characters’ backstories, the team dynamics, EVERY SINGLE MAIN CHARACTER, the very real risks throughout the journey, the fact that not everything went well, the expansion of the world we were given in the Grisha trilogy. I can’t wait for this book to come out so I can scream about it with the rest of you.
26-28) The Star Shards Trilogy by Neal Shusterman
Brief Summary: Six teenagers with shards of a star inside them develop some unusual powers.
My Thoughts: This trilogy was so WEIRD and DARK, even for Neal Shusterman. I had mixed feelings about the characterization–some characters were well-written and consistent, while others were overly simple and seemed to acquire certain traits based on whatever the plot needed them to be. I also thought the plot got unnecessarily complicated in the third book, and while romance was never Neal Shusterman’s strong suit, the romances in this series are particularly insta-love. We also have the evil, inhuman agender character…yikes. However, the story was well thought out, original, and discussed some interesting sides to moral questions. Also, canon asexual character! (whose asexuality is meant to be an aftereffect of a parasite living in him–long story–and who is described as being “less than a man” because of it, but still.) This is my least favorite thing that Neal Shusterman has written, but I’m still glad I read it.
29-31) Throne of Glass/Crown of Midnight/Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Brief Summary: Celaena Sardothien is better than you.
My Thoughts: I like this series, but wow, the first book was kind of a mess. Bad writing all over the place (if I had to hear eyes compared to some kind of jewel or characters being referred to as “the assassin” or “the crown prince” one more time, I swear I would have killed someone), all the cliches, and incredibly boring, generic worldbuilding. But the second book is better, because the love triangle drama is toned down some and Celaena begins to feel like a real character and certain scenes are just brilliant and heartbreaking (“Do not let this light go out.”) and the third book is AMAZING–the worldbuilding and writing are heaps better, and Rowan and Manon are both just the best, and this is where Celaena becomes one of my All Time Favorites. The scene where she fights the Valg is honestly life-changing. This means, of course, that Queen of Shadows will be even better. (Though as I’ve said before, the series’ treatment of its few characters of color is kind of :/.)
Rating: 3/5 for ToG, 4/5 for CoM, 4.5/5 for HoF
32) Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (audiobook)
Brief Summary: Political tensions between three kingdoms, told through the eyes of a spoiled-but-brave princess, a wineseller’s son bent on revenge, a prince who…well, let’s just say he has a lot of issues, and his sister, who has recently discovered her magical powers.
My Thoughts: The biggest problem with this book was that I read it in the same month as A Darker Shade of Magic, Six of Crows, and a whole bunch of Brandon Sanderson, and Falling Kingdoms just paled in comparison. For the most part, this book doesn’t do anything new; the world is pretty generic, and the characters fit the expected tropes. But somehow, I found the tropeyness comforting rather than frustrating. I also think the characters, though typical, are pretty well-drawn and have a lot of potential for future development. Cleo and Magnus were my particular favorites. Morgan Rhodes also made some really gutsy decisions near the end of the book that raised my respect for the series several notches.
Narration: Pretty good. He had that deep male-high-fantasy-narrator voice that made me feel right at home.
1) Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Brief Summary: Cons, and heists, and characters, and magic, and amazing worldbuilding, and everything that screams THIS BOOK ROCKS
My Thoughts: Don’t let the hype of this one scare you off….Or the size truthfully. It’s so worth diving in and just throwing caution to the wind and just reading it all.
2) Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (ARC)
Brief Summary: Kate is pretty much a badass and holy plot twists batman.
My Thoughts: This book was so much more than I expected it to be. I didn’t expect to be taken on such a wild journey when I started this and I’m just so so so happy with how this standalone felt and read.
3) Ms. Marvel, Vol 2. Generation Why
Brief Summary: Kamala starts realizing there’s more to her powers than what she thought.
My Thoughts: I really love Kamala as a character. I just love her so so much. She’s a fangirl, and she’s adorable, and headstrong and she’s so great I love getting to know her.
4) The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Brief Summary: Wil wants to take her kingdom back at all costs, but what exactly are those costs?
My Thoughts: This was a weird reading experience for me. For most of the book I’m thinking “Okay fine. Solid 3 stars.” Then that crept up to four. Then out of no where I’m sitting there just looking at this book and finding myself freaking out and panicking and rating it five stars and wondering how the hell exactly that happened.
5) The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows (Novella)
Brief Summary: A little bit more about Tobiah set two years before the first book.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this, and I know there’s three more novella’s so I can only imagine that this will build into something more, but as it stands I was left wishing for a whole lot more at the end. I still gave it four stars because I’m hoping that this will later develop into something really wonderful.
6) Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (ARC)
Brief Summary: Living life is the most important thing! Wait for a miracle to happen! Who learns to deal with their lot in life?
My Thoughts: I was so so in love with this book, I was fangirling, I was giggling, I was telling people “No, this one is adorable!” and then the plot twist happened. And then I was so angry I almost DNF’d with twenty pages to go. I’m so livid with this book I can’t even put it into words. I’m angry that I spent time on this. I’m angry that it’s getting published truthfully. This book had a chance to be something amazing. Something that could make a real difference for people. But instead it’s….this. I’m so so extremely disappointed.